In my quest to find outdoor Things to do Near Me on Long Island, my daughter and I wandered off to the Norman J. Levy Park and Preserve. It is located in Merrick, N. Y. right off the Meadowbrook Parkway. It has free parking and there is no entry fee.
And who was Norman J. Levy? And why would he have a park and preserve named after him? Norman J. Levy was a New York State Senator and a resident of Merrick, New York. He was a champion for the environment and was the sponsor of the first mandatory seat belt law in the United States. Perhaps the next time you ride along the Meadowbrook Parkway, you will notice signs that recognize his role in the seat belt legislation.
The Park and Preserve was once a landfill which is situated next to the Town of Hempstead Sanitation. It is a man-made park and preserve built in 2000. It is the highest point on Long Island’s South Shore with great views of the NYC Skyline and Jones Beach.
As my daughter and I entered the park, we were thrilled to see a barn with chickens and goats. Apparently the chickens are Guinea Fowl and are utilized as a natural way to rid the preserve of ticks. The goats are Nigerian Dwarf Goats and are used for weed management throughout the preserve. We were just excited to see animals. Who knew they were working animals?
As you walk along the different crushed shell paths there are fitness stations where you can balance on a beam, do lunges, push ups, sit-ups etc. There are also great views at the high points of Jones Beach and other seaside gems. We saw a sign for a kayak launch, but didn’t really investigate that too much. There’s a nice breeze as you walk around from the water which can be very invigorating as you breath in the salt air. You really do forget you are adjacent to the sanitation center.
Something that I thought was really nice were that there were small wooden birdhouses on many of the trees. They appeared to be home made wooden houses. Otherwise it is simply an enjoyable stroll right off the parkway where cattails, shrubs, and trees abound.
As we came around a bend, we were excited to see a pier that we were able to walk out onto. It was very breezy by the water so we just took in the views, but on a nicer day you could sit on the benches and rest for awhile. You could see many homes of Long Island residents fortunate enough to live right on the water.
We were pleased with this find. This park and preserve is convenient enough to visit often. I’m sure there are regular walkers, joggers, fishermen at the pier, and fitness station participants. Norman J. Levy is remembered in a beautiful way with this park and preserve!