Garvies a haven for nature lovers in Nassau County


Walking on the trails of Garvies Point Preserve on a warm spring day, you’re greeted by the vibrant greenery of newly budding trees and blooming wildflowers. The air is filled with the scent of blossoms, and the breeze carries the sounds of birds chirping and leaves rustling. You might encounter other visitors enjoying the preserve, whether they’re fellow hikers exploring the trails or birdwatchers with binoculars in hand.
The 62-acre preserve is one of 19 nature and historical preserves in Nassau County, which encompass more than 4,000 acres. Garvies Point features a museum as well as diverse ecosystems, including woodlands, tidal flats and shoreline habitats. Visitors can enjoy hiking trails, birdwatching and stunning views of Long Island Sound. With its educational programs, the facility also offers opportunities to learn about local ecology and environmental conservation. It’s a favorite destination of nature lovers and those seeking outdoor recreation in the area.
Quinn Hu, a 17-year-old Port Washington resident, heard about the preserve when she joined her high school’s birdwatching club.
“I’ve seen some new birds that I’ve actually been looking for for around a year,” Hu said last Saturday, on her first visit to the park. “And I think it’s just really nice. There’s a lot of trails. I think the museum is very interesting, too.”
She added that she looked forward to returning to the park in the coming weeks.

County Comptroller Elaine Phillips and Darcy A. Belyea, commissioner of the county Department of Parks, Recreation and Museums, noted in a statement that the department brought in $23.3 million in revenue in 2023.
“The Comptroller’s Office looks at Nassau County through the lens of data, with a focus on how our taxpayer dollars are being spent,” the statement reads. “Recently, the Comptroller’s team worked with members of the County’s Department of Parks to analyze how much of the County’s budget goes into this area, how the money is spent, and what our residents get for the investment.”
The statement noted that the data helps offset the cost of operating and maintaining county facilities and services. Top revenue sources included $10.2 million from golf, $2.7 million from swimming pools and programs, and $1.9 million in athletic field usage fees. Among the department’s expenditures, the biggest by far is for staffing — nearly $20 million — to staff roughly 70 facilities, many open from dawn to dusk and beyond nearly every day of the year. In addition to full-time, year-round employees, the department hires around 400 part-time and 1,000 seasonal workers as well, nearly all of whom are Nassau County residents.
The Garvies Point Museum offers a mix of exhibits that explore both the natural history and cultural heritage of Long Island and New York state. Geology exhibits illustrate the Island’s glacial past, showing how the landscape has evolved over the past 20,000 years through dramatic changes in climate and sea level. Visitors can examine local leaf fossils and Indian artifacts, and learn about the region’s ancient geological formations and the forces that shaped them.
The museum also features a range of exhibits focusing on Native American culture and archaeology. Visitors can learn about their migration from Asia to the New World and the subsequent evolution of Native American societies. Detailed dioramas depict scenes of daily life among Long Island’s indigenous peoples, and artifacts offer tangible connections to their ancient civilizations. The facility also examines the impact of European newcomers on Native cultures, with interactive experiences like the Woodland Village, where visitors can try simulated activities such as planting crops and fishing.
Tiffany Zheng, of Queens, also visited the preserve for the first time last Saturday, but arrived just before the museum closed. She said she would be interested in spending more time there on her next visit. She learned about Glen Cove, she said, via a Chinese social media phone app called Xiaohongshu.
“It’s very refreshing,” Zheng said. “The weather today is so nice, and it’s almost like spring/summertime now, and you see all the birds. I work in an office, so it’s nice to take a walk outside.”