The floral yin to the faunal yang of the neighboring Bronx Zoo, the New York Botanical Gardens is a rare oasis of space, solitude, and greenery in the metropolis. Crowned by the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, the gardens cover over 250 acres, with cultivated gardens, native landscape, and several indoor spaces. Escape the energy of the city with a calming walk along the Bronx River through a rare indigenous forest. The garden hosts rotating exhibits, with annually-recurring highlights (like the Orchid Show and the Holiday Train Show) that are New York City traditions. The space changes significantly with the seasons, making this a year-round destination.
If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.
What You Will See
The New York Botanical Garden has over one million plants in its collection. Many of these are carefully tended in immaculate gardens, like the flowers at the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden. Others make up native forests--a fascinating glimpse of what the landscape looked like prior to European settlement. Still others make their home inside the Conservatory, allowing you to visit deserts, jungles, and mangroves even during the darkest of February days. The NYBG is also a major force in global botanical research and both its permanent and rotating exhibits are educational and accessible to all ages. A visit any time of year is rewarded with beauty, solitude, and education.
Why You Should Go
Locals to New York City know the immense value of 250 acres of open, undeveloped, beautiful landscape within walking distance of a train and need little convincing to visit the Botanical Gardens when the itch for the outdoors arrives. Visitors to New York, however, came for the urban jungle--the endless roads and towering buildings. A day trip deep into the Bronx to visit greenery is not obviously atop their to-do list. But in skipping the NYBG, visitors miss out on a key characteristic of the city: the massive efforts put into the preservation and cultivation of the few remaining open spaces within the city boundaries. City parks do it well. The Botanical Garden does it perfectly.