Did you know deep, resonant sound can be heard inside trees, among the roots of plants, in shifting soils, in streambeds, rivers, and even in mud–and that the sounds of the subway and airplanes can be heard in the soils of our local parks? From May 14, 2022 – May 2023, experience the sounds of Prospect Park in a new immersive way with artist Nikki Lindt’s the Underground Sound Project, a Soundwalk.
The Underground Sound Project is an interactive public art installation in partnership with Prospect Park Alliance, NYC Parks, USDA Forest Service, and The Nature of Cities based on a series of underground acoustic recordings made by Lindt. The soundwalk begins along a wooded trail, starting at a trailhead by Dog Beach. The recordings were made by placing microphones underground, underwater and even inside trees. Visitors on the soundwalk will experience a stream, a maple tree, the forest floor, wildflowers, and many more park features in a new light. At designated locations along the walk, visitors will be able to experience the corresponding subsurface sounds in a series of one minute videos accessed on The UndergroundSound Projects’ interactive website.
Underground acoustics tell us a lot about the soils beneath us, but also about ourselves. Our human created sounds often affect this subterranean world in unexpected ways. The Underground Sound Project encourages visitors to explore this exciting and mysterious frontier but also asks us to slow down, listen deeply, and by doing so, gain a more intimate view and connection to the expansive world right beneath us.
Nature Exploration Thursdays + Fridays 12–4 pm Prospect Park Audubon Center, Free
Join Prospect Park Alliance for nature education programs at the Prospect Park Audubon Center, the first urban Audubon Center in the nation.
Discovery Pack, 12–3 pm: Come explore nature on your own with our Discovery Packs, a backpack filled with nature activities and exploration tools, perfect for families and kids to interact with the park in a whole new way!
Animal Encounter, 2–3 pm: Join Alliance Naturalists in learning more about the animals in the Audubon Center’s collection. This program starts promptly at 2 pm.
Family Bird Walk, 3–4 pm: Prospect Park is a stopping point for hundreds of bird species each year! Join us as we search for these amazing creatures and other nature around the park. Binoculars and bird guides are provided. This program departs from the Audubon Center promptly at 3 pm.
Nature Exploration Saturdays + Sundays, 10 am–1 pm Prospect Park Audubon Center, Free
Join the Prospect Park Alliance for nature education programs at the Prospect Park Audubon Center, the first urban Audubon Center in the nation.
Discovery Pack, 10 am–12 pm: Come explore nature on your own with our Discovery Packs, a backpack filled with nature activities and exploration tools, perfect for families and kids to interact with the park in a whole new way!
Animal Encounter, 11 am–12 pm: Join Alliance Naturalists in learning more about the animals in the Audubon Center’s collection. This program starts promptly at 11 am.
Nature’s Helpers, 12–1 pm: Help do your part to keep Prospect Park healthy by cleaning up the lakeshore. In this citizen science activity Audubon staff will guide groups to remove litter and record the findings. Fun for all ages and all materials are provided. This program departs from the Audubon Center promptly at 12 pm.
Explore Prospect Park’s Waterways
January 25, 2022
Take a free, self-guided audio tour of Prospect Park’s watercourse—a marvel of nature, history and eco-innovation. The tour is presented by Prospect Park Alliance, in partnership with artist Mary Mattingly and More Art, and powered by Gesso. The tour serves as an educational component of the ecoWEIR pilot program currently operating in Prospect Park, and is presented through funding from the Environmental Protection Fund Grant Program for Park Services, administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.
Prospect Park, Brooklyn’s landmark park, is a natural wonder but also a feat of engineering: home to the borough’s last remaining forest and only lake, the park’s watercourse is fed by the New York City water supply. The free, self-guided audio tour provides a new perspective on the natural and human-made ecosystems found in Prospect Park, and its connection to New York City’s water supply. From the natural ponds, local springs, and streams that were here before the park, to the waterways designed by park designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux that today are fed by watersheds as far as 125 miles north of the city, to the future health of these waterways through an innovative ecoWEIR that uses plants to filter water—the tour peels back layers of history, environmental stewardship, and human intervention that are hidden beneath the surface.
The tour begins at the Grand Army Plaza entrance of the park and ends on Wellhouse Drive in the park, a total of 2.02 miles and 12 narrated stops. The route includes a steep set of stairs in the Ravine and passes over dirt/gravel and paved paths. There is an accessible restroom at the end of the tour located at the Wellhouse.
Virtual Tour: Spring Planting at Lakeside
May 7, 2021
Take a virtual walk through LeFrak Center at Lakeside with Turnstile Tours and Corbin Laedlein, the Lakeside Lead EcoZone Gardener for Prospect Park Alliance. Learn how Corbin and his fellow Lakeside gardeners curate Lakeside’s plant mix for ecological, aesthetic, and habitat purposes, and visit the green roof atop the Lakeside skating rink.
