Looking for something cultural and outdoors to do with the kids, set in its own beautiful sanctuary on the Hudson, and located right in the Bronx? All New Yorkers and visitors (and even if you don’t have kids) must get themselves to Wave Hill, one of New York City’s gems. A 28-acre public garden and cultural center overlooking the Hudson River and New Jersey Palisades, this impeccably manicured outdoor space is easy to get to for both city dwellers and suburbanites alike.
Comprised of gardens, lawns, woodland trails, a conservatory, and two houses for cultural programs and art exhibits, Wave Hill is perched up on a hill, naturally, with scenic views of the river and palisades. Adirondack chairs are scattered throughout the property to soak up the scenery and relax in this tranquil respite from everyday urban life (though who are we kidding – with kids, those chairs don’t really exist, but to give you a visual…). It’s hard to believe you’re in NYC when you’re there. Take a walk or hike on one of the trails, and you’ll really feel like you’ve escaped the city for an all out nature get-away.
In addition to the richness of the outdoors, Wave Hill offers a host of cultural programs – for both kids and adults. Our favorite is the Family Art Project, held every Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Wave Hill House. Each art project is inspired by nature, and you and your kids can make something in line with that day’s theme. We’ve been a bunch of times, and some of the projects my girls have come home with have been mosaics, kites made out of recyclables, and the most recent, animals they made out of clay. It is one of the best-run kids art programs around, with an incredible staff of artists and helpers to lead and direct the way. Not to mention a plethora of art supplies and materials. My girls absolutely love this program – suitable for any age group, we plan to go for many years to come.
We typically make our art project first and then run around outside. My youngest daughter is really into plants and anything botanical, so the gardens are always a hit. And they are exquisite – especially in springtime, with the tulips in full bloom, one can wander around and around. The conservatory is always a favorite too, with some of the more exotic foliage and cacti. Last time we visited we walked on one of the trails, cut short by the realization we had to get back for a T-ball game…but you could spend a few hours there, roaming about as well as grabbing some healthy (and mostly organic) eats in the Café. With an outdoor patio, it’s a nice spot to fuel up and relax.
Wave Hill offers a ton of other programs, including art workshops (think landscape painting, photography, drawing, all taught by practicing artists), a cooking program as well as classes in gardening and woodworking. It is a destination for all ages, and a place you can take your kids as they grow up.
For all the nature and art enthusiasts out there, Wave Hill is a NYC must visit. You will not be disappointed!
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