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Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Queens
(4.5/5 based on 25+ reviews on the web)
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is a wildlife refuge in New York City managed by the National Park Service as part of Gateway National Recreation Area.It is composed of the open water and intertidal salt marshes of Jamaica Bay. It lies entirely within the boundaries of New York City, divided between the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. It is near John F. Kennedy International Airport, which was built upon a portion of the wetlands in Jamaica Bay. In April 1942, the City of New York started placing hydraulic fill over the marshy tidelands of the area. JFK International Airport is now the sixth busiest airport in the United States with 125 gates serving over 70 airlines which may pose some serious noise pollutant threats to the surrounding environment.The refuge provides habitat for a wide variety of flora and fauna, both marine and terrestrial. It is a prime location for viewing birds and bird migrations, diamondback turtle egg-laying and horseshoe crab mating and egg laying. The primary diet of the Diamondback terrapins include fish, snails, worms, clams, crabs and marsh plants, many of which are abundant in these particular marshlands. Ospreys are currently being captured, tagged and studied in the Wildlife Refuge to help scientists better understand the birds' habits. Small mammals such as Eastern Gray Squirrels and raccoon are also present in the area. The recently increased raccoon population however has developed a taste for diamondback turtle eggs and many nests are often destroyed only 24 hours after being laid.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • If you would like to get out the huge crowds of Manhattan would flee from Jamaica Bay is a breath of fresh air. You can go there by metro (same goes to Kennedy Airport). A ten-minute walk light the visitor center. Tip: take a drink and eat with it, because you can only get water. If you're one stop goes you stand with your feet in the Atlantic Ocean.
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  • This hidden nature gem is only a view minutes by train from JFK. The ranger told us they often get visitors who drop off their bags at JFK and then spend an hour or 2 walking the two trails. If you ar...  more »
  • A Must See for Birders - located on the main East Coast Flyway - an Audubon Hot Spot for Exotic Lifers. A respite with the NYC Skyline in the background. 
Google
  • Such a beauty in New York city. It's right next to JFK. It's great for birding if you cross the highway and take the trail and see the lake where hundreds of birds go. Parking is available and it's free. Great biking can be done alongside the highway. It's a cute hike if you don't wanna go far. I personally love it. The rangers are very friendly and would love to help you if you happen to habe any questions.
  • Beautiful place to feel like you've escaped the City. My girls love visiting. They are almost 5 and we have been coming regularly since they are less than 2.
  • A nice place to bird watch and be in nature of you can get too far out of the city. A good running trail as well, very serene.
  • Rangers are very friendly and engaging. Nice oasis in NYC.
  • Haven't explored the entire place yet because it's so huge. The trails are a bit overgrown meaning there's a danger of ticks. The highway next to the refuge is pretty noisy so you're better off heading deeper into the park. The ranger at the visitor center was easygoing and answered every question I had 👍