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

The Butterfly Conservatory

Upper West Side-70s

Walk through a 1,200 square foot vivarium with over 500 butterflies of more than 100 different species from countries including Thailand, Brazil, Kenya and Australia.

The lovely plants, flowers and temperatures are tropical so dress in layers. Or get an outside view of the people, plants and butterflies through transparent walls in a…

Governors Island

Fidi

Oasis-with-a-view Governors Island is now open year-round! 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), find breathtaking 360-degree views in The Hills and camp out in Adirondack chairs at Picnic Point. Throughout the island find historic architecture…

Horse-Drawn Carriages

Central Park

See Central Park via carriage in a 170+ years tradition. Sit in colorful velvet seats as friendly drives lead informative guided tours. Be sure to meed and pet your horse in colorful feathered tack

Feel free to bring snacks and beverages. Warm blankets and covers available for iffy weather.

There has been some controversy over…

Discovery Walks for Families: The North Woods

Central Park

Learn about the design of the largest of the Park’s woodlands, a 40-acre forest retreat in the middle of New York City, and how the plants and trees contribute to the health of an urban woodland community. Includes hands-on exploration and guided activities in a complementary Discovery Journal.

Central Park Zoo

Central Park

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

* Watch crowds of penguins and puffins swim and waddle in the  indoor Polar circle.

* Warm up with colorful birds and playful monkeys in an indoor rain forest.

* Look for snow leopards, cute red pandas,…

Gov­er­nors Island Win­ter Vil­lage

Fidi

Spin on a 5,000-square foot skat­ing rink on his­toric Colonels Row, plus enjoy sea­son­al activ­i­ties, fes­tive win­ter lights, games and food and drinks along­side warm­ing fire pits.

Get bike and sled rentals from Blaz­ing Sad­dles NYC, play lawn games like corn­hole, can jam and giant Jen­ga, explore win­ter arts and cul­tur­al pro­gram­ming and see a…

BROOKLYN

Open Hours at Environmental Education Center

Get to know Brooklyn Bridge Park with monthly educational themes, a 250 gallon aquarium filled with critters from the East River, a 10’ scale model of Brooklyn Bridge Park, crafts, a reading corner, and much more. Drop-in hours three afternoons a week offer the opportunity for self-led investigation with guidance by expert educators to…

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 pandas, dingos, procupines and a host of beautiful birds. Visit unique small cats, sea lions and Chinese-big headed turtles.

Food…

QUEENS

Queens County Farm Museum

Visit 47-acres of the longest continuously farmed site in New York State (since 1697). See historic farm buildings, a greenhouse complex, farm vehicles and implements, planting fields, an orchard and herb garden and livestock including cattle, sheep, chickens and llamas.

Pick up the scavenger hunt in the Farm Store to learn about the farm’s plants, animals…

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 a reflective, life-sized kaleidoscope and a beautiful mural ‘Wonder Garden’ outside the Education Building.

On weekends in the Visitor & Administration Building, see Spirit Sees Red Spirit, a meditation…

Queens Zoo

This intimate zoo in Flushing Meadows houses wildlife native to the Americas including more than 4,000 Puerto Rican crested toads, Andean Bear Cubs, American bison and rare breeds of domestic animals including Flemish giant rabbits, Texas longhorn cattle, and Jacob’s four-horned sheep.

Some food and shopping available but only accepting credit card/apple pay. Advance online…

Winter Family Outing: Winter Trees

Experience winter’s splendor with outdoor garden activities and a nature walk. Larn about the various parts of trees and their functions, and use parts of trees to make a craft to take home.

This is a fully outdoor, socially distanced program; dress for all weather.

BRONX

New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show

Bronx

Marvel at model trains zipping around stunning New York landmark replicas made of plant parts such as nuts, bark, and leaves, and enjoy hands-on holiday fun for the entire family (most of it in the climate-controlled indoors).

NYBG Glow

Bronx

Explore a glowing world of color and light featuring the Haupt Conservatory as the centerpiece—its iconic exterior a glittering canvas.

* Washes of brilliant colors, thousands of dazzling lights installations fill the Reflecting Pool and enliven surrounding gardens and collections.

* Also enjoy artistic ice sculptures, music, roving dancers, plus more…

WESTCHESTER/HUDSON VALLEY

Greenburgh Nature Center

Lower Westchester

From dawn till dusk, explore 33-acres of hiking trails, native meadow and vernal pond, and say hello to outdoor animals including goats, bunnies and eagles. Play on a large nature-inspired playground with lots of equipment for all ages.

Inside the historic manor house (open Tuesday–Sunday: 10 am – 4 pm), find two floors of live…

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. Lots of nearby dining.

Katonah Museum of Art

Upper Westchester

A distinctly modernist building in the scenic hamlet of Katonah hosts three to four exhibitions annually, covering a broad range of art and humanities topics. Explore the peaceful sculpture garden and surrounding Norway spruce trees.

Current exhibitions include ARRIVALS, featuring some 50 works spanning the 16th century to the present, exploring arrivals to America –…

Holiday Train Show

Lower Westchester

See fantastic model train displays inside the historic manor house, plus explore two floors of live animals from all over the world. A knowledgeable staff and trained volunteers are always on site to answer questions provide chances to touch and hold lizards, turtles, bunnies and more.

Tickets can be purchased at the front desk on that…

CONNECTICUT/Hudson Valley

New Jersey

South Mountain Fairy Trail

New Jersey

Discover dozens of tiny fairy houses made of natural materials like twigs, acorns and moss dotted along part of the Rahway Trail.

* Enter at the Locust Grove entrance across from the Millburn Library. Look for the Rahway Trail sign near the large blue recycling bin in the midway in the parking lot.

* The…

Essex County Turtle Back Zoo Holiday Lights Spectacular

New Jersey

Take a winter stroll through the Essex County Turtle Back Zoo decorated with over 50 winter and animal characters in sparkling lights. Meet & greet with Santa in an outdoor gazebo. Personal photos are allowed with options to purchase professional photos on site. No appointments necessary.

On Saturdays, watch a block of ice transform into…

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…