Light in Winter at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

FIRST SUNDAYS AT BBG: Winter Bird Walks, Garden Tours to Cure the Winter Blues,
Discovery Workshops for Families, Brunch in Yellow Magnolia Canteen, and More
Winter Hours and Free Weekday Admission Start December 1

Light in Winter at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Release Date: November 28, 2016

Brooklyn, NY—As the weather cools and the days get shorter, visitors to Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) can enjoy the quiet beauty of winter in the Garden. In the new Shelby White and Leon Levy Water Garden, the change in seasons is reflected in the plants and wildlife that live at the water’s edge. As the leaves fall, dramatic tree forms and new perspectives are revealed in the Native Flora Garden, Cherry Esplanade, Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, Rock Garden, and other areas. Visitors can also step in from the cold and enjoy lush greenery and warm microclimates in the Steinhardt Conservatory’s Tropical, Desert, and Warm-Temperate Pavilions, Aquatic House, and C.V. Starr Bonsai Museum. See what’s in bloom now and throughout the year at

Starting December 1, visitors can take advantage of free winter weekday admission. From December through March, BBG presents its winter First Sundays series of indoor and outdoor activities for families and adults, as well as conservatory highlights tours throughout the winter. During the holiday season, BBG’s Garden Shop offers gifts for everyone on your list, from avid gardeners to Brooklyn foodies; special holiday discounts are offered to Garden members. Visitors can warm up in the Yellow Magnolia Canteen, where they can sample the seasonal menu and enjoy wintery views from the Lillian and Amy Goldman Atrium.

Further information on these and other programs at BBG can be found below or by contacting [email protected]. For high-resolution images, please visit

December 2016–February 2017| 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. (please note the new weekday hours)

Starting Friday, December 1, 2016, and continuing through Friday, February 28, 2017, visitors enjoy free weekday admission. For more information, please visit

Holiday Plants Tour
Saturday, December 3, 2016 | 11 a.m.–Noon.

On this special tour we’ll discuss the legends and traditions of holiday plants, focusing on Sukkot, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
Free with Garden admission. Register in advance online or sign up on-site 10 minutes before the tour begins. Meet on Magnolia Plaza by building steps. Please dress for the weather.

Plants of the Lunar New Year
Saturday, January 21, 2017 | 11 a.m.–Noon

Celebrate the Year of the Rooster with a “strut” through the Steinhardt Conservatory, discovering Asian fruits and plants associated with the Lunar New Year. We’ll see citrus, bamboo, ginger, and much more!
Free with Garden admission. Register in advance online or sign up on-site 10 minutes before the tour begins. Meet at Steinhardt Conservatory entrance.

Conservatory Seasonal Highlights Tours
December 3, 2016—March 28, 2017
Every Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday | 1–1:45 p.m.

Join a trained Garden Guide on a tour of the exotic flora of indoor tropical, desert, and Mediterranean climates without leaving Brooklyn.
Free with Garden admission. No reservations required. Meet at Steinhardt Conservatory entrance.

From December through March, BBG presents First Sundays, a series of festive wintertime events for families and adults that celebrates our connection to nature in the quietest months of the year. This year, First Sundays feature pop-up programs inspired by water in honor of the opening of the Shelby White and Leon Levy Water Garden, BBG’s newest specialty garden. All First Sunday events are free with Garden admission.

Mark your calendar! Join us at First Sunday programs on December 4, 2016, and January 8, February 5, and March 5, 2017.

December 4, 2016 First Sunday Schedule:

Family Programming
10 a.m.–Noon: Craft a Paper Pond with Artist Huy Voun Lee
Create a paper water-lily pad for origami frogs.
Steinhardt Conservatory Well

10 a.m.–Noon: Discovery Workshop: Make Your Own Rain-stick
Use natural materials to create a special musical instrument to take home.
Steinhardt Conservatory Well

10 a.m.–1 p.m.: Just Ducky: Pretend Petting Zoo for Toddlers
Come play with feathered waterfowl in our imaginary menagerie.
Steinhardt Conservatory Well

10 a.m.–1 p.m.: Pillow Pond
Curl up in “Pillow Pond” and enjoy water-inspired children’s books and old-school board games.
Steinhardt Conservatory Well

1–2 p.m.: Mermaids on Parade read by Author and illustrator Melanie Hope Greenberg
Curl up in “Pillow Pond” and listen to Mermaids on Parade and other water-inspired children’s books.
Steinhardt Conservatory Well

Outdoor Tours
11 a.m.–Noon: Winter Nature Walk with Brad Klein
Explore BBG’s new Water Garden and observe the birds, mammals, and insects that remain active in winter.
Meet at Steinhardt Conservatory Entrance. Register here in advance or on-site that morning.

Noon–1 p.m.: Chase Away the Winter Blues Outdoor Tour
After the Leaves Have Fallen: The Subtle Beauty of Deciduous Trees

Join psychotherapist Lynne Spevack for this narrated walk designed to relieve the winter doldrums.
Meet on Magnolia Plaza. Register here in advance or on-site that morning.

