Snug Harbor’s educational programs complement and add diversity to conventional classroom curriculum. Our classes and workshops are designed as interdisciplinary, hands-on experiences that enable students to explore their creativity, discover their community, and learn classroom subjects in new ways. Our programs incorporate Snug Harbor’s history, exhibitions, performances, architecture, and flora and fauna to create a personal, tangible learning environment for all ages.

To book a tour or class trip, please send your requested dates and information to Susannah Abbate, Education Coordinator, at You can also contact (718) 425-3512 for more information.

Adult Tours

Snug Harbor offers three 90-minute tour varieties: Gardens, Galleries, or Historical.

Snug Harbor is one of the largest ongoing adaptive reuse sites in America. Our 83-acre campus consists of 26 historical buildings, 7 landmarked structures and 2 rare landmarked interiors. Formerly Sailors’ Snug Harbor, a home for retired sailors built in the 1800s, Snug Harbor now houses numerous distinctive botanical gardens and 10 acres of state-mapped wetlands. We are a National Historic Landmark District and a proud Smithsonian Affiliate.



Class Trips

Snug Harbor offers four 90-minute outdoor tour varieties: New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden, Wetlands, Snug Harbor Pastoral Grounds and Gardens, and Snug Harbor Heritage Farm. Each tour may be paired with a class (please see below) accompanied by insightful preparation materials, an on-site activity, and post-visit assessment exercises. Most classes can be scaled from pre-Kindergarten to high school. All classes are taught in accordance with CCSS and NGSS.

Please let us know how our resources can support your curriculum.

Check in as we add more classes, prioritizing STEM. We will also introduce classes on Snug’s architecture and history soon!

– School tours are offered 9:30-11, 10-11:30 or 10:30-12, Monday through Friday.
– Classes are encouraged to bring lunch, but please bring trash bags. Tours do not break for lunch.
– Every visit to Snug Harbor is an outdoor experience. Please dress accordingly!
– Classes arriving more than 15 minutes late may not participate in the full program.

***Note: The NY Chinese Scholar’s Garden may be closed on Mondays.

The New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden

Beautiful Writing – What is Chinese calligraphy? Fancy writing? Art? Or both? This ancient Chinese art form uses specific skills and techniques to create “beautiful writing” that conveys information and beauty. We invite you to tour our Chinese Scholar’s Garden, consider the importance of writing and the basic techniques of this beautiful art form. Classes offered year round. Grades 2 and up.

Art and Meditation – Tour the Chinese Scholar’s Garden and learn about ink wash painting. Engage in meditative practice through the art of shui-mo hua to learn the traditional importance of meditation in Asian history. Classes offered year round. Grades 3 and up.

Dragon Boat Festival – What is the legend behind the Dragon Boat Festival? Who is Qu Yuan? Falling on the 5th day of the 5th month of the Chinese lunar calendar, the Dragon Boat Festival stems from the two thousand year-old legend of Qu Yuan. Join our celebration by touring our Chinese Scholar’s Garden and creating a traditional craft.
Classes offered May through July. 

Autumn Moon – Celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival by touring the Chinese Scholar’s Garden. Students will learn the legend of Chang’e and the traditional activities and customs associated with the Moon Cake Festival. Classes offered September through December. 

Chinese New Year – The Spring Festival is the biggest Chinese celebration. Tour the Chinese Scholar’s Garden, learn about and participate in some traditional activities and customs. Classes offered January through April.

Wetland Classes

Please wear appropriate gear for a riparian environment. Shoes may get wet and muddy. Raincoats with hoods or rain hats may be advised, depending upon the weather. Students should not carry umbrellas.

Wetlands Exploration – What are wetlands? What is a food web? Why is energy transfer important? Join us on a hike through our state-mapped wetlands to see how plants and animals thrive through interdependence, from the smallest to the largest. Your young scientists will participate in a pond dip and see the building blocks of the energy pyramid firsthand.Classes offered year round. 

Water, Water, Everywhere – What is the water cycle, and where do we see it at work? How do the different states of water effect our everyday lives? Our wetlands are a perfect place to see the different stages of the water cycle, providing a view of the overall system and how subsystems work together. Older students will create a closed-system biome. Classes offered year round. Grades 1 and up.

Our new Adaptations class will begin in Spring 2017.

Snug Harbor Pastoral Grounds & Gardens Classes

Habitat Hunt – Why does that live there? Explore life in a forest, a meadow, and a wetland. We will consider the role of adaptations in allowing flora and fauna to thrive in different ecosystems. Classes offered year round. 

Green Power / Autumn Leaves – Why are plants so green? What is photosynthesis? Come see the the diverse forms plants take, and learn about their role in transforming the power of the sun into edible energy. We focus on photosynthesis and the seasonal story of trees. Classes offered year round. 

Tree ID – Students work in teams and learn how to identify trees by their characteristic leaves, bark, buds, and tree form.Classes offered year round. Grades 3 and up.

Our new Evergreen class will begin in Fall 2017.

Snug Harbor Heritage Farm Classes

Sprout to Mouth – Where does your food come from? How does it get to your table? Explore farming and its role in our community. A tour of the farm can be combined with a presentation from the NYC Compost Project and a visit to our demonstration kitchen that can allow students to directly view preparation of fresh produce. Students will learn healthy recipes and taste samples. Classes offered year round.

Seeds – What happens inside a seed? How does it become a plant? After touring our farm, learn the stages of seed development and methods of seed dispersal. Students will participate in a seed dissection. Classes offered year round. 

Plant Parts – What are the parts of a plant and how do they support life? Learn to identify the plant parts and their different functions. Students may participate in dissecting a living plant. Classes offered year round.

Flowers and Fruits – Why do plants flower? How do plants grow fruit? Students will learn how fruits grow and participate in dissecting a flower. Classes offered year round. 

Pollination – How does pollination happen? Why is it important? Learn the role of pollination in sustaining life as we know it.Classes offered year round. 

Please check back for nutrition classes in Fall 2017.

NYC Compost Project on Staten Island

Learn about NYC composting programs, as well as some basic info on the science and mechanics of indoor and outdoor composting. Grades K+. Contact 718-425-3558 for more information.