Bronx Zoo Nature Club

Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS

Get outside and explore!

The Bronx Zoo would like to invite you and your family to take a walk on the wild side! Thanks to funding from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, we will be posting monthly Nature Club activities to encourage you and your family to get outside and explore!

Why should we spend time in nature?

On average, NYC schools only allow for a 20-minute recess break outside and many are limited to an asphalt play space. Here are just a couple of reasons why it's important to spend time in nature:

  • Supports creativity and problem solving. Studies of children in schoolyards found that children engage in more creative forms of play in the green areas. They also played more cooperatively (Bell and Dyment, 2006).
  • Enhances cognitive abilities. Being exposed to natural settings increases children's ability to focus and enhances cognitive abilities (Wells, 2000).
  • Improves academic performance. Studies in the US show that schools that use outdoor classrooms and other forms of nature-based experiential education support significant gains in social studies, science, language arts, and math (American Institutes for Research, 2005).
  • Reduces Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) symptoms. Spending time in nature can significantly reduce symptoms of attention deficit disorder in children as young as five years old (Kuo and Taylor, 2004).
  • Increases physical activity. Children who are exposed to diverse natural settings are more physically active, more aware of nutrition, more civil to one another and more creative (Belly and Dyment, 2006).
  • Improves eyesight. More time outside is related to reduced rates of nearsightedness in children and adolescents (American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2011).
  • Improves self-discipline. Time spent outside enhances peace, self-control and self-discipline within inner city youth, and particularly in girls (Taylor, Kuo and Sullivan, 2001).
  • Reduces stress. Green plants and vistas reduce stress among highly stressed children (Wells and Evans, 2003).


The Bronx Zoo Education Department is happy to join forces with Kids Unplugged and Tarrytown Family Nature Club to create the Bronx Zoo Nature Club!

Nature Spot of the Month

November: Mitsubishi Riverwalk.

mitsubishi riverwalk

Located right here at the Bronx Zoo, the Mitsubishi Riverwalk is a perfect space for your family to explore local wildlife. The paved trail follows the Bronx River, offering scenic waterfall views, shady forest streams, and ending with riverside spot perfect for picnicking and exploring. Keep your eyes peeled for local New York wildlife on the trail including muskrats, red tailed hawks, and the famous Bronx River beavers, Jose and Justin Beaver. You may even see some fallen trees with characteristic teeth marks where our beavers have collected wood for their dams. The Riverwalk is free for all adventurers so put on your walking shoes and come explore! Perhaps you can try out our highlighted Family Nature Club Activity of the Month.

Location: Bronx Zoo, Near the Bronx River Parking Lot and Entrance
Phone: 718-220-5100
Directions: Click here for directions using Google Maps (,-73.8746055,17z)
Mass Transportation: Subway — Pelham Parkway (2); BxM11, Bx22, Bx39
Difficulty: Moderate for children (steep hill)
Dogs: Dogs are not allowed on this path
Fees: No fee to enter site; $15 car parking fee
You Might Want to Bring: binoculars, water, picnic lunch
Suggested Activities: birding, plant ID, quiet listening, sketching

Want to suggest a spot for the website? Please complete this form and you might see your site on our webpage!

Family Nature Club Activity of the Month

November: Nature Self Portraits.

This month marks the kick-off of the first ever Bronx Zoo Family Nature Club. Club families joined us on the Mitsubishi Riverwalk for free exploration including creating their very own Family Nature Self Portraits. Families gathered fallen leaves, sticks, pine needles, and acorns and used these items to create their portraits on the ground. Take a look at some of the finished products:

nature club crafts

Try it at home! Bring a small bag and collect interesting nature items as you walk. Be sure you are only picking up items on the ground, not off the trees or bushes! Find a special spot to create your nature portrait. Want to share your creation? Post your photos to Instagram using #bznatureclub

nature club crafts

Nature Articles

5 Reasons to Join (or Start!) a Family Nature Club

Muir Inspiration:


Feel free to contact with any questions regarding the Bronx Zoo Nature Club!


Kids Unplugged -

Tarrytown Family Nature Club -