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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, Rockland 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 petting zoos, arboretums, nature preserves, farms and public gardens, all packed with fun nature activities for the whole family. Let your little ones loose to try their hands at zoo feedings and touch tanks, explore wooded trails, and learn about exotic plants. 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 

New York Botanical Garden
Outdoor gardens and collections are slated to reopen to the public July 28, but it’s opening July 21-26 for Appreciation Week for Garden Members, Bronx Neighbors, and Bronx Health Care Heroes
Bronx River Parkway at Fordham Road
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-6pm; Members-only hours: 10am-11am; last at 4pm
Admission: Garden Pass: $22; $19 seniors and students (with valid ID); $8 children ages 2-12; free for children younger than 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.
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. Only outdoor gardens and collections are open.

The New York Botanical Garden is one of the largest gardens of any in the United States, containing more than 1 million plants. Kids can explore the world of plants by participating in Nature Explorers Programs, drop-in gardening activities, and more. 

RELATED: Zoos in the NYC Area

Nature Centers and Botanical Gardens in Manhattan

The Met Cloisters 
Closed, but currently scheduled to reopen in September.
99 Margaret Corbin Drive, Fort Tryon Park
Hours: Currently closed.
Admission (suggested): $25; $17 seniors; $12 students; free for children younger than 12 (when accompanied by an adult)

A medieval annex of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 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. The Cloisters regularly hosts programs and workshops for kids and families; check the website for upcoming events.

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; November-February: 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.

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. 

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-September: 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.

Nature Centers and Botanical Gardens in Queens

Alley Pond Environmental Center 
The nature center is closed.
224-65 76th Ave, Oakland Gardens 
Hours: Currently closed.
Admission: FREE; donations accepted

The center is an aquatic and terrestrial habitat and nature preserve that features a learning center and environmental laboratory. The center offers animal, science, and nature programs for both children and adults. The site also hosts weekly events, including nature walks, workshops, and an Evening with the Stars astronomy program. Pre-registration is required for all events. There is also a small live animal room that has a variety of smaller ambassador animals. 

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park 
The park grounds are open, but 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.

Forest Park 
The park and golf course are open, but the carousel remains 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. 

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge 
The park and trails are open, but the visitor’s center remains 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. 

Queens Botanical Garden 
Garden reopened July 21, with limited operating hours and reduced capacity, but the Visitor & Administration  Building (Gift Shop and Gallery) and other indoor facilities will be temporarily closed until further notice.
43-50 Main St., Flushing
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday: 10am-4pm; Free hours: Wednesday, 3-4pm, and Sunday, 10-11am. Timed entry ticket reservations strongly encouraged for free hours.
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. 

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

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. 

Socrates Sculpture Park 
32-01 Vernon Blvd. (at Broadway), Long Island City
Hours: daily, 9am to sunset (unless otherwise posted)
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Visitors must maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from other visitors while at the park, and cover nose and mouth with a mask at the park unless you can assure that you remain 6 feet away from other visitors at all times. All regular park rules and regulations also remain in effect during this time. In particular, dogs must remain on a leash at all times at Socrates. Those found in violation of this rule will be fined.

This outdoor park features large-scale sculptures and hosts free weekly summer workshops for children, in which they can work with a different artist each week (workshop schedule is posted online). Popular family programs include Queens Green Day on June 2 and the Summer Solstice Celebration on June 21. Hellgate Farm will offer a weekly Saturday farm stand at Socrates.  

Nature Centers and Botanical Gardens in Brooklyn

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: Tuesday-Wednesday and Sunday: 10am-6pm; Thursday-Saturday:10am-8:30pm; Members’ Summer Evenings: Wednesdays, 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: Tickets will be available to reserve beginning Monday, July 27. During the garden’s first few weeks reopened, tickets will be free for all.
What you need to know: 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. 

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, 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.

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. 

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.

Prospect Park 
The park is open, but the Lefrak Center at Lakeside is closed.
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. 

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. 

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.

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, Underwood features daffodil, 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.


Nature Centers and Botanical Gardens in Rockland County

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rockland Education Center
In-person events are cancelled, offices are closed to the public, and services are still running. 
10 Patriot Hills Drive, Stony Point
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm
Admission: FREE tour of the gardens on the last Sunday of each month (April–October) at 1pm; prices vary for other educational programs.

The Master Gardener Volunteers of Rockland County design and maintain eight demonstration gardens at the CCE Rockland Education Center, including ferns, herbs, ornamental grasses, native plants, a cutting garden, and a container garden. Educational programs for children include 4-H youth development, gardening classes and workshops, and a horticulture lab. Horticulture lab is open, and you can drop off samples to have your plants identified. 

