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Nature Centers and Botanical Gardens in the NYC Area

Nature Centers and Botanical Gardens in the NYC Area

Explore nature centers and botanical gardens in New York City, Long Island, Westchester County, and the entire New York metro area.

Explore nature centers and botanical gardens in New York City, Long Island, Westchester County, Rockland County, and the entire New York Metro area. Read through our guide to find botanical gardens, arboretums, nature preserves, farms, and public gardens, all packed with fun nature activities for the whole family. Let your little ones loose to explore wooded trails, learn about exotic plants, and see beautiful flowers. Our comprehensive list includes updated COVID-19 hours, safety info, and regulations.

RELATED: Aquariums in the New York Area

Nature Centers and Botanical Gardens in The Bronx 

1. New York Botanical Garden

2900 Southern Boulevard
Bronx, NY 10458-5126
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday and Monday federal holidays, 10am-6pm; Members-only hours: 10am-11am; last at 4pm
Price: Advanced ticket registrations required online. Packages offered for variety of ages. Click here for pass options, such as Garden Pass: $22; $19 seniors & students (with valid ID); $8 children ages 2-12; free for children under 2 and members. New York City Resident Grounds-Only Pass: $15; $7 seniors and students (with valid ID); $4 children ages 2-12; free for children younger than 2 and members. Garden Pass + Conservatory: $28; $25 seniors & students (with valid ID); $12 children ages 2-12; free for children under 2 and members. Click here for more information about memberships.
What you need to know: All guests will have to reserve a timed ticket in advance to control capacity. All staff and visitors older than 2 will be required to wear masks and hand sanitizing stations and social distancing measures have been put in place.
Click here for the garden’s COVID-19 Safety Guidelines. Face coverings and social distancing required, as well as staff health checks and frequent cleaning and disinfecting of all areas. State and city guidelines will continue to be followed.
Home of a National Historic Landmark site on the northern half of Bronx Park, the New York Botanical Garden was established in 1891 and is one of the largest gardens in the U.S., containing more than 1 million plants. One of its greatest jewels is the Enid. A. Haupt Conservatory, a Victorian style glasshouse, or the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden, or the Native Plant Garden. The NYBG was inspired by a visit from husband, wife and botanists Nathanial and Elizabeth Britton to the Royal Botanic Gardens near London. The trip made the Brittons feel New York should have its own botanical garden to conduct original research in botanical science.

RELATED: Zoos in the NYC Area

Nature Centers and Botanical Gardens in Manhattan

1. Conservatory Garden in Central Park

The Conservatory Garden is open, but tours and public programming are cancelled.
Central Park, entrance on Fifth Avenue at 105th Street, East Harlem
Garden Hours: May to Aug. 14: daily, 8am-8pm; Aug. 15-31: daily, 8am-7:30pm; September: daily, 8am-7pm; October: daily, 8am-6pm; Nov.-Dec. daily, 8am-5pm; Jan to Feb: daily, 8am-5pm, March-April, 8am-6pm.
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Face masks or coverings are required and social distancing must be maintained. Bring hand sanitizer with you so you can clean your hands if necessary. Click here for COVID-19 Safety Guidelines and information about what’s open.
This 6-acre garden features French, Italian, and English designs. Seasonal plants include 40,000 tulips each spring and 2,000 Korean chrysanthemums each fall. An Italian Central Garden features crabapple trees, wisteria, and a lush lawn. The English-style South Garden, planted to be enjoyed year-round, features the Burnett Fountain, depicting a young boy and girl based on characters from The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. See the ornate Vanderbilt Gate that was built in France and once stood at the mansion of Cornelius Vanderbilt II. Click here for virtual tours and programs.

2. Manhattan in Bloom

City parks are open, but all tours and public programming are canceled.
Parks across Manhattan, such as Theodore Roosevelt Park, Riverside Park, and Jackie Robinson Park
Hours: April-Sept.: daily, sunrise-1am
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Face masks or coverings are required and social distancing must be maintained. Bring hand sanitizer with you so you can clean your hands if necessary.
Every month, new flowers and trees bloom in these parks and others across the city. Plants such as crocus, daffodil, butterfly bush, Asiatic lilies, roses, Hollyhock, cherry trees, and many more can be seen and smelled by all. Click here for Battery Park Gardens of Remembrance and here for Bryant Park Plant and Bloom information.

Opening soon:

3. The Met Cloisters

Scheduled to reopen in September.
99 Margaret Corbin Drive, Fort Tryon Park
Hours: Thursday-Monday: 10am-5pm. Entry to the museum is limited by timed ticket or reservation only and capacity is limited. Click here to reserve a time ticket.
Admission (suggested): $25; $17 seniors; $12 students; free for children younger than 12 (when accompanied by an adult) or caregiver accompanying visitor with a disability
What you need to know: Click here for the Cloisters’ visitor and COVID-19 Safety guidelines. Face coverings and social distancing required at all times. Temperature check for entry. Sanitizing stations available. Visitor capacity controlled and reduced.
A medieval annex of the Metropolitan Museum of Art with breathtaking views of the Hudson River, the Cloisters were designed based on horticultural information found in medieval treatises and poetry, garden documents, and works of art. A central garden is set in a courtyard with arcaded walkways, while another garden area contains nearly 300 plant species that were grown during the Middle Ages. A third, smaller garden blooms with flowers through the fall. Stroll through the adventure, paradise, fantasy, and teaching gardens. The Cloisters regularly hosts programs and workshops for kids and families; check the website for upcoming events. Click here for the Audio Guide at The Met Cloisters, which offers podcasts with curators, conservators, and educators about medieval art and architecture

