One of the United States’ first and best-loved botanical gardens is an attraction year round, featuring both extensive plant collections and stunning architecture.
Ever since it first opened its gates in 1891, the New York Botanical Garden has been a refuge and destination for New Yorkers from all over the city. Sprawling over 250 acres (100 hectares) in the heart of the Bronx, the garden receives more than a million visitors a year from around the world drawn to its impressive collections, beautiful landscaping and famous “crystal palace style” greenhouse. Take the train to spend the day at this unexpected oasis in the city.
See plants from all over the world in the Haupt Conservatory, after taking a moment first to appreciate the wrought iron frame and elaborate detailing of its construction. Wander through the 50 acres (20 hectares) of old-growth forest that remains from pre-colonial America, one of the few areas of the Bronx that was never logged. Let kids run wild at the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden.
Stop and smell the subtle differences in scent among the thousands of blooms in the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden, originally laid out in 1916. Other enticing smells await in the Herb Garden nearby. Feel a sense of serenity descend as you stroll through the Rock Garden. Then head to the center of the park for the pièce de résistance. Listen to the sound of the water as the Bronx River cascades over the waterfall at the bottom of a canyon, less than an hour’s drive from the hubbub of Fifth Avenue.
The New York Botanical Garden is located in the heart of the Bronx, New York’s northernmost borough. Bronx Zoo is directly south of the gardens. Take the subway here from Penn Station in about 50 minutes or drive in about 30 minutes. Flat-rate parking is available on site, but it can fill up quickly on summer weekends.
The gardens are generally open from Tuesday to Sunday from mid-morning to evening, with slightly shorter hours in January and February. Extra tickets are required for access to special exhibits and the conservatory. Grounds admission is free on Wednesdays and early in the morning on Saturday for all visitors and every day for New York City residents.