New York City has five boroughs, and I bet you can’t name them all. Did you just try to count them off the top of your head? Staten Island was sure to be the one you fumbled on. You have to catch a ferry to visit this borough, or maybe you can drive, but it is chock full of places to visit with the kids. Read on for a select, but not all encompassing, list of fun places for families to visit in Staten Island.
501 Industry Road
What kid doesn’t appreciate jumping up and down for no particular reason? There probably aren’t that many, and if your child is like every other kid alive–they too will enjoy this indoor trampoline of fun! Children and adults are welcome to come out and bounce around in NYC’s first indoor trampoline park, Fly High. Admission is relatively inexpensive, with pricing starting at $13 for 30-minutes. Weekends here are normally crazy busy, so although walk-in’s are welcome, they cannot always be accommodated. Note: children under the age of 5 are not advised to jump Friday-Sunday, due to the high amount of traffic, but parents can jump with children if desired. Dress in comfortable clothing and come prepared to experience the thrill of flying high! Weekend hours are 10am-7pm, Tuesday to Thursday 3pm-8pm, and Friday’s from 3pm-10pm. Please visit website for more details and info.
1000 Richmond Terrace
This destination spot is a 2-for-1–part botanical gardens and part cultural center. Based on Ming Dynasty Gardens, the Chinese Scholar Gardens encompass the different gardens in China and are also part of the only two Real McCoy Scholar Gardens in the United States. A lot of time was put into recreating its authenticity, and visitors can experience not only that, but also the bamboo forest path, luscious waterfalls, and koi pond. There is also a hedge maze in the Secret Garden! In terms of art, they also have something to bring to the table. The Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art displays numerous exhibits throughout the year and is a Smithsonian affiliate. Their goal is to bring local (and not so local) art to Staten Island and expose everyone to the visual arts in some form. Tours, workshops, and lectures are also conducted on premises. Admission starts at $5, with various pricing for different activities, and centers; visit website for details.
700 Rockland Avenue
This is one of NYC’s flagship green spaces with 2800-acres of park to enjoy! The Greenbelt Nature Center is a treasure trove of fun facts and Greenbelt history. Many public programs are hosted throughout the year offering performances, workshops, lectures, and hikes for all ages. High Rock Park is a popular must-do, with five ponds, hiking trails, rocks, and the area is known to have Great Blue Herons and Wood Ducks! Also, make sure and catch the breathtaking view from Moses Mountain, where you can look out at the green space that was almost turned into a highway! The Carousel is located in Willowbrook Park and is sure to be a treat for all kids. The Greenbelt Conservancy is open daily from dusk to dawn; for a specific events calendar, be sure to check out the website.
338 Lighthouse Avenue
Most New Yorkers have no clue that this museum dedicated to Tibetan art is only a ferry ride away! Founded by its namesake in 1945, who is deemed to be one of the first collectors of Tibetan art, the museum’s goal has always been to embrace the rich culture and visual art of Himalayan cultures. Learn about rare artifacts as you take a stroll through the decadent halls, all built in the name of preserving Himalayan culture. Yes, there are lots of opportunities to involve the little ones, as well. The museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday, 1pm-5pm, and tickets are $4 for students and seniors, $6 for adults, and members are free!
585 North Gannon Avenue
If you like to crack codes and solve mysteries then this is the place to do it. The Amazing Escape Room is another brand of fun, the kind that requires you to buckle down and actually enlist the use of your brain, or be really good at taking a hint. Large groups (10-12) have 60-minutes on the shot clock and a designated room theme, and all participants will be presented with limited clues and are expected to solve them before time runs out! This kind of fun is available to all ages, and party rooms are also on the menu. Children up to age 7 are free, adults and children ages 7 and up are $30 per person; see website for details.
You’ve visited the Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Bronx Zoo, and maybe even the Queens Zoo, so now it’s time to visit the Staten Island Zoo. This place is a bit different from the others because it’s not a part of the Wildlife Conservation Society. It is more on the secluded side, but this can be a plus for you and yours–no big crowds to get through. Little ones can enjoy the petting zoo, take a peek at the reptiles, visit the many other animals, and take part in weekend programs and special events. Admission is free after 2pm on Wednesdays, and children 2 and under are always free; see website for details.