Nature Centers and Botanical Gardens in Queens

1. Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

The park grounds are open, all buildings are closed.
Grand Central Parkway, Whitestone Expressway (Between 111 Street and College Point Blvd., Park Drive E),
Hours: Daily, 6-1am; hours for facilities within the park vary.
Admission: Free, but admission varies for the various institutions in the park.
What you need to know: Face masks or coverings are required and social distancing must be maintained. Bring hand sanitizer with you so you can clean your hands if necessary.
At 897 acres, it’s the largest park in Queens, which means there’s plenty of recreational space. The park is home to the Queens Zoo, Queens Museum, Queens Botanical Garden, New York Hall of Science, Arthur Ashe Stadium (home of tennis’ U.S. Open), Queens Theatre, Citi Field (home of the Mets), an aquatic center, an ice rink, a carousel, seven playgrounds (including a wheelchair-accessible playground for kids with all abilities), and two lakes. In the summer, trees and flowers in bloom include the Cornelian cherry tree, forsythia, redbud tree, roses, and other planted beds. Paddleboat, kayak and bike rentals are also available in the park at Ederle Terrace.

2. Forest Park

The park and golf course are open, but the carousel is closed.
Myrtle Avenue, Union Turnpike, Park Lane South between Brooklyn-Queens County Line and Park Lane, Forest Hills/Woodhaven. A good place to park: Seuffert Bandshell, Forest Park Drive (behind the carousel), Woodhaven.
212-360-1311 (press number)
Hours: Daily, dawn to dusk, unless otherwise posted; golf course: daily, sunrise to sunset
Admission: FREE, excluding golf course and carousel rides
What you need to know: Face masks or coverings are required and social distancing must be maintained. Bring hand sanitizer with you so you can clean your hands if necessary.
In this large, multi-neighborhood park, there is a golf course, carousel, seven playgrounds, a picnic area, hiking trails, and a walking and bike trail that weaves through the entire park. Visitors can also explore the park on horseback. Click here for information about Monday Sweep at Forest Park event on March 22

3. Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

The park and trails are open, but the visitor’s center is closed.
After North Channel Bridge on 175-10 Cross Bay Boulevard, Broad Channel
Hours: Trials open sunrise to sunset daily; visitor center open daily, 9am-5pm (summer hours).
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Public programs are canceled, but you can still walk the trails. Masks and social distancing are required.
A 1.75-mile loop trail features views of West Pond, Jamaica Bay, and an osprey nest. A shorter trail, a little less than a mile, features views of East Pond and bird life. There is a wide variety of programs offered at the site, including presentations on seasonal wildlife, sunset tours, hikes, boat trips, family programs, a monthly book club, and an annual lecture series; check the website for details.

4. Queens Botanical Garden

Garden open, Visitor & Administration Building (Gift Shop and Gallery) and other indoor facilities will be closed until further notice.
43-50 Main St., Flushing
Hours: Nov.-March: Tuesday-Sunday: 8am-4:30pm; Free hours: Wednesday, 3-6pm, and Sunday, 10-11am. April-Oct.: Tuesday-Sunday: 8am-6pm. Timed entry ticket reservations strongly encouraged for free hours. As schedule may adjust over time, check website for latest hours of operations and health/safety guidelines before visiting.
Admission: $6; $4 seniors; $4 students with ID; $2 children ages 4-12; free for children 3 and younger and members. Free for all Wednesdays 3-4pm and Sundays 10-11am; group rates: 10 percent off for groups of 10 or more
What you need to know: Visitors must wear masks and maintain 6 feet of social distance from others in order to enter and remain in the garden. Violators will be escorted out. Masks are available for purchase at garden entrances. Hand sanitizer dispensers are available at multiple stations throughout the garden. High-touch surfaces are disinfected throughout the day. Entrances may be temporarily closed when and if the garden is at capacity.
Includes the Queens Rose Garden, Green Roof Plant Collection, Fragrance Walk (shrubs, perennials, and bulbs that are especially fragrant during the growing season), Children’s Garden, Bee Garden, and other thematic gardens and historic plantings. Visitors can see a variety of different plants in bloom each month. The garden regularly hosts programs that demonstrate environmental stewardship, promote sustainability, and celebrate the rich cultural connections between people and plants. Children ages 2-14 can get involved in seasonal, hands-on gardening experiences year-round. Visit for more information. The Farmer’s Market is open every Friday from 8:30am-4pm located at the Corner of Main Street and Dahlia Ave. Click here to learn about 2020 AnkhLave Garden Project Fellows, a public arts exhibit from six Queens-base BIPOC artists funded by the Queens Council of Arts. Click here for Wonder Garden and Conocer Compartir exhibits.

