Brooklyn Botanic Garden reopens to visitors

botanic garden
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which had previously been closed for nearly five months, welcomed visitors again on July 31.
Photos by Susan De Vries

A gentle rain didn’t prevent Brooklynites from standing on line, in appropriate social distance style, for the reopening of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden on July 31. Closed to the public since mid-March, the green space welcomed its first visitors back with directional signs and instructions on how to safely explore the garden.

Many pathways were designated as one-way only to allow pedestrians to loop through gardens with as much distancing as possible. Water fountains were blocked off and most interior spaces were off limits.

The initial week of timed entry tickets is set aside for garden members; the general public will get their chance to return starting Friday, August 7.

While visitors missed the prime spring season, the summer blooms obliged. Lilies, hydrangeas, coneflowers and hibiscus provided splashes of color along the walkways. More visitor arrived as the morning progressed, and while it took some adjusting to stick to designated directions on pathways that were once open to roaming, it was fairly easy to maintain social distance and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

Looking lush were the plantings of the Robert W. Wilson Overlook, which were just freshly planted when it opened last fall. Located adjacent to the Botanic Garden visitor Center, the gently sloping walkway provides a sweeping vista of the Cherry Esplanade and the garden beyond. Benches along the walkway include new placards about social distancing and sanitizing.

Closed since before the pandemic shutdown, the Lily Pool Terrace remains off-limits while restoration of the brickwork and other repairs continue. The cafe and gift shop also remain closed.

Visits to the garden require advance reservation of timed-entry tickets to ensure limited capacity on the walkways. Visitors are asked to wear face masks, limit their stay to three hours and bring their own water. Opening dates for the general public begin August 7 and the first weeks of opening will be free, although donations to support the garden are welcomed. New blocks of tickets will be made available two weeks in advance. For full information, check out the BBG’s reopening information online.

This story first appeared on Brownstoner.