Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden
GOOD FOR: All Ages
RATING:


Source:Outdoors with Kids New York City (AMC Books)
Address:1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY
Hours:8 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. Tuesday through Friday, 10 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. Saturday and Sunday, November to March; 8 A.M. to 6 P.M. Tuesday through Friday, 10 A.M. to 6 P.M. Saturday and Sunday, March to Nov.
Fee: Free (General Grounds and Botanical Garden)
Contact:

snug-harbor.org; 718-448-2500
 

Bathrooms: Buildings C, D, G and T along Shinbone Alley; gift shop and Chinese Garden entrance, in building Y on Cottage Row; other locations throughout the park
Water/Snacks: Water fountains in building C; café at the Children’s Museum
Map:

USGS Jersey City; snug-harbor.org/visit


It shouldn’t be a secret: Children will love puzzling their way through the Secret Garden hedge maze.

Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden
Photo by: Cheryl and William de Jong-Lambert

Tucked within this 83-acre park are diverse gardens—Tuscan, Chinese, and herb among them—an inspired hedge maze, the Staten Island Children’s Museum, and much more. It’s an eclectic lot and an intriguing place to roam around and make discoveries.

Most of the lawns and horticultural exhibits are on the western and southern edges of the park. From the entrance at Snug Harbor Road, walk southwest along Cottage Row. New York Harbor will be behind you. When you see the greenhouse, turn left onto Chapel Road and then make a quick right onto Gazebo Road. Take this path through the herb garden and into the tunnel of trees that have been cultivated to curve over a series of wire frames. Exit to the right, and you will be back on Cottage Row.

Continuing south along Cottage Row, you cannot miss the half-acre Secret Garden maze, marked by a 38-foot-tall, medieval-style castle that you can ascend to get a bird’s-eye view of the park. A sure hit with kids, this charming horticultural feature is based on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s 1911 novel, The Secret Garden. The shrubs are about 4 feet high, so adults can see over them and offer younger children a guiding hand—and voice—for getting through.

To the west of the Secret Garden is a series of switchback paths that take you down a hill and through wetlands, and to the east is a thoughtfully recreated Tuscan garden. The southern and eastern sections of Snug Harbor offer a grassy campus of Greek Revival and Beaux Arts buildings in various stages of redevelopment and use that earned Snug Harbor its place on the list of National Historic Landmarks. Remember: The Secret Garden has some thorny rosebushes near which children should be careful.

Plan B:

The Staten Island Children’s Museum is located in Snug Harbor, behind Chapel Road.

Where to Eat Nearby:

If you are driving, visit the shops along Richmond Terrace. A year-round farmers market is near the ferry terminal.



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