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.

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Manhattan

Conservatory Gardens

Central Park

Enter the magnificent 1894 Vanderbilt Gate to Central Park’s only formal garden, a six-acre oasis within an oasis with European charm. Climb onto the wisteria pergola in the Italianate Center Garden overlooking a yew hedges-bordered large lawn and 12-foot jet fountain. To the north, the French-style garden offers spectacular seasonal displays of tulips and Korean…

Swedish Cottage & Shakespeare Garden

Central Park

The only building in Central Park that was not originally created for the Park, the Swedish Cottage was built in Sweden and came to the United States in 1876 as part of the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition, the first World’s Fair in the U.S. An example of traditional Swedish architecture and wood craftsmanship, it now houses…

Little Island

Chelsea

Explore nature and art on a unique 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 spinning optical illusion.

* Restrooms…

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.

* Lots of nature, art installations & cool design incorporating elements of the original rail line.

* Look for interesting architecture and watch taxis and pedestrians below the 10th Avenue overlook at 17th…

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.

Scheduled online in advance or approach…

Koneko

Lower East Side

Play with roaming (adoptable) cats in three cat-centric spaces: the sunlit Upper Cattery, the warm and cozy Lower Cattery, and a first-of-its-kind outdoor Catio. Food from a Japanese- influenced menu, house-made desserts, plus beer, wine, and sake available for purchase.

Wednesday-Sunday 11 am –  3 pm & 4 pm – 8 pm

M’Finda Kalunga Community Garden

East Village

Look for cool art nestled among the flowers and trees this beautiful garden–almost a city block long–nestled in Sara Roosevelt Park.  Up to 50 volunteer gardeners including community groups maintain individual beds, and contribute to the upkeep of communal areas. Highlights include a small pond with koi, goldfish and turtles, a chicken coop (that donates…

Bryant Park Reading Room, Games & Art Cart

Midtown-40s

* Read books, newspapers, and magazines for all ages in the Reading Room open-air library among pretty flowers.

* Borrow chess, Connect Four, Sorry and other board games on the Fifth Avenue Terrace and play on ping pong tables, pétanque courts and putting greens.

* Get inspired by the urban life, flowers, and monuments of…

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

Fidi

Oasis-with-a-view Governors Island is just a short ferry ride away. Lots of room to roam, bike and play on this 172 acre former military post with historic architecture. Look for public artworks plus rotating arts, culture and science programs in and around the historic houses of Nolan Park and Colonels Row.

Relax in Hammock Grove’s…

Urban Farm Exploration Day

Randall's Island

Explore the variety of crops, fruit trees, fragrant herbs, and chickens at Randall Island’s Urban Farm plus join a Children’s Read Aloud with Boogie Down Storytime at 11 am and make fun farm art projects from 2–4 pm.

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.

See our guide to Central Park.

Longines Global Champions Tour

Fidi

Olympic, international and national eques­tri­an jump­ing champions compete with stunning views on Governors Island. Cheer on the GCL home city team, New York Empire competing with the top teams in the world.

Free admission to a public tribune with first-come-first-served seating and an Exhibition Village at the showground with variety of shops, food and beverage…

Manhattan Kayak

Midtown-40s

Rent single and tandem kayak and paddle boards for boat rides with magnificent midtown views (and maybe some dead fish). Kid sized equipment available for easier maneuvering. Life jackets and Ziplock baggie for face covers and phones provided. BYO water bottle and lock for lockers.

All rentals stay in the supervised cove. To go into…

Radiolab Presents: Terrestrials LIVE – Bugapalooza

Soho

Join Radiolab host Lulu Miller to celebrate the launch of her kids’ show, Terrestrials. Meet and play with with entomologist and educator, Sebastian Echeverri, as well as a live Chilean rose-hair tarantula, jumping spiders, a “roly-poly,” scorpion and Madagascar hissing cockroaches, along with some preserved bugs.

Terrestrials, a podcast series for kids &…

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.

Family Farm Volunteer Day at The Battery Urban Farm

Fidi

Join The Battery Urban Farm for some projects for all ages in the vegetable farm. A fun and active event for families looking to get outside and get dirty.

Farm staff will lead participants in the tasks needed to set up our farm for the spring – this could include planting, weeding, spreading mulch, harvesting,…

City of For­est Day

Fidi

Learn what it takes to effec­tive­ly man­age the unique urban for­est on Gov­er­nors Island at For­est for All NYC’s first-ever City of For­est Day, fea­tur­ing a vol­un­teer project and a tree tour.

From 9:30 – 11am, pro­mote root health and sup­port our urban for­est through mulching, weed­ing, and rak­ing projects through­out the Island. Tools and gloves provided.

Popovich Comedy Pet Theater

Tribeca

See a family-oriented blend of the unique comedy and juggling skills of Gregory Popovich, and the talents of his furry costar. See more than 25 pets perform  skills and stunts, each rescued from animal shelters.

Also at 4 pm.

Save $10 with code pet10.

