There might be no better place to get the kids away from the bustle of city streets than the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, especially in Spring. With over fifty acres of lush gardens, bright lawns, and shady paths there’s plenty of space to stroll, and of course, stop and smell the flowers. Additionally, the copious signage lets your (ahem) budding botanist polish his or her skills identifying the various flora.

What to see: While the trees are still in bloom, the Cherry Esplanade is not to be missed. Many families sprawl there and let the kids play with the falling petals, but be sure to get to the Japanese Hill and Pond Garden to visit the many beautiful koi fish. The nearby Shakespeare Garden has lots of winding paths and quotes from the Bard that older children will enjoy.

For those seeking more than a casual stroll, there are a number of 3-6 week children’s gardening classes for ages 2 to 17. The garden offers spring-break and summer classes, as well as drop-in family workshops on weekends in the Discovery Garden during growing season. Workshops are free with admission.

If the weather turns inclement or the sun gets to be too much, the Brooklyn Museum and the Brooklyn Library on either side of the garden’s gates are perfect spots for respite.

What to bring: On bright days be sure to wear long sleeves and a hat, or sunblock. Remember your camera: practically everywhere is a beautiful backdrop for photos. If you’re planning on taking gardening classes, bring clothes you don’t mind getting dirty.

When you arrive: The Botanical Garden has parking on Washington Avenue and the 2/3 and 4/5 trains stop on Eastern Parkway, right in front of the Brooklyn Museum. Tickets are available at all gates.

Where to eat:  Picnicking is, alas, not allowed except during special member events. There’s a cafe toward the back with a wide array of food, though it gets crowded on weekends. And while there’s not much right outside the gates, a brief stroll across Grand Army Plaza to 7th Avenue will take you to more kid-friendly restaurants in Park Slope than you can shake a branch at.

Hours: Tues-Fri 8:00 am – 6:00 pm, Sat-Sun 10:00 am – 6:00 pm, through the summer. See website for winter hours.

Admission: $10 Adult, $5 students with ID, Children under 12 free. Free also on Tuesdays and Saturdays before noon.

Brooklyn Botanical Garden
900 Washington Avenue
Brooklyn, Ny 11225

—Christopher Michel

Photo credit: Dave Allen via Creative Commons