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New York City is a gold mine for nature lovers

 New York City is a gold mine for nature lovers

New York City is a gold mine for nature lovers

You probably don't realize that New York City is, in fact, the greenest city in the United States. Out of nearly 200,000 total acres, more than 50,000 of those acres are park or open space. While Central Park is the most famous of New York City's green spaces, it is only number five of the city's 10 largest parks.

For nature lovers, New York City may not seem like the wildlife oasis it really is. There are many things to do in New York City that will enhance your appreciation of nature and/or allow you opportunities to educate yourself about nature or simply enjoy it.

New York is home to some 1,700 parks and playgrounds where you can enjoy activities such as biking, in-line skating, ice skating (in season), paddle boating, basketball, skating, softball, soccer, tennis, frisbee or even a rousing game. of tag with the little guy who lights up your eyes. Be sure to bring a blanket so you can lie on your back and watch the clouds roll by. While you're at it, see if there's a stray bird or two you can identify.

For those who love nature, there are plenty of places to get up close and personal with it in New York City. For those interested in bird watching, the New York Botanical Garden offers guided tours. Blue Heron Park is another great place for bird watching. Some of the varieties you will see include woodpeckers and warblers. Clove Lakes Park not only offers bird watching, but also fishing, paddle boating, row boating and outdoor ice skating when the weather permits.

For those who prefer nature activities that require a little more action than birding (well, sometimes), there are many excellent fishing opportunities in and around New York City. The Charles A. Dana Discovery Center in Central Park is a great place to go catch-and-release fishing. They'll even lend you a pole. You can also fish at Willowbrook Park. While you're there, be sure to let the little ones ride the carousel, it will give you a huge amount of smiles for the small price (in today's world) of $1. Other activities available at Willowbrook Park include: archery, ice skating, archery range, soccer, soccer, soccer, horseshoes, tennis and horseshoes.

If plant life is more your speed or you just enjoy seeing the more obvious signs of nature, then there are many opportunities for you to observe the incredible wealth of plant life and vegetation in and around New York City. Central Park Conservatory Garden offers six acres of beautiful plants to enjoy. You can see three distinctive patterns in the gardens here. The north garden is meant to be a French-inspired formal garden, the central garden is meant to provide an Italian ambiance, while the south garden is styled as a traditional English garden. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden offers another opportunity for enthusiasts to enjoy the best greenery New York has to offer. This garden even has a special club designed to help youngsters get their inner green thumbs out. Be sure to check it out.

Another area of Central Park worth mentioning is Belvedere Castle and the turtle pond that runs beneath it. Belvedere Castles is a great place for bird watching and the other wildlife surrounding it only magnifies its appeal. Be sure to stop by the Central Park Conservatory at Belvedere Castle to borrow a backpack containing binoculars, a sketch pad and a map of the park to help you bird like a pro. You must provide identification and children under 6 years old are not allowed to borrow.

If you love nature, don't worry, there is plenty of nature to share and enjoy in New York City. Be sure to take the time to enjoy several of the parks that are available to you during your stay in this wonderful and exciting city.