Visit a Tucked-Away Botanical Garden in Bay Ridge
February 11, 2014


Just off the Promenade

In a previous post we described our adventures along the Shore Promenade in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. As mentioned, if you follow the Promenade north towards Manhattan and Liberty Island, you soon arrive at Owls Head Park and the Narrows Botanical Gardens—both of which are very much worth a visit.
Narrows Botanical Gardens
As you exit the Promenade on Bay Ridge Avenue hang a quick right onto Shore Road. After a short walk you will find the entrance to the Narrows Botanical Gardens on your right. The Gardens are a fantastic example of a trend we covered often in our book, Outdoors With Kids New York City—the transformation of neglected urban space into park land. The exciting thing in this case, however, is that the creation of the Narrows Botanical Gardens was the work of two dedicated individuals who wanted to create something unique in their neighborhood.
The Gardens consist of seventeen different sites arranged
 around a central lawn which they—clearly inspired by its much larger counterpart in Manhattan—have dubbed the “Great Lawn.” At the entrance to the Garden you find the Rock Wall Garden on your left and the Fastigate Tree Grove on your right. Just north of Tree Grove are the Turtle Sanctuary and the Native Plant Sanctuary. Beyond this, at the top of the Great Lawn, are the Alpine Garden on your right and Modern Rose Garden to the left. 
If you follow the path around the line counter-clockwise you will first come to the Moon Garden on your right, followed by the Fragrant Pathway and Zen Garden. At this point you are on the southern end of the lawn, and if you keep following the path south, rather than back around the lawn, you will come to the Butterfly Garden and Meadow Hillside. Following the path around the lawn back north you come to the Old Rose Garden to the south and Cedar Tree Grove to the north, followed by Willow Grove, also to the south. About halfway back around the lawn you will come to Hofstra Hillside and the Lilly Pond just beyond it to the east.
Each of these sections of the gardens is totally unique in terms of its flora and design. What you will find at each spot obviously depends upon what time of year you visit, but no matter when you go you will have wandered around a site that is unique in terms of layout and care taken in its design.
Owls Head Park
Once you exit the Botanical Gardens, head back up left across Bay Ridge Avenue where you will find Owls Head Park to the north. Though many of the trees in the park were destroyed by Super Storm Sandy, Owls Head is still a brilliant spot to wander, taking in spectacular views of the Verrazano Bridge and Manhattan. Owls Head is based around a high hill that seems to hover over the shoreline and surrounding neighborhood. It features a dog run, sprinklers, basketball courts and several great playgrounds for kids of all ages. 
When we were there, Owls Head high elevation meant we were swept by bone-chilling breezes off the water. However the park is apparently an extremely popular picnic spot during the spring and summer. Once you visit, you will not wonder why.




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Help a neighbor: Whether it’s the season for shoveling snow, raking leaves, or weeding their garden, your kids will get double benefits from being outdoors and building community.

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