NATURE & ANIMALS

Celebrate spring with flowers and furry friends.

Also see our guides to everything happening in NYC, our favorite spots in Central Park, more active outdoor adventures and family-friendly museums & pop-ups in case of rain.

We'll keep updating as more places open; sign up for our email list and follow our insta for the latest.

Manhattan

Broadway Blooms: Jon Isherwood on Broadway

Harlem

Eight marble sculptures in the form of flowers celebrates the return to life of the city after a long and difficult winter and spring. Find an array of colors and forms on eight locations on the green malls at the center of Broadway from 64th Street to 157th Street, By Jon Isherwood, organized in partnership…

Little Island

Chelsea

Explore a new immersive experience with nature and art on a floating green space on the Hudson River.

* Enjoy diverse horticulture, welcoming seating lawns, winding paths leading to spectacular views, and a variety of spaces for performing arts, relaxation and play.

* Make music on a variety of percussion installations and play with a…

High Line

Chelsea

Take a stroll on the unique public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side.

* Timed-entry passes required on weekends. On weekdays, the park is open at 7 am –7 pm without reservations.

* Lots of nature, art installations (including current group exhibition The…

Maya Lin: Ghost Forest

Flatiron/Gramercy

Walk through forty-nine haunting Atlantic white cedar trees evoking the outsized impact of a looming environmental calamity in Maya Lin’s installation in Madison Square Park

Listen to Lin’s Ghost Forest Soundscape from your phone to hear native species of animals once common to Manhattan. A series of public programs focused on nature-based solutions to climate change, including planting 1,000 trees and shrubs in collaboration with Natural Areas Conservancy, are planned throughout the run of the exhibition.

Central Park Zoo

Central Park

Visit sea lions, snow monkeys, red pandas, turtles, bears and other animals at the cozy Central Park Zoo.

* Indoor areas are now open including the delightful penguins & sea birds exhibit and colorful tropic zone.

* See an Ice Age themed short film the 4D Theater, an immersive experience featuring the visual drama…

Governors Island

Fidi

Oasis-with-a-view Governors Island opens for the season. Lots of room to roam and play on this 172 acre former military post.

* Relax in Hammock Grove’s cozy hammocks (and say hello to sheep, new this year), find breathtaking 360-degree views in The Hills, get moving on the Play Lawns, and camp out in an Adirondack…

Catch-and-Release Fishing

Central Park

Borrow fishing poles for catch-and-release fishing at the Harlem Meer. Try to hook largemouth bass, pumpkinseed sunfish, bluegill sunfish, carp, and chain pickerel.

Poles plus instructions and bait (corn kernels) available at the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, on the north shore of the Meer.

 

 

BROOKLYN

Prospect Park Zoo

This former menagerie is designed to allow up-close animal viewing, perfect for families with young children who want to learn about wildlife.

Explore a Discovery Trail and encounter 400 animals of 150 species including red panda, dingo, and a host of beautiful birds. Visit unique small cats, sea lions and Chinese-big headed turtles.

Food and…

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Explore a 52-acre urban botanic garden with a variety of plants and habitats.

*  Don’t miss the lovely Japanese Garden’s pond, home to turtles, carp, ducks and its small Shinto shrine guarded by two stone fox statues (and gorgeous cherry blossoms in the spring).

* Download a kids field journal and see tips…

Ed Center Reopening & Mark Morris Dance Group at Brooklyn Bridge Park

Join Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy for a special family-friendly event celebrating the reopening and the 6th Anniversary and re-opening of the Environmental Education Center (99 Plymouth Street). Enjoy special birthday festivities and outdoor activities, in addition to visitors being allowed back indoors to explore the unique educational exhibits and animals.

Features themed crafts, a community…

QUEENS

Queens Botanical Garden

Explore lovely gardens in a 39-acre oasis in one of New York City’s most bustling and diverse neighborhoods. Look for site-specific art throughout the garden including large scale prints on ‘Invasive Species’ by Sam Scoggins in the Visitor & Administration Building and a a beautiful mural ‘Wonder Garden’ outside the Education Building.

