Route 24, Flanders, NY
(631) 852 - 8292
DescriptionThe Big Duck is located on Flanders Road (Rt 24), in Flanders, Long Island, NY. There is one designated handicapped space in the gravel parking area, close to the Duck.
A restroom building has 2 single-occupancy, family restrooms that are handicapped accessible, with baby-changing stations. The entrance to the building is one step up.
Entry into the one room Duck is at street level through a single door. The area inside is small, but manageable with a wheelchair.
The Duck Farming Exhibit at Big Ranch is in a separate building behind the Big Duck. A stone path leads to the single door entrance. We were told that the barnlike structure is roomy inside.
A lone picnic table is nearby. There are no food services at this venue.
- Number of handicapped spaces: 1
Location of handicapped spaces: close to duck
Surface of lot: gravel
Distance to venue: close
Terrain: flat gravel
Places to rest: picnic table with benches
Paths and walkways: stone walkway to museum
Location of handicapped entrance: main entrance
Doors: single door
Steps and staircases: none in duck
Width of aisles: duck is small inside
Places to sit: none in duck
Location of restrooms: separate building
Type of restroom: single-occupancy, handicapped accessible, with baby-changing station
Ease of entry and exit: one step to enter building
Baby changing station: yes
Available food services: none
Friendliness of staff: very pleasant and knowledgeable
Notes: Duck Farming Exhibit at Big Duck Ranch is in a separate building behind the Duck. It was not open when were were there.
The Big Duck, known as “Long Island’s most famous landmark” (website), located on Route 24 in Flanders has been a sight in Riverhead since 1931. We have passed by and seen it for many years. It is now in a permanent location with a gift shop inside and a separate museum dedicated to Long Island duck farming. We were able to go inside the duck to visit the gift shop, but the museum was not open. There is not enough personnel to have steady museum hours at this time, so call to check before you go.
This roadside attraction has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1997. It is a wonderful example of Americana. The Big Duck was originally constructed as an advertisement to draw passing motorists into the Big Duck Ranch, owned by Martin and Jeule Maurer. They hired a carpenter and stage show designer to build a giant duck to help them increase business. It is considered a prime example of literalism in advertising, where rather than using a building with the name of a company on it, they make the building the actual item being sold. Thus the building designed in the shape of a duck. Some consider it to be novelty architecture.
The duck moved several times and was finally donated to Suffolk County in 1987. The community had banded together to save their beloved landmark.
The Big Duck is presently roosting on the site where it was in 1936, with some changes. A gravel parking area with a dedicated, handicapped space is located in front of the duck. There is now a restroom building with two, single-occupancy, family restrooms, equipped with a baby-changing station. There is one step up to enter the building.
Entry into the duck is at street level, with a single door. Although the one room concrete structure is small, it is wheelchair accessible. Inside is duck memorabilia, known as “duck-a-bilia.” Some of the items are just for looking, some are for buying. All are interesting. The lovely woman volunteer was an enthusiastic wealth of information about the Big Duck.
There is a brick walkway to the museum which, we were told, is handicapped accessible. Benches and picnic tables are located in a park-like setting around the duck.
Seeing this big white creature on the side of the road can’t help but bring a smile to your face. For a special treat, go see her festooned with a necklace of bright lights during the holiday season.
As always, we at Destination Accessible, advise you to check a venue’s website, www.bigduck.org, when planning a visit, to “know before you go.”