228-06 Northern Boulevard, Douglaston, NY 11362
(718) 229 - 4000
DescriptionThe Alley Pond Environmental Center is located at 228-06 Northern Boulevard, Little Neck. The gravel parking lot has two handicapped spaces close to the street-level, double door entrance. The gravel is comprised of larger stones.
The one level building has smooth concrete floors. Multi-stall restrooms, with handicapped stalls and baby-changing stations are located down the main corridor.
The outside walking paths all require walking across the gravel parking lot to begin. From here part of the walks have wooden walkways, parts do not. One can get to the observation deck at the tidal creek (about 2/10 of a mile) all along the wooden walkway. Call (718) 229 – 4000 for more information.
- Surface of lot: gravel
Distance to venue: very close
Places to rest: four benches near Windmill Pond
Paths and walkways: a combination of wooden walkways and wood-chip, grass paths
Doors: street-level, double doors
Number of floors: 1
Steps and staircases: none in building, on step if going from wooden walkway to Meadow area
Width of aisles: wooden walkway is wide
Places to sit: benches near Windmill Pong
Location of restrooms: in hallway of Center building
Type of restroom: multi-stall, handicapped-accessible, with baby-changing station
Ease of entry and exit: easy
Baby changing station: yes
Available food services: none in this building
Friendliness of staff: very friendly and helpful
Notes: Weekday hours are 9:00 - 4:00 pm. If coming during the week, best to go in the afternoon - school groups in the morning.Weekend hours vary - call for info.
A lovely July day, with bright sunshine and low humidity was the perfect time to visit the Alley Pond Environmental Center. Once again, a place I had passed, probably, hundreds of times, yet never visited. Now that I have, I am sorry that I had not been there before. The Center is “…dedicated to educating children and adults…protecting and preserving Alley Pond Park, open spaces and bodies of water… It is a living-learning experience… and one of the most eco-diverse areas in New York City.” (website)
Located on Northern Boulevard, just east of the Cross Island Parkway, it is quite easy to get to by car. I pulled into the gravel parking lot and found two handicapped spaces, next to the building. Take note that this is what we would call “hard” gravel – made up not of fine pebbles, but somewhat larger stones that are more difficult to traverse. If you park in one of the handicapped spaces you are as close to the concrete sidewalk/entryway as possible. If you have to park farther, it might be better to drop your passenger off at the entrance, then park.
The Center has both indoor and outdoor components. The accessible building (street-level, double doors) is where I found the staff desk (for questions), the restrooms (multi-stall, handicapped-accessible, with baby-changing facilities) and the Animal Ambassador Room. With over 80 mammals, reptiles, birds, insects, arachnids and more, there is something for everyone! After the animals, and with the help of a staff member and a map, I headed outside for a walk.
In order to access any of the trails, one must traverse the gravel of the parking lot. From the beginning of the trails you have several options. The only option that is completely accessible (by wooden walkway) is the 2/10 of a mile walk to the observation deck at the tidal area, part of Long Island Sound. From here you might see heron, plovers, egrets, swallows or even large turtles. A gentlemen and his son, whom I met along the way, showed me video of the very large turtle they had just seen. By the time I arrived, no turtle, or any other living thing was to be seen. Unfortunately, this is generally the way it is for me! From here you can walk back on the wooden walk or continue through trails that are part wooden walkway and part woodchips, grass, etc. I took the long way around, through the Meadow, Forest and on to Windmill Pond. If you make it around to Windmill Pond, you will find four benches overlooking the pond.
The Center has many programs for both children and adults. The lovely staff member I spoke with said that if you are coming during the week it is probably best to do so in the afternoon, because there are usually school groups in the morning. The Center is open Monday – Friday (9:00 to 4:00 pm). Weekend hours vary, so it is best to call (718) 229 – 4000 to check.
As always, we at Destination Accessible, advise you to check a venue’s website, http://www.alleypond.com, to “know before you go.”