Brooklyn Botanic Garden 2023 calendar of exhibitions, programs, and seasonal highlights
Mar 01, 2023
to Dec 30, 2023 Official Site
This year, the Garden focuses on trees, the sentinels of our urban landscape. They help us breathe, mitigate extreme heat, protect against flooding, and so much more. Trees are also at risk from the same effects of climate change and pollution they help safeguard us from. During BBG’s yearlong programming, culminating in Power of Trees, a summer and fall program series, Garden staff and other curators and experts look at trees from various perspectives to help visitors better understand and appreciate trees and learn how to advocate for them on a local, national, and global scale.
This year, the Garden offers extended hours during spring mornings and evenings and summer evenings to give visitors more time to enjoy BBG’s stunning 52 acres of specialty gardens and collections. New spring programming invites visitors to take part in weekend and evening hanami traditions under the cherry blossoms, and summer evenings feature live music and other new programming.
This year, BBG entered a new partnership with Union Square Events and Restaurant Associates for its visitor dining and private events. These three organizations with deep New York roots are excited to be working together to reimagine dining and events experiences at the Garden. The Coffee Shop in the Steinberg Visitor Center is open now with a new menu, and new visitor dining concepts at Yellow Magnolia Café and Canteen debut in April.
This holiday season, Lightscape returns to BBG for its third year. Over the last two years, tens of thousands of visitors have been enchanted by Lightscape’s magical outdoor illuminated trail. The 2023 trail promises more works of light art and more special events.
Trees of Little Caribbean
February 20–December 17, 2023
Steinhardt Conservatory | In Partnership with I AM caribBEING
The Trees of Little Caribbean exhibit, created in partnership with I AM caribBEING, is a celebration of the trees (and treelike plants) cherished by Caribbean people that spark stories of rebellion, resilience, spirituality, and joy. Visitors can learn about native Caribbean trees like papaya, guava, soursop, and allspice as well as nonnative plants (like the banana) that were brought from across the globe under colonialism. The exhibit also highlights the restaurants and markets of Brooklyn’s Little Caribbean that feature these plants, along with recipes by I AM caribBEING.
Trees of Little Caribbean has been curated by Shelley Worrell, cofounder of I AM caribBEING, with Brooklyn Botanic Garden staff Chelsea Forgenie, school workshops coordinator; Meera Jagroop, director of youth programs; Mimi Jorling, gardener, Entry House Collection; and Kate Murphy, gardener, Tropical Collection. Exhibition and related programs free with Garden admission.
Making Brooklyn Bloom
Saturday, March 11, 2023 | 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Registration in the Palm House
The 41st annual Making Brooklyn Bloom conference joins the Garden’s yearlong focus on urban trees with the theme: “Tapping the Power of Trees: How the Urban Forest Will Save Cities.” Dr. Vivek Shandas, professor of climate adaptation, Portland State University, gives the Wilbur A. Levin Keynote Address, entitled “Deeply Rooted: Traditional Knowledge, Equity, and a New Era in Urban Forestry.” In his address, Dr. Shandas considers the question: “Can urban greening projects address historic injustices, respond to community aspirations, and draw on traditional ecological knowledge?”
Making Brooklyn Bloom also features workshops, tours, lectures, and informational and networking tables that inspire the equity, advocacy, and care needed to lead us into a more forested future. Registration opens at 10 a.m. on the day of the event. Programs and Garden admission are free for Making Brooklyn Bloom participants. Visit bbg.org/mbb for more information.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden in Bloom
Spring in NYC is synonymous with Brooklyn Botanic Garden. From magnolia and daffodil blooms in late March, through the famous procession of BBG’s 200+ cherry blossom trees in April, and into lilacs, bluebells, and more in May, the spring season is not to be missed.
Extended Spring Hours
April 1–May 15, 2023
Open early and closed late: Tuesday–Thursday, 8 a.m.–8:30 p.m.*
Open early: Friday–Sunday, 8 a.m.–6 p.m.
Through the peak spring season, BBG offers extended morning and evening hours and special programs to make the most of the season. General admission pricing. Advance tickets required. Learn more at bbg.org/visit. *Except: Early close on Tuesdays, April 25 and May 2 (rain dates Wednesdays, April 26 and May 3).
Weekends in Bloom
April 22–23 & 29–30; May 6–7 & 13–14, 2023
Celebrate Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s glorious spring blooms with four weekends of pop-up music and dance performances, cultural programs, workshops for kids and families in the Discovery Garden, Garden tours, and more. Check out BBG’s spring-flowering trees—cherries, bonsai, magnolias, and more—as part of the Garden’s yearlong focus on trees. Weekends in Bloom is part of Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Art in the Garden series. Free with Garden admission. More information will be announced later this year.
Tuesday, April 25 & Tuesday, May 2, 2023 | 5–8 p.m.
Cherry Esplanade, Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, Atrium
Spend an evening under BBG’s exquisite flowering cherry tree collection. For two nights only, visitors can celebrate hanami—the Japanese tradition of experiencing the ephemeral beauty of cherry blossom season—in the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden and beneath uplit trees on Cherry Esplanade, with live music and dance and specialty food and drinks. Ticketed event. More information will be announced later this year.
