New York Botanical Garden for NYC Kids: Planting, Harvesting and Other Hands-on Nature Fun
We regularly post about the cool nature activities and annual exhibits like the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden. But as a Bronx resident who frequently visits the garden with my family, I'm here to tell you that you can never say too much about this incredibly diverse 250-acre oasis in Bronx Park. There are so many wonderful attractions: the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden, where kids can work their green thumbs; the Everett Children's Adventure Garden, which hosts science and nature programs; the Forest, full of indigenous plants and trees, and a lovely waterfall; the indoor Enid A. Haupt Conservatory; plus a wealth of cultural events and seasonal displays. It's truly one of the best places to connect with nature in New York City.
This profile of the New York Botanical Garden is the final installment in our series of posts spotlighting kid-friendly NYC historic sites vying for Partners in Preservation grants. Read on to find out about everything the NYBG has to offer—including a preview of its new exhibit Monet's Garden, which opens this weekend—and learn how you can help support the garden and other important NYC destinations with the click of your mouse.
Despite being located in the heart of the Bronx, the New York Botanical Garden instantly transports you out of the city. My kids love to romp around the Rock Garden and stroll the paths connecting the different parts of the garden. The Tram is also a favorite: The ride lasts about half an hour and is a great introduction to the grounds featuring a narrated tour of the NYBG's history, exhibits and gardens.
The 12-acre Everett Children’s Adventure Garden is a main attraction for families with lots of interactive activities. My kids love climbing the Boulder Maze and finding their way through Beth’s Maze, enjoying its niches and nooks, and stopping frequently to smell the flowers before darting off to chase butterflies. Here you'll also find the William and Lynda Steere Discovery Center, where children can conduct experiments, create field journals and learn about nature.
The Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden is all about getting your hands dirty. Its drop-in Hands-on Gardening Activities for Families program offers daily nature fun from 1:30-5:30pm, like planting seeds, watering plants or looking for worms. No registration is required, just show up and dig in. If your kid really has a green thumb, NYBG also offers popular children’s gardening classes plus a trio of brand-new summer camps that are already sold out for the season. NYBG programs that require advance registration tend to fill up quickly.
The NYBG is also home to one of the world’s most renowned plant laboratories, the International Plant Science Center, which houses the Mertz Library, the largest horticulture and botanical research library in the world.
The Garden is perhaps best known for its lauded annual exhibits, like the Holiday Train Show, the Halloween Haunted Pumpkin Garden, the Caribbean Garden in winter and the Orchid Show in the spring. However, NYBG also mounts temporary exhibits, like Monet's Garden, which opens this coming Saturday, May 19. Inspired by the famous French impressionist's iconic garden in Giverny, France, the display will fill the Victorian-style Enid A. Haupt Conservatory with a variety of stunning and colorful plants and flowers. Water lilies, Monet's frequent subject, will also be on view in the Conservatory Courtyard Pools beginning in July. Other sights include a few of the master's paintings, photographs of the actual garden at Giverny, a series of concerts and art workshops at the Children's Garden. Since NYBG hosts so many special events on weekends from concerts to drop-in workshops to family performances, it's best to check its event calendar before you go to find out what's going on.
The New York Botanical Garden is located at 2900 Southern Boulevard and is easily accessible via public transportation. There are two different admission packages. The All-Garden Pass ($20 for adults, $8 for children ages 2-12, free for kids under 2) gives you access to everything, including special exhibits, the Tram and the Children's Garden. The Grounds-Only Pass ($10 for adults, $2 for children ages 2-12, free for kids under 2 and to all on Wednesdays and 10am-noon on Saturdays) is just what it sounds like: not much. You're better off splurging for the higher priced option. Annual membership packages are also available.
The New York Botanical Garden is one of 40 historic sites vying for Partners in Preservation grants. In conjunction with American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Partners in Preservation is handing out $3 million to various venues. Mommy Poppins is proud to be working with Partners in Preservation on this awesome project by getting the word out about how you can help decide who gets the money by voting for your favorites. When voting closes on May 21, the four venues with the most votes will receive their full grant requests, and many others will be awarded partial grants. You can vote once a day and even spread your love around. Find the complete list and vote for your favorites on the Partners in Preservation website.
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