Opening soon:

5. Queens County Farm Museum

Reopening on Sunday, Aug. 2 to walk the grounds, take a hayride, shop in the store, feed the goats, and meet the farmers.
73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Glen Oaks
Hours: Currently closed.
Admission: FREE, except on special event days
What you need to know: Click here for COVID-19 Safety Guidelines. Masks and six foot social distance between groups required. Entrance and exit of farm store/welcome center and public restroom have been changed to create one-way traffic flow. Two individuals or one household group is permitted in a farm store at a time due to capacity guidelines. Adriance Farmhouse and animal feeding unavailable until further notice.
The farm is the longest continuously farmed site in New York City. The site includes historic farm buildings, livestock, farm vehicles and implements, planting fields, an orchard, and an herb garden. Each month offers new events and programs. Seasonal farm stand is open both in the park’s front gate and at the Jamaica Hospital farm stand. Click here to learn more about children’s garden with sensory bedboxes, signage, and an overall interactive design. Click here for farmhouse kitchen garden.

Nature Centers and Botanical Gardens in Brooklyn

1. Brooklyn Heights Promenade

Brooklyn Queens Expressway between Joralemon Street and Grace Court, Brooklyn Heights
Hours: Daily, dawn to 1am
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Visitors must wear face masks or coverings and maintain social distance.
This scenic/historic walking area features views of Staten Island, Governors Island, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the South Street Seaport, Fulton Fish Market, New York Harbor and the Brooklyn Bridge. From April through September, see spring and summer trees and flowers in bloom, including azalea, daffodil, forsythia, Japanese skimmia, lily-of-the-valley, tulip, coral bells, and more.

2. Fort Greene Park

Myrtle Avenue and De Kalb Avenue between Washington Park and St. Edward’s Street, Fort Greene
Park Office: 718-722–3218
Conservancy Office: 917-971-8290
Hours: daily, 5am-1am
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Visitors must wear face masks or coverings and maintain social distance.
This 30-acre park was designed in 1867 and designated a park by the City of Brooklyn at the urging of Walt Whitman. Visit the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument, which towers over the crypt where more than 11,000 people who died in the Revolutionary War are buried. The park also includes a basketball court, playgrounds, tennis courts, sloping hills, and majestic trees. Click here for event updates.

3. Prospect Park

95 Prospect Park West
718-965-8999 (events hotline) or 718-965-8951 (general info).
Hours: Daily, 5am-1am. Woodlands, playgrounds, and the Parade Ground close at sunset. Park attractions have varying hours.
Admission: FREE park admission.
What you need to know: Visitors must wear a face mask or covering and practice social distancing by keeping 6 feet away from others. Click here for rules and safety.
This 585-acre park includes a 90-acre meadow, 60-acre lake, and Brooklyn’s only forest. It’s also home to four hiking trails; trail guides are available at the Audubon Center. The Audubon Center at the Boathouse, dedicated to wildlife preservation and natural education, hosts interactive nature programs for kids and adults, including scavenger hunts, bird watching tours, opportunities to see animal feedings, and nature play activities. Lakeside transforms the southeast corner of the park into a popular scenic and recreational destination. Lefferts Historic House (currently closed for renovations) is located in the park’s Children’s Corner, near the carousel and Prospect Park Zoo (see following entry), and encompasses a working garden, historic artifacts and documents, and period rooms and exhibits. Visitors can engage in pre-colonial activities such as candle making, sewing, butter churning, and children can engage in games played by their peers more than 100 years ago.


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4. Salt Marsh Nature Center

Trails open but the nature center remains closed and public programs have been canceled.
3302 Avenue U, Marine Park
Hours: trail: daily, sunrise to sunset
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Visitors must wear a face mask or covering and practice social distancing.
The center houses nature exhibits and fish tanks for viewing. It serves as a starting point for walking tours and workshop sites for nature-themed educational programs. Click here for educational programs

5. Underwood Park

Lafayette Avenue between Waverly and Washington avenues, Clinton Hill
Hours: daily, 5am-1am
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Visitors must wear a face mask or covering and practice social distancing.
As one of Brooklyn’s most blossom-filled parks located in the Clinton Hill historic district, Underwood features daffodils, forsythia, flowering dogwood, mountain laurel, rose, butterfly bush, black-eyed Susan, and more in the spring and summer seasons. The park has two playground areas and public chess and checkers tables.

Reopening soon:

6. Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Scheduled to reopen for an Exclusive Member Appreciation Week July 31-Aug. 6, and will reopen to the public Aug. 7.
990 Washington Ave., Crown Heights
Hours: Until April: Tuesday Sunday: 10am- 5pm; April 1-16: Tuesday-Sunday: 10am-6pm; April 17- May 19 (Cherry Blossom Season): Tuesday-Friday: 10am-sunset; Saturday-Sunday: 10am-sunset; May 11-Sept. (Peak Spring and Summer): Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday: 8am-6pm Members’ Summer Evenings: Wednesdays, June 2-Sept. 1, 6-8:30pm. Specialty gardens begin to close 30 minutes before closing time. The garden asks visitors to limit stay to 3 hours to allow others to enjoy the garden.
Admission: $18, $12 for senior citizens and students 12 and up (with valid ID). Free for children under 12. Click here to get tickets.
What you need to know: Click here for guidelines and safety regarding COVID-19. The garden will have new contactless entrance, reduced capacity in order to support physical distancing, and a face-covering requirement for all visitors older than 2. Each visitor, including members and children younger than 12, will be required to have an advance ticket to enter the garden. Tickets will be timed and visitors will select a specific entrance gate when reserving their ticket, out of three possible entrances, to avoid the risk of crowding. Indoor spaces are closed. Bring your own water.
A 52-acre 'living museum” with various plant collections and special gardens, BBG strives to teach visitors the importance of plants in our everyday lives. Must-see May highlights include Bluebell Wood, the Lilac Collection, tulips in the Annual Border, and azaleas and wisteria in the Osborne Garden. Check for updates on what’s in bloom. BBG also hosts nature-based educational programs and camps for young children and their caregivers year-round, including a children's garden program, discovery garden for kids, and summer camps. Click here to see flowers blooming in early spring, including Dwarf Iris and Japanese Aucuba. Click here to sign petition to protect Brooklyn’s garden and plan connections (under threat from proposed massive building development complex).

Nature Centers and Botanical Gardens in Westchester County

1. Sarah Lawrence College Center for the Urban River at Beczak

Outdoor space is open, but indoor facilities remain closed.
35 Alexander St., Yonkers
914-377-1900 x12
Hours: daily, dawn to dusk
Admission: FREE, but donations are appreciated. Program prices vary.
What you need to know: Visitors are asked to maintain proper social distancing and wear a mask when that isn’t possible.
Center for the Urban River at Beczak features a riverside park, sandy beach, and tidal marsh. It offers educational programs for children, adults, and groups about rivers, local beaches, marshes, fish, birds, and the weather. The Interpretive Center presents interactive exhibits, seasonal displays, and an aquarium with Hudson River species. Click here for information about registering for virtual water quality sampling training on April 8th. [email protected]

2. Cranberry Lake Preserve

The park is open, but the nature center temporarily closed.
1609 Old Orchard St., West Harrison
Hours: daily, dawn to dusk.
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Visitors must wear face masks when social distancing is not possible. One-way traffic is in place on paths and trails to promote social distancing. Parking lots may close intermittently on high-volume days. Click here for all COVID-19 updates.
This 190-acre park includes a variety of habitats, including a 4-acre lake, cliffs and scrubland, mixed hardwood forest, vernal pools, and a pond. Visitors can follow the History Trail to the remains of a 19th-century farmhouse and early 20th-century stone-mining operation. The nature center offers free family-oriented nature programs on most weekends and houses a variety of interactive, educational displays. The preserve also offers a summer ecology program for children in first through ninth grades. Click here for information about outdoor birthday parties.

3. Greenburgh Nature Center

Grounds and outdoor exhibits are open, but the manor house and playground are closed.
99 Dromore Road, Scarsdale
Hours: Grounds: daily, dawn to dusk.
Admission: $7; $6 seniors and students; $5 children ages 2-12; free for children younger than 2
What you need to know: Masks and social distancing required, and frequent hand sanitization encouraged.
The Greenburgh Nature Center is a nonprofit nature preserve and wildlife refuge with a mission to ignite passion, curiosity, and respect for our natural world. Its 33-acre property includes hiking trails, a pond, organic garden, nature discovery playground, native plant meadow, and more than 100 rescued and rehabilitated animals. It also offers nature and sustainability education programs, seasonal camps, and weekly programs for kids. Dogs not allowed on the property. Click here to learn about Bird-A-Thon week, running from April 26-May 2.

4. Lasdon Park, Arboretum and Veteran’s Memorial

Trails and gardens are open for walking, but the Conservatory and Veteran’s Museum are closed. The shop is open for limited purchases Wednesday-Saturdays, for pickup by online ordering.
2610 Amawalk Road (Route 35), Katonah
Hours: Park and Veteran's Memorial: daily, 8am-4pm. Garden Shop hours: Wednesday-Sunday, 8am-3:30pm.
Conservatory admission: Monday-Friday: $5; $2 for children 12 and younger; Saturday-Sunday: $7; $3 for children 12 and younger
What you need to know: Rules for social distancing and masks must be observed at all times. Parking lots may close intermittently on high-volume days
This 234-acre property consists of woodlands, open grass meadow, and formal gardens with flower and shrub specimens from all over the world. The park includes the William and Mildred Lasdon Memorial Garden, the azalea garden, the dinosaur garden, the 4-acre Chinese Friendship Pavilion, the Famous and Historic Tree Trail, the 22-acre Mildred D. Lasdon Bird Sanctuary, Garden Shop, and four memorials and a museum honoring veterans. The park offers botanical art classes, a plant sale, a Halloween train show in October, and a Christmas train show in December. There is also a summer concert series Friday evenings in July, weather permitting. Click here for information about Lasdon Plant Sale from May 15-16.

5. Lenoir Preserve

Grounds and trails are open, but the nature center and other indoor facilities remain closed.
19 Dudley St., Yonkers
Hours: Trails: daily, dawn to dusk.
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Masks are required when social distancing is not possible.
The 40-acre nature preserve is home to many species of birds, plants, and trees from around the world. Summer is a prime time to visit the butterfly garden, hummingbird garden, and dragonfly pond. Click here for information about the butterfly garden, here for Lenoir hawk Watch, and here for information on Hudson River Audubon Society of Westchester.

