Go BIG or Go Home
What Happens When A Small-Town Family Visits The "World's Largest"... Whatever!

Giant Pumpkin Carving Weekend at The New York Botanical Garden, New York City

Today was a glorious, picture-perfect fall day in New York. The ideal day, in fact, to go see artists with saws and knives hack away at the flesh inside 2,000-lb. pumpkins. It’s the Giant Pumpkin Carving Weekend at the New York Botanical Garden, part of The Haunted Pumpkin Garden event going on all month.

NOTE: I’m posting this tonight in case you want to make last-minute plans to check out this event on Sunday. Totally worth re-scheduling your day of leaf-raking.

giant pumpkin

At 1,813 lbs., this carved pumpkin at the entrance was one of the smaller ones we saw!

This was our first visit to the Botanical Garden, and I don’t know what took us so long to get here. It’s a tucked-away treasure in the Bronx, a National Historic Landmark, with 250 acres of rolling hills, waterfalls and ponds, forest, rock outcroppings, and the Bronx River, along with several historic buildings. Within one of these, the Mertz Library has the world’s largest horticultural and botanical library!

Mertz Library

Mertz Library, New York Botanical Garden

There are 50 themed gardens containing more than one million plants. The kids were really enjoying the walk – until they weren’t – and then they really enjoyed riding the tram around the perimeter of the park.

The Haunted Pumpkin Garden takes place in the Children’s Adventure Garden, and along the trail you’ll find 500 pumpkin sculptures of scarecrows, spiders, snakes, and more.

Childrens Garden

We spent over an hour just exploring the children’s garden, which also contains an indoor discovery center, a puppet theater, a few guided craft activities, as well as wooded walking trails, a maze, and a rocky area perfect for climbing.

Toward the back of the children’s garden is the picnic area, where the giant pumpkin carvers have set up shop with their giant pumpkins. We delighted in discovering a BIG trifecta:

The world’s largest pumpkin, at 2,032 lbs. Did you that during peak growing season, pumpkins can grow up to 50 lbs. a day?!

world's largest pumpkin

The world’s largest watermelon, at 350 lbs.

world's largest watermelon

And the world’s longest gourd, at 134 inches.

worlds longest gourd

Master Carver Ray Villafane of Maniac Pumpkin Carvers was on hand with his crew, working over a giant pumpkin. We know that the plans are to create a sculptural display of carnivorous plants, but the work was still in progress when we were there, so you should show up on Sunday to see the final product!

Here’s what the carving looked like. They used a lot of scary-looking tools. Poor pumpkins never had a chance.


Hey YOU! Go BIG!
New York Botanical Garden
2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10458


  1. October 21, 2013 @ 9:47 am

    Wow! Those are some massive/impressive pumpkins. Reading this post really makes me miss Thanksgiving back in Canada.

  2. Mike said,
    October 21, 2013 @ 10:33 am

    Those are amazing!!! Who knew they could grow so large? Cool post.

  3. October 22, 2013 @ 7:56 am

    I don’t understand what people actually do to grow such a large pumpkin. Is there any kind of some magic or something else…? Anyhow, their effort is really appreciable.

  4. Scott said,
    November 7, 2013 @ 3:47 pm

    I have never seen pumpkins that large in real life. I have only seen photos. These photos make me want to hop on a plane and actually experience them up close and personal.

    P.S. How many pumpkin pies do you think you could make with one of them?