You probably don’t realize that New York City is in fact the greenest city in America. Of nearly 200,000 total acres, more than 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 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, skate boarding, 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 of the varieties you’ll see her include: Woodpeckers and Warblers. Clove Lakes Park not only offers bird watching but also fishing, row boating, paddle boating, and outdoor ice skating when the weather permits.
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.
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 your 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 the south garden is styled after a traditional English garden. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden offers another opportunity for enthusiasts to enjoy the finest in greenery that New York has to offer. 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 bird watching 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.
Have you considered biking? You may want to exercise with scenic outdoor touring, getting up close and personal with New York City in its natural environment. The Brooklyn Greenway offers 40 miles of biking trails. If you want to see the city’s seaport, you could tour Manhattan and Brooklyn. The Queens Greenway links 13 city parks.
Make sure that if you do choose biking, you remember that you are there to enjoy your stay. Wear your protective gear, carry a water bottle, and don’t bite off more than you can chew!
You can rent a bike at places like the famous Central Park. A helmet and map, locks and ponchos are included with bike rental fees of $20 per 2 hours or $40 for all day rentals.
New York has other outdoor fun such as the summer concerts, which are free in parks around the city. There’s an almost endless list of summer music festivals for your vacation enjoyment. Jazz, soul, gospel, orchestras, R & B, and even the live guests of Good Morning America are there to entertain the public.