The Floral Escape

Stroll through a series of immersive, multi-sensory floral filled installations.

Also explore the Queens County Farm Museum. 47-acres of the longest continuously farmed site in New York State with a pumpkin patch, historic farm buildings, a greenhouse complex,  farm vehicles and implements, planting fields, an orchard and herb garden and livestock including cattle, sheep, chickens…

The Amazing Maize Maze

Explore NYC’s only corn maze, a 3-acre challenge of finding clues and solving puzzles on your way to Victory Bridge for a full vista of Andy Warhol’s Cow.

Local produce available at the seasonal farm stand. On Saturday & Sunday, take free hayrides on the hour 11am – 4pm

Pumpkin patch opens on October 1.

BRONX

Kusama: Cosmic Nature at NYBG

Bronx

Experience a multisensory presentation of the work of internationally celebrated Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. Explore the artist’s profound engagement with nature throughout the changing seasons from spring into fall.

* Multiple installations across NYBG’s 250-acre landmark landscape and buildings include Kusama’s signature mirrored environments and organic forms – find polka-dotted sculptures of colossal flora, mesmerizing nature-based paintings, biomorphic collages, giant mirrored cubes, a pumpkin infinity room and  a spectacular horticultural showcase in the  Conservatory. New works created by the legendary, 90-year-old artist, include a monumental site-specific ‘Dancing Pumpkin’ sculpture and her first-ever participatory greenhouse installation, where visitors place Daisies and transform a greenhouse.

* A new immersive Infinity Mirrored Room—Illusion Inside the Heart, responds to varying natural light through colored glass throughout the day and seasons. Separate tickets required for interior access; tickets are highly limited and expected to sell out. Up to four people can enter the at once.

* Themed activities in the  interactive Children’s Garden include a Scavenger Hunt pamphlet with, self-guided activities including searching for plants with the dot patterns that inspired Kusama. Join readings of  Yayoi Kusama: From Here to Infinity!, one of our favorite art books, weekends at 11 am, 1 pm & 3pm.

Wave Hill

Bronx

Explore 28-acre of gardens and woodlands with more than 4,000 varieties of trees, shrubs, vines, and herbaceous plants and dramatic views of the Hudson River.

* The delicious Café has grab-and-go items, snacks and beverages and outdoor seating on a lovely terrace. Or bing your own food to a picnic area by the art gallery.

First Friday at Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum

Lower Westchester

The Greek Revival period rooms of this splendid 19th century home close to the bay are currently only open 12 – 3 pm Saturdays & Sundays ($15/adults, $10/seniors & students), but the gorgeous grounds including specular formal, terraced gardens can be explored any day. Situated within a 60-acre New York City Landmark Historic District and is surrounded by a “forever wild” zoned forest. Look for a circa 1840 Carriage House, a Children’s Organic Garden, climbable sculptures, a colonial graveyard, an authentically fabricated Lenape wigwam and lots of nature.

Enjoy outdoor music the first Friday evening of each month and other interesting programming for all ages.

WESTCHESTER/HUDSON VALLEY

Lasdon Park & Arboretum

Upper Westchester

This 234-acre public park has extensive formal gardens, an arboretum with a number of tree collections and a number of walking trails including a stunning veteran’s memorial trail. Highlights include a Chinese Friendship Garden and the dinosaur garden with life-size statues (sometimes closed due to weather, call ahead to confirm). Use your smart phone to…

Untermyer Gardens

Lower Westchester

Find gorgeous flowers, stunning views and picturesque architecture (including a Temple of Love) in a historic 43 acre park, located in Yonkers on the Hudson River.

Closes one hour before sunset. Reservations no loner required. Lots of nearby dining.

Muscoot Farm

Upper Westchester

Experience farm animals, agriculture, wildlife, and history in at a former working dairy farm. Today it is a Westchester County park open to the public 362 days of the year.

