New York City Outdoor Activities

New York City Outdoor ActivitiesNew York City may be "the city that never sleeps," it may be a concrete jungle, and it may be the largest city in the nation, but what many people don't recognize is that The Big Apple has plenty of places where you can commune with nature and enjoy time spent outdoors. Check out a few of our favorite NYC destinations that are perfect for getting away from the city without ever really leaving.

Bronx Zoo
Hang out with the animals at the Bronx Zoo. This is the largest metropolitan zoo in the nation and is home to nearly 4,000 creatures living in exhibits and attractions modeled after their original habitats. On your excursion through the zoo, you'll see animals like gazelles, giraffes, tigers, lions, elephants and many others. You can also enjoy the beautiful outdoors of NYC with glimpses of the Bronx River.

Address: 2300 Southern Blvd., Bronx, NY 10460 - MAP
Phone: (718) 367-1010
Web: www.bronxzoo.com

Brooklyn Botanical Garden
Spend some time outdoors at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, where you can see over 10,000 species of plant life. The BBG is home to the Steinhardt Conservatory that houses three climate-themed plant sections, an aquatic plant house and an art gallery. You'll enjoy the sights of Prospect Heights, Crown Heights and Park Slope as you're strolling the 52-acre park.

Address: 1000 Washington Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11225 - MAP
Phone: (718) 623-7200
Web: www.bbg.org

Central Park
You can't consider spending time outdoors without thinking of the famous Central Park first. This is one of the city's most iconic destinations and has several amenities for you to enjoy. Get views of the several lakes and ponds throughout the park as you stroll down walking trails, or explore the on-site wildlife sanctuary and natural woods. There's plenty of nature to enjoy here.

Phone: (212) 310-6600
Web: www.centralparknyc.org

Central Park Zoo
From sea lions to monkeys, peacocks and polar bears, you'll see a wide variety of animals living in the habitats at the Central Park Zoo. The 5-acre zoo is also home to the Tisch Children's Zoo, so the kids can get an even closer look at their favorite wild animals.

Address: 5th Ave. E 64th St., NY, 10065 - MAP
Phone: (212) 439-6500
Web: www.centralparkzoo.com

New York Aquarium
Explore sea life at the nation's oldest aquarium, the New York Aquarium. Over 350 species are housed in the exhibits and attractions here, making this aquarium the best place in the city to get a closer look at the nature that thrives underwater.

Address: 602 Surf Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11224 - MAP
Phone: (718) 265-3415
Web: www.nyaquarium.com

Prospect Park
Head to Prospect Park to spend some time outdoors. The park's 90-acre meadow is the perfect place to sprawl out for a picnic, or enjoy a boat ride on Brooklyn's only lake. Other features of the park include the Prospect Park Zoo and the Prospect Park Bandshell concert venue.

Address: 95 Prospect Park W, Brooklyn, NY 11215 - MAP
Phone: (718) 965-8951
Web: www.prospectpark.org

Queens Botanical Garden
Spend some time outdoors and explore the "living museum" that is the Queens Botanical Garden. The 39-acre garden is home to a variety of roses, herbs, perennial gardens and much more. The QBG also owns New York City's greenest building, its Visitor & Administration Center.

Address: 43-50 Main St., Flushing, NY 11355 - MAP
Phone: (914) 923-4837
Web: www.queensbotanical.org

Queens Zoo
Make friends with nature's most fascinating beasts at the Queens Zoo. Most of the animals here are native to our country, like cougars, coyotes, owls, lynx, alligators and California sea lions, among many others. You'll find the zoo in the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens.

Address: 53-51 111th St., Flushing, NY 11368 - MAP
Phone: (718) 271-1500
Web: www.queenszoo.com

Rockaway Beach
Get some sunshine outdoors by the waves at Rockaway Beach. This Long Island destination is the nation's largest urban beach, and offers 170-acres of sprawling beach, perfect for volleyball, surfing, fishing, swimming and more. If you're not too thrilled about getting wet, take a stroll along the sand or hang out at one of the seven playgrounds.

Address: Queens, NY - MAP
Phone: (212) 639-9675
Web: www.nycgovparks.org

Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden
Explore the plant life in the beautiful Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden. There are several gardens throughout the 83-acre complex, including an English perennial garden, the Tuscan Garden, and the Chinese Scholar's Garden. It won't take you long to discover why this outdoor paradise is considered the "crown jewel" of Staten Island.

Address: 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY 10310 - MAP
Phone: (718) 448-2500
Web: www.snug-harbor.org

Staten Island Zoo
Monkey around with the wildlife that lives at the Staten Island Zoo. Over 858 animals are housed in unique attractions like the African Savannah at Twilight and the Serpentarium, home to one of the largest rattlesnake collections in North America. While you're there, be sure to pay a visit to the zoo's most popular house guest, Staten Island Chuck, the official Groundhog Day forecaster for New York City.

Address: 614 Broadway, Staten Island, NY 10310 - MAP
Phone: (718) 442-3101
Web: www.statenislandzoo.org

The High Line
Head to the lower west side of Manhattan and hang out outdoors at The High Line, an urban park that's built on a section of the freight railroad that runs 1.45 miles from the Meat Packing District up to 20th Street. The park is still in development and will eventually stretch through the neighborhood of Chelsea to the West Side Yard. Attractions, gardens, art and history programs are all features of the park.

Phone: (212) 500-6035
Web: www.thehighline.org

New York Botanical Garden
The New York Botanical Garden is one of the nation's premier botanical gardens, and a must-see destination for nature lovers in NYC. This outdoor paradise is located in the Bronx Park and showcases over 50 gardens and plant collections, along with some of the world's leading plant laboratories.

Address: 2900 Southern Blvd.,Bronx, NY 10458 - MAP
Phone: (718) 817-8700
Web: www.nybg.org

Wave Hill
Explore the public gardens, greenhouse, and cultural center located at Wave Hill. This 20-acre estate offers beautiful views of the Hudson River and the New Jersey Palisades. The outdoor oasis has welcomed visitors like Theodore Roosevelt and Mark Twain.

Address: West 249th St. & Independence Ave., Bronx, NY 10471 - MAP
Phone: (718) 549-3200
Web: www.wavehill.org