As a Queens parent, you may or may not have heard of the Alley Pond Environmental Center in Douglaston Queens. This eco friendly haven in eastern Queens has loads of things to do with kids of all ages. Queens Mamas was lucky enough to get the grand tour and get a sneak peak at their fall lineup of classes for kids. Christine Schnurr of APEC was kind enough to give us the rundown of how families can enjoy Alley Pond. Here is the skinny.
The Alley Pond Environmental Center in a nature based eco friendly educational center where children can come to discover nature and animals in a relaxed and homey environment. It is open during the week and on weekends for kids to enjoy. Just drop in and you will be greeted by their friendly staff who will show you around. Kids can meet animals like bunnies, ferrets, gerbils, and reptiles which they can get up close with. They even have 3 enormous turtles living out in their back yard who can be checked out if they are not sleeping. There are walking trails and picnic areas if enjoying some fresh air is your thing. You can download and print the trail map here or they also have paper copies at the center when you get there. The small unassuming building also happens to house the most comprehensive and affordable eco friendly kids programming in the borough and possibly the city. Here are some of the things that Alley Pond has to offer. We highly suggest that you go check them out.
Toddler and Mommy and Me Classes
The Alley Pond class lineup changes every season with new offerings for kids. They are usually structured around nature, animals, and crafting (with natural items of course) and toddler classes begin at 18 months with a Parent and Me “Wee Sprouts” and “Toddler Time” class offered during the week. As the kids get a bit older (3-4 years) there is a drop off program offered where the kids can have the same amount of fun but without your hands on involvement. What a perfect intro to school. The fall lineup includes making apple sauce, exploring bats and owls, pumpkin crafts, pinecones, and bird exploration.
Toddler classes start at $16 per class for non members and go up to $20 per class.
For an hour after school kids nursery to grade 5 can enjoy APEC’s after-school classes. While the little ones read stories and do crafts the big kids can engage in nature exploration around the grounds.
After-school classes begin at $14 per class for non members
School Vacation Programs
Alley Pond has a variety of programs that your school aged child can attend while they are off from school. You can check their web site for details of call the center and talk to their helpful staff.
Vacation Programs begin at $20 per class for non members.
Big Kid Classes
Toddlers aren’t the only ones having fun at Alley Pond. There are many programs for older children as well. Cooking classes, Nature Photography, and animal care are just some of APEC’s fall classes for older children ages 5-12. Their class catalogue is call “Tidings” and you can ask for it when you visit or check it out on their website.
Big kid classes start at $21 per class.
For a very affordable $200 for 15 children you can host a birthday at Alley Pond. You get the use of one of their classrooms, a live animal presentation, a guided nature walk, and a nature themed game or craft. You will need to bring your own food, but the Alley Pond provides a fridge and easy food suggestions on their party brochure.
Class Trips and Mommy Groups
Want to visit Alley Pond with your mom friends or any other group? For just $10 per family (that’s right, per family, not per person) you and your group can have a private program where you can meet the animals, and do an activity with the awesome staff.
As if they didn’t have enough going on, APEC also hosts special events like blood drives and toddler Halloween parties. Be sure to check out the Queens Mamas "things to do" sidebar for more up coming events at APEC.
Getting to the Alley Pond Environmental Center
228-06 Northern Boulevard
Douglaston, NY 11362
APEC is directly off of the Northern Blvd East Exit off of the Cross Island Expressway. The small building is located on your right hand side when traveling east on Northern Blvd.
The Douglaston LIRR station is less than 1 mile from APEC and on a nice day probably a 15 minute walk. Otherwise the Q12 Bus stops directly in front of the center and can be caught at Flushing Main Street off of the 7 train.
For more information on programs and directions please call APEC directly at: