Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve

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83 Nielsen Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10309
Latitude 40.542389
Longitude -74.236671

Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve is a 265-acre nature preserve near the southwest shore of Staten Island. It contains a variety of unique habitats, such as wetlands, ponds, sand barrens, spring-fed streams and woodlands. The preserve is managed to retain its unique ecology and to provide educational and recreational opportunities for people of all ages. Evidences of the Leni Lenape Indians, European settlers and the Free Blacks of Sandy Ground provide a rich cultural history. Educational programs, such as nature walks, pond ecology, birdwatching and tree and flower identification, are offered, as are many activities geared to school children. School and group programs are also welcome by advance registration. In addition, visitors may picnic or hike on designated trails. Horseback riding is also permitted on over 5 miles of bridle paths. Please note that horses are not available to rent.

The Interpretive Center at Clay Pit Ponds is now open to the public. This fully accessible building features interpretive displays of the history of the park and of its natural elements. The park's educational and community programs will take place in the interpretive center located at 2351 Veteran's Road West Staten Island, NY 10309 Phone: (718) 605-3970

Pet Policy: A maximum of two pets are allowed in day use areas unless prohibited by sign or directive. Pets are to be supervised at all times and either be crated or on a leash not more than 6-feet in length. Proof of rabies inoculation shall be produced if requested by staff. Pets are not permitted in playgrounds, buildings, golf courses, boardwalks, pools and spray-grounds or guarded beaches (this does not apply to service animals).

Hours of Operation

  • Activities/Features:
    Hiking on forest trails, equestrian trails, bird watching, school programs by appointment, indoor exhibits, live animal exhibits, farm program, permits available for private events, interpretive center.
  • Office Hours: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm.
  • Park open year-round, sunrise to sunset daily.
  • The Interpretive Center is open Tuesday - Saturday 9 am - 4:30 pm with exhibits, classroom space, games and access to Preserve trails.
  • The preserve offers guided walks and educational programs year round.
  • Trails open dawn to dusk.

Fees & Rates

Most New York State Parks charge a vehicle use fee to enter the facility. Fees vary by location and season. A list of entry fees and other park use fees is available below. For fees not listed or to verify information, please contact the park directly.

The easy-to-use Empire Pass card is $80- and your key to all-season enjoyment with unlimited day-use entry at most facilities operated by State Parks and the State Dept. of Environmental Conservation including forests, beaches, trails and more. Purchase online or contact your favorite park for more information. Learn more about our Admission Programs including the Empire Pass.

  • Bus Entry Fee
  • Non-Profit Buses $35
    Commercial Buses $75
  • Bus Fees
  • Non Profit: $35
    Commercial: $75
  • Private Event Permit
  • $30 permit fee plus donation


Digital Maps

New! Download this park's digital map to your iOS Apple and Android device.

Highlights of Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve:

  • Enjoy the wonderful scenery of Sharrotts Pond accessible by the White Trail. Catch a glimpse of a Great Blue Heron or Egret from the wooden overlook or just enjoy the serenity of the pond.
  • Clay Pit Ponds is the only state park on Staten Island!
  • Get an idea of how Clay Mining impacted this area by walking to the pavilion located behind the Park Office to see a vast ravine that was mined for its clay. The white kaolin clay mined from the pits provided raw material for bricks and terra cotta. Now the pits have filled with rainwater, natural springs, and vegetation.

What will you see? Plan your visit today!

Look and listen for these birds at our Park:

Everyone is a Steward: Be a Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve Hero!

  • Know the rules and concerns for the area you'll be visiting.
  • Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
  • Respect other visitors and their experience. Avoid excessive noise.
  • Share the trail. Keep to the right except to pass. When in doubt, give the other user the right of way. Warn people when you are planning to pass.
  • Respect wildlife and observe from a distance.
  • Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
  • Use extra caution when using headphones. You may not be able to hear warnings.
  • Don't litter.
  • Hike on established, durable trails.

For more information, please read our Trail Tips!

Ask a Naturalist!

Q: How many deer do we have here?

A: We do not have a hard number, but estimate that there are between 20 and 30 deer.

Q: What kinds of birds do we have?

A: Herons, Ducks, Turkey Vultures, Hawks, Wild Turkeys, Rock Doves, Owls, Hummingbirds, Woodpeckers, Tree and Barn Swallows, Blue Jays, American Crows, Titmice, Wrens, Thrushes, Mockingbirds, Catbirds, Red-eyed Vireos, Warblers, Cardinals, Sparrows, Blackbirds, Grackles, Orioles and Finches, just to name a few. Did you know that Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve is a Bird Conservation Area?

Q: What is a unique area?

A: Unique Areas are considered areas of special natural beauty, wilderness character or geological, ecological or of historical significance so that present and future generations may share their ecological, educational and recreational value. Unique areas are defined under Article 45 of the State's Environmental Conservation Law. Unique Areas are entitled to the same constitutional protection as areas within the state Forest Preserve which includes the Adirondacks. Areas so protected must remain in their natural state.

