A Visit to the New York Botanical Garden
I recently had the opportunity to visit the New York Botanical Garden with my mom and our friend, Katherine. We had a wonderful, albeit hot and sweaty, time exploring the sprawling grounds. (Welcome to August in New York!) We spent the afternoon walking along shady paths, listening to the harmonious sounds of nature, and feasting our eyes on the beauty of flowers, plants, and trees in bloom. We were greeted by fuzzy little squirrels and chipmunks, wise-looking turtles, fluttering butterflies, buzzing bees, furry moths, crawling caterpillars, whistling birds, and more.
We went on a Wednesday and were pleasantly surprised to find that general admission is free all day on this day of the week! (It’s also free on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.) I will point out that general admission does not cover everything that you might like to check out - The conservatory, art galleries, certain exhibitions, children’s adventure garden, rock garden, and tram tour are excluded - Upgrade to an “All-Garden Pass” if you’d like to see these places. We didn’t upgrade this time, but we plan to visit again in the spring and do just that! ( FYI: Parking is also extra - We paid $15. A little steep, in my opinion, but worth it. Getting into the lot and then finding a space very close to the entrance were completely hassle-free.)
TIP: If you plan to see everything the gardens offer in one day, make sure you allot yourself enough time. We were there for three hours and didn’t even see all of the “free” stuff! There is definitely no shortage of beautiful and interesting things to check out.
After a couple of hours exploring, talking, laughing, and photographing, we decided to head to The Pine Tree Café - A cute little place on garden grounds, offering up simple, delicious fare. I was excited to find a “Design Your Own” salad station, which I immediately got in line for. I topped my lettuce with red and green peppers, corn, carrots, onions, and an asian style dressing. There weren’t a ton of vegan add-on choices, but the ingredients I chose were fresh and delicious. I would have liked to see some tofu or beans available - Protein is important! The portion size was decent, which made me feel better about the $11 price tag. My mom went with a custom salad as well, while our friend Katherine chose a fresh, wood-fired pizza with a (pretty sizable) fruit cup on the side. Mom and Katherine both had lemon-tarts, too, which they were very happy with. (Sadly, they weren’t vegan, so I passed on that.) When we were ready to sit, the air-conditioned, indoor area was completely full, so we sat outdoors on the tent-covered patio. The heat wasn’t too bad in the shade, and there was a nice breeze, so we were content with that. Plus, we got to see some adorable little birds bouncing about on the lawn.
Overall, I’d say that our trip to the NYBG was quite successful! It was cool to see so much nature in the middle of the city, and it was fun to learn about our environment in such a passive, relaxing way. I am already looking forward to my next visit. Now that I know how expansive the grounds are, I’ll be springing for the “All-Gardens” pass so I can ride the tram around for a while!
So what are you waiting for? Check out the beautiful New York Botanical Garden and let me know what you think. If you do decide to visit, be sure to check out the NYBG website ahead of time. Their “What’s Beautiful Now” page is incredibly helpful for figuring out the best time to visit based on what you’d like to see. (Personally, I’d really like to go again when the daffodils and peonies are in full bloom.)