1–1:45 p.m.: Conservatory Seasonal Highlights Tour
Join a trained Garden Guide on a tour of the exotic flora of tropical, desert, and Mediterranean climates without leaving Brooklyn.
Meet at Steinhardt Conservatory entrance. No preregistration necessary.

10 a.m.–4 p.m.: Yellow Magnolia Canteen
Enjoy à la carte brunch offerings and specialty cocktails in the Garden’s cozy indoor café.
Lillian and Amy Goldman Atrium at the Visitor Center.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016, 11:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m.

Celebrate the start of winter throughout the Garden with Make Music New York as Baritone Christopher Dylan Herbert presents an encore performance of his participatory version of Franz Schubert’s 1828 song cycle Winterreise (Winter Journey) at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The performance will migrate through the Garden, the scenery reflecting the vivid imagery of Wilhelm Müller’s poetry and Schubert’s music.
Meet at Magnolia Plaza. For more information, please visit here.

Glass Terraria and Their Living Companions (UrbanGlass Collaboration)
Friday, December 9 | 6:30–8 p.m. at UrbanGlass
Friday, December 16 | 6:30–8 p.m. at Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Preregistration Required

In this two-part class, explore the art of flameworking at UrbanGlass and the science of houseplants at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The course begins at UrbanGlass with a behind-the-scenes peek into how artist Amy Lemaire creates her signature terraria. After a short lecture that explores Amy’s artwork and the inspiration for the UrbanGlass terrarium design, the class heads to the studio for a live glass flameworking demonstration as Amy sculpts the glass form from start to finish. Afterward, each student selects a unique terrarium and air plant, included in the price of the workshop.

On day two, join horticulturist David Horak at Brooklyn Botanic Garden for an in-depth exploration of epiphytes— remarkably diverse group of plants that grow harmlessly on other plants rather than in the ground, including most orchids, bromeliads, and many ferns and philodendrons. Examine firsthand plants from BBG’s collections and learn about the ecology of epiphytes and the unusual ways they have adapted to thrive in tropical forests. Then explore how miniature glass terraria can accommodate a wide variety of these jungle beauties in even the smallest of spaces.
$74 member; $82 nonmember. BBG members can receive a 10% discount by calling BBG’s Registration office: 718-623-7220.

Registration Opens December 5, 2015 | 9 a.m.

Harvest in the winter? Yes, you can at BBG! Kids ages 2-17 can register for BBG’s winter Children’s Garden sessions (beginning in January 2017) to pick vegetables growing under row covers, explore plants and animals outdoors, and experience other climates of the world in the Steinhardt Conservatory.
For more information or to register, please visit here.

BBG’s Garden Shop offers an array of special holiday items for home, garden, and loved ones of all ages. Pick up some made-in-Brooklyn edibles, kids’ toys and activities for exploring nature, holiday hanging terraria, and other seasonal gifts.
Members’ Double Discount Days: December 2–16, 2016
BBG members receive 20 percent off their purchases at the Garden Shop and online during Double Discount Days.

The Garden Shop is located in the Steinberg Visitor Center at 990 Washington Avenue. For more information and to shop online, please visit

Yellow Magnolia Canteen has relocated for the season to the Lillian and Amy Goldman Atrium. Along with a seasonal lunch menu—featuring seasonal soups, sandwiches, coffee, desserts, and other delights—the pop-up space offers lovely views of Cherry Esplanade through its sinuous floor-to-ceiling glass walls.

During First Sundays, Yellow Magnolia Café offers a special brunch menu, including brûléed blood orange French toast with crème fraîche; flatbreads with Catskill Artisan Smokehouse’s pastrami smoked salmon, capers, tomato, red onion and cream cheese; and Basque chorizo and eggs with crushed fingerling potatoes (menu subject to change). For menu and more information, please visit

Smart Garden
October 2016–October 2017 | Conservatory Gallery

Gardens can play a big role in conserving water and preventing pollution, especially in cities. In conjunction with the opening of the Shelby White and Leon Levy Water Garden, this year’s gallery exhibit in the Steinhardt Conservatory explores solutions to some of the big environmental challenges cities face in the 21st century. The display highlights BBG’s Water Conservation Project, projected to reduce the Garden’s outdoor freshwater consumption by almost 96 percent. There are also projects for kids and tips making your own sustainable gardens that conserve water and make the city cleaner and greener.

Shayne Dark at Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Installation through July 2017

Artist Shayne Dark is known for creating compelling sculptures that evoke nature while taking on new and complex forms. In July 2016, Dark worked on the grounds of Brooklyn Botanic Garden to create a new site-specific, large-scale installation on Cherry Walk. This new work, along with three other pieces, will remain on display until summer 2017 and will only become more of a feature in the Garden as the seasons change and their scenic backdrops evolve.

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