Rockland Lake State Park 
299 Rockland Lake Road, Valley Cottage (pool entrance: 153 Rockland Lake Road)
Hours: park: daily, dawn to dusk. Pool: Monday-Friday, 10am-5:45pm; Saturday-Sunday, 11am-6:45pm
Admission: FREE. Pool: $3. Parking is $8 from early April through late October.
What you need to know: The pool is open with limited capacity. Once you leave the pool complex, you’ll have to join the line to re-enter. Visitors are asked to maintain social distance and wear a face mask when social distancing is not possible. Parking in some lots will be reduced.

Rockland Lake State Park’s lake is located on a ridge of Hook Mountain, above the west bank of the Hudson River. It is home to many species of fish, including largemouth and smallmouth bass, and birds such as eagles, water birds, and songbirds. The park has a 3.2-mile bicycle path. The pool will open on May 27 and be open weekends and holidays through Sept. 4 (also open weekdays, 10am-5:45pm, late June through late August). Pets are not permitted May through September 30. Pets are permitted on leash (maximum 60’) through March, but pets are not permitted on paved paths.

Nature Centers and Botanical Gardens in Bergen County

Closter Nature Center
The trails and parking lot are open with social distancing guidelines in place.
154 Ruckman Road, Closter

The Closter Nature Center is a beautiful oasis in the middle of suburban Closter, New Jersey. With 136 acres of ponds, brooks, meadows and forests to explore, the center is open to all local residents, providing informative monthly lectures and nature walks for the general public, as well as school or scout groups.

Demarest Nature Center
90 Park St., Demarest
What you need to know: The Demarest Nature Center is open to all persons, residents and non-residents alike, every day of the year. In addition to preserving and protecting important open space in the midst of a large metropolitan area, the center seeks to educate young and old alike as to the beauty of nature and the importance of protecting our environment.

Flat Rock Brook Nature Center
Hiking trails are open and social distancing rules are in place.
 443 Van Nostrand Ave., Englewood
Hours: Trails open from dawn until dusk.
Admission: Free
What you need to know: All visitors are required to maintain Social Distancing (6 foot minimum). The wearing of masks is recommended. All park entrances are now open. The bathroom facilities are available at the Jones Road Picnic Area only. Hand sanitizer stations are located on the deer exclosure gates. Please use them to keep your hands clean. Remember, no littering, especially potentially hazardous PPE items. There are trash cans located near the exit.

Flat Rock Brook Nature Center is a 150-acre preserve and education center on the western slope of the Palisades in Englewood, New Jersey.A 3.6 mile network of self-guiding trails leads to a cascading stream, wetlands, pond, wildflower meadows, quarry cliffs and woodlands. The diversity of the natural landscape allows visitors to observe a remarkable array of birds and other wildlife.


Friends of the Hackensack River Greenway Through Teaneck
Trails are open.
Admission: Free.
What you need to know: Cleanups and events along the river are being canceled until the Coronavirus state of emergency is ended.

The Hackensack River Greenway through Teaneck provides a peaceful and quiet environment. It is intended for walking, jogging, observing nature or just sitting and relaxing. Access to the river provides an opportunity for young and old to learn about the ecology and history of the Hackensack River, its beauty, and the important role it plays in all our lives.


Lorrimer Sanctuary
Trails are open; buildings are closed.
790 Ewing Avenue, Franklin Lakes
Hours: Wednesdays-Saturdays, 10am–4pm
Admission: Free. Fee applies to special programming.
What you need to know: The trails are open, but please follow these rules: First and foremost please stay home if you are feeling sick; Do not meet as a group, includes large families, no picnics or sports; Follow CDC guidelines of a 6 foot distance when you pass others along the trails, social distancing; No bikes; Please stay on the trails at all times (unless to pass others keeping 6 feet apart); There are no restrooms available, please be prepared; Please take any and all trash away with you; No dogs at all please

Lorrimer Sanctuary was bequeathed to the New Jersey Audubon Society in 1956. There is a self-guiding trail system that winds through the 14 acres of land. Much of the acreage is second-growth woods (mostly oak, maple, ash, and beech); and small stands of planted evergreens.


James A. McFaul Environmental Center
Building and trails are closed but the picnic pavilion, outdoor exhibits, and observatory overlooks are open with social distancing rules in place.
150 Crescent Ave., Wyckoff
Hours: 8:30am-6:30pm, daily.
Admission: Free.
What you need to know: Part of the Bergen County Parks system, the site includes a waterfowl pond, bird shelters, a boardwalk, nature trail, memorial gazebo and natural science exhibits. The Environmental Center gardens include specialties such as flowering trees, Daffodil Hill, rhododendrons, ornamental grasses, the herb garden, a secret scented garden and various memorial plantings. A naturalized field area and woodland contain many plant species that provide food and shelter for a variety of wildlife species, including insects, birds and mammals.


