NYC with Kids: Halloween Hoorah at the NYC Botanical Gardens

We love the NYC Botanical Gardens in the Bronx at all times of year.  My kids adore the train show during the winter; I love the orchid show during the summer.  It is a day trip that we all cherish, and it happens to be just 20 minutes from home.

So, on Columbus Day, when I found myself with a day alone with the kids, I closed my laptop and decided to spend the day, which happened to be beautiful, outside, in the fresh air, at the Botanical Gardens.  Little did I know, but the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden was celebrating Halloween in a very large, unexpected way, and it goes until October 31st.   Had I known the kids could have stayed in their Halloween costumes, I would have let them.

It was pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere.  Check these pictures out:


Needless to say, my kids were enthralled.  When you enter the garden, you come face to face with creepy crawlies, pumpkin patches, spooky scarecrows, and more.  Artist Michael Anthony Natiello has carved and sculpted more than 500 pumpkins into a ghoulish menagerie — scarecrows, snakes, and spiders, oh my! There are hands-on work shops with leaf rubbing and seed sorting, and stop off for a play break in a pumpkin playhouse. Plus, there are activities scheduled each day, including cider pressing, the family-favorite Pumpkin Parade, and performances by the Alice Farley Dance Theater.

Sunday, Oct. 31 marks the final day of this year’s Halloween Hoorah.  Master pumpkin sculptor Scott Cully—five-time carver of the world’s largest pumpkin—will be on hand Friday through Sunday attempting to break his own world record by carving Chris Stevens’s 1,810.5 lb. record-setting monster into the world’s largest jack-o’-lantern! Michael Anthony Natiello and Sara Mussen, who worked on the Halloween Hoorah’s 500-pumpkin display, will carve the two regional weigh-off runners-up.

Get your tickets here.   Or better yet become a member like we have.  It’s a huge savings.  The cost to get in is $20 per person, $8 per child 2-12.   Becoming a member has different fees but you recoup your expenses within two visits.

Start planning your schedule with these activities (located in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden unless indicated otherwise):

  • Cider Pressing Demonstration and Tasting
    Weekends only, October 9-31, 2–5:30 p.m.
    Help press freshly harvested apples into cider and get a taste of cool refreshment.!
  • Creepy, Crawly, Critter Exploration
    October 23–31
    Take a magnifying glass to the edge of the log terrarium and get an up-close look at what decays at ground level.
  • Ghostly Leaf Rubbing
    October 23–31
    Decorate your treat bag with a sassafras leaf rubbing. Collect fallen leaves, and other goodies along the trail through the Adventure Garden.
  • Halloween Parades
    Weekends, October 9–31, 12 and 2 p.m.
    Join our “Pumpkin Gardeners” on a whimsical journey in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden. With a taller-than-life gardener on stilts to lead the way and musical instruments to add to the festivities, explore the pumpkin displays on a mission to care for the garden. Children are invited to come in costume and join the parade.
  • Pumpkin Playhouse
    October 9–31, weather permitting
    Live performers: Saturdays and Sundays, and Columbus Day, 11 a.m.–3 p.m.

    Explore a larger-than-life pumpkin that you can go inside (if you are little), or peek in through the windows (if you are big). Enjoy the playhouse for festive photos, or just for play. “Pumpkin Gardeners” engage in live, interactive performances.
  • Sensational Seed Sorting
    October 9–31
    Kids will love sorting, weighing, and experimenting with apple seeds and pumpkin seeds in this fun, fall activity station.

And don’t miss these other Halloween Hoorah events throughout the Garden:

  • Giant Pumpkins, a Showcase of Champions at the Leon Levy Visitor Center
    October 22–31, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
    Three winning pumpkins from regional weigh-offs will be on display for a limited time only. Take in the spectacle of pumpkins, each weighing over 1,500 pounds!
  • Goodnight, Garden! in the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden
    October 9–31, Tuesdays–Sundays, 1:30–5:30 p.m.
    Help prepare the Family Garden for the winter. Plant a cover crop, bury bulbs before the first frost, and grab a rake to help gather the fallen leaves. Make marigold jewelry and sketch a still life of the last of the fall fruits, then frame it with seeds!
    Family and Community Gardening program sponsored by The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company

    Disclosure: I was not compensated to write this review and all opinions are my own.

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  1. Some great tips there. Will be heading into the city for a long weekend in the spring and these will be VERY helpful.

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