Learn & Play

Learn and play in Hudson River Park!

NEW! Nature Docent Program

Do you love learning about the park’s wildlife? Interested in learning more and sharing that knowledge with other park patrons? Hudson River Park is now accepting applications for its Nature Docent Program. Get trained by the park’s environmental educators and volunteer naturalists about the park’s wildlife (both in the river and out!) then help us to inspire and educate other park patrons about the many natural marvels throughout Hudson River Park. Email us for more information.


WHEN: Sundays from 9 a.m. – 10 a.m. through Sept 29th

WHERE: Participants should meet at the northernmost entrance to Pier 40 on Houston Street (in front of Capital One Bank's ATM). Group will either head north or south from that point depending on what’s interesting to see in the park that day!

Hudson River Park is bringing attention to its vital role in creating one of scarcest resources in all of Manhattan—wildlife habitat! Learn about Hudson River Park’s wildlife by joining experienced naturalists on guided nature walks along the Park’s esplanade. Enjoy a meandering waterfront walk while viewing and learning about the park’s flora and fauna, including some of the 85 different species of birds identified within Park boundaries. Peek into some of our many gardens to discover butterflies, dragonflies and other interesting insects. Get to know the native plants that thrive in unexpected places in and around the river’s edge.

Each nature walk is unique and offers a one-of-a-kind treasure hunt-like experience. Nature walks last approximately one hour. Nature guides will meet participants at the main entrance to Pier 40 at Houston Street at 9 a.m. sharp. Please wear comfortable shoes and dress appropriately for the weather. Participants can expect to walk about 1 ½ - 2  miles. Loud noises and barking tend to startle wildlife and reduce viewing opportunities; please be considerate and leave your dog at home.

WALTER LAUFER is a self-taught urban naturalist, with a special interest in butterflies and dragonflies. For many years, Laufer has spent time in western North America hiking with naturalist guides. Since 2005 he has been converting the knowledge gained in the wild to knowledge useful in the urban environment. 

Laufer has learned to identify a werTo date he has learned to identify over 100 varieties of vegetation from pine trees to periwinkles found in the Park; over that time he has observed more than 80 bird species and 50 insect species living in or passing through the Greenwich Village and Tribeca segments. He loves sharing his expertise and passion for the flora and fauna of Hudson River Park.

KEITH MICHAEL is a self-taught urban naturalist, an avid birder and a dedicated explorer of the New York City Parks in all five boroughs. Birds are his driving focus, but the vistas, trees, wildflowers, grasses, butterflies, dragonflies; scaled, slithery and furred fauna that can be observed within NYC are equally as remarkable to him. Besides leading Hudson River Park Wild! walks, the Park is "home turf" for daily walks with his Pembroke Welsh Corgi. He is also a regular contributor to WestView: The New Voice of the West Village.

For Michael, reconnecting with the rhythms and sheer wonders of the natural world in our urban midst is a potent antidote to the stress and electronic distractions of our daily routines. Michael believes that curiosity is the key – there will always be more to see and learn. JUST LOOK!


  • Anglers are welcome to fish on their own throughout Hudson River Park except in areas where such activity is specifically prohibited, provided they obey all posted guidelines, and adhere to all applicable regulations. See the New York State Hudson River Fishing Regulations.
  • Anglers age 16 and older need to register with the NYSDEC in order to fish in Hudson River Park.  Please visit NYSDEC’s Recreational Marine Fishing Registry for more information
  • Eating fish and crabs from the Hudson River can be harmful to your health.  It is very important that people educate themselves about the health advisories concerning the consumption of Hudson River fish.

Other Enrichment Activities

There are a number of organizations in the Park that also provide enrichment experiences.


Hudson River Park along with partner Bike New York provides free daily bike education classes throughout the summer for both children and adults. As anyone who visits Hudson River Park can attest, the bikeway is extraordinarily popular!  While we are pleased to have so many people enjoying the Park’s bikepath we also realize that learning to ride on our bikepath (or elsewhere in New York City) isn’t so easy. 

About Bike New York

Bike New York is a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose mission is to promote and encourage bicycling and bicycle safety through education, public events, and collaboration with community and government organizations. Best known for producing America’s largest cycling event, a 40-mile, traffic-free ride for some 32,000 cyclists known as the TD Five Boro Bike Tour, we also organize regional rides outside NYC, offer free local group rides and classes to the public, and develop customized bicycle safety and education programs in and around New York City.

New York Times City Room Soon, a Safe Place for Unsteady Bicyclists by J. David Goodman, April 19, 2012


Fishing in New York City? You bet! Each summer, Hudson River Park offers Big City Fishing, a free program, to those as young as five who are eager to learn how to fish and learn more about the Hudson River environment. We provide the rods, reels, bait and instruction. Beyond learning how to fish, the program also provides participants with a first-hand opportunity to learn about river ecology and the many fish species that can be found in the river. Participants can drop in a line and relax, or engage with environmental educators on such topics such as water quality, fish biology and more. A fun and educational experience, Big City Fishing offers city-dwellers a unique option for outdoor family recreation.


Numerous organizations focused on natural sciences showcase their work and research in a festival atmosphere. Kids of all ages will be encouraged to engage in hands-on demonstrations taking place throughout the day.


Hudson River Park offers toddlers age two to five an opportunity to learn more about something they might not experience too often in Manhattan—the great outdoors! Hudson River Park’s environmental educators offer an outdoor option to story hour at the local library. Hands-on learning and play activities for toddlers will vary from week to week and will include eco-crafts, music, watery experiments and much more. Take advantage of this great opportunity to teach our youngest visitors about the environment and the world around them.