Queens Botanical Garden
GOOD FOR: Ages 5-8

Source:Outdoors with Kids New York City (AMC Books)
Address:43–50 Main Street, Queens, NY
Hours:8 A.M. to 6 P.M. April to October, 8 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. November to March; closed Mondays
Fee: Adults, $4; students and children over age 3, $2; children under age 3, free

queensbotanical.org; 718-886-3800

Bathrooms: Visitor center
Water/Snacks: Water fountains and snacks at visitor center

USGS Jamaica; USGS Flushing

There may not be any greenhouses with rare and exotic plants here, but green is very much the theme of this rejuvenated botanical garden.

The gardens have been landscaped specifically to attract bees.
Photo by: iStock

Smaller and homier than its renowned counterparts—the New York Botanical Garden (Trip 62) and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (Trip 34)—the Queens Botanical Garden offers nice walks among beautiful plants and green-oriented programming for home gardens and environmental conservation practices.

Serving as the nexus between Flushing Meadows Corona Park (Trip 45) and Kissena Park (Trip 47), the Queens Botanical Garden was developed as part of the Gardens in Parade exhibit for the 1939 World’s Fair. Monuments to the fair’s theme, “Building the World of Tomorrow,” are still very much visible at Flushing Meadows, but until earlier this millennium, the Queens Botanical Garden looked more like a forgotten part of yesteryear than an emblem of the future—or even a well-maintained part of the present.

A major rejuvenation begun in 2004 brought renovations to many gardens and paths, the entrance fountain, and notably, the Visitor and Administrative Center. The new center harked back to the futuristic World’s Fair theme by instituting green facilities and practices that were ahead of their time—at least as far as LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Engineering Design) construction goes. The building was the city’s first to receive a platinum rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Entering the 40-acre garden at Main Street, the visitor center will be on your right, and immediately after is the Cleansing Biotope, where rainwater is recycled through a wetland environment and channeled to the entranceway fountain before ultimately returning to the visitor center. Farther along the main path is the composting area that presents alternatives to water-consuming front and back lawns, as well as easy at-home composting techniques. The path circles the Meadow, then comes back to an area of themed gardens across from the visitor center. Along these smaller paths, gardens have been landscaped along various themes, including roses, perennials, ornamental grasses, the backyard—and to attract very busy bees.

Remember: The greenhouse is not open to the public.

Plan B:

For a fuller understanding of the 1939 World’s Fair, visit Flushing Meadows Corona Park (Trip 45). Nearby Kissena Park (Trip 47) also offers idyllic walks in a former arboretum.


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