2008-07-17 / Arts & Entertainment

'Staycation' Cultural Sites Abound Along Eastern Parkway

By Linda Steinmuller

Japanese Garden is one of Botanical Garden's most scenic spots.
          Linda SteinmullerJapanese Garden is one of Botanical Garden's most scenic spots. Linda Steinmuller With fuel prices continuing to absorb a significant portion of family budgets this summer, vacation plans are revised keeping many trips closer to home. Brooklyn - and the rest of New York City - has lots of fun things to do without emptying your wallet as you fill your gas tank.

In our third series of "Staycation" ideas - attractions and sites that can easily be reached by car and public transportation - we visited the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens and several museums in the vicinity. (See our Web site at www.canarsiecourier.com for previous suggestions.)

The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens is best known for its annual Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival when thousands come to celebrate the blossoming of it's 220 cherry trees each April. Nonetheless, whenever you visit the BBG, there is always some type of flora in bloom.

"Water in the Garden" features special water displays including the fountains, pools, and waterfalls through September 7. Be sure to visit the Lily Pool this month to see the water lilies in full bloom. Visitors can enjoy a twilight stroll or sunset picnics on designated evenings when the BBG stays open until 8 p.m. Mornings are a good time to visit before temperatures get too hot. But if they do, you can walk to The Brooklyn Museum, located right next door, and avoid the afternoon heat.

Brooklyn Museum is one of largest art museums in nation.
                          Courtesy of Brooklyn MuseumBrooklyn Museum is one of largest art museums in nation. Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum The Brooklyn Museum, located on Eastern Parkway, is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the country. The Museum's permanent exhibits range from Ancient Egyptian masterpieces to contemporary art. If you purchase a Brooklyn Art and Garden Ticket, you can enjoy discounted savings when you visit the BBG and the Museum on the same day. The Museum dramatically redesigned its front entrance and added a beautiful fountain in the new public plaza in April 2004. On Target First Saturdays, visitors enjoy free programs of art and entertainment from 5 - 11 p.m. on the first Saturday of the month. Visit www.bbg.org and www.brooklynmuseum.org for more information.

Also located on Eastern Parkway about one mile away is the Jewish Children's Museum. The JCM is primarily geared towards elementary school-age children of all faiths. Visitors experience Jewish history, values, and traditions in a manner that inspires an increased interest in Jewish culture. Permanent exhibits include Exploring Jewish Life, which teaches children about Jewish holidays and foods and Exploring Jewish History, which teaches about the Land of Israel and the Holocaust. Visit www.jcm.museum to plan your visit.

Just blocks from the Jewish Museum, you will find the Brooklyn Children's Museum located on Brooklyn Avenue. It was the first museum in the world created exclusively for children when it was founded in 1899. It offers interactive learning adventures for pre-school to high school students through hands-on exhibitions, multicultural performances and creative workshops. Now undergoing an extensive renovation and expansion, the BCM is closed until September. However, children can still enjoy the BCM's On-The-Go programs featuring storytelling, puppet shows, and musical performances. Events are held at local libraries, schools and neighboring cultural institutions throughout Brooklyn. Visit www.brooklynkids.org for more information about the On-The-Go


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