6. Marshlands Conservancy

Trail is open, but the nature center building is temporarily closed.
220 Boston Post Road, Rye
Hours: Trails and grounds: daily, dawn to dusk.
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: One-way traffic is in place on paths and trails. Parking lots may close intermittently on high-volume days. Masks and social distancing required.
The 147-acre wildlife sanctuary borders 23 acres of Jay property and is comprised of forest, meadow, salt marsh, and shore. There are 3 miles of trails and ½ mile of shoreline along the Long Island Sound. The nature center displays a small number of changing exhibits and saltwater aquaria containing representative species of marine life and offers environmental programs to schools and other groups by registration. The conservancy also offers a summer ecology program for children and a conservationist-in-training summer program for kids in grades 7-9.

7. Edith G. Read Wildlife Sanctuary and Nature Center

The sanctuary grounds are open, but the Nature Center remains closed.
100 Playland Parkway, Rye
[email protected]
Hours: Trails open daily dawn to dusk
Admission: FREE; parking fee in effect May-October
What you need to know: Masks or face coverings are required when social distancing is not possible. Click here for COVID-19 safety updates.
Three miles of trails navigate through the 179-acre sanctuary, which is full of diverse marine life, both plants and animals. The park also has views of Long Island Sound and Manursing Lake and a nature center building. Educational programs are offered through the nature center. Please call or visit the website for updates.

8. Rye Nature Center

Grounds and trails are open, but buildings, playgrounds and programs remain closed.
873 Boston Post Road, Rye
[email protected]
Hours: Trails: daily dawn to dusk
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Guests are asked to maintain a 6-foot distance between you and others, visit alone or with members of immediate family or household, make space for others in the park, and protect yourself and other visitors while on the trails by warning others of your presence when passing. Access to bathrooms is unavailable.
With 47 acres of wildlife preserve, the Rye Nature Center has ponds, bee observation hives, and hiking trails. Kids ages 3½-13 can enroll in a summer ecology camp June-August, and preschoolers and kindergarteners can do a weeklong June Bug program to learn about animals on the trails throughout June. A Paddle Adventure kayaking camp is also offered during the summer for kids in eighth through 10th grades.


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9. Sheldrake Environmental Center

Trails are open
685 Weaver St., Larchmont
Hours: Daily, dawn to dusk
Admission: Free for hiking; program fees vary
What you need to know: Masks are required when social distancing isn’t possible.
Located at the 60-acre Larchmont Reservoir, Sheldrake offers hiking trails and environmental programs for families and schools. The School Group programs combine in-class discussion with on-site visits to one of three local sites: Larchmont Reservoir, Sheldrake River Trails, or Dog Beach. At summer and vacation week camps, children explore the trails, investigate pond life, and search for animals in nature’s playground. Adults programs include composting and volunteer environmental education.

10. Teatown Lake Reservation

The grounds are open, but the visitor’s center and restrooms are closed.
1600 Spring Valley Road, Ossining
FacebookInstagramTrip Advisor
[email protected]
Hours: Trails: daily, dawn to dusk
Admission: FREE; program prices vary; $5 parking on weekends
What you need to know: Programs will be held outdoors. Participants are required to wear face masks, and to practice physical distancing. Parking tags are required Friday-Sunday and holidays, 9am-5pm until November.
This 1,000-acre nature preserve hosts nearly 15 miles of marked hiking trails. The nature center contains nature education exhibits and a variety of amphibians, birds of prey, mammals, and reptiles. Wildflower Island, a 2-acre island sanctuary located within Teatown Lake, is home to more than 230 native and endangered species of wildflowers; guided tours available (by reservation) Saturdays at 10am and 1pm, Sundays at 1pm from April through September. Teatown offers a Natural Science Summer Day Camp throughout the season in four two-week sessions, and mini camps are offered during school breaks.

11. Trailside Nature Museum at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

Trails are open, but the museum is closed.
Routes 35 and 121, Cross River
Hours: Trails: daily, dawn to dusk
Admission: FREE; car fees: $5 with Park Pass; $10 without Park Pass
What you need to know: Masks or face coverings are required when social distancing isn’t possible.
Museum exhibits focus on aspects of the natural world along with the human history of Ward Pound Ridge Reservation and the surrounding area. Specimens of birds, mammals, plants, insects, and minerals are on display. The reservation features a wildflower garden behind the museum and 40 miles of hiking trails through a variety of habitats. You can pick up a trail map at the museum or download it from the website. The museum offers interpretive nature programs for children and adults. Click here for information about upcoming events such as the Vernal Pool Discovery on April 18th, Naturalist-Led Hike on May 2nd, or Stream Study on May 23rd.


