Flushing Meadows Park has so much to offer a family all year round. It’s location and size does make it slightly daunting as you drive by it on the highway or see posters on the subway for events happening there. The fact is that Flushing Park is a virtual summer camp unto itself. You can swim at the Aquatic center, go golfing, picnic, sail, see events, play tennis, soccer, watch free outdoor movies, and even go to the zoo. Here at Queens Mamas, we are all about having fun in the borough and we feel that Flushing Park is under appreciated by it’s residents. Here is our family friendly guide to Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
Know Before You Go:
Flushing Meadow Park is one of the largest in the city. It is important to know exactly where you are going before you get there. The parks website is not exactly accurate on what is INSIDE the park. You will see things like the Queens Zoo and the NY Hall of Science for example which are on the outskirts to the park but they are not located in the park. I would save the Zoo for another day and plan to explore what is going on in Flushing Meadow.
The Aquatic Center Pool and Indoor Ice Skating Rink
This is Queens’ best kept secret, probably because it is near impossible to find. With no signage, and no usable directions you can drive around for an hour just trying to find the place. Once you do find it however, you will be happy that you spent the time looking. It is a gorgeous new center with a clean olympic sized pool inside. There are mommy and me swim classes, swim teams for older kids, open swim sessions and more. If that wasn’t enough of a reason to visit, there is also a equally beautiful ice skating rink that is open year round (summers too) and holds free figure skating performances, open skate sessions, lessons, and even birthdays. This is highly Queens Mamas Approved.
My best advice for getting to the center is to look up official directions to the Al Oertner Recreation Center which is right across the street and has an actual address. You can then walk 1 block to the Aquatic center.
Right next to the USTA Tennis Arena and down the road from the Aquatic Center there is an adorable Mini Golf area with picnic tables. This is a great activity for a nice day. They are open from May to October 8am – 12am daily.
There are so many areas to just plop down a blanket in this park. There are also designated Barbecue areas but I would steer clear of them due to crowding. My favorite grassy knoll is right next to the Aquatic Center where you can sometimes also catch a soccer game going on.
USTA National Tennis Center is located inside Flushing Park on the west end by Citi Field and the Aquatic Center. They host the US Open every August as well as Arthur Ashe Kids Day and other fun events for families. They give tennis lessons, have open play sessions, and are open year round.
Theater in the Park
The Queens Theater in the Park regularly has performances for kids. From dance to plays they are usually geared toward kids ages toddler to 7 years. Check their website for specific times and happenings.
Some of the parks that claim to be inside Flushing Meadow Park are not actually inside the actual park. Here are the ones that are:
World’s Fair Playground – 62nd Dr and the Grand Central Parkway service road.
Jurassic Playground- Meadow Lake and the Grand Central
Albert H. Mauro Playground – Park Drive East and 73rd Terrace
Buzz Vollmer Playground – On the path between the Passarelle Building and the fountain of planets.
This brand new skate park is sure to please any budding Tony Hawk. Your child will need to provide a few things like a signed liability waiver , Helmet , Knee pads , Elbow pads and Wrist guards (for those under age 18 only) in order to skate but it will be well worth it. The park boasts stairs, jumps and railings and features elements from some of the most popular skateboarding site around the city.
Located at the Astral Fountain, adjacent to the New York State Pavilion.
Directions to Flushing Meadow Park:
It is not easy to reach Flushing Meadows Corona Park if you don’t know where you are going, especially by car. Here are some detailed directions on where the heck you are going:
The #7 subway and the LIRR train both can get you to Flushing Meadow Park. The #7 subway line stops at Willets Point/Shea Stadium, above Roosevelt Avenue in the northern part of the Park. The station is surrounded by Shea Stadium parking. Walk down the ramps to the main Park or Shea.
It will take you about 10 minutes to really get inside the park from here.
Grand Central Parkway –
Grand Central West – Exit 9P (Flushing Meadows Corona Park) – Turn left for tennis/Shea or right for the QMA and Unisphere parking. At the very next intersection, make a Right. This will bring you first past the USTA, then Mini Golf, then the Aquatic Center.
Grand Central East – Exit 9E (Northern Blvd-east) – Follow access road signs to Shea Stadium. Make a Right on Stadium Rd. Follow the road counter-clockwise around Shea Stadium and under Roosevelt Avenue to USTA and main park.
Van Wyck Expressway –
Van Wyck South – Exit 11 Jewel Ave – Leads to an access road, from which an exit leads directly to Meadow Lake parking in the southern part of the park.
Van Wyck North – Exit 12A College Point Blvd/LIE – Follow College Point Boulevard north and look for park entrance under expressway on left.
Take the Q48 to Roosevelt Avenue at Shea Stadium, and walk south into the Park.