As we enter a new decade, Prospect Park Alliance invites you to join us for special Martin Luther King Jr. Day activities in Prospect Park. This holiday is a great opportunity to take stock of the world we live in and reflect on what we can do to make it a better place for all. It’s also an ideal time to fit in those special winter activities you didn’t quite get to in December.
Freedom Songs and Stories with Tammy Hall
2 + 3 pm
Lefferts Historic House, $3 suggested donation, Registration Required
While Martin Luther King Jr. Day is specific to the United States, the struggle for freedom and self-determination is a universal experience across the world. This holiday, join Prospect Park Alliance at Lefferts Historic House for Freedom Songs and Stories with Tammy Hall. A masterful storyteller, Tammy Hall weaves together diverse tales from around the world to create a rich experience for all. Space at this event is limited, so please make sure to register for the event and bring your ticket confirmation on the day of the event.
Prospect Park Audubon Center, Free
We hear you: it’s hard to get outside in the dead of winter! If you need a reason to get out there, consider joining Prospect Park Alliance at the Audubon Center. Designed to encourage children’s curiosity while teaching them about the plants and animals native to Brooklyn, these activities are fun for kids and caretakers alike.
Discovery Pack, 12–3 pm: Want to create your own Prospect Park adventure? Stop by the Audubon Center to pick up a Discovery Pack, a ready-to-go kit filled with nature activities for families, and explore the diverse habitats of Brooklyn’s backyard in whichever way you please!
Animal Encounter, 2–3 pm: Watch and ask questions as Alliance Naturalists tell you about the animals that live inside the Audubon Center. Found near and far, learn the animals’ favorite foods and the habitats they call home. This program starts promptly at 3 pm. Animal Encounters is made possible with generous support from Macy’s, Inc.
Winter Wilderness Walk, 3-4 pm: Curious about animal tracks in the snow, how trees survive without leaves, or how bugs stay warm? Join an Alliance Naturalist for a tour of Prospect Park to learn how plants and animals survive the winter. This program leaves from the Audubon Center promptly at 3 pm.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day Tennis Program
Monday, January 20, 1–4 pm
Prospect Park Tennis Center, $80, Registration Required
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a longtime tennis player or just learning the basics of the game. Geared toward both adults and juniors, the Martin Luther King Day tennis clinic features fast-paced drill stations that focus on specific skills, including serve & volley, ground strokes, approach shots and offense/defense strategies. Advance registration required.
Ice Skating at Lakeside
Monday, January 20, 9 am–5 pm
LeFrak Center at Lakeside, Admission: $11 on holidays, Skate rental: $8
An extra day to skate at LeFrak Center at Lakeside? Yes, please! Make sure to stop by on MLK Jr. Day for gliding, swirling and dancing on the ice to great tunes. When it comes time to refuel and warm up, grab a seat at Bluestone Café for lunch, snacks, and warm drinks. And for those that would like to brush up on their skating skills, make sure to check out Lakeside’s Skate School with instructors and Olympians (yes, Olympians!) Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov. See you on the ice!
Winter Recess Festivities at Prospect Park
November 19, 2019
Prospect Park Alliance interrupts your regular device-filled schedule for some hands-on holiday activities at Prospect Park! Getting outside during short winter days is a great mood booster and a welcome break from the winter grind. And what better time to shake it up than the holiday season? During Winter Recess, December 26-30, Prospect Park has something for everyone, whether you’re hoping to spend quality time with your kids, commune with nature, or spend a day at the tennis courts. Whatever it is, grab a loved one, bundle up and head over to Prospect Park to make lasting memories during the most wonderful time of the year.
Gilded Frame Making
December 26–29, 1–3 pm
Lefferts Historic House, $3 suggested donation
Looking to get crafty this winter recess? Join Prospect Park Alliance at Lefferts Historic House for “gilded frame” making! Gilding refers to the practice of applying a thin layer of gold leaf over a given object. In days past, wealthy citizens often had a collection of gilded items, from candle holders and mirrors to frames for works of art. The gilded frames made at Lefferts Historic House are perfect for holding holiday photos and pictures of other special memories.
December 26–29, 12–4 pm
Prospect Park Audubon Center, Free
When’s the last time you watched a snake eat dinner? Have you ever held a hissing cockroach? Or spotted an Indian walking stick hiding among leaves and branches? Join Prospect Park Alliance at Prospect Park Audubon Center for Winter Recess, where you can do all that and more during Nature Exploration.
Discovery Pack, 12–3 pm: The Prospect Park Alliance invites you to get inspired by nature with our Discovery Packs, ready-to-go kits filled with nature activities for families.
Bird Nerd Game Hour, 1–2 pm: Learn about birds and nature in this fun, mildly competitive hour of trivia, bingo, card games, and more! Prizes will be available for all participants.