Visit our 50+ animals, including cows, horses, donkeys, sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys, ducks, and pigs, by walking up to their pens or inside their barns.  View…

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze

Upper Westchester

Meander through an 18th-century landscape ablaze with more than 7,000 illuminated, hand-carved jack o’ lanterns forming amazing sculptures and settings. Listen for the Headless Horseman—and watch out for swooping jack o’lantern bats. See the Pumpkin Carousel twirl and the Pumpkin Windmill whirl and step inside the Pumpkin Planetarium for a unique star show. Features synchronized…

Harvest Moon

Upper Westchester

Pick apples on a beautiful hillside orchard with panoramic views of the beautiful Hudson Valley.

* The activity-packed festival is still on hiatus, but all can enjoy live country music, hay rides, sweet and hard cider at three bars and food options including BBQ lunch, farm-raised burger and fresh apple cider donut.

* Apple picking…

Outhouse Orchards

Upper Westchester

This family owned and operated orchard in northern Westchester has lots of apples to pick, gorgeous views, a hay ride and more.

* Use the map to find the hidden clues among the stalks in the fun corn maze to solve a puzzle and learn facts about apples (tip: use the bathroom before you enter…

Untermyer Gardens Family Adventure Tour

Lower Westchester

Explore a historic 43 acre park in Yonkers with gorgeous flowers, stunning Hudson River views and picturesque architecture. Guides engage kids in a lively exchange about plants, mythology, architecture, sculpture and ruins. Learn about a new part of the garden each week.

Intended for children between 7-12 accompanied by at least one adult.

First Friday at Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum

Lower Westchester

The Greek Revival period rooms of this splendid 19th century home close to the bay are currently only open 12 – 3 pm Saturdays & Sundays ($15/adults, $10/seniors & students), but the gorgeous grounds including specular formal, terraced gardens can be explored any day. Situated within a 60-acre New York City Landmark Historic District and is surrounded by a “forever wild” zoned forest. Look for a circa 1840 Carriage House, a Children’s Organic Garden, climbable sculptures, a colonial graveyard, an authentically fabricated Lenape wigwam and lots of nature.

Enjoy outdoor music the first Friday evening of each month and other interesting programming for all ages.

CONNECTICUT/Hudson Valley

Fishkill Farms

Hudson Valley

Pick sustainably-grown apples, including some organic varieties straight from the trees, enjoy hay rides throughout the large orchard (weekends only, limited capacity) and choose a pumpkin on a spacious farm.  Also pick-your-own flowers and herbs, sweet & hot peppers and tomatoes depending on availability.

Food for purchase includes fresh-pressed cider, cinnamon-sugar donuts, cheese plates, homemade…

Hurds Family Farm

Hudson Valley

Choose from tons of apple  varieties at a 120-acre family farm with lots of agritainment.

* Extensive outdoor activities for kids include a hayride, a giant corn maze, big slide, kids corral playground, and nature trails. Pony rides on Sundays.

* Try a Ninja Warrior inspired Wild Apple Obstacle Course made from repurposed farm equipment.…

New Jersey

Essex County Turtle Back Zoo

New Jersey

See over 200 species representing animals from around the world including tigers, lions, exotic birds and many more. Indoor areas like Reptile House, Touch Tank, Sea Turtle Recovery, and Penguins are open with one-way traffic patterns and limited capacities.

* Also ride an endangered species carousel, play Safari-themed mini golf ($10-$12), climb the Prehistoric Playground…

Happy Day Farm Fall Harvest

New Jersey

Celebrate fall with over 35 games, activities and attractions including a pumpkin house, 10-acre corn maze, giant fun slide, pig racing, feeding zoo, lots of fun photo ops and much more (all included with admission). Additional fees for the pumpkin blaster, corn cannon and pumpkins.

* Find fields of sunflowers to pick and pose for…