You probably don’t realize that New York City is in fact the greenest city in America. Of nearly 200,000 total acres, over 50,000 of those acres are of park or open space. While Central Park is the most famous of green spaces in New York City, it is only number five of the top 10 largest parks in the city.
For those who love nature, New York City may not seem to be the oasis for wildlife that it actually is. There is plenty to do in New York City that will enhance your appreciation of nature and/or allow you opportunities to educate yourself about nature or simply be out and about enjoying it.
New York Parks & Playgrounds
New York is home to some 1,700 parks and playgrounds where you can enjoy activities such as bike riding, inline skating, ice skating (seasonally), row boating, basketball, skateboarding, softball, soccer, tennis, Frisbee, or even a rousing game of tag with the little one that lights your eyes. Be sure to bring a blanket so that you can lie on your back and watch the clouds roll by. While you’re at it, see if there’s a stray bird or two that you can identify.
For those who love nature, there are plenty of places to get close to it in New York City. For those who are interested in bird watching, New York Botanical Garden offers guided tours. Blue Heron Park is another great place to watch birds. Some varieties you’ll see her include: Woodpeckers and Warblers. Clove Lake Park not only offers bird watching but also fishing, row boating, paddle boating, and outdoor ice skating when the weather permits.
Go Fishing in New York
For those who prefer nature activities that require a little more action than bird watching (well, sometimes), there are plenty of excellent opportunities to go fishing in and around New York City. Central Park’s Charles A. Dana Discovery Center is a great place to go ‘catch and release’ fishing. They’ll even lend you a pole. You can also go fishing in Willowbrook Park. While you’re there, be sure to let the little ones ride the Carousel, it will net you a tremendous amount of smiles for the small price (in today’s world) of $1. Other activities available at Willowbrook park include: archery, ice-skating, an archery range, football, soccer, horseshoes, tennis, and horseshoes.
Gardens in New York City
If plant life is more your speed, or you just enjoy seeing the more obvious signs of nature, then there are plenty of chances for you to observe the amazing wealth of plant life and greenery in and around New York City. Central Park Conservatory Garden offers six acres of beautiful plant life to enjoy. You can see three distinctive patterns in the gardens here.
The North Garden is meant to be a formal French inspired garden, the central garden is meant to lend an Italian atmosphere, while they styled the south garden after a traditional English garden. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden offers another opportunity for enthusiasts to enjoy the finest in greenery that New York offers. This garden even has a special club designed to help youngsters bring out their inner green thumbs. Be sure to check it out.
Another area of Central Park that bears mentioning is Belvedere Castle and the turtle pond that runs below it. Belvedere castles is a great place for birdwatching and the other wildlife surrounding it only magnifies its appeal. Be sure to stop by the Central Park Conservatory at Belvedere Castle in order to borrow a backpack that contains binoculars, a sketchpad, and a map of the park to help you bird watch like a pro. You must provide ID and children under the age of 6 cannot borrow.
If you love nature, don’t fret, there’s plenty of nature to be shared and enjoyed in New York City. Make sure that you take the time to enjoy several of the parks that are available to you during your stay in this wonderful and exciting city.