Animal Encounter, 2–3 pm: Join Alliance Naturalists in learning more about the animals in the Audubon Center’s collection. This program starts promptly at 2 pm.
Winter Wilderness Walk, 3–4 pm: Curious about animal tracks in the snow, how trees survive without leaves, or how bugs stay warm? Join an Alliance Naturalist for a tour of how plants and animals live in the winter months. This program leaves from the Audubon Center promptly at 3 pm.
Tennis Holiday Adult & Junior Programming
December 26, 27 + 30, 1–4 pm
Prospect Park Tennis Center, $80/day, Registration Required
If you’ve been looking forward to a few days off so you can improve your tennis game, we have just the thing for you! On December 26, 27 and 30, Prospect Park Tennis Center will offer intensive, 3-hour group classes for adults and children of all levels of experience. Our accomplished staff of tennis professionals will give players personal attention while they acquire game fundamentals and increase their skill level. Don’t worry about snow, rain or sleet, because all Tennis Holiday Programming will take place inside the Tennis Center’s seasonal bubble.
Prospect Park is home to one of the only populations of chipmunks in Brooklyn. As days get shorter and temperatures begin to fall, chipmunks shore up their underground burrows, cache enough food to get them through winter, and hibernate. Their body temperature drops as low as 40 degrees, and their heart rate slows as low as 4 beats a minute! Chipmunks don’t spend the whole winter asleep. Every few days they awaken, eat some of their stored food, go to the bathroom and curl back up to wait for spring.
Visitors to Prospect Park’s Lake are used to seeing turtles—often red-eared sliders—basking on sunny rocks and logs in summertime. When winter comes these creatures do not hibernate, but “brumate” at the bottom of the Lake: remaining active while adjusting their bodies to the freezing conditions. As the temperature drops their blood thins, and they require less energy to move blood around their body. Consequently, they only need to eat, drink and breathe enough to barely keep the body going. It is not an uncommon sight to see a red-eared slider ambling around a pond floor under inches of ice!
Birds can be seen enjoying Prospect Park’s 585 acres year round, but not all birds enjoy the winter weather. Many species of birds make themselves scarce when the colder weather arrives, heading for southern latitudes. However, plenty of birds have adapted to make the most of the cooler temperatures. During these months, they spend their days searching for food and staying warm. Their uninsulated feet are largely freeze-resistant, and by fluffing out their feathers—often appearing to double in size—the birds stay warm. Keeping their body temperature consistent requires lots of fuel, and they are usually on the hunt for their next meal.
Many ducks stay in the park all winter long, enjoying the Lake’s freezing waters. These ducks are extremely hardy, due to a thick layer of fat and down under their waterproof feathers.
A Northern Shoveler on Prospect Park Lake, c. Joseph O. Holmes
Prospect Park’s Lake is filled with fish, and as cold-blooded creatures, their metabolism dips when temperatures take a dive. In this resting state, fishes’ hearts slow down, their needs for food and oxygen decrease, and they move about very little. As ice forms on top of a lake, warm water sinks, and fish gather in groups near the bottom to stay warm. Some species burrow into the mud and go dormant, while other fish school together in “wintering holes” in deep pockets of the Lake.
Used to seeing squirrels in the park year round? That’s because squirrels are “homeotherms,” their body temperature does not fluctuate so they do not hibernate. Before winter arrives, squirrels can be seen hiding stashes of food in shallow holes and covering it up. When food becomes scarce, they will return to these locations and dig up a meal. To minimize exposure, squirrels spend less time outside their dens during the colder months, and it’s common for several squirrels to share a den, allowing them to take shelter and keep each other warm.
Frogs live in a variety of environments in the park, and likewise have a variety of ways of coping with the cold temperatures. Some aquatic frogs spend the winter at the bottom of the Lake, with a slowed-down pace and metabolism like fish and turtles. Others burrow into the ground and hibernate the winter away. And some frogs, like spring peepers—loud tree frogs—can freeze solid! They stop breathing and their hearts stop beating, but high concentrations of glucose in their blood acts as a natural antifreeze, allowing their bodies to stay safe until they thaw in warmer weather.
Among the free activities at this afternoon of environmental fun:
Catch-and-Release Fishing: Did you know that Prospect Park’s waterways are filled with many species of fish including largemouth bass? Learn all there is to know about fishing in the city, and try your hand at the sport, catch-and-release style with the DEC Bureau of Fisheries. This event is geared towards all ages and participants can borrow equipment on site.
Insect Discovery Hike: Discover Prospect Park’s not-so-creepy crawlies on an Insect Discovery Hike with the Urban Park Rangers. Don’t be afraid of getting your hands dirty as we search high and low for amazing insects to discover their connection to us, and the importance of parks to provide habitats for them.
