The NYBG is a dreamy day trip for most New Yorkers. There are more than 1 million plants on display and the site encompasses 250 acres. Ideal for those of us without a backyard. Bring a picnic and set out your goodies on one of the several inviting lawns and let the kids enjoy the feel of grass between their toes. The Children's Garden always seems to have free activities (we potted a evergreen on our last visit) for budding horticulturalists.
It pays to become a member--parking is free and you get special invitations to events such as the yearly train show in the conservatory! Rate $120 per year (compare that to a $20 daily adult ticket to all attractions). Otherwise on-site parking: $12 per vehicle and NYBG is also easy to reach by Metro-North Railroad or subway.
Tips: Grounds admission is free to everyone all day on Wednesdays and from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturdays.