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Top 5 New York Indoor Gardens to Escape the Cold

By Martha G
new york indoor gardens

While we love the Big Apple year round, even we admit that February can be a bit gloomy. But that’s no reason not to visit this incredible city, especially when there’s still some green to be had. Come explore these incredible space with our Top 5 New York Indoor Gardens.

New York indoor gardens can provide a welcome respite from the cold and the chaotic music of the streets. These hidden oasis can be hard to find when you need them most, so we’ve collected a few of our favorites here.

new york indoor gardens
Photo: Abrewster

The Butterfly Conservatory at the Museum of Natural History

When you think of the Natural History Museum, you probably picture old bones. But tucked away inside this incredible collection is one of the most vibrant spots in the city, the Butterfly Conservatory. Filled with hundreds of these graceful creatures, the Conservatory invites guests to learn about butterflies up close.

Wander through a balmy 80º vivarium containing dense plant life. Hold still, and a few butterflies might just alight upon your shoulders. Be careful not to touch their delicate wings, but lean in close with your magnifying glass and experience a new perspective. The exhibit is open through May 28, 2018

new york indoor gardens
Photo: Teri Tynes

The Tropical Rainforest at the Central Park Zoo

Central Park in February can be beautiful in its own right, but within this winter wonderland lies one of the strangest New York indoor gardens. The Tropic Zone of the Central Park Zoo is home to a wide variety of animals, none of which you’d expect to encounter in Manhattan.

Come escape the chill in this warm enclosure. Listen closely for the calls of lemurs, tropical birds, and colorful tree frogs as you explore this tiny bit of South America in the heart of NYC. You can learn more about the Zoo and the beauty of Central Park on a Central Park Tour.

The Conservatories at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens

Step from tropical warmth to arid desert climates without ever leaving the city. The Conservatories at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens feature a variety of worlds safely shielded from the elements behind glass. Travel the natural world without even using your Metro card.

The perfect escape from the winter chills, the Conservatories feature one of the most extensive collections of orchids in the country. And the water features of the aquatic pavilion are not to be missed. The cascading waterfall alone is worth the trip to Crown Heights.

new york indoor gardens
Photo: Bitpixdigital

The Ford Foundation Atrium

Only in New York could you expect to find a forest inside a skyscraper. Step inside the Ford Foundation building. The Atrium, completed in 1967, is 160 feet tall and flanked by 13 story glass facades. It’s possible to pass from 42nd to 43rd street through this verdant space, one of the most beautiful New York indoor gardens.

Climb the steps and toss a coin into the fountain. Not only is this space green, it’s Green. The water for the plants and water features is collected rainfall, and the coins tossed into the water are donated to UNICEF.

new york indoor gardens
Photo: Walter De Maria, The New York Earth Room, 1977. © The Estate of Walter De Maria. Photo: John Cliett

The New York Earth Room

A bit of a departure from the norm, the Earth Room is a bit less of a garden and a bit more of a statement. Created by artist Walter De Maria in 1977, the Earth Room is a second story apartment filled with over 22 inches of real soil. That’s over 280,000 pounds!

The Earth Room invokes a deep connection with the dirt, a rare commodity in this concrete jungle. The soil is watered weekly, and while it once required regular weeding, the earth here is now barren. Come experience the strange juxtaposition of the natural and the constructed in this unique space.