Weinberg Nature Center and Trailside Museum

Trails are open, but the nature center and museum are closed.
455 Mamaroneck Road, Scarsdale
[email protected] or [email protected]
Hours: Trails: daily, dawn to dusk.
Admission: FREE, but donations are appreciated; program fees vary
What you need to know: Woodland Native American Encampment in repair, will reopen soon. Masks are required when social distancing is not possible.
The Weinberg Nature Center sits on 8½ acres of conservancy property and is home to an array of animals. There are student art displays, a toddler activity area, a rock, fossil, and mineral exhibit, as well as Native American lifestyle items. You can visit the Woodland Native American encampment with a wigwam, dugout canoe, and more for hands-on interactive activities. Weinberg also has an outdoor pre-release enclosure for squirrels. Weinberg’s trails include the Homestead, Discovery, Geology, and Terrell Trail. Click here for volunteering opportunities.

12. Westmoreland Sanctuary

Trail system and museum are open to the public.
260 Chestnut Ridge Road, Mount Kisco
[email protected]
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:15am-5pm; Saturday-Sunday, 9am-5pm. Trails: daily, dawn to dusk.
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Masks are required, and guests must practice social distancing.
This 640-acre sanctuary features more than 7 miles of trails, plus a museum and nature center. The sanctuary offers public programs for children and adults such as seasonal nature hikes, bird walks, turtle study, and pond study. Click here for children and young adults programs. Click here for adult and family programs.

Nature Centers and Botanical Gardens in Nassau County

1. Clark Botanical Gardens

The gardens and restrooms are open, but the shop and Clark House remain closed.
193 I. U. Willets Road, Albertson
Hours: Garden: daily, 10am-4pm; restrooms: daily, 10am-3pm
Admission: Donations appreciated
What you need to know: Visitors must wear masks and follow social distancing rules.
A 12-acre living museum and educational facility dedicated to understanding and appreciating the world’s plant life through horticulture, education, and research. Garden collections include conifers, roses, perennials, daylilies, wetland plants, rock garden plants, herbs, butterfly plants, medicinal plants, and more than a dozen collections of particular plant families. The garden offers regular programs for families and children (registration required). Gift shop opening April 2021. Click here for special events. Click here for the garden’s educational programs.

2. Garvies Point Museum & Preserve

All facilities are open.
50 Barry Drive, Glen Cove
Hours: Museum: Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-4pm. Preserve: daily, 7am-7:30pm.
Admission: $4; $2 children ages 5-12; free for children younger than 5 with an adult
What you need to know: Masks and social distancing are required in buildings. Admissions will take place in the foyer through a glass window with one group allowed in the foyer at a time. Use of credit cards will be encouraged. One family group is allowed in the foyer, gift shop, and exhibit alcove at a time. Three to 4 family groups are allowed in the museum at a time. Visitors are requested to limit time in the museum to 1½ hours, if necessary. Bathrooms will be cleaned daily (as always) and any additional times as necessary. Hand sanitizer pumps available at entrance and throughout the museum.
A 62-acre site set along Hempstead Harbor, Garvies Point has permanent exhibits and educational programs about Long Island and New York state geology and Long Island Native American culture and archaeology. Exhibits cover a variety of natural history subjects, including the glacial exhibit, which illustrates and explains the formation of contemporary land features. The Discovery Room is an interactive Native American-themed exhibit for kids in second grade and below. No dogs allowed.

3. Old Westbury Gardens

The gardens, Café in the Woods, and restrooms by the parking lot are open. The gift shop remains closed.
71 Old Westbury Road, Old Westbury
Hours: through Oct. 31: Monday and Wednesday-Friday, 11am-6pm; Saturday-Sunday, 10am-5pm
Admission: $12; $10 seniors; $7 children ages 7-17; free for children 6 and younger
What you need to know: There is a limited capacity for how many visitors can enter the grounds per hour. All visitors must reserve or purchase admission tickets in advance. Guests must maintain 6 feet of social distance between household groups; wear face coverings when social distancing is not possible, unless a face covering is not medically tolerated; follow the route indicated by white arrows and signage. Click here for updates on COVID-19 visitor information.
This historical site features a Gold Coast mansion among 200 acres of formal gardens, landscaped grounds, woodlands, ponds, and lakes. Summer activities include outdoor concerts, the Long Island Scottish Festival (Aug. 25), and environmental educational programs that teach children about plants, wildlife, and agriculture.

4. Planting Fields Foundation

Grounds for walking are open. Greenhouses and mansion are closed.
1395 Planting Fields Road, Oyster Bay
Hours: 9am-5pm daily
Admission: $8 per car, April 1 through Labor Day. Parking fee waived.
What you need to know: Open for walking, no bikes or scooters. Must wear masks and follow social distancing rules. This site is home to one of the few remaining Gold Coast estates on Long Island’s North Shore to retain its original 409 acres of historic buildings and landscape. Families can visit rolling lawns, formal gardens, hiking trails, and specimen plantings as well as the Camellia Greenhouse and the Main Greenhouse, which have seasonal displays. The grounds are both wheelchair- and stroller-accessible. Click here for upcoming events such as family yoga, yoga and meditation, forest therapy walk, and more.

5. Tanglewood Park and Preserve

Open. Museum open by reservation only.
1450 Tanglewood Road, Rockville Centre
Hours: Park is open 9am-5pm daily; Center for Science Teaching and Learning is open Wednesday-Sunday 10am-4pm
Admission: Park: free; Museum: $15 for anyone 13 years or older
What you need to know: Museum is open by reservation only. Wear a mask when you cannot maintain social distancing.
The 17-acre park and preserve allows families to enjoy a lovely nature trail and a beautifully renovated brick walkway surrounding a pond. The pond permits fishing (children ages 16 and younger are not required to have a fishing license). Tanglewood also houses the nonprofit educational organization Center for Science Teaching and Learning, which hosts regular science learning programs for kids. Exhibits are closed until the fall.