Q: How do I avoid deer ticks?

A: Stay on hiking trails, avoiding long grass and brushing against vegetation. Wear light colored clothing, long pants and long sleeved shirts. Tuck pant legs into socks. For added protection, spray the outside of clothing with a tick repellant (follow label recommendations). Carry a lint roller and roll it on your clothes often. Ticks are very difficult to see, but this method will catch them even if you can't see them. After hiking, perform a search for ticks on your clothing. As soon as possible, take a shower and perform another tick inspection.

Q: What should I do if I see a male deer with antlers?

A: Usually deer are more afraid of us than we are them. However, if it's the rutting season, male deer can be more aggressive and territorial because they're vying for mating privileges with does. Don't panic. Stop. Slowly back away and if possible, return the same way you came. If the deer snorts and starts toward you, get behind the largest tree you can and summon help as soon as possible.

Q: How do I avoid poison ivy?

A: In order to avoid Poison Ivy, one needs to know what it looks like. If you're not familiar with it, Google it, download a picture and print it out so you can carry it with you. You can catch poison ivy from any part of the plant, so learn how to identify leaves and vines. Poison Ivy is very common and grows throughout the preserve on trees and on the ground. To be on the safe side, don't brush up against or touch vegetation you're not familiar with. If you think you have come in contact with poison ivy, wash that area thoroughly with a product like Technu, which washes the poison ivy oils away.

Did You Know?

- DID YOU KNOW? American Bald Eagles have been spotted in the preserve.

- DID YOU KNOW? Over 170 species of birds have been found here.

- DID YOU KNOW? Clay Pit Ponds is home to one of New York State's rarest turtles.


Key BCA Criteria:

- Migratory concentration site

- Diverse species concentration site

Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve is on the southwestern portion of Staten Island. The Bird Conservation Area (BCA) constitutes a portion of the Park Preserve. The BCA has a variety of habitats including wetlands, ponds, sand barrens, spring-fed streams and woodlands, which provide food, shelter, and breeding sites for birds and other wildlife. The Clay Pit Ponds BCA is also important because it provides a relatively large, contiguous area of forest that serves as an oasis for migratory birds. Careful evaluation of the criteria for BCA designation has shown that most of the Park Preserve qualifies as a BCA.

There are 180 species of birds that have been identified within the Clay Pit Ponds BCA. Fifty-seven species of Neotropical migratory songbirds have been observed. Forest dwelling Neotropical migrants include Broad-winged Hawk, Yellow-billed and Black-billed Cuckoos, Great Crested and Olive-sided Flycatchers, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Wood Thrush, Veery and Swainson's Thrush. In addition, 31 species of warblers have been recorded including Palm, Bay-breasted and Wilson's Warblers. Whip-poor-will (special concern) has been confirmed as a breeder in the past and may continue to breed.

Download a copy of the BCA map.

Go Birding with the Clay Pit Ponds Bird Checklist

Tue 15 Oct
Tot Time Tuesdays
Tuesday, October 15, 2019 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve
(718) 967-1976

Explore a different nature theme each week during this indoor free play group. A guided story time begins at 10:30 am followed by a short hike at 11:00 am, weather permitting. Ages 0-3.


Tuesdays, 10:00 am – 11:30 am

Sat 19 Oct
Harvest Festival
Saturday, October 19, 2019 11:00 AM - 03:00 PM
Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve
(718) 967-1976

Celebrate autumn and local produce at our 6th annual Harvest Festival! Activities include pumpkin carving and painting, scarecrow building, apple bobbing, face painting, live music, educational activities, crafts, games, and more! Free entry, cash-only fees apply to some activities, bring your own clothes to use for scarecrow building. All ages welcome.
Tue 22 Oct
Tot Time Tuesdays
Tuesday, October 22, 2019 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve
(718) 967-1976

Explore a different nature theme each week during this indoor free play group. A guided story time begins at 10:30 am followed by a short hike at 11:00 am, weather permitting. Ages 0-3.


Tuesdays, 10:00 am – 11:30 am

Sat 26 Oct
Art in the Park: Leaf Art
Saturday, October 26, 2019 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve
(718) 967-1976

Make fall leaf sun catchers, leaf rubbings, cut leaf art, and more! All ages. RSVP by calling 718-605-3970 x201.
Registration: Required
Sat 26 Oct
Haunted History Hike
Saturday, October 26, 2019 02:00 PM - 04:00 PM
Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve
(718) 967-1976

Meet ghosts of Clay Pit’s Past in this interpretive history hike. Ages 10+.

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Amenities, Activities & Information

  • Amenities
  • Bridle Path
  • Museum/Visitors Center (Accessible)
  • Nature Trails
  • Pavilions (Accessible)
  • Picnic Tables (Accessible)
  • Activities
  • Hiking
  • Recreation Programs (Accessible)