New Visitor Dining
Opening this spring
This year, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Union Square Events, and Restaurant Associates began a new partnership for the Garden’s visitor dining and private events. Union Square Events is the hospitality and catering division of Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, and Restaurant Associates are innovators in culinary creation and hospitality with 75 years of expertise in working with cultural venues. These three organizations with deep New York roots are excited to be working together to reimagine dining and events experiences at the Garden, building from their shared values of creating community, fostering excellence, nurturing creativity, and extending hospitality. Newly imagined visitor dining opens in April. More information will be announced later this year.
Spring and Seasonal Tours
Learn more about Brooklyn Botanic Garden and its collections, exhibitions, and history with a free Garden tour led by BBG docents, naturalists, and other experts. All tours are free with Garden admission. Learn more at bbg.org/visit/tours.
March 25 and 26, 2023 | 1 p.m. | Magnolia Plaza
Explore BBG’s famed magnolia collection in bloom!
Spring Equinox Tour
Sunday, March 26, 2023 | 2 p.m. | Native Flora Garden
Led by Chenae Bullock, enrolled Shinnecock Indian Nation tribal member, a descendant of the Montauk Tribe in Long Island, and curator of the BBG exhibit Ohkehteau (Plants of the Earth): A Shinnecock Oral History.
Sundays, March 12; June 11; September 10; December 10, 2023 | Various locations
Led by naturalist Bradley Klein.
Seasonal Highlights Tours
April 1–November 30, 2023 | Tuesday–Sunday, 1 p.m | Meet on Magnolia Plaza
Discover BBG’s plants and gardens in peak bloom on tours led by our trained Garden Guides.
Accessible Programs (Spring and Year-Round)
Brooklyn Botanic Garden is committed to making its gardens, exhibitions, programs, and facilities accessible to all who visit. Audio described tours of many of our exhibits and special events are available on select dates. Below find details on other special accessibility programs. Learn more at bbg.org/access.
March 16; April 20; May 18, 2023 | 1–2:30 p.m.
These 90-minute guided tours of Brooklyn Botanic Garden are designed for individuals with memory loss and their caregivers. Visitors can delight in seasonal highlights, enjoy a sensory experience and reminisce about the scents and sights of special plants, connect with nature, and engage in a hands-on activity to take home a memento of the visit. This is a leisurely Garden stroll with opportunities to stop along the way; wheelchair accessible. The tour is free, but space is limited, so preregistration is required. Learn more about Memory Tours.
Discovery Garden Early Openings for Children and Families of All Abilities
Saturdays, May 13; June 10; September 16; October 14, 2023 | 9–11 a.m.
Discovery Garden Early Openings offer children with disabilities and their families the opportunity to explore the garden at their own pace and participate in multisensory activities at facilitated stations. Participants can water, weed, and plant in our fruit and vegetable garden, use real tools to explore plants, read stories, and more in a supportive environment. Early Openings are free, but capacity is kept to a limited number, so preregistration is required. Learn more about Early Openings.
Tuesday, June 6, 2023 | 5:30–11:30 p.m.
Strolling cocktails; dinner and dancing on Cherry Esplanade
Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s annual Spring Gala provides essential support for the Garden—sustaining collections, programs, and the well-being of our community and staff.
This year, the Garden's pleased to welcome Dr. J. Drew Lanham as our honoree at the Spring Gala to accept the Better Earth Award. Dr. Lanham, a 2022 MacArthur Fellow, is an ornithologist, naturalist, writer, and poet combining conservation science with personal, historical, and cultural narratives of nature. Lanham’s research and teaching focus on the impacts of forest management on birds and other wildlife.
The evening’s menu is designed and prepared by the Garden’s new catering partner, Union Square Events. Each course features fresh ingredients that were sustainably grown and harvested. Learn more at bbg.org/gala.
Power of Trees
June 17–October 24, 2023
Trees are at the center of our ecosystem: Throughout the world, and particularly in dense urban areas such as Brooklyn, they are essential to creating healthy and hospitable environments. They help us breathe, mitigate extreme heat, protect against flooding, and so much more. Trees are also at risk from the same effects of climate change and pollution they help safeguard us from. What can people do to protect the trees that protect us?
During BBG’s yearlong programming, culminating in Power of Trees, a summer and fall program series, Garden staff and outside curators and experts look at trees from various perspectives to help visitors better understand and appreciate trees and learn how to advocate for trees on a local, national, and global scale. All Power of Trees events are free with Garden admission unless otherwise noted.
Power of Trees Opening Celebration
Saturday, June 17, 2023 | 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
Celebrate the opening of Power of Trees with a day of music, programs for kids and adults, tours, and a first look at exhibitions throughout the Garden focused on trees.
Power of Trees: Stories from BBG’s Collection
June 17–October 24, 2023
Garden-wide and online
BBG highlights personal, scientific, and horticultural stories about the amazing trees in its collection through a Garden-wide signage exhibit and original web content on bbg.org.