Discovery Walks for Families: The Ramble

Central Park

Explore how the Ramble, a carefully planned woodland, provides habitat for a variety of wildlife. Discover who calls the forest floor, the Lake shoreline, and the treetops their home  through hands-on exploration using kid-friendly binoculars, field guides, hand lenses, and a complementary Discovery Journal. Space is limited; advance online registration required.

BROOKLYN

New York Aquarium

See sharks, rays, sea otters, octopus, jellyfish and more at the oldest continually operating aquarium in the US.

* Take in a sea lion show at the Aquatheater (limited seating), chill out while zebra sharks swim overhead and admire rainbow colored coral exhibits. See sea otters, harbor seals, sea lions, and penguins at outdoor Sea…

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…

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 7th Birthday Celebration

Join Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy for a special family-friendly event celebrating the 7th Anniversary of the Environmental Education Center. Enjoy special crafts, a Park scavenger hunt, mini photo booth, special raffles every hour, and explore the unique educational exhibits and animals inside the Environmental Education Center.

Scheduled activities include a  2 pm Bug Hunt and…

Family Discovery Days at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Experiment, learn, and play at hands-on activity stations throughout the Discovery Garden that encourage families to explore science and nature together. Pot up a plant or create a nature craft to take home alongside volunteer Discovery Docents.

Drop-in program for families with children of all ages. Free with Garden admission.

All programs are outdoors and…

First Discoveries at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Explorers up to 5 years old (and their caregivers) can pot up a plant, create a craft, read a story, and use senses to explore nature at special Discovery Garden activity stations designed for toddlers. Activities rotate weekly.

Drop-in. Free with Garden admission.

All programs are outdoors and canceled in inclement weather. Check the website…

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…

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

Closed Mondays (except holidays).

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.

See our guide to Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

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 stunning vista.

🎃 Scoop up the perfect pumpkin in a patch (priced by size)

🍩 Local produce, farm-fresh eggs raw wildflower honey, snacks and beverages are available to purchase.  Visitors are welcome…

Compost-Pa-Looza

Get inspired to make compost. Take part in the creative workshops, community networking tables, activity tables, compost demonstrations, interactive performances, and farm tours. Takes place rain or shine.

Queens Botanical Garden Pumpkin Patch

🎃 Choose a pumpkin and get a grab and go craft activity (additional pumpkins $6).

🚜 Lots of harvest-themed photo opportunities (plus the whole botanical garden to explore, included in admission). Meet and take pictures with the friendly costumed nature creatures roaming the Farm.

🍩 Harvest and pumpkin-themed beers and ciders for purchase for…

Halloween at the Queens Botanical Garden

Little ones can show off their Halloween costumes, walk a Trick-or-Treat Trail, and enjoy performances, including a magic show! Adults 21+ can enjoy harvest beers and ciders for purchase at the Beer & Wine Garden. o on a Creepy Compost site tours, explore QBG’s compost facility, including the haunted three-bin compost system and meet the…

Autumn Dance Celebration

Celebrate American Indian Culture through music and dance. From 2-3:30 pm, see over twenty different Native American dances over two days outdoors in front of a socially distanced audience. Eight Indian Nations will be represented including Hopi, Winnebago, Lenape, Choctaw, Mayan, Seneca, Santo Domingo and Chickahomin.

All day, shop a market of authentic Native American…

BRONX

Bronx Equestrian Center

Pelham Bay Park

Stop by this horse farm in Pelham Bay Park Park for pony rides ($5/three rides) or reserve relaxing trail rides ($65/hour). Long pants, closed shoes, helmets required and available at the stable. Bug repellent recommended.

Lessons for ages 6+ ($40/half-hour private lesson) and weekly camps also available.

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.

New York Botanical Garden

Bronx

Discover spectacular gardens and collections across 250 acres. Celebrate the art and science of edible plants in the garden-wide exhibit Around the Table: Stories of the Foods We Love.

Actively investigate science and nature in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden, a 12-acre landscape that features a series of lush environments, including a pond, woodland,…

Bronx Zoo

Bronx

 See tigers, bears, gorillas and over 650 other species of awesome animals at this 265 acres+ zoo.

* Tons of indoor and outdoor attractions – expect lots of walking but strollers welcome and the roads are scenic with pretty trees (and some bold peacocks).

* Learn about gorillas and watch them play in the mostly indoors Congo Gorilla Forest, ride on a ladybug on the Bug Carousel, pet and feed sheep, cows…

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.

* Join nature-inspired outdoor family art projects on Saturday & Sunday mornings.

* Visit indoor rotating nature-inspired multimedia art exhibits in the Glyndor Gallery.

🚙 Wave Hill’s newly renovated…

WESTCHESTER/HUDSON VALLEY

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.

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…

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. Use your smart phone to follow Lexi the T-Rexi through your experience.

The Shop…

Muscoot Farm

Upper Westchester

Experience farm animals, agriculture, wildlife, and history in at a former working dairy farm.

