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Eight things you must do in Prospect Park, Brooklyn

Get the scoop on the best things to do in Prospect Park, including concerts, the zoo, the carousel and more.


Grand Army Plaza

Photograph: Julie Larsen Maher

Babydoll sheep at Prospect Park Zoo



Photograph: Virginia Rollison

Prospect Park Bandshell


Prospect Park, Long Meadow, autumn


Prospect Park Carousel

Photograph: Prospect Park Alliance

The Ravine, Prospect Park


Lefferts Historic House Museum


Prospect Park Greenmarket



RECOMMENDED: Prospect Park guide

Begin your journey at Grand Army Plaza

The northernmost entrance to the park is located near this elegant (and, let’s face it, slightly terrifying) intersection of streets. The open space, which is strewn with benches, is anchored by the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Arch, which was completed in 1892 and features reliefs of presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant.

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Prospect Park Free

Check out the wildlife at the Prospect Park Zoo

A veritable menagerie lives at this 120-year-old institution, but we’re especially excited about its most recent additions. December saw the arrival of a male shorthorn calf who weighed a whopping 85 pounds at birth; and in March, two babydoll lambs, christened Arthur and Brooklyn, joined the zoo’s ranks. After you’ve had your fill of babies, be sure to check out the zoo’s other attractions: the Discovery Trail, home to red pandas, kangaroos and more; the Sea Lion Court, where you can watch pinnipeds get fed by zookeepers; and Animal Lifestyles, featuring a congress of crimp-haired Hamadryas baboons.

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Prospect Park

Catch a show at Celebrate Brooklyn! (at the Prospect Park Bandshell)

Critics' pick

Thanks to Celebrate Brooklyn!, this plein-air venue is to Brooklynites what Central Park's SummerStage is to Manhattan residents—the place to hear great music in the great outdoors. The programming for this summer festival mirrors the borough’s diversity: The lineup for its 35th season features performances from Mavis Staples (June 14), The Roots (June 18), Belle and Sebastian (July 11), the Philip Glass Ensemble (July 13) and They Might Be Giants (Aug 10), to name just a few.

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Prospect Park

Lounge on the Long Meadow

Fun fact: This mile-long patch of grass is one of the longest uninterrupted stretches in any park in the country. This means that even on the busiest days, there are plenty of spots to settle in for a picnic, a game of frisbee or just to catch some rays. We like the less-crowded areas closer to the southern end of the park (near the ball fields), where you can usually find some shade.

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Prospect Park Free

Take a ride on the carousel

The current iteration of the park’s merry-go-round was built in 1912 and resided at Coney Island until 1952, when it was moved to Prospect Park. If a horse doesn’t strike your fancy, go for a spin on one of the carousel’s more exotic animals: a lion, giraffe or buck.

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Get lost in the Ravine

This evocatively rugged area at the heart of Prospect Park, dense with trees and bodies of water, is often described as a “natural” wonder that brings Adirondack flavor to Brooklyn—except that nature should share credit with park designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the same guys behind Central Park. The ravine is proof that man tinkering with earth can bring out the best in both.

Go back in time at the Lefferts Historic House Museum

Built by a family of Dutch settlers, this small abode now functions as an educational center. Though many of its activities are kid-focused, you can take a tour of the space on weekends to see how Brooklynites lived in the 19th century.

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Brooklyn Free

Grab produce at the Greenmarket

GrowNYC, the organization that runs many of the city’s farmer’s markets, operates two separate Greenmarkets here: On Wednesdays, vendors set up shop at Bartel-Pritchard Square (15th St and Prospect Park West; Wed 8am–4pm), and on Saturdays, the larger Greenmarket at Grand Army Plaza draws crowds to the northern end of the park (Flatbush Ave at Prospect Park West; Sat 8am–4pm).