Brooklyn Botanic Garden
GOOD FOR: All Ages
RATING:


Source:Outdoors with Kids New York City (AMC Books)
Address:1000 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
Hours:Hours vary widely during the year depending on the day and season; closed most Mondays
Fee: Adults and children ages 12 and older, $10; students, $5; children under age 12, free
Contact:

bbg.org; 718-623-7260

Bathrooms: Steinhardt Conservatory; southeastern edge of garden
Water/Snacks: Beverage vending machines; Terrace Café at southeastern edge of the garden open Tuesday through Sunday
Map:

USGS Brooklyn; bbg.org/discover/gardens


The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a treat for the eyes, nose, and ears; in designated areas, it offers explorations of touch as well.

Children can explore nature at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
Photo by: Cheryl and William de Jong-Lambert

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden comprises 52 acres of sensory stimulation. As you enter along Eastern Parkway you will see a cycle of flowers that keep the Osborne Garden vibrant and fragrant from spring through summer. Visit in fall and winter for guided tours that explore the reasons why and how the plants and flowers react to the changing seasons.

The so-called whispering benches are set in a semicircle around a fountain and provide a trick for the ears: If you sit at one end of a limestone bench, your child, sitting at the other end, can hear you speak in a mere whisper. This is a good activity to do when entering the park, to underscore the need to use “inside voices” in a botanical garden even though you’re outside.

Coming out of the Osborne Garden, to the left is The Overlook, which provides a stunning panorama of the Cranford Rose Garden and Cherry Esplanade before it. April is Hanami (“cherry blossom season”), which celebrates traditional and contemporary Japanese culture. Contact the garden’s visitor services department or check the website for more information about the weekend-long Sakura Matsuri festival.

Take the path heading east off the Rose Arc, at the end of Cherry Esplanade, to visit the Steinhardt Conservatory, which features a series of pavilions housing plant that thrive in various climates. They include the Tropical Pavilion, Desert Pavilion, Temperance Pavilion, Bonsai Museum, and Aquatic House and Orchid Collection. Guides and labels describe a great variety of plants from around the world.

Exit the conservatory area and head left to find the Children’s Garden, which has been in operation since 1914. Today it focuses on environmental stewardship and sustainable horticulture for all visitors, and for a fee, children ages 2 through 17 can participate in a gardening and harvesting program.

At the nearby Discovery Garden, children can, with supervision, explore their sense of touch. The garden features plants from a range of climates and habitats, as well as a nature center equipped with gardening tools so children can really get into the earth beneath them. Year-round drop-in workshops are included with the garden entrance fee. Remember: Plants cannot be touched outside the Children’s Garden and Discovery Garden.

Plan B:

Prospect Park (Trip 32), where children can use outside voices in most areas, is around the corner, and Brooklyn Bridge Park (Trip 31) offers incredible views of one of New York’s famous bridges.



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