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Attractions & Tours - Stony Brook, NY

Stony Brook, NY offers a variety of attractions for the individual or family. Visitors are encouraged to visit the Long Island Museum of American Art, History and Carriages. The large nine acres museum contains over 40,000 paintings, sculptures and prints dating from the late 1700s to the present, and almost 200 historic carriages. It's a place to rediscover the richness of America's cultural heritage. In 2006, the Long Island Museum became a Smithsonian Affiliate - the program allows select organizations to have greater access to its collections and educational resources, sharing, educational initiatives and research efforts.

As for tours, the Discovery Cruise offers an educational tour of the area where history and geology are discussed. Cruises are scheduled according to the tide table from May through October. The boat "Discovery" departs from the Boatworks marina, and the 35-passenger vessel cruises through the Ward Melville Heritage Organization's 88-acre wetlands preserve for a 1 1/2 hour tour.

Another place of interest in Stony Brook to visit would be the Grist Mill, which was built in the 18th century and is operated similar to an 18th century mill. In earlier times the mill was the center of community life, where people exchanged news and gossip. Farmers brought their wheat and corn to be ground at the mill as recently as the 1940s. Across the road from Grist Mill is one of Long Island's environmental treasures - the eleven-acre Mill Pond, or Lower Pond. Low Island, in the middle of the pond, is a nesting place for local waterfowl. In the 1800's, grapes for wine making were grown in this area. The water from the Mill Pond has been driving the wheel at the Grist Mill since 1699.

T. Bayles Minuse Park is another popular spot where generations of children have visited and fed the ducks and swans. The park's sensory garden features plants with a variety of scents and textures for the enjoyment of both sighted and visually impaired visitors.

The Avalon Park & Preserve was created by the Paul Simons Foundation with the goal of reflecting Paul's love of nature and the outdoors. The Foundation seeks not only to protect this unique and natural habitat but also to restore and maintain its ecological heritage.

Alongside Stony Brook Harbor is the Hercules Pavilion, which houses the figurehead and anchor from the U.S.S. Ohio, the first ship launched from the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 1820. Sharing the Hercules Pavilion is the Polaris whaleboat, thought to be the only surviving artifact from the Charles Hall expedition to the Arctic in 1870.

On the pediment of the Stony Brook Post Office resides the mechanical eagle, which has been flapping its wings on the hour since 1941. The post office was the core of Mr. Melville's original vision and project, his "living Williamsburg." The series of connected shops, now known as Harbor Crescent, overlooks the Village Green - site of the Ward Melville Heritage Organization's holiday tree lighting. Market Square was added in 1965 and the Inner Court, adjacent to Harbor Crescent, was converted from storage sheds to shops in 1986.

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization's new, 8,800 square-foot Educational & Cultural Center is a year round venue providing activities, events and educational programs to families and children, including performing arts like music, theater and dance, various activities and community events. For all of these attractions and tours, visitors can place calls ahead or research in advance to find prices and availability information.

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