A 930-ACRE OASIS OF OPEN SPACE AND RECREATION in the heart of Nassau County, Eisenhower Park is one of the largest public spaces in the New York metropolitan area – larger, in fact, than Central Park.
The park offers a full range of athletic and family activities, including one of the finest swimming facilities in the U.S., a major golf facility, dozens of athletic fields and courts, picnic areas, summertime entertainment, playgrounds, fitness trails and more.
Eisenhower Park consists of the former property owned by the exclusive Salisbury Country Club as well as adjoining properties acquired by the county. In the 1920s, when sports stars became national celebrities, the club drew some of the nation’s top golfers and tournaments, including Walter Hagan, who won the 1926 PGA Championship at Salisbury.
During the Depression, the owners were unable to pay taxes and the property was taken over by the county. Subsequently, the county acquired additional land in the area. In 1944, Nassau County Park at Salisbury was established as part of County Executive J. Russell Sprague’s vision to create a park that “one day will be to Nassau County what Central Park is today to New York City.” The park was officially dedicated in October of 1949.
The park was rededicated on October 13, 1969, as the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Park at a ceremony attended by the 34th President’s grandson, Dwight D. Eisenhower II, and his wife, Julie Nixon Eisenhower.
- There are 16 lighted tennis courts, near Parking Field No. 2 or No. 4 (an hourly seasonal fee is charged). For information during summer, call 572-0346.
- Athletic fields, several lighted for night play, include 17 baseball fields (14 for softball and three for hardball), four soccer fields and three football fields.
- There is one full-court basketball court, outfitted with new fiberglass backboards, located on the Hempstead Turnpike side of the park.
- There is also a batting cage with nine separate batting areas offering varying pitching speeds for baseball or a softball option. Baseball speeds as follows: fast, 80-85 mph; medium, 60-65 mph; and slow, 40-45 mph.
- The park’s world-class Nassau County Aquatic Center includes a fitness center (Leisure Pass and fee required).
- In the summer of 2007, the park introduced a two-mile Fitness Trail that provides a jogging or walking trail and 20 attractive and simple fitness stations that incorporate a variety of exercises. These include stretching, pull-ups, sit-ups and balance walking exercises that increase slightly in difficulty as the trail proceeds. The trail is on the west side of Park Boulevard bisecting the park, with the first station located near the field house and playground by Parking Field No. 2 (near Hempstead Turnpike). From there, the trail winds north past the Aquatic Center and Lakeside Theatre and then heads south back toward the starting point.
- Eisenhower features three excellent 18-hole golf courses open to the public: the Red, White and Blue courses. The Red course, which hosts the Commerce Bank (PGA) Championship, has been called by Newsday one of the “Top 10″ public golf courses on Long Island. Call 572-0327/0328 (Leisure Pass and fee required).
- In addition, the park has an illuminated driving range; call 572-0336.
Family / Kids
- An 18-hole miniature golf course near the Nassau County Aquatic Center is a popular attraction for children and families. The course, which has been named “Best of Long Island” by News 12 Long Island, features two 18-hole courses (“Mountainside” and “Overlook”) with terraced landscaping that incorporates a waterfall, small ponds, flower beds and a number of challenging holes.
Fees: As of 2011, fees are as follows: Leisure Pass holders, $7 for those 13 years of age and older, $4 for seniors with Leisure Pass; non-Leisure Pass holders, $10; $4 for all children (under 13 years of age).
In the event of rain, please call to ensure the course is open.
Hours: Mini-golf opened in mid-April for the 2011 season. Open daily 10 am – 9 pm
- There are three playground areas with a range activities for children: the largest (which includes a sprinkler pool) is located on the Hempstead Turnpike side of the park near Parking Field No. 2; a second is on the Merrick Road side by Parking Field No. 1A; and a third by the Park Boulevard side toward Hempstead Turnpike by Parking Field No. 4. In late 2008, the main playground by Hempstead Turnppike was completely renovated and incorporates climbing apparatus, slides, swimgs, fitness equipment and other attractions.
- There are reserved picnic areas (Leisure Pass and fee required; call 572-0348) and non-reserved areas. See more information below under “News & Events.”
- On May 15, 2010, Capt. Ron McKechnie began providing remote-controlled model sailboats for rent at Salisbury Lake in the park. Hours: weekends through May and daily from June – September, 10 a.m – 7 p.m. Fee: $10 per half-hour; $5 each additional half-hour. Information: 917-796-1382 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Safety Town, operated by the Nassau County Police Department, provides children with a variety of learning experiences, set in a miniature town. During July and August, there are children’s programs at 12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Children must be Nassau County residents, third grade students, and accompanied by an adult. From September through June, the facility is open to school groups. Call 516-573-3190 for more information.
- Built in 1998 for the Goodwill Games, the Nassau County Aquatic Center at Eisenhower Park is one of the finest swimming facilities in the U.S. It regularly hosts major swimming competitions and is also open to the public (Leisure Pass and fee required). The center offers a full menu of swimming lessons for toddlers, youngsters and teens. The Center includes a “stretch” 50-meter pool that is 68 meters long, with three movable bulkheads. There is also a 25-meter diving well with competition diving towers, platforms and springboards. In addition, there is a beautifully renovated fitness center, located above the pool (Leisure Pass and fee required). Call 572-0501 for information.
- The Harry Chapin Lakeside Theatre is an outdoor theater that hosts a full schedule of entertainment events during the summer, from concerts to movies.
- The large and beautiful Veterans Memorial and Wall of Honor commemorates the contributions of the nation’s veterans in various branches of service.
- On September 9, 2007, the County unveiled the 9/11 Memorial honoring the 344 Nassau County residents who lost their lives during the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center. The monument, one of the largest completed memorials to the victims of the 9/11 attacks, is located by Eisenhower Park Lake, near Lakeside Theatre. The monument includes two stainless-steel towers set in a fountain as well as two steel girders recovered from the World Trade Center; plaques memorialize the names of County residents who lost their lives (see story below).
- There are two memorials to Nassau County firefighters who have died in the line of duty, including one dedicated to those county firefighters who lost their lives during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The memorials are located by the Veterans Memorial near Park Boulevard.
- There is a jogging path that begins on the Hempstead Turnpike side, near Parking Field No. 2 (starting in front of the field house building).
- In the gaming area next to the playground, there is a bocci court and tables with inlaid chess and checker boards. A shelter with benches and tables is also available for those who wish to play cards and other similar games.
- The Mid Island Dahlia Society operates in the park between June and October every Sunday from 9-11 am, in the area just behind the Parks Department Administration Building near the Hempstead Turnpike entrance to the park. The Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Nassau County also has offices in the same area by the greenhouse.
- When it snows, children and parents head with their sleds to the appropriately named “Sled Hill,” located by Parking Field No. 1 near Safety Town. Newsday has included Sled Hill among its “Top Sledding Spots” on Long Island (see article below). While noting that the small hill at Eisenhower Park did not make for a “thrill ride,” Newsday said, “But if you’ve got young children and want an ideal family atmosphere for your fun in the snow, this is where to go. Sled Hill in Eisenhower Park is wide and long, with a gentle grade.”
- Eisenhower is home to Carltun on the Park restaurant, a privately run facility operated in a former country club. The Carltun offers a restaurant, bar, banquet facilities and a meeting room. The restaurant has played host to numerous events, including a fundraiser in 2004 for President George Bush. Call 542-0700 for information.