Meadowlands Environmental Center: Richard W. Dekorte Park
Open and subject to strict social distancing guidelines.
2 De Korte Park Plaza Lyndhurst
Hours: 7am-7pm, daily
Admission: Free.
What you need to know: DeKorte Park features 3.5 miles of walking paths, panoramic views of wetlands and waterways, and birds galore, all framed by the New York City skyline. The park, which was once slated to be a landfill, is the focal point of NJSEA activities. A series of colorful, interpretive signs highlight the park’s resources and the wildlife that inhabit its tidal waters, marshes, and uplands. These informational signs provide visitors with an understanding and appreciation of the Meadowlands’ unique and diverse urban eco-system.


Teaneck Creek Conservancy
Due to restoration the park is closed at all entrance points except Fycke Lane.
20 Puffin Way, Teaneck
Hours: Dawn to dusk, daily
Admission: Free
What you need to know: Trek through this 46 acre park of forest and wetlands reclaimed and restored from environmental degradation and destruction. The park contains 1.3 miles of groomed trail as well as commissioned work of Eco-Art exhibitions throughout the year. TCC requests that you stay on the trails at all times, do not enter the creek or wetlands area, no motorized vehicles or bicycles allowed, smoking and alcohol are prohibited, and dogs must be on a leash at all times.

Tenafly Nature Center
Trails are open and social distancing rules are in effect.
313 Hudson Ave, Tenafly
Hours: Daily, one hour after sunrise until one hour prior to sunset; from 9am - 5pm daily, TNC has a 1-way policy for the Yellow, White, Red and Main trails.
Admission: $10 per family; $2 per person; free for members; additional fee for programs
What you need to know: Tenafly Nature Center provides sanctuary for visitors who desire to develop connection with their local surroundings. Visitors can take advantage of TNC's educational programs, access center resources or simply explore at their leisure. Trails are open for passive recreation only, including hiking, walking, running or jogging, and birding. The picnic area and white picnic tables (located near the upper Yellow Trail) are now available for use by families and small groups ONLY. No grills or cooking allowed.



Nature Centers and Botanical Gardens in Orange County

Sterling Forest State Park 
The park is open, but the visitor center remains closed.
116 Old Forge Road, Tuxedo
Hours: Daily, dawn to dusk. Bathrooms: daily, 8:30am-4pm. Visitor center is currently closed.
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Visitors must wear masks when social distancing is not possible.
The park offers a variety of hiking trails with scenic views of hills, valleys, and lakes. The Senator Frank R. Lautenberg Visitor Center overlooking Sterling Lake features exhibits about the local environment and history. Lectures and hikes are led by the nonprofit organization Friends of Sterling Forest.

Nature Centers and Botanical Gardens in Westchester County

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.

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.

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.

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

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. 


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 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. 

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.

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. 

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. 

Edith G. Read Wildlife Sanctuary and Nature Center
The sanctuary grounds are open, but the Nature Center remains closed.
100 Playland Parkway, Rye
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.

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.

Rye Nature Center
Grounds and trails are open, but  buildings, playgrounds and programs remain closed.
873 Boston Post Road, Rye
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. 

Sheldrake Environmental Center 
Trails are open; visit website for updates on events.
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. 

Teatown Lake Reservation
The grounds are open, but the visitor’s center and restrooms are closed.
1600 Spring Valley Road, Ossining
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.  

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.

Weinberg Nature Center and Trailside Museum
Trails are open, but the nature center and museum are closed. 
455 Mamaroneck Road, Scarsdale
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. 

Westmoreland Sanctuary
Trail system and museum are open to the public.
260 Chestnut Ridge Road, Mount Kisco
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.

Nature Centers and Botanical Gardens in Nassau County

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-6pm; 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).

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 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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Science Museum of Long Island
Open for science camps only.
1526 N. Plandome Road, Manhasset
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30am-3:30pm
Admission: Varies by program
What you need to know: Open for science camps only.

A science activity center located on the Leeds Pond Preserve, this museum offers hands-on science workshops and summer camps for children. All programs and workshops are by registration only.


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

Bayard Cutting Arboretum
Arboretum is open. Manor house and hidden oak cafe are closed.
440 Montauk Highway, Great River
Hours: Arboretum: April-October: Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm; November-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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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
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.

The grounds are open and there is some free, walk-in outdoor programming, but the building is closed.
10 Woodside Lane, Westport
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 to know: storytime every weekday at 10:30am, bird of prey feeding at 11am weekdays, 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.

Nature Conservancy’s Devil’s Den Preserve
The preserve is closed until further notice.
33 Pent Road, Weston
Hours: Sunrise to sunset daily
Admission: FREE
The preserve is the largest tract of protected land in Fairfield County. It offers more than 20 miles of trails, acts as a habitat to about 40 bird species, and holds the remains of charcoal and lumber production sites. The area is deeply wooded, with rock formations, streams, and swamps.

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.

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
Hours: Monday-Saturday 9am-5pm; Sunday 11am-5pm
Admission: $10; $8 seniors; $6 students (with ID); $5 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.

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.


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