The New York Botanical Garden has announced plans to reopen the grounds of its 250-acre site to the general public on Tuesday, July 28, in a gradual process as the City enters New York Forward’s Phase Four, projected to begin July 20. Since enacting the temporary closure on March 15, 2020, due to COVID-19, Botanical Garden leadership has been proactively developing and implementing new safety protocols in accordance with State and New York Forward requirements for businesses and cultural institutions, CDC guidelines, and OSHA standards. (Note: The Garden’s reopening dates are contingent on New York City receiving permission to enter Phase Four.)
NYBG is among the most comprehensive botanical gardens in the world—an urban oasis and integral part of the cultural fabric of New York City, anchored in the Bronx. The verdant landscape currently features a trove of vibrant daylilies, hydrangeas, water lilies, and lotuses among its one million plants. Walking paths and trails crisscross the Garden providing opportunities for discovery through encounters with nature. The reopened gardens, outdoor collections, and natural features include the Native Plant Garden, with its meadow, woodland, promenade, and centerpiece water feature; Bronx River, with its waterfall, which runs through the 50-acre Thain Family Forest; layered and colorful patterns and plant groupings of the Perennial and Herb Gardens; lushly shaded Chilton Azalea Garden; award-winning Rockefeller Rose Garden; tropical and aquatic plant-filled Conservatory Courtyards and Pools; inviting paths through the Ross Conifer Arboretum; Benenson Ornamental Conifers; Burn Family Lilac Collection; and more.
Tram Tours, public programs, and group tours are suspended temporarily as a safety precaution. The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, LuEsther T. Mertz Library, Edible Academy, Everett Children’s Adventure Garden, and Hudson Garden Grill remain closed.
The public reopening will be prefaced by Appreciation Week July 21‒26, when NYBG will welcome Garden Members; Bronx health care heroes from the eight public and private hospitals in the borough; and Bronx Neighbors with first access and complimentary tickets. Communities in the Bronx are among the most severely impacted by COVID-19 in New York City. Through its Appreciation Week initiative, the Garden seeks to acknowledge, with gratitude, the dedication, strength, and resilience of Bronx frontline health care workers and residents. Complimentary admission for those groups will continue through September 13.
The reopening incorporates enhanced safety measures based on best practices and guidance from health authorities and government agencies. New measures include requiring staff and visitors over the age of two to wear face coverings; increasing sanitization of public and staff areas; daily health screenings for on-site staff; supporting social distancing practices; requiring timed-entry tickets purchased in advance; operating at a reduced capacity; and more.
The new, limited timed-entry ticketing system will stagger visitors’ arrivals, promote social distancing, and mitigate the risk of crowding in high-traffic areas. Advance purchase of timed tickets is required and will be confirmed by e-mail with the option to print or download a mobile ticket. Visitors who do not purchase advance tickets will not be guaranteed admission at this time. Garden Patrons and Members must also reserve timed tickets in advance. For more information, visit our website at nybg.org.
To further facilitate social distancing, visitors will find new wayfinding signage and pavement markings at admissions points and where queuing is necessary. Some pathways will be designated for one-way foot traffic to help avoid congestion. New hand sanitizer stations on the grounds and touchless restroom appliances will be available. There is ample parking on-site and in NYBG’s Parking Garage, just steps away from the Mosholu Entrance. Other visitor amenities include:
- Pine Tree Café (10 a.m.–6 p.m.; limited menu and outdoor seating),
- Hudson Garden Grill Terrace (12–5 p.m.; snacks and refreshments, including water, beer, and wine)
- Pine Tree Café Pop-up at the Rose Garden (11 a.m.–4 p.m.; snacks and refreshments, including water, beer, and wine)
- Clay Family Picnic Pavilions,
- “My Day at the Garden” kids and family activity guide,
- Self-guided audio tours, which are available by cell phone, and
- NYBG Shop (per social distancing protocols).
The reopening plan is subject to change based on government guidance and in response to altered circumstances. Subsequent phases of the Garden’s reopening will be announced at a future date online at nybg.org and via the Garden’s social media channels.