Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center


Part of Gateway National Recreation Area, which stretches across the harbor to New Jersey, Jamaica Bay is a bucolic patch of wetlands sandwiched incongruously between JFK airport and the Rockaways. The park is a major draw for bird-watchers with sightings of over 330 species. Ospreys and other water birds nest here; you can spot them on a loop trail from the visitor center.

You can borrow binoculars from the visitor center (bring an ID).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Queens attractions

1. Rockaways

2.19 MILES

These neighborhoods at the far reaches of New York City are unlike anything else in the five boroughs. Some parts look like the rest of southern Queens,…

2. Rockaway Beach

2.34 MILES

Surfboards on the subway? A discordant sight no doubt, but it's only a 75-minute ride on the A train from Midtown, or a 57-minute ferry ride from Wall St,…

3. Riis Beach & Fort Tilden

4.24 MILES

All the way at the bottom of the city, to the West of the quaint Rockaways, are Riis Beach and Fort Tilden, where New Yorkers of all stripes come to let…

4. Wyckoff House Museum

5.37 MILES

Built in 1652, Pieter Claesen Wyckoff House is New York City’s oldest building and one of the oldest in the US. A working farm until 1901, this Dutch…

5. Weeksville Heritage Center

6.58 MILES

In 1838 a former enslaved man by the name of James Weeks purchased a tract of land on the fringes of Brooklyn’s settled areas to build a free African…

6. Brooklyn Children’s Museum

7.42 MILES

A bright-yellow, L-shaped structure houses this hands-on kids' favorite, founded in 1899 as the first children's museum in the US. The collection contains…

7. Ditmas Park

7.47 MILES

In this tranquil neighborhood, tree-lined side streets boast bourgeois timber houses built in the early 1900s in an eclectic mix of Colonial Revival, arts…

8. Lefferts Historic House

7.99 MILES

Inside Prospect Park, this 18th-century Dutch farmhouse has period rooms festooned with farm implements, bouquets of herbs and antique ceramics, with a…