There are many gems to discover in New Jersey but one that every local and visitor alike should not pass by is the New Jersey Botanical Gardens. This fabulous array of gardens and woodlands is home to the Skylands Manor as well. The manor was built by renowned architect, John Russell Pope, who is responsible for such icons as the Jefferson Memorial and the National Gallery of Art. Built in the mid 1920’s, the manor boasts a beautiful Tudor Revival style. The substantial house is surrounded by carefully maintained gardens of many varieties and one thousand acres of woodlands with walking trails as well. Here are some of the most notable highlights about the gardens that you won’t want to miss!
The gardens are free and open year round. While there is a small state parking fee in the summer of $5 for New Jersey State residents and $7 for non locals, the extensive gardens and woodlands are free for visitors to explore from 8am to 8pm most of the year (8am-6pm in the winter months) and the parking is free in the fall, winter and spring. Many of the gardens are perfect to visit between May and October. These include the Annual and Perennial Garden, the Wildflower and Summer Garden and the Azalea, Magnolia and Octagonal Garden. Other gardens are more specific for certain months like the Crab Apple Allée in May and the Peony Garden in May and June. The Winter Garden is available all year and is obviously the perfect garden attraction in the winter months.
The gardens are family and kid friendly (but leave your fur babies at home!) and the younger visitors will love the Wildflower Garden and Summer Garden as well as the family hikes through the Woodland Trails. The New Jersey Botanical Gardens tour guides offer a fun scavenger hunt and even a solar system walk.
In addition to touring the gardens either on your own or with a guide, the Skylands Manor is an excellent option for anyone who loves architecture or history. These tours are only available on select Sundays, so be sure to call ahead or check the event calendar available on their website. The tour is $7 for general admission with lower fares for seniors and children, with children under 6 being free.
The New Jersey Botanical Gardens are available for use as a wedding venue. The manor house has 24 guest rooms and the ballroom can accommodate 225 guests. The beautiful gardens are the perfect backdrop for a gorgeous spring or summer outdoor wedding and can accommodate a larger wedding group of up to 600.
The gardens have many volunteer opportunities for the plant enthusiasts or just those who want to give back to their community. Call the main office to set up a time to help in the gardens or work on restoration of Skylands Manor. If you are short on time, the Gardens have great giving options available for the public to contribute to. The most endearing option is perhaps planting a tree in the gardens to commemorate a special event or special person in your life.
Take full advantage of all the Botanical Gardens have to offer with these great events coming up in the month of August!
* August 13th, 11am-4pm is the Summer Craft Fair. This family fun event will include crafts, art, pottery and more! Free! (parking fee)
* August 14th, 12pm-3pm. The Audubon Butterfly Festival will be a great opportunity to see some beautiful butterflies and to learn how to start your own butterfly garden collection. Free!
* August 19th, 6:30pm concert featuring Loretta Hagen. A $5 donation is appreciated.
* August 21, 1:30pm is a volunteer opportunity! Come prepared with garden gloves to help out around the grounds.
The address is 2 Morris Road, Ringwood, N.J. 07456 and is easily accessible from New Jersey off of I-187 and from New York from NJ-208 to I-187.