Brooklyn Botanic Garden is committed to making its gardens, exhibitions, programs, and facilities accessible to all who visit. Due to the historic nature of much of the Garden, some areas may present challenges to those with ambulatory disabilities.
The front section of the parking lot is reserved for visitors who are mobility challenged. Visitors in wheelchairs can enter the Garden using any of the public entrances when the Garden is open. After hours, persons in wheelchairs should exit through the Administration Building at 1000 Washington Avenue.
BBG’s grounds are accessible by paved pathways throughout the Garden. Garden areas can be reached in a variety of ways, including stair-free options for most specialty gardens. However, due to the historic nature of the Garden, certain paths may be narrow, rough, uneven, or steep.
Personal Care Attendants (PCA) assisting visitors with severe disabilities are admitted at no additional cost.
Alice Recknagel Ireys Fragrance Garden
Created in 1955 and enjoyed by all visitors to Brooklyn Botanic Garden, this was the first garden in the country designed for the visually impaired. Visitors are encouraged to touch and smell the plants, which have been selected for fragrant or tactile qualities and are all nontoxic. Plants are grown in elevated beds for accessibility by persons in wheelchairs. A continuous metal railing offers guidance, and Braille labels identify the specimens.
Find out more about the Alice Recknagel Ireys Fragrance Garden.
The Garden provides learning opportunities for visitors of all ages. Experienced educators work with both children and adults at all developmental and cognitive levels. BBG’s education programs can be adapted for students with special needs. Education greenhouses have hydraulic, height-adjustable potting tables that enable all students to work comfortably.
Garden educators periodically offer special early-morning programs of facilitated, multisensory activities for families who have children with disabilities. See bbg.org/earlyopening for details.
When scheduling a school visit to BBG, please notify Registration about the learning or physical needs of your students. BBG offers discounted fees for special-needs programs; please ask about this when you register. For more information, call 718-623-7220.
Garden Tours and Public Programs
Guided tours, led by extensively trained Garden Guides, are available for all exhibitions and special programs to ensure that individuals of all abilities have a rewarding experience. Tours tailored to visitors with physical or developmental challenges can also be arranged. Call 718-623-7220 for more information.
The Garden offers free special guided tours designed for individuals with memory loss and their caregivers, as well as free group tours for caregivers only. Call 718-623-7220 for more information.
During festivals and other public programs, accommodation in performance areas can be made for visitors in wheelchairs or with limited mobility.
The Visitor Center, cafés, and Garden Shop are all accessible by wheelchair. An elevator providing access to the Auditorium and the Library is located in the Administration Building at 1000 Washington Avenue.
The lower level of the Steinhardt Conservatory, including the gallery, Desert Pavilion, Tropical Pavilion, and Warm Temperate Pavilion, can be reached by elevator.
Uniformed security guards, stationed at each entrance and traversing the grounds, can help direct visitors to appropriate facilities and resources.
Restrooms for use by our visitors in wheelchairs are located in the Steinberg Visitor Center and Steinhardt Conservatory, outside Yellow Magnolia Café, and at the Flatbush Avenue entrance.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden provides wheelchairs as a courtesy to visitors. They are provided on a first-come, first-served basis and are available at each public entrance. A valid driver’s license or government-issued picture ID card is needed in order to furnish you with a wheelchair. Your ID will be held and returned to you when you return the wheelchair.
Service Animal Policy
Brooklyn Botanic Garden is committed to making its gardens, exhibitions, programs, and facilities accessible to all who visit. BBG does not allow visitors to bring pets into the Garden; however, consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and NYC Human Rights Law, BBG does allow service animals onto the premises.
Service animals are defined by the ADA as “dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.” Examples of such work include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting or protecting a person with seizure disorders, reminding a person with mental illness to take medication, or calming a person with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack.
In cases in which a service animal is out of control, BBG Security personnel will request that the handler correct the animal’s behavior, or in some cases, may request that the animal be removed from the Garden. For the purpose of this policy, and in accordance with Section 36.302(c)(2) of the ADA, the following criteria must be met for a service animal to be considered “under control”:
- The animal must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using the devices.
- The individual with the disability must maintain control of the service animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.
- The animal must be housebroken and able to relieve itself in the designated area behind and to the north side of the Rose Arc.
- The animal must not demonstrate agitated or aggressive behavior, including but not limited to barking, whining, biting, growling, jumping, scratching, leash pulling, and sniffing other visitors.
Questions concerning Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s service animal policy should be directed to [email protected].
The Garden is committed to making its website and electronic information accessible to individuals with disabilities by meeting or exceeding the requirements of Section 508 of the federal Rehabilitation Act. This law requires federal agencies to provide individuals with disabilities equal access to electronic information and data comparable to those who do not have disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency. Brooklyn Botanic Garden is not a federal agency; however, we use these standards as a benchmark. We want our website to be accessible—and usable—for all internet users and for the full range of browsing platforms and devices. In 2004, bbg.org was honored with the Talking Hands Award for combining Section 508 compliance with creative excellence.
If you have any feedback or concerns related to the accessibility of any content on bbg.org, please contact [email protected]. Please include the webpage URL and a description of any specific problems you have encountered.
The Garden’s Master Site Plan considers accessibility in all aspects of its design.
If you have questions or comments about accessibility at BBG, please email [email protected] or call 718-623-7269 on weekdays (718-623-7260 on weekends).