Nature Centers and Botanical Gardens in Suffolk County

6. Bayard Cutting Arboretum

Arboretum is open. Manor house and hidden oak cafe are closed.
440 Montauk Highway, Great River
Hours: Arboretum: April-Oct.: Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm; Nov-March: Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-4pm
Admission: FREE. $8 parking fee per car
What you need to know: Restrooms are open on the outer side of the Manor House, a mask or face covering is required to enter the restrooms.
Located along the Connetquot River, the arboretum contains more than 690 acres of meadows, centennial oaks, and brightly colored nature walks among rhododendron and swamp cypress. Don’t miss the Pinetum—it has one of Long Island’s largest collections of fir, spruce, pine, and hemlock trees. The arboretum is also home to many varieties of bird species. Click here for information about the Hidden Oak Cafe’s reopening.

7. Bridge Gardens

Gardens open. Buildings and facilities closed to the public.
36 Mitchell Lane, Bridgehampton
Hours: 10am-4pm, daily
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Guests are asked to practice social distancing of a minimum of 6 feet, wear a mask or face covering in public places, and avoid crowds. If the gardens or trails are crowded, and you can not maintain social distancing, please come back at another day or time.
Bridge Gardens is a unique, 5-acre public garden in the heart of Bridgehampton. Not only are there traditional gardens of seasonal flowers and herbs, there are also unique garden mazes, a knot garden, and beds of culinary, medicinal, ornamental, textile, and dyeing herbs. Learn how herbs and plants are cultivated and used in kitchens, hospitals, and factories. Walk through the garden paths and enjoy its diverse plantings, including a rose garden and a water garden. Click here for information on Illuminating the Value of the Dark Zoom event on April 7th, and here for Compost and Soil Health event.

8. Caleb Smith State Park Preserve

581 W. Jericho Turnpike, Smithtown
Hours: 8am-4pm Wednesday-Sunday, year round except holidays
Admission: FREE. Parking Fee waived. Interpretive Program still closed.
What you need to know: Masks are required when social distancing is not possible.
Most of the preserve’s 543 acres are undeveloped, allowing views of its many different habitats, including freshwater wetlands, ponds, streams, fields, and woods. The preserve is a refuge for wildlife and its diverse habitats support a variety of trees, shrubs, wildflowers, and ferns. It offers hiking opportunities, trout fly fishing ($25 per session; must have a permit and proper fishing gear), and also operates a nature museum with wildlife displays and nature programs for children and adults. Must call and make a reservation for fly fishing and programs.

9. Sweetbriar Nature Center

Grounds are open with limited use. Nature Center is closed. Butterfly House is closed.
62 Eckernkamp Drive, Smithtown
Hours: Nature Center open 9am-4:30pm daily; Butterfly House open 10am-4pm daily (June through September)
Admission: Free for preserve (donations accepted). Butterfly House: $5; $3 seniors and children younger than 12; free for children 2 and younger
What you need to know: Offering virtual and some in-person, socially distant events. Summer programs are limited. Visit the website for more information
The center is located on 54 acres, with nature trails winding through diverse areas that include wetlands, fields, and forests along the Nissequogue River. It is home to a large wildlife rehabilitation center, public gardens, a nature museum, simulated rainforest room, and the Butterfly House that contains about 20 species of native North American butterflies and moths. There are also public programs, school break programs, scout programs, and birthday parties.

10. Uplands Farm Nature Sanctuary

The Nature Conservancy, Long Island Chapter
250 Lawrence Hill Road, Cold Spring Harbor
Hours: Grounds open dawn to dusk daily
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Guests must wear masks when social distancing isn't possible. The preserve offers visitors the chance to enjoy a variety of natural habitats and native species. Nearly 2½ miles of marked trail meanders from bird and butterfly meadows, through deciduous forests, and into a white pine-shaded ravine.The trail begins in the sanctuary's most popular attraction—the vast wildflower meadows which provide important habitat for a wide variety of plants and animals, including milkweed, goldenrod, and dozens of butterfly species. Bird species associated with this type of habitat are Eastern Bluebird, Tree Swallow, and Blue-winged Warbler. Groundhogs have also become common on the preserve, so visitors can look for them feeding along the edge of the meadow along the Daniel P. Davison trail.


Nature Centers and Botanical Gardens in Fairfield County, CT

1. Audubon Center of Greenwich

The trails are open, but buildings, facilities and restrooms are closed for the time being.
613 Riversville Road, Greenwich
Hours: Trails open sunrise to sunset daily; center open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm
Admission: $3; $1.50 children and seniors, $6 suggested donation
What you need to know: Guests are asked to follow social distancing guidelines.
The center’s walking trails span 7 miles and 285 acres, past lakes, ponds, and rivers. The center also has bird blinds, which are spots to watch for birds—including the center’s many species of hawks—where they can’t see you.

