Queens, New York hosts an epic playground, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, for everyone’s unique desires. This 897 acre park is the 4th largest public park in NYC. It was once host to the 1939 & 1964 World’s Fair and Shea Stadium. It currently houses Citifield (home to the Mets), USTA Billie Jean National Tennis Center (US Open), New York Hall of Science, Queens Zoo, Queens Museum of Art, Queens Theatre in the Park, and the New York State Pavilion. This is a great place for multiple family adventures!
- Open 7 days, Adults $16, all others $13, under 2 free
- *Free admission- Friday 2-5pm, Sunday 10-11:00am
- 47-01 111th street, Corona, NY 11368
- Building designed and built for 1964 World’s Fair
- Design-Make-Play approach to interactive learning promoting STEM
This is a place where touching everything is permitted. Science is the focus, but playing, creating and thinking are the activities in conducting these experiments. This Hall of Science is spectacular, especially if you go on a day that isn’t too crowded. Call ahead for the best times to avoid crowds and school trips.
- Open 7 days
- Tickets- Adults $9.95, Seniors $7.95, Kids $6.95, Under 2 free
- 53-51 111th Street, Corona, NY 11368
- Part of the Wildlife Conservation Society along with the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, and New York Aquarium
- Vending Machines & Picnic Tables
- Can be done in 90 minutes, leave more time to enjoy animal feedings and interactive exhibits for young kids.
This is a small zoo, but it’s clean, well maintained, and has a variety of exhibits. They even have some animals you won’t find at most other zoos—an Andean Bear and her new cub! The size makes it perfect for small children, anyone who can’t stay on their feet too long or has a short attention span. It’s a great addition to a nice day at this park.
- Varied hours depending on season and weather.
- 8 kid-friendly rides, 4 amusement style games (all require tickets)
- mini food court serving amusement style foods—popcorn, hot dogs, drinks, etc. (cash only)
This is a small area that’s intended for young children. It’s easy to avoid if you don’t want to include it in your day. It’s next to the zoo if you want to add a little thrill seeking to your kid’s day. Everything requires tickets ($3.50 each).
This unique carousel was created for the 1964-1965 World’s Fair by combining two historic Coney Island carousels. This iconic New York City carousel is the largest in the entire borough of Queens with your choice of horses or chariots to ride. It is part of the amusement park next to the zoo. 1 ticket to ride ($3.50). Weather permitting. If you’re a carousel enthusiast you must check this one out!
- This stadium is home to the New York Mets. Built in 2009 to replace Shea Stadium.
- National League, Major League Baseball
- 123-01 Roosevelt Avenue, Queens, NY 11368
- Fan Fest (family entertainment) area behind center field scoreboard
- Food Courts & Eateries throughout the stadium
- Restaurants & Clubs on every level
- Mets Hall of Fame & Museum in Jackie Robinson Rotunda
- Current home of the US Open since 1978
- Holds a total of 22 courts, 4 show courts
- Main court 22,547 seat Arthur Ashe Stadium
- Tournament runs 2 weeks- end of August, beginning of September, Ticket Info.
- Behind-the-Scenes Tours offered October-July for a fee
- Built for the 1964 World’s Fair, currently under restoration
- Designed to be “unengaged free space” for the Fair’s exhibits, aka Tent of Tomorrow
- Three “Astro-View” observation towers gave unique views of Manhattan’s skyline and panoramic views of the fairgrounds (tallest one is 226’)
- Theaterama- circular theater, currently Queens Theater, performing arts center
- National Register of Historic Places
- Used in movies (Men in Black, The Wiz, Iron Man 2)
- Venue for rock concerts in 1969 (Led Zeppelin, Grateful Dead, James Brown, Santana, and more)
- Built for 1964 World’s Fair
- Beloved symbol of Queens
- Celebrates both the Dawn of the Space Age and “Peace Through Understanding” (theme of the World’s Fair)
- Dedicated to “Man’s achievements on a shrinking globe in an expanding universe.”
- Official City Landmark
- World’s largest globe- 120’ diameter
- Used in promotional materials (Beastie Boys, Depeche Mode, B-52’s), movies (Men in Black, Iron Man 2, Black Rain, and more), television shows (Law & Order, King of Queens), video games, music videos and more!
The Unisphere and Pavilion are really interesting to visit. There’s a lot of history associated with both of them and you’ve probably seen them in the media. We love re-living the scene from the movie Men in Black here— shooting down the alien bugs!
Family Adventure Rating ♥♥♥
Cost– This doesn’t have to be an expensive adventure. Many things in this park are free, offer free times, or are minimal expenses. You can save money by entering the Hall of Science at one of its free times, avoiding the amusement park (except the carousel!), and packing your own food and drink for a picnic. If planned well, a family of five can enjoy a full day for $58 plus travel expenses (Hall of Science free day, Zoo, Carousel, picnic lunch, exploring the park, pavilion, and Unisphere.
Parking & Transportation– Mass transit is easy to find. The #7 subway line can be found at 111th Street and the Q58 bus stop on Corona Avenue. Plan ahead. Parking is near impossible when special events are occurring, especially the US Open. You can park in a nearby paid lot on 111th Street between 54th and 55th Avenues. There is a free public parking lot located at 5351 111th Street. You can find free public parking, metered parking (check for meters where you park), and paid parking. There is also a paid parking lot at the Hall of Science. I found it difficult to research parking online, but when we arrived there was adequate signage to direct us.
Location– Queens is centrally located for many New Yorkers and even parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. It’s technically on Long Island, but it’s next to Manhattan. The park is easy to access directly off the Long Island Expressway (you can even see the Towers from the road). It’s easy access is what made it home to the US Open, Mets Home Field, and two World’s Fairs.
Day Trip or Overnight– Although you can find hotels just outside the park, I would plan this as a day trip if you don’t live too far away. Most of the experiences are quick and can be added together inside of one day, especially if you’re full of energy.
Experience– This park is the full package! You can walk the beautiful park grounds, enjoy the Hall of Science, see some animals, ride a carousel, take a picture at the iconic Unisphere and even catch a ball game. The park has bathrooms, picnic areas, grills, and they allow dogs. At various times of the year you can also enjoy skating, swimming, fishing and more.
Combination– This park has so much to offer, I can’t imagine combining it with anything else in Queens. However, you can combine several of the park’s amenities and build an awesome day of adventure! The most difficult addition to this adventure is Citifield due to the length of ball games and its location separate and further north in the park than the other amenities.
*Featured Photo taken by Guy Percival