Thursday, May 19, 2016

Springtime at the New York Botanical Garden

In the midst of some truly awful New England springtime weather systems and some truly wonderful travel opportunities to exotic tropical locations, J and I managed to find an entire day that was a.) a Saturday b.) warm and sunny and c.) one in which we were both free and in town. And while J had visions of curling up on the couch and doing nothing all afternoon, I was all nope! Look at this glorious day! It's a day made for doing things! And we're gonna do those things! And then I pressed pause on the music I had swelling underneath my proclamation and we headed straight for the New York Botanical Garden.

I'm a sucker for a good garden walk, and this one did not disappoint (but with over 250 acres and home to the largest botanical library in the Americas, I was not expecting someone's backyard garden). I lost myself in a sea of azaleas and tulips, and while walking one of the many trails, we were able to have a few moments where we didn't see any other people or hear anything but birdcalls above us - a rarity for New York City.

If you find yourself at the garden, I highly recommend taking the tram tour. It's a (roughly) half-hour narrated, hop-on-hop-off tour that's not just a good way to get from one corner of the park to the other, but is also surprisingly interesting and informative. I for one know so little about plants and trees and anything else that grows naturally from the ground (oo look a pink flower! a tree with leaves!) that I was able to learn a good amount of flower and tree types and the history of the surrounding Bronx area on the tour.

We lasted a good three hours before our allergies got the best of us, but we felt the benefits of being amongst nature and out in the fresh air long after we returned home.

If you go:
*Getting to the New York Botanical Garden is a hike - if you're inclined to take public transportation, it's a 20-minute walk from the nearest subway or a ride on the Metro-North. If you can, take a car - although with tolls and a $15 parking fee, you could easily find yourself spending over twenty dollars before you even get inside the garden.
* An All-Garden Pass (which includes entrance to the Conservatory and the Tram Tour) is $25 for adults on the weekends ($20 on weekdays), but if you just want to walk the grounds and not see any special exhibits a $13 Grounds Only ticket is available. The Garden has two Ground Only Free Days - Wednesdays (all day) and Saturdays from 9a - 10a.
*So is it worth it? Possibly - we used a corporate discount and got our entire entrance fee waived, so our expenses were simply tolls and parking. I might be singing a different song if we had spent $50 to walk around the gardens when I knew that a similar (although not as good) "nature walk" could be had for free in the much more accessible Central Park. Find a coupon or discount code if you can, or take advantage of the Gardens-Only options if you're looking to save some pennies.
*Hours, directions, and a whole lot more info can be found here.

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