2. Bartlett Arboretum

The trails and garden are OPEN
151 Brookdale Road, Stamford
Hours: Grounds are open daily, dawn to dusk. Check website for hours of operation for individual buildings.
Admission: $6, Free; children under 12 are free; Wednesdays are free to all guests
What you need to know: Visitors must follow CDC guidelines when entering the trails, stay six-feet apart
The arboretum features extensive gardens and a collection of plants and trees, as well as hiking trails in the woodlands nearby.

3. Connecticut Audubon Society Nature Center

The center is open for outdoor programs, and the store is open Monday-Saturday, 10am-2pm.
2325 Burr St., Fairfield
Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am-3pm
Admission (suggested): $2; $1 children
What you need to know: Guests are asked to maintain proper CDC social distancing guidelines.
The birds of prey compound is a viewing area for raptors. The center also includes a sanctuary, wigwam replicas, and hiking trails and is home to animals like snakes, turtles, and millipedes.

4. Darien Nature Center

Building is still closed for the summer, but trails are open.
120 Brookside Road, Darien
Hours (summer): Trails: daily, sunrise to sunset. Regular hours Monday-Friday: 9am-4pm; Saturday: 9am-1pm.
Admission: Minimum $5 donation suggested
What you need to know: Visitors are asked to practice social distancing guidelines while on the trails.
The center features a small trail system, ideal for kids; a pond with ducks; and rotating exhibits as well as a permanent exhibit with more than 40 animal species. Upcoming programs include storytime with animals, preschool programs, vacation programs, scout programs, birthday parties, and summer camp with “at-home camp” option where nature center staff join your children and “one-site camp” option, both with learning programs such as “Nature Detectives,” “All About Bugs,” “Feathered Friends,” or “Predator and Prey.” Email [email protected] with your kid’s name and birth date to be added to waitlist for sessions that have sold out.


5. Earth Place, The Nature Discovery Center

The grounds are open and there is some free, walk-in outdoor programming, but the building is closed.
10 Woodside Lane, Westport
i[email protected]
Hours: Grounds: daily, 7am to dusk
Admission: $7; $5 seniors and children younger than 12; free admission to the grounds, $5 suggested donation to all non-members
What you need to know: storytime every weekday at 10:30am, bird of prey feeding at 11am weekdays, social distancing and masks are required
With a mission to educate the community about nature and the environment, Earthplace offers 62 acres of wildlife sanctuary, which include hiking trails, an interactive natural history museum with live animals, and public nature programs and events. For kids, there’s the Explorer’s Clubhouse, Tiny Tree House, Nature Lab, Backyard Resource Center, and Nature Theater.


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6. New Canaan Nature Center

The trails and grounds are open, but the visitor’s center is closed.
144 Oenoke Ridge, New Canaan
Hours: Visitor center and greenhouse: Tuesday-Saturday 9am-4pm; Birds of Prey, Arboretum, and Gardens: dawn to dusk daily. Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Guests are asked to follow social distancing guidelines.
The center includes 2 miles of hiking trails on the grounds, which include wet and dry meadows, two ponds, wet and dry woodlands, dense thickets, an old orchard, and a cattail marsh. The center also encompasses seven aviaries in its Birds of Prey exhibit, a world of bees exhibit, an arboretum full of native and nonnative trees, several specialty gardens including a Wildflower Garden and The Bird and Butterfly Garden, and a 4,000-square-foot greenhouse featuring exotic species of flora. Click here to learn about summer camp option and COVID-19 updates.

7. Stamford Museum & Nature Center

Most programs are open, but the Overbook Nature Center, HeckscherWILD!, and the Nature & Me Preschool are still closed.
39 Scofieldtown Road, Stamford
[email protected]
Hours: Monday-Saturday 9am-5pm; Sunday 11am-5pm
Admission: $14; $12 seniors; $10 students 18 and up (with ID); $8 children ages 4-17; free for children 3 and younger. Observatory: $3; $2 children.
What you need to know: Anyone older than 4 must wear a mask at all times, wash your hands at a handwashing station before you touch any animals. Maintain social distancing and monitor children closely.
The center is a New England working farm with heirloom breeds of animals, an otter pond, an observatory with a 22-inch research telescope, changing exhibition galleries, a planetarium, early education classrooms, and a vast hardwood forest with 80 acres of hiking trails. Click here for Forest Easter Egg Hunt running from Friday, March 26 to Saturday, April 3. Click here for Celtic Cross Pipes and Drums of Danbury on the Farm. Click here for Global Garden: Resonant Beauty Exhibition running till April 25th.

8. Woodcock Nature Center

The trails are open, but the nature center, playgrounds, restrooms, and offices are closed to the public.
56 Deer Run Road, Wilton
Hours: Trails: Monday-Friday, 3:30pm to dusk (the trails are closed to the public during summer camp hours); Saturday-Sunday, dawn to dusk
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Visitors must maintain proper social distancing while on trails. Stay on marked trails and don’t disturb wildlife.
The Center sits on 149 acres with trails, boardwalk trails, a pond, live animals and birds of prey. It offers environmental education programs and summer programs for kids. Click here for upcoming events, such as photography contests, “leap into conservation” virtual workshops, upcycle nature crafts, little forest folk club and more. Click here for summer camp 2021 registration.

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