June 17–October 24, 2023
Plant Family Collection | Produced with AnkhLave Arts Alliance
Co-commissioned by BBG and AnkhLave Arts Alliance and curated by Cecelia André, the Branching Out exhibit presents six site-specific works around the Garden inspired by the theme of trees as community hosts. Branching Out is part of the AnkhLave Garden Project, an ongoing series of art exhibitions in public gardens featuring local BIPOC artists.
Other Power of Trees Programming
Throughout the year, find other tree-related horticultural displays around the Garden. The Annual Border’s summer and fall plantings feature companion plants for trees; Trees of Little Caribbean remains on view in the Conservatory; and new interpretative signage in the Bonsai Museum gives visitors more insight into how these small treasures are designed and tended.
Special tours, classes for adults, programs for kids and families, science demonstrations, and other events throughout 2023 also explore the power of trees and the special ways trees touch our lives. In the community, BBG is offering free workshops and events offering guidance on street tree care throughout the year.
More information on Power of Trees will be announced later this year.
Summer in the Garden
When the weather in New York City heats up, Brooklyn Botanic Garden becomes a green oasis for city dwellers and visitors. Throughout the summer, visitors can take advantage of extended evening hours, live music, special events, tours, and pop-up programs for kids and adults.
Visitors can explore the Garden after hours all summer with extended hours open to all visitors on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and to BBG members exclusively on Wednesday evenings. On these nights, the Garden grounds, shop, and dining stay open until 8:30 p.m.
Extended Summer Evenings
Tuesdays and Thursdays, May 16–August 31, 2023 | Open until 8:30 p.m.
Learn more at bbg.org/visit.
Members’ Summer Evenings
Wednesdays, May 31–September 6, 2023 | 6–8:30 p.m.
Learn more and become a member.
Thursday Evening Jazz
Thursdays, July 6, 13, 20 & 27, 2023 | 6–8 p.m.
Cherry Esplanade & Plant Family Central Lawn
Outdoor jazz returns to the Garden every Thursday in July. BBG has partnered with local arts organizations to program each evening’s events. Thursday Evening Jazz is part of Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Art in the Garden series. More information will be announced later this year.
Fête with I AM caribBEING
Tuesday, August 29, 2023 | 6–9 p.m.
Lily Pool Terrace & Discovery Garden
Celebrate Brooklyn’s West Indian community with a garden fête presented for a second year with I AM caribBEING. Dance to local DJs, sip on specialty summer cocktails, and get ready to jump into the annual West Indian Day Parade! More information will be announced later this year.
Plants of Little Caribbean
June 30–September 30, 2023
Discovery Garden | In Partnership with I AM caribBEING
Plants of Little Caribbean showcases plants that are grown and eaten in Caribbean countries and territories. Check out callaloo leaves, yardlong beans, bitter karela, and other fruits, vegetables, and herbs planted in the Discovery Garden for this exhibition for kids, families, and visitors of all aged. As visitors explore, they can learn how these plants are connected to restaurants, markets, and other places in Brooklyn’s Little Caribbean. Signs for this exhibit are written in three languages spoken widely in the Caribbean: English, Spanish, and Creole. Free with Garden admission. More information will be announced later this year.
Jean-Michel Othoniel: Treasure Garden
Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, Fragrance Garden, Lily Pool Terrace
This summer, Brooklyn Botanic Garden presents Jean-Michel Othoniel: Treasure Garden, an exhibition of six new, monumental sculptures placed throughout the Garden. This is the artist’s largest exhibition in the United States since his retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum in 2012.
Othoniel creates abstract sculptures born from the observation of nature and flowers. For Treasure Garden at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the artist chose three locations that offered sensory and spiritual experiences. The exhibition starts in the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden with three golden sculptures created for display in and around the pond. In the intimate Fragrance Garden, designed to stimulate the senses of smell and touch, the artist celebrates the rose. The perfect shape of this flower has been a recurrent motif in his work, such as the paintings he created for the Louvre in 2019. The exhibition extends to Lily Pool Terrace where two gigantic mirror bead sculptures will be installed in the pools; the works respond to each other, enveloping the visitor in a play of multiple reflections. Jean-Michel Othoniel: Treasure Garden is free with Garden admission. More information will be announced later this year.
Art in the Garden: Performance Artist in Residency
Residency: May 1–September 30, 2023
Final Presentation: Saturday, September 23 & Sunday, September 24, 2023
Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Artist in Residence program provides a way for performance artists and visitors to experience the Garden through a different lens. The artist in residence spends time creating work in and inspired by the Garden and will host one or two public classes, seminars, or activities, as well a showcase of their final work in September. Free with Garden admission. More information will be announced later this year.
November 2023–January 2024
This holiday season, Lightscape returns to BBG for its third year. Over the last two years, tens of thousands of visitors have been enchanted by Lightscape’s magical outdoor illuminated trail. The 2023 trail promises more works of light art and more special events. Ticketed after-hours event. Dates and more information on Lightscape will be announced later this year.
Brooklyn Botanical Garden
1000 Washington Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11225
All events and times are subject to change.Comments