Brooklyn Botanic Garden

New Yorkers are notoriously addicted to the city's frenetic pace and restless energy, which makes weekend escapes to recharge a necessity. We're always amazed by the top-notch green spaces, parks and outdoor attractions New York offers, and after a decade of exploring the city, we still haven't visited all of them.

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We recently checked Brooklyn Botanic Garden off of our list of parks to visit, and it was the perfect place to spend President's Day vacation. Just 30 minutes from our apartment in the Financial District and on the edge of Prospect Park, it's convenient to reach but also far enough away to feel like an escape.

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You can walk around the sprawling grounds filled with unique trees, plants, flowers and sculptures, but since it was the middle of winter, there wasn't much to see outside.

Instead, we spent most of our time in the main greenhouses, which maintain plants from a variety of environments, from deserts to rain forests.

We began at the bonsai exhibit:

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This collection of around 30 bonsai plants--each cultivated in an original style--were fascinating studies in both restraint and creativity.

The cacti of the desert house...

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And the exotic flowers, fruit and plants in the tropical exhibit...

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But the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden was our favorite discovery of the day and well-worth a visit.

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The pond is so serene, and the architecture is so unexpected that you easily forget that you're in the middle of Brooklyn.

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We're hoping to take a second trip to the botanic garden in the spring, so look forward to an update soon.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden 150 Eastern Parkway 990 Washington Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11225