New York Botanical Garden is considered to be one of the leading botany centers in the world. This 250-acre garden built around the dramatic gorge of the Bronx River is one of the best reasons to make a trip to the Bronx.
The garden was founded by Dr. Nathaniel Lord Britton and his wife, Elizabeth. After visiting England's Kew Gardens in 1889, they returned full of fervor to create a similar haven in New York. The grounds encompass the historic Lorillard Snuff Mill, built by two French Huguenot manufacturers in 1840 to power the grinding of tobacco for snuff. Nearby, the Lorillards grew roses to supply fragrance for their blend. A path along the Bronx River from the mill leads to the garden's 40-acre Forest, the only surviving remnant of the forest that once covered New York City. Outdoor plant collections include the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden, with 2,700 bushes of 230 varieties; the spectacular rock garden, which displays alpine flowers; and the Everett Children's Adventure Garden, 8 acres of plant and science exhibits for children, including a boulder maze, giant animal topiaries, a wild wetland trail, and a plant discovery center.
In 1997 the historic Enid A. Haupt Conservatory - a Victorian-era glass house with 17,000 individual panes - reopened after a four-year renovation. Inside are year-round re-creations of misty tropical rain forests and arid African and North American deserts. The Museum Building houses a gardening shop, a library, and a world-renowned herbarium holding 6 million dried plant specimens.