Avalon Park and Preserve
Mill Pond is well known by those who pass down 25A on their way to West Meadow Beach or the museums in Stony Brook. Lots of waterfowl to watch on a quick stop before going out to dinner on the North Shore. The Grist Mill across the street on Harbor Road has been a frequent field trip for youngsters from the Three Village and Smithtown schools (Grist Mill post is coming soon!). However, just behind the pond is a terrific place to spend a morning or afternoon with your significant other, your kids, even your dog!
Avalon Park and Preserve in Stony Brook has a variety of fun things to do. First we stopped at Mill Pond and saw geese, ducks and swans. A few geese got in a fight – we were wondering if it was over food, territory or a female. Anyway, as you enter the park you pass a large helpful map (see below), a wooden path with beautiful flora including Tiger Lillies and Green Pond to your right (behind the caretaker’s house). Further along you will reach a wooden bridge. When we visited this summer there were a few turtles and a mama duck and several babies floating by. I was there with my whole family and the kids – Mia (2), Alana (5), Sofia (7) and Brandon (10) all enjoyed watching the animals and asking lots of questions (thanks google).
Alana, 5: I like the duck that had the purple feather because purple is my favorite color. It also means that it’s a boy because the boy ducks have color on their feathers and the girl ducks don’t.
The park and preserve are 70+ acres and filled with beautiful flowers, waterfowl, places to sit, take in the sites and relax and many trails both in the park and across Rhododendron Road in the preserve.
Brandon, 10: At first I only saw 2 baby ducks but then 3 more and their mother came out from under the bridge we were walking on. We also saw a turtle on a log and another turtle swimming. We only saw his head at first and then he came up higher over the water.
As you pass the bridge and continue towards the Labyrinth, you reach a water fountain (and a lower doggy fountain as well). Drink up so you can take advantage of all Avalon has to offer!
After your water break, small sets of stairs will take you to the trails or the labyrinth. There is a small pond first which, if you listen closely, you will hear small frogs and hear them jumping in the water! The labyrinth includes some large sculpture as well as a circular stone path that you can walk around for quite some time before reaching the middle, where you can take a few steps down and sit.
Brandon, 10: Mia is always running ahead of us; on the trails and wouldn’t stop unless someone ran and picked her up. She does this every time we go to parks; even Central Park and walking around the city streets. She never runs out of energy.
Mia in the Spring…..
and in the Summer….
Alana, 5: After we went up the steps we walked up to this thing and we sit on the ladder or sit on the floor; it is in the shape of a hot tub. Mommy, Sofia, me and Mia were walking around this circle path – it’s in the shape of a circle all around the hot tub-looking thing and the more you walk around the path the closer you get to the middle. It was making really happy!
The kids found a tree with lots of hearts and initials carved into it. We then crossed Rhododendron Road through one gate and on the other side entered a gate to the preserve. The kids played on a large rock structure and then we headed into the Wildflower Meadow. Mia was up front once again but there were no streets and cars, so it was fine.
We left the red trail and headed to the yellow one into the fields of flowers. Next time we are bringing out Camelbaks so we can stay out a lot longer and explore the red trail further. The youngest kids wanted to be picked up and Sofia obliged.
Sofia, 7: So….we were walking in the preserve and then Alana got tired so she wanted mommy to pick her up. But then she asked me and I was like, “fine” and then I said, “ok, you can go on a piggy back” and then that’s how the picture below happened.
Sofia, 7: When we were walking to the car daddy wanted to walk with me and Brandon to a shortcut to the car. But then he thought that way wasn’t a shortcut because there was this wooden fence so he went with everyone else the long way. Only me and Brandon went and we found an opening so we go through and got to the car faster than anyone else. We won! Well, really Brandon won and then me because I wasn’t catching up to him.
Saw these guys on the way out. See you again soon!
Dogs must be leashed and trained so they can handle being around adults and children. If you are headed through the park to the preserve bring water. There are no public bathrooms. You will see people feeding the ducks and waterfowl at Mill Pond, but please read up on the danger and risk this brings to their health. Yes, I know it’s fun to bring bread and watch the ducks chase after it but please think about what’s best for the waterfowl!
Accessibility: The boardwalk is accessible for a short distance along the pond. To reach the labyrinth and upper trails you may call the office at 631-689-0619 and they will arrange to open the back gate off Rhododendron Road where you may park and the access the upper trails.
Admission and Hours: Free! The park is open 365 days of the year from dawn until dusk. There is an automated gate at the entrance to the park and it opens and closes accordingly depending on the season and daylight hours.
From the Long Island Expressway:
Take EXIT 62 (C.R. 97, or Nicolls Road) NORTH until it ends at 25A in Stony Brook. Turn LEFT onto 25A and proceed approximately 1.5 miles to Main Street. Immediately before the stoplight, bear RIGHT onto Main Street. One block ahead on the LEFT is Harbor Road. Parking is available along Main Street, on Harbor Road, and in the village shopping center just past the park on Main Street. The park’s boardwalk entrance is on Harbor Road across the street from The Grist Mill.
200 Harbor Road, Stony Brook, NY 11790
For high resolution versions of these photos and additional pics of Avalon Park & Preserve, please follow this link to the associated photo set on Flickr:
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