She was whining as we pulled into the parking lot. “I don’t want to do something educational!” She didn’t believe me when I told her a trip to the New York Botanical Garden would be fun. Her sisters were only slightly more enthusiastic.
I promised them that they wouldn’t have to learn a thing. I promised we would stop for a snack. “If you hate it, we never have to come back again.”
We entered the historic botanical garden, a 250 acre oasis in the midst of New York City and their moods lifted dramatically. The garden has been a favorite destination for tourists and native New Yorkers alike since the early 1890s.
It offers extensive educational opportunities for teachers and their students , is one of the world’s preeminent centers for the conservation and study of nature and is home to collections of more than 1,000,000 plants, including thousands of trees over a century old.
Views from the Tram
Taking a ride on the tram is a fun way to start your visit. It enables you to see the majority of the garden (without the very long walk) and includes an audio guide explaining the history of the buildings, pointing out the unique sites such as the weeping sequoia, the Bronx River and the extensive research center.
The photos below are an example of some of the beautiful sights to see from the comfort of the tram.
Your kids will love the ride!
The Everett Children’s Adventure Garden
She was determined not to learn, but resistance was futile.
All three girls ran through the Adventure Garden exploring the exhibits. They navigated the living maze. They climbed through the rock garden to reach the top. They learned about the parts of a flower by taking it apart and putting it back together again. They understood how pollination worked by playing with bird and bee puppets and matching them to the types of flowers they pollinate.
They paused for a tea party.
Then they continued on to pretend to be giant birds building a nest.
Learning is not painful here. Exploring the natural world is a joy (as it should be). The 8-acre children’s garden is overflowing with fun, hands-on activities to experience. Topiaries of caterpillars can be crawled under, sculptures can be viewed up close and plants and flowers that your child may have never seen before can be touched and sniffed.
The fun (and learning) doesn’t stop at the Adventure Garden. There is still plenty more to see and do at the garden. Depending on your child’s level of interest and energy, you could easily spend the entire day exploring the natural wonders inside the conservatory and out.
Are you wondering if my cranky seven year-old enjoyed her trip to the Botanical Garden?
Let’s just say she was walking on air. The garden is a thrill for visitors of all ages throughout the year.
In the spring, you’ll be entranced by the lilacs, magnolias and azaleas in full bloom. In the summer, visit the breathtaking Peggy Rockefeller Rose Gardens or browse the Edible Garden, featuring four kitchen gardens and cooking demonstrations.
Join the Harvest Celebration in Autumn and celebrate the holidays in glittering New York style at the Holiday Train Show. Year round the greenhouse complex of the Haupt Conservatory will make your trip worthwhile. There is always more to see at the New York Botanical Garden.
Visitors can stroll the Perennial Garden and Seasonal Walk, explore the tropical galleries in the Conservatory, stop for lunch or a snack in one of the cafes or shop for unique nature inspired gifts and books at the Shop in the Garden.
Tours are given daily throughout the year. For information about their seasonal activities, educational classes for adults and families and festivals or special exhibits see the calendar on their website.
All photos are by Amy Landisman, all rights reserved.