New York's best gardens

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Brooklyn Botanic Garden

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This 52-acre park is home to the climate-controlled Steinhardt Conservatory (which houses plant life from three different temperate zones), as well as gardens devoted to fragrances and plants mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays. If you want some fauna to go with your flora, check out the ducks in the picturesque Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden. Youngsters can make a beeline for the Discovery Garden, frolic in the meadow, hike a nature trail or make friends with a giant faux spider.

  1. 150 Eastern Pkwy, (between Underhill and Washington Aves)
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New York Botanical Garden

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Among the diverse specimens found in this urban Eden are banana trees, moth orchids, the largest collection of New World palms in captivity and a 50-acre tract of pristine forest.

  1. Bronx River Pkwy, (at Fordham Rd)
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Central Park, Conservatory Garden

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  • Free

This serene garden is a quiet zone, so if you bring your kids, be sure they abstain from biking, running, playing sports and making noise. Visitors flock here in the spring to see gorgeous tulip displays, and in autum to see chrysanthemums.

  1. Fifth Ave, (at 105th St)
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Narrows Botanical Garden

  • Free

This small expanse manages to pack plenty of flora into its 4.5 acres. You’ll find a wide array of flowers and plants here, including sections devoted entirely to weeping willows, roses and linden trees.Water lilies begin blooming in the Lily Pond in May, while the 450-foot-long Fragrant Pathway is filled with lilacs, lilies and jasmine, providing further sensory treats for both your nose and your eyes.

  1. Shore Rd, (between Bay Ridge Ave and 72nd St)
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Queens Botanical Garden

The serene space consists of 25 gardens where yoga is allowed but biking and blading are strictly forbidden. This month you'll spot brightly colored Mexican sunflowers and bushes of purple Russian sage. Let your kids use their olfactory sense on the Fragrance Walk; the essential oils of the shrubs and flowers there are particularly strong. Make a stop at the Bee Garden, whose plants attract those hardworking, colonizing insects.

  1. 43-50 Main St, (at Dahlia Ave)
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Snug Harbor Cultural Center

Formerly a home for retired sailors, this 19th-century structure houses exhibits, educational programs and an artist-in-residence program. It is surrounded by 83-acres of of blooming landscape.

  1. 1000 Richmond Terr, (between Snug Harbor Rd and Tysen St)
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Wave Hill

Families can participate in yoga and tai chi chuan at this well-groomed, city-owned park. The center also hosts free garden tours (Sundays at 2pm and Tuesdays at 11am) and frequent concerts and art workshops for kids. Head to the wildflower garden to view the whimsically named spiky white perennial Miss Wilmott's Ghost.

  1. W 249th St, (at Independence Ave)
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