Brooklyn Botanic Garden debuts guided winter walks

New audio tours offer an in-depth look at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, even in the age of COVID-19.
Michael Stewart/Brooklyn Botanic Garden

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden has launched a series of guided audio walks and installations, offering in-depth visits to the greenspace that remain socially distanced.

Through the Art in the Garden Series, two guided audio tours and two site-specific sound installations will be available at the Garden between February and May.

Visitors to the horticultural museum can currently pop their ear-buds in and partake in the guided walk titled “Meander” by artists Gelsey Bell and Joseph White, which takes visitors through the Garden while meditative voices, compositions, singing, and facts about the space are played.

“You’ll be prompted to take a moment and observe what you’re seeing around you in nature and what you’re feeling,” said Elizabeth Reina-Longoria, a spokesperson for the Garden. “It’s very nice and peaceful.”

Starting Feb. 26, “Terminal Moraine” a sound installation by artists Ben Rubin and Brian House will be open to the public at the Walled Garden, the newest addition to the greenspace. The installation features sounds inspired by the glacial movements that formed much of the natural environment of the Botanic Garden and Prospect Park, and the sounds of trees growing. 

To mark the one-year anniversary of the city’s shutdown due to the pandemic, the institution will reprise the sound installation “Loved” — which commemorates those lost to COVID-19 — by percussionist David Cossin in the Cherry Esplanade. The meditative composure featuring seven vibraphones will play hourly on the esplanade for 5 minutes and 28 seconds. 

For those looking to learn more about the Garden’s natural environs, a series of guided nature walks from naturalist Brad Klein are available. Klein takes guests through the Water Garden, the Japanese Hill and Pond Garden, and the Osborne Garden, educating listeners on the survival habits of the garden’s residents as they rough it through winter.

The guided audio tours act as a stand-in to the in-person programming the garden is currently unable to offer due to the pandemic. 

“We’re not able to have our docents who normally give tours,” said Reina-Longoria. “Part of the reason that we’re doing all of these audio tours is it’s a chance for people to come and partake in artistic programs or guided tours without having to be with other people.”