In the midst of this country's economic freefall and uncertain job market most everyone has tried to find ways of cutting back. In times of crisis the need for entertainment becomes a necessary escape from an indisputable reality.
For many this escape has included trips to the movie theater, the occasional concert or sporting event, and of course a well-deserved vacation. However, all of these things cost money; money that has become more and more difficult to come by. The Holtsville Ecology Site, Park and Animal Preserve has stood since 1974 as a free - that's right free - outlet of solace and entertainment for anyone lucky enough to visit.
The park includes a 1.2 mile fitness track with various exercise stations, three swimming pools, a playground for the kids, several greenhouses, and of course the always popular animal preserve. Some of the more than 100 animals on display include mountain lions, buffalo, llamas, bobcats, peacocks, chickens, rosters and bald eagles. Feeding machines are available for 25 cents a handful so that visitors can feed the sheep, goats and ducks from their special diets.
Most of the animals are rehabilitating due to injury and can't be released back into the wild, as they would not survive if not in captivity. They were injured in the wild and the park nurses these animals back to full strength, while providing visitors the opportunity to see animals up close that they otherwise might have never seen. The preserve is open year round, and is always a big hit with children and animal lovers of all ages. Admission is always free of change but there is a suggested donation of $2 to help maintain the level of care the animals receive.
Outside the animal preserve is a recycling center, set up to keep Brookhaven a beautiful, waste-free place to live. Free compost and wood chips are provided to town residents for home flowerbeds and gardens. Many types of plants can be viewed in the site's greenhouses and parcels are available to residents to grow vegetables and flowers. The park also offers Pee Wee Gardening classes for children and Horticulture classes for adults.
The Park's three swimming pools feature picnic areas and a playground, which can provide recreation and relaxation for even the most cash-strapped residents. There is a small admission fee for the pools which are open during summer months only. The jogging loop is always free of charge year-round, for joggers, rollerbladers and cyclists.
The Holtsville Ecology Site is located on Buckley Road, just off Blue Point Road in Holtsville. The park offers many amenities to its guests proving that the best things in life are still free.