Introducing Guest Blogger Daphna from A Tiny Trip
Most people coming to New York City spend the majority of their time in Manhattan. When friends and family come to visit, after several days of big city touring in the hustle and bustle, it isn’t hard to convince them to come on over to Brooklyn for some outdoor time!
That’s not to say that Brooklyn isn’t dense and urban, it is, but it also has amazing outdoor spaces that are easy to reach via subway and perfect for children. Come spend the day outdoors in Brooklyn!
This post is part of our Explore My City series – come and visit cities around the world through the eyes of local parents
Brooklyn Bridge Park
If you’re in New York City, and you haven’t walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, then you must add that to your itinerary! Once you’re in Brooklyn, the obvious place to visit with kids is Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Brooklyn Bridge Park is a favorite for tourists and locals alike. The park boasts stunning views of Manhattan and a plethora of things to do. Each pier is slightly different: you’ve got Jane’s carousel up to the north of the bridge, a beautiful antique carousel.
Then heading south of the Bridge, you have Pier 1 with large grassy areas perfect for a picnic. If you haven’t packed food, there are many restaurants here, including the famous Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, Shake Shack and more.
The following piers feature basketball courts, a roller rink, soccer fields, and walking trails! Our favorite pier for kids is Pier 6, at the southernmost part of the park. Here you have playgrounds, sandpits, water features, and swings!
On the very end of the park is the ferry to Governors Island, a car-free island between Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Prospect Park is Brooklyn’s Central Park. Much like its Manhattan equivalent, it has a combination of walking trails, open fields, and several playgrounds.
One unique feature of Prospect Park, is the Le Frak Center at Lakeside, that has a fun water feature in the summer, a roller skating rink (ice skating in the winter), and a cafe with outdoor seating. Grab some food and watch your kids play in the water. They won’t want to leave!
You can also go boating in the adjacent Prospect Park Lake! During the summer, Prospect Park hosts Smorgasburg, every Sunday. This is an open-air food market, where you can find cuisine from all over the world. Even your pickiest eaters will find something to love here!
Other activities for kids in Prospect Park include; the Carousel in the Children’s Corner; Lefferts Historic House, and the Prospect Park Zoo! You can also rent bicycles and multi-passenger surreys (bikes), perfect for a ride with the little ones in tow.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is arguably the most tranquil place in Brooklyn, and an amazing place to visit for people of all ages. Stroll around the pond in the Japanese Garden, walk through the grass on the Cherry Tree Esplanade, and don’t miss the beautiful Rose Garden!
Visit the Children’s Garden for interactive exhibits for the little ones. Friday mornings are an especially good time to visit, as there are special activity stations set up in the Children’s Garden, such as planting, crafts and learning stations! But any day of the week is perfect for enjoying a bit of nature in the big city.
Another favorite for kids is the Water Garden, with its stone blocks that act as a bridge over Belle’s Brook. Walk back and forth a few times, or sit on one of the many benches around the garden.
When you’re ready for a break from the exploration, head over to the Lily Pool Terrace. Beside it you will find the Botanic Garden cafes, which showcases ingredients grown in the garden itself. Can’t get more local than that!
If you’re visiting on a cooler day, the conservatories (read:buildings) offer a wide variety of plants to see in indoor conditions. Our favorites are the Desert Pavilion and Tropical Pavilion, where it’s always warm!
Coney Island Beach and Amusement Parks
If you’re up for a bit of a longer ride on the subway, join the locals and visit the most fun beaches in New York City! Coney Island has so many fun outdoor activities, you can easily spend the day here and you won’t have time to do everything there is to do.
First and foremost, Coney Island is a beach destination! You have a boardwalk for strolling, with several fast food options and a great carnival feel. There’s a wide beach with plenty of room for laying a blanket and playing in the sand, and it’s free and open to the public! (You’ll see why it made it to our list of best US East Coast beaches!)
If you have younger kids, I suggest visiting the New York Aquarium. There are so many great exhibits, including the new Ocean Wonder: Sharks! The sea lion show is always a favorite!
When you’re done exploring, head directly out to the boardwalk! For older kids, the amusement park rides are where it’s at. Many of the attractions are ticketed separately, although you can get a day pass for the Luna Park which covers several rides including, the iconic Cyclone roller coaster. Note that most rides open at noon.
Other options on Coney Island, include: MCU Park– watch the Brooklyn Cyclones play baseball, Coney art walls- a selection of murals, and Coney Island USA Museum and sideshows, where you can catch an old fashioned circus sideshow!
Brooklyn with Kids
Whatever you choose to do, Brooklyn is full of fun activities for kids and families. Enjoy its outdoor spaces for a fun day just outside the urban jungle.
About the Blogger
Daphna is a Brooklyn based writer and mother of three. On A Tiny Trip, she shares tips for traveling with kids and encourages families to explore the world, one small step at a time. In her free time she enjoys hiking, photography and going on adventures with her kids!
With thanks to Daphna for her contribution to our guest series.
We have a complete guide to exploring New York state (beyond NYC!) over here to continue your east coast adventures with kids.
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