The New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx is one of the best urban parks in the city, including a wide variety of plant life and kid-friendly attractions.
The 250-acre New York Botanical Garden is more than just a tranquil respite from the city—it also features an active cultural calendar with world-class art and horticulture exhibitions. More than a million plants are in the Garden, providing a refreshingly green respite from the surrounding urban landscapes.
The New York Botanical Garden was founded in 1891 as an alternative to London’s Royal Botanic Gardens. It has since become a National Monument and is visited by over a million people every year because of its unique perspective on New York City’s history and culture through its flora, fauna, and agricultural products.
It is estimated that about 90K of these guests are children from underprivileged local economies participating in educational programs. Another 3,000 are teachers from the New York City Department of Education gaining professional development to teach science in the NYC public schools.
The NYBG’s Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, a stunning greenhouse filled with exotic plants, is arguably the attraction’s most notable feature. It’s easy to imagine yourself in a tropical rainforest as you explore the glasshouse. Exhibits like the annual Holiday Train Show and Orchid Show are held here.
Other well-liked destinations include the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden, the Arthur, Jane Ross Conifer Arboretum, and the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden.
There are a variety of displays throughout the conservatory, such as a seasonal edible gallery (while the plants do look lovely, they are only for looking and not eating despite what the gallery’s name suggests), replicas of misty tropical rain forests, and dry African and North American deserts. The pools in the courtyard, which are home to numerous kinds of lotuses and water lilies, are equally lovely.
There are additional tasting events and educational programs for youngsters at the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden, which is accessible through the forest. You can visit the conservatory, the Rock Garden (from April to October), the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden, and other special exhibitions.
The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) offers several guided tours given by specialists and curators and covers different areas of the Garden, including a wheelchair-accessible Tram Tour.
What Kind of Plants are Here?
This gorgeous Garden is one of the major reasons to visit the Bronx and is generally regarded as one of the world’s top botanical institutes.
The Bronx Botanical Garden is located around the magnificent canyon of the Bronx River. It includes acres of natural woods, indoor and outdoor gardens, educational events, musical performances, and special exhibits.
Between June and September, you can gaze at the thousands of roses of more than 600 varieties in the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden; let your eyes find peace gazing at the intricate orchids that look like something out of science fiction; or unwind in the tranquil Thain Family Forest or indoors in the conservatory.
Flowering plants, ferns, mosses, algae, fungi, and lichens are all included. Over 4.2 million specimens have been barcoded, and 3.6 million have been photographed; digitalization of all taxonomic categories is now in progress.
One of the best ways to spend a day at the New York Botanical Garden is on foot, exploring the grounds on one of the many trails that wind through the Thain Family’s Forest encompassing 50 acres of woodland.
If you’re looking for a shorter hike, the Wetland Trail is beautiful in the summer when the vibrant purple ironweed flowers bloom. In addition, there is the world-famous Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden, where more than 650 different types of roses bloom from May to October, and the Azalea Garden. It is a must-see every year around Mother’s Day when its eponymous blooms cover the landscape in pink and purple hues.
Don’t miss the Orchid Show, held at the Garden from late February to mid-April, features a thematically selected exhibition of orchids.
The New York Botanical Garden features a variety of carefully planned exhibitions, some of which have featured works by renowned painters like Yayoi Kusama and Claude Monet, who drew inspiration from the natural world throughout their careers.
The Garden also hosts more botanically oriented exhibits like the yearly Orchid Show. The Garden regularly hosts events, such as live music performances on specific evenings, that correspond to the exhibition’s topic.
The Garden is a wonderful place for families to spend time together, as it offers quiet exploration (such as a walk through the woods) and is lively at the same time. Activities at the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) are specifically aimed at kids and teens of all ages.
Children’s Gardening Program participants get their hands dirty while learning about the benefits of organic gardening. The Children’s Adventure Garden is a year-round destination for children aged three to twelve, with activities including arts and crafts workshops and multilingual singalongs.
The Pine Tree Café and the Hudson Garden Grill are two of the best restaurants in the area, and they’re both open in the Garden from 10 am to 6 pm on weekdays and weekends, respectively.
The former is more laid-back and provides seasonal fare like fresh paninis, soups, and salads, whereas the latter is more formal and serves dishes like local cheeses, seafood, and roasted meats.
You may also find food trucks at the Garden, serving meals themed by the Garden’s ongoing art show. Of course, you can always pack your picnic and eat it in the Picnic Pavilion if you want!
Our Final Thoughts
The New York Botanical Garden has it all. A breathtaking view paired with a hiking trail and if you get hungry, you can have so many options to choose from! Why wouldn’t you want to visit?