Wave Hill, an expansive public garden located in the Bronx along the scenic Hudson River, is easily accessible from the NYC area and a worthwhile family excursion in any season.
It's easy to forget that bustling NYC is home to some of the most magnificent landscapes and vibrant views. Wave Hill, a 28-acre public garden and cultural oasis overlooking the Hudson River and Palisades in the Bronx, is a scenic haven that connects visitors to Mother Nature through year-round programs in horticulture, education, and the arts.
Take a self-guided walk through Wave Hill's many varietal gardens, including aquatic, flower, and herb gardens, and 10 acres of woodlands that include notable copper beech and American elm, among others. Then take a look inside Glyndor Gallery (free tours every Tuesday and Saturday at 2pm), which features the work of contemporary artists who explore the intricate relationship between people and nature. The galleries are open through the spring, summer, and fall. In winter they are turned into the artists' workspace, and the artists often invite the public to participate in projects there.
Visitors can also stop by the Wave Hill House, an original 19th-century structure that has housed many prominent families, including that of Theodore Roosevelt. A quick walk to the Marco Polo Stufano Conservatory allows visitors to experience a collection of tropical plants from around the world, encased in a trio of glass houses.
The Perkins Visitor Center houses a shop filled with unique works by local artists that reflect the center's mission to connect people with nature, seasonal plants, gardening products, and honey from the center's hives.
Activities highlight the seasons; in the summer, there is outdoor yoga for kids and story time in the garden.
In spring, photo ops abound.
Family art projects are held Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 1pm in the Ecology Building. The project themes vary but are always related to nature.
During winter, tour the indoor Conservatory.
Address: Main entrance at West 249th Street and Independence Avenue, Bronx
Hours: The grounds are open Tuesday-Sunday and Monday holidays 9am-5:30pm April through October; 9am-4:30pm November through March. Greenhouses are open 10am-12pm and 1pm-4pm year-round. The gallery is open 10:30am-4:30pm Tuesday-Sunday, year-round. The shop is open 10am-4pm Tuesday-Sunday, year-round.
Price: $8; $4 students and seniors ages 65 and older; $2 children ages 6-18; free for children younger than 6
For more information: 718-549-3200 or wavehill.org
From Manhattan: Take the 1 train to the last stop at 242nd Street. A free Wave Hill shuttle van meets passengers on the west side of Broadway at 10 minutes past the hour, from 9:10am to 3:10pm. Visitors can also take the A train to West 207th Street and transfer there to Bx17 or Bx20 bus northbound to West 252nd Street.
From Queens, Brooklyn, and Long Island via Triborough Bridge: Keep left through the tolls onto the Major Deegan Expressway (I-87) northbound. Take Exit 12, Henry Hudson Parkway/Saw Mill River Parkway. Bear right for the Henry Hudson Parkway southbound. Take the second exit, Exit 22, 254th Street. Turn left at the stop sign. Turn left at the traffic light onto Riverdale Avenue/Henry Hudson Parkway service road. Turn right at 249th Street and proceed to the Wave Hill Gate.
From Rockland County/New Jersey: From the George Washington Bridge, take the first exit in New York for the Henry Hudson Parkway/Riverside Drive. Take Henry Hudson Parkway to Exit 21, 246th-250th Street. Continue northbound on the service road to 252nd Street.
From Westchester: Take the Saw Mill River Parkway/Henry Hudson Parkway southbound. Take Exit 22, 254th Street. Turn left at the stop sign. Turn left at the traffic light onto Riverdale Avenue/Henry Hudson Parkway service road. Turn right at 249th Street and proceed to the Wave Hill Gate.
From Connecticut: Take the Merritt Parkway southbound onto the Hutchinson River Parkway. Take Exit 15 (a left exit) onto the Cross County Parkway westbound. At the end of the Cross County Parkway, keep left for the Saw Mill River Parkway southbound and Henry Hudson Parkway toward New York City. (The Saw Mill becomes the Henry Hudson at the City line.) Take Exit 22, 254th Street. Turn left at the stop sign. Turn left at the traffic light onto Riverdale Avenue/Henry Hudson Parkway service road. Turn right at 249th Street and proceed to the Wave Hill Gate.
Search for upcoming Wave HIll events, and find more great family activities in the NYC area, in our Online Calendar