Visit 50+ animals, including cows, horses, donkeys, sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys, ducks, and pigs, by walking up to their pens or inside their barns.  View historic buildings such as the milk house, the ice house, the brooder house, and the carriage…

Harvest Moon

Upper Westchester

🍎 Pick apples on a beautiful hillside orchard with panoramic views. Picking bags start at $15 for 3 lbs (cash only).

🎃 Pick pumpkins from a patch.

🚜 Enjoy live country music and hay rides. Across the road from Outhouse Orchards, which has a fun corn maze.

🍩  Food options including BBQ lunch, farm-raised burger and…

Outhouse Orchards

Upper Westchester

🍎 This family-owned and operated orchard in northern Westchester has lots of apples to pick and gorgeous views.

🎃 Pick from a wide selection of pumpkins and gourds in the (vine-free) pumpkin patch.

🌽 Use the map to find the hidden clues among the stalks in the fun corn maze to solve a puzzle and…

Greenburgh Nature Center Run Wild

Lower Westchester

Run wild at Greenburgh Nature Center in a kids’ forest run and obstacle course. Enjoy some friendly competition while getting active out in nature. Best for ages 5-15. Rain or shine.

Climb, crawl, traverse, and throw your way through lovely forests and grounds in a mile+ course. Additional obstacles include balance beam, rope climb and…

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 –…

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.

Greenburgh Nature Center Fall Festival

Lower Westchester

Celebrate fall  with live music, crafts and games, a pumpkin and scarecrow walk, apple cider demonstrations and tastings, vendors selling sustainable items, meadow dedication, and more.

Also 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…

CONNECTICUT/Hudson Valley

Mohonk Mountain House

Hudson Valley

Explore an iconic Victorian castle resort surrounded by 40,000 acres of pristine forest.

* Tons of family-friendly seasonal activities to try including kayaking, archery, hiking, fly-fishing, lawn games and more.

* Head indoors for craft kits, afternoon tea (and cookies), special evening kids’ entertainment, and family fun.

* Dine on delicious farm-to-table cuisine in the…

Stamford Museum & Nature Center

Connecticut

Try a variety of seasonal indoor and outdoor activities at this large museum & nature center.

* Walk over 80 acres of walking nature trails – including a universally accessible Wheels in the Woods Trail. Follow  a brook with pretty waterfalls, look for abundant wildlife (including an otter pond), and learn with interpretive educational signs.…

Hurds Family Farm

Hudson Valley

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

🎃 Pick a pumpkin from a patch on a scenic hill (starting late Septmeber).

🌽 Follow clues to solve a riddle in the 2-acre scarecrow- shaped corn maze. Little ones can follow the alphabet through a smaller maze.

🚜…

Got Your Goat

Connecticut

Interact with adorable goats with a range of experiences. Visit the farm to bottle feed and snuggle with baby goats ($50/person) or play with the babies, feed the older goats and take a walk with 10 goats ($100), book 1-2 hour hike on local trail within 30 miles in Connecticut and Northern Westchester ($100) or…

Fishkill Farms

Hudson Valley

🍎 Pick sustainably-grown apples, including some organic varieties, straight from the trees on a spacious farm.

🎃 Choose a pumpkin from a (sometimes muddy) patch.

🚜 On weekends, enjoy live music (12-4 pm) &  hay rides throughout the large orchard. Pick-your-own flowers and herbs, sweet & hot peppers and tomatoes depending on availability.

🍩 Food for…

The Maritime Aquarium

Connecticut

Explore 75 live exhibits featuring more than 2,700 marine animals of 300 species at this aquarium devoted to Long Island Sound.

* See big and small sharks, stingrays, harbor seals, sea turtles, game fish, jellies, crabs, lobsters, mollusks and more. Plus see non-marine animals including tamarins and meerkats.

* Touch tanks are open with stingrays,…

The Maritime Aquarium Cruises

Connecticut

Explore the Norwalk Island chain by water on a 64-foot all-aluminum catamaran that runs virtually silently on electric power. Study marine biodiversity from the water’s surface down to the bottom and learn Long Island Sound’s interdependent marine life. Watch sampling techniques such as a plankton tow, trawl net and biodredge that generally bring up a…

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…

Happy Day Farm Fall Harvest

New Jersey

🎃 Choose from a large variety of gourds in Pumpkinville and enter a pumpkin house. No apples to pick but plenty else to keep kids busy.

🌽 Explore a 10-acre corn maze. Look for Maize-O-Poly squares to scan with a phone and play a digital game (text and GPS hints available).

🚜 Over 35 games, activities…

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…

Terhune Orchards

New Jersey

🍎 Pick-your-own apples at a winery/farm near Princeton. 

🎃 Pumpkins also available.

🌽 Explore a sunflower trail and corn stalk maze.

🚜 Also find pony rides, barnyard animals, a Hay Bale Maze, pumpkin painting, pedal tractors, duck races and more. Enjoy live music from local musicians (12-4 pm).  Walk through a life-size story book adventure, filled…