One of New York’s Top Spots to See Fall Foliage
Some of the best places to see fall foliage is right here in New York City. Explore the Thain Family Forest, the largest remaining tract of old-growth forest in NYC. Become a citizen scientist by helping record and observe native flora, and learn about NYBG’s work in conservation and preservation. Immerse yourself in magnificent fall color, enjoy Shakespeare performances, take a scenic canoe trip down the Bronx River, watch a birds of prey demonstration, or take a hike on the trails with a guide.
Fall Foliage Tracker
The Forest becomes a vivid patchwork of reds, oranges, and yellows in fall! Follow along with the changing foliage as the Garden prepares for winter.
Events & Activities
NYBG in fall is a world of adventure waiting to be explored. Join in on canoe trips, watch woodworking in action, and sit for demonstrations featuring some of the Garden’s resident raptors.
11 a.m.–4 p.m.
NYBG volunteers have been tracking the tree cycles of leaf, flower, and fruit development for more than ten years. They will help you look closer at the trees within the Forest, giving you an entirely new perspective from the trails. Get help with tree and plant identification so you can explore the trees in your neighborhood more closely. Learn how you can be part of Citizen Science.
Shakespeare in the Forest
12, 1, & 2 p.m.
Thain Family Forest
A high-energy troupe of performers, Hamlet Isn’t Dead, transforms the Thain Family Forest into an enchanted Shakespearean woodland – presenting highlights from A Mid-Summer Night’s dream. Over the course of the afternoon, faeries will plot, lovers will quarrel, and slapstick characters will have you in stitches. Follow our narrator, Puck from place to place and see them all. Experience Shakespeare’s poetic and comic genius in the splendor of the Garden’s autumn landscape.
Birds of Prey Demonstrations
12 & 2 p.m.
Hawks, owls, and falcons deftly swoop through the air, alert for prey. Their unique design and deadly weapons place them on top of the food chain. Learn how to identify these birds while gaining a greater understanding about their adaptations and habitats.
Volunteers for Wildlife is a non-profit wildlife hospital and education center founded in 1982. Located in Locust Valley, New York, Volunteers for Wildlife is dedicated to preserving Long Island’s wildlife and natural habitats.
12 –3 p.m.
Thain Family Forest Bridge
Ian Moore was born in Queens, NY, and most recently lived as a fiddler in the Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina, for almost two decades.
During his life he has explored a wide range of acoustic music styles: old timey ballads, blues, bluegrass, rags and reels, hornpipes and hoedowns, polkas, waltzes, gospel, swing jazz, cajun and irish tunes, old honkeytonk numbers, jugband pieces, rockabilly, songs about love, trains and chickens. He has also composed music for theatrical productions, short films, and ballet.
Canoe Trips on the Bronx River
November 3 & 4; 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Limited spaces available; first-come, first-served basis. Weather contingent.
Enjoy a short paddle on the Bronx River with the Bronx River Alliance and experience the beauty of this reclaimed local gem, home to an incredible variety of fish, birds, and even beavers!
The Bronx River Alliance serves as a coordinated voice for the river and works in harmonious partnership to protect, improve and restore the Bronx River corridor so that it can be a healthy ecological, recreational, educational and economic resource for the communities through which the river flows. The Alliance works in close partnership with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation to achieve these goals.
November 3 & 10; 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Near the Thain Family Forest entrance on Azalea Way
Watch Ivan Braun create unique wooden bowls created from fallen trees of the Garden and learn about the art and value of this craft. Take home one of his unique creations from NYBG Shop.
Bronx-based craftsman Ivan Braun has collected wood from felled trees such as yew, red maple, plum, juniper, white oak, cherry, apple, and zelkova (a Japanese elm), crafting them into exquisite bowls and vases. He turns each piece by hand, letting the individual character and form of the tree influence the final shape, making each truly one of a kind. In addition to working with wood all his life, he has worked for several nonprofit social-service organizations.
Wilderness Survival Skills
Sunday, November 4; 1–3 p.m.
Thain Family Forest
Escape the city and venture on a journey into our 50-acre Native Forest as urban naturalist, Gabriel Willow, guides you through the basics steps necessary to survive and thrive in the wild. Learn to feel at home in the forest while honing your navigation, wildlife and plant identification skills. Willow is an environmental educator, ecologist, and urban naturalist who lives and works in New York City. In particular, Willow is known for his birding tours and city wildlife (or city “wilderness”) tours, which he has led since 1999 through the parks, gardens, and waterways of New York City. As an educator he is a self-described “storyteller”.
Thain Family Forest Tours
Daily; Meet at the Forest Main Entrance
Themed discovery walks of the Forest take place throughout each day. Wear comfortable shoes and seasonal attire for the weather.
- 11 a.m – Birds of the Forest
- Explore the diversity of migrating birds that find food and habitat in the Thain Family Forest. Learn more about ongoing efforts to make NYC a safer place for our “fine feathered friends.”
- 12:30 p.m. – Natural History of the Thain Family Forest
- Experience the beauty of the Garden’s 50-acre Thain Family Forest on this one-hour walking tour with an expertly trained Tour Guide. You’ll learn facts about the trees, history, geology, and ecology of the largest uncut expanse of New York’s original wooded landscape.
- 3 p.m. – Sustainable Forestry Tour
- Learn more about old growth forest management in our ever-changing world. Topics to include: invasive species management, watershed protection, and wildlife habitat enhancements.
Common Lichens of Northeastern North America
New from NYBG Press, make the most of your woodland outings with this comprehensive guide to the lichens of the northeast. Learn to identify the subtle but important species that thrive in our region.