Bird Encounter + Spring Migration Bird Walk: Prospect Park has been designated one of New York’s Important Bird Areas (IBA), which are critical for bird conservation. During spring migration season, hundreds of species of birds visit Prospect Park to rest, recuperate from their long journey and fill their bellies. At the Audubon Center, Wildlife In Need Of Rescue and Rehabilitation will have a special exhibition of live raptors rescued from all around NYC and Long Island. Then head out for a bird walk to learn the importance of city parks to their wellbeing, the issues birds face and how you can help.
Lakeside Clean-Up: Prospect Park is home to Brooklyn’s only lake, a vital resource for the fish, amphibians and waterfowl that make up this precious ecosystem. Lend you hand by helping to clean-up Brooklyn’s only lake, led by the Brooklyn Fishing Club!
We hope you rested up during the quiet winter season, because spring is here and the migratory birds are on their way to Prospect Park! With over 150 migratory species set to make an appearance in Brooklyn’s Backyard, Prospect Park Alliance has pulled together a spring migration checklist to help you make the most of this spectacular season.
Prospect Park lies on one of the great flight paths of the natural world, the Atlantic Flyway. In fall, many species migrate south along the Atlantic coast to reach wintering grounds with abundant food. In spring, they head north to return to their breeding territories. During these months, birds of all kinds stop briefly in the park, and for some species, the park is their destination.
Spring Migration Checklist:
Early Migrants: Starting as early as February or March, early-migrating species of birds are making their way through Prospect Park. These species include the easily identified Red-winged Blackbird, as well as the Common Grackle, Eastern Phoebe and the well-camouflaged American Woodcock.
Red-winged Blackbird, c. Steve Nanz
Birds of Prey: Many raptors begin their trip north early in the season. In addition to our year-round Red-tailed Hawk residents, look for Merlins, Cooper’s Hawks, Sharp-shinned Hawks and more soaring above the park, perched on high vantage-points and snacking on small mammals.
Warblers: The rock stars of spring migration, 36 species of warblers can be spotted over the course of spring migration in Prospect Park. Known for their bright colors in spring, warblers are a group of energetic songbirds that migrate at night and rest and re-fuel by day. When warblers journey over Brooklyn, they are likely to stop in Prospect Park, where they feed on insects and berries. Rested and refueled, they continue on their way after a day or two. Keep an eye out for vibrant yellows of the Common Yellowthroat and Palm Warbler, blue on the Black-throated Blue Warbler and Cerulean Warbler, and fiery orange on the handsome Blackburnian Warbler.
Blackburnian Warbler, c. Steve Nanz
Brightly-colored Migrants: When peering through foliage, some of the easiest birds to spot are the brightly-colored species. Bright red might mean a Scarlet Tanager, vibrant orange could be a Baltimore Oriole, blues show up on Eastern Bluebirds and Indigo Buntings, and even our year-round American Goldfinches wear their brightest spring yellow.
Ready to grab a pair of binoculars and get out into the park? Check out our birdwatching page, with birding tips, locations and upcoming bird walks in Prospect Park. And, download the Prospect Park App to see how many birds you can spot in our Backyard Birds Challenge!
c. Elizabeth Keegin Colley
Make the Most of Fall Foliage in Prospect Park
October 16, 2017
Fall in Prospect Park is a magical season as the Park lights up in a stunning display of red, orange and yellow foliage. We’ve got you covered with ideas for foliage walks, favorite foliage from Alliance arborists, free nature activities, and some gorgeous fall photography; all to inspire you to get out and enjoy this glorious season in the Park:
Fall Foliage Walks
Prospect Park Alliance has suggested some of the favorite routes through the Park to check out the stunning fall foliage, from the Peninsula up Lookout Hill, from the Nethermead, the Lullwater and beyond.
Facts about Foliage
Why does an oak tree blush red while the ginko glows gold? According to Prospect Park Alliance arborists, the answer is in the very leaves themselves. Plus, the arborists let us in on their favorite fall foliage spots in the Park.
Fall Foliage Slideshow
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite fall foliage photos from past years on Instagram! Take a look to get inspired, then head out to the Park and take your own. Make sure to hashtag your pics with #ProspectPark.
Fall Nature Events in Prospect Park
Want to learn more about the exciting changes the Park experiences during the fall? Join the Prospect Park Alliance for Nature Exploration programs at the Prospect Park Audubon Center, fun for all ages.
Prospect Park Alliance sustains, restores and advances Prospect Park to benefit the diverse communities we serve, in partnership with the City of New York. Read More
We love Prospect Park—Brooklyn’s Backyard is essential to the health and wellbeing of millions of community members, and is home to Brooklyn’s only lake and last remaining forest: a critical habitat for hundreds of species of plants and wildlife.