Governors Island Guide 2023: The Perfect Family Retreat

governors islands open

Governors Island Guide 2023: The Perfect Family Retreat

Even though Governors Island has been open year round since November 2021, this spot is the perfect opportunity to take your loved ones out to spend the day riding bikes, playing games, or exploring the artwork that the Island has to offer.

The 172-acre island has a number of activities to try or is the perfect destination to just sit back, relax, and enjoy the beautiful weather this season. 

Ready for your visit? We’re going to give you a rundown on activities, important information and more! 

Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 7am to 6pm; Friday-Saturday, 7am to 7pm

Psst… Are you looking for more ways to spend time with your family outdoors? Check out the 15 Best Family-Friendly Hikes on Long Island!

Things to Do on Governors Island

Courtesy of Governors Island

Biking: Bring your own bike, or rent one on the Island with either Citi Bike or Blazing Saddles! The bike path is seven miles long — and you don’t even have to worry about cars!

Hammocks: Relax on one of the Island’s iconic red hammocks while gazing at the beautiful city skyline.

Playgrounds: The kids can play on a variety of awesome slides at Slide Hill. Slide Hill is home to the longest slide in NYC! It’s a curving, 57-foot-long, three-story-high slide. Hammock Grove offers play structures that kids can climb and swing on. They’re perfect for some fun exercise.

Learning: Explore the historic archives that Governors Island holds. From historic photographs to self-guided walking tours, there are so many fun and educational opportunities. On weekends, the Island offers family-friendly passive visits to their farm. Check out The Urban Farm (Saturdays & Sundays, noon – 4 pm) where they have chickens, gardens, and a compost center.

Artwork: There’s an old, revamped church with tons of history and new visions to explore. Families can also take a look at The Field Station of The Melancholy Marine Biologist where visitors can confront a future impacted by climate change. There’s also an orchard with 50 fruit trees. Each tree will have multiple varieties of fruits that are relevant to the history of New York City.

Courtesy of Governors Island

Food on Governors Island

Picnicking: Visitors are welcome to bring their own food to Governors Island! Pack a family picnic and find a spot on one of the island’s shaded green areas. They also have Adirondack chairs and picnic tables if sitting on the ground isn’t your speed.

Vendors: The island is home to a variety of food vendors, which means there’s plenty of options for families looking for a delicious meal. Current vendors include:

How to Get to the Island

Ferry service occurs daily from the Battery Maritime Building at 10 South Street in Manhattan

Brooklyn ferries to Governors Island will depart from Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park and Red Hook/Atlantic Basin. Brooklyn ferries have service running on Saturdays and Sundays from May 7th to September 25th.

Prices:

Round-trip ferry tickets cost $4 for adults.

Ferries are free for:

  • Visitors age 12 and under
  • Seniors age 65 and over
  • IDNYC holders
  • Current and former military service members
  • All New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents
  • Governors Island Members

Governors Island says that “morning ferries before noon on Saturdays and Sundays are free for all. There is no surcharge for bicycles at any time.”

Purchase tickets and find ferry schedule here

Island has implemented protocols based on local, state and federal guidelines.

Relevant Directory Listings

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Chickenshed NYC

<p style="font-size: 16px; box-sizing: border-box; margin-bottom: 1.3em; margin-top: 0px; caret-color: #515151; color: #515151; font-family: nimbus-sans, sans-serif;">Chickenshed is an inclusive theatre company that began in the UK in 1974. Chickenshed NYC is a young organization bringing that same ethos and unique methodology to the USA. Chickenshed’s mission is to create entertaining and outstanding theatre that celebrates diversity and inspires positive change.</p> <p style="font-size: 16px; box-sizing: border-box; margin-bottom: 1.3em; margin-top: 0px; caret-color: #515151; color: #515151; font-family: nimbus-sans, sans-serif;">Chickenshed's model of Inclusive Theatre is based in the belief that everyone can flourish when everyone is included. At Chickenshed everyone is welcome, everyone is valued, and together we produce remarkable theatre. We want to break down barriers between people to create a world without labels and where differences no longer divide. At Chickenshed, support is given to those who need it, and given by those who can . We believe that creative activities, self-expression and performance should be available to anyone who has the desire, no matter their background or circumstances. We know that when everyone has the opportunity to shine, amazing things happen.</p> <p style="font-size: 16px; box-sizing: border-box; margin-bottom: 1.3em; margin-top: 0px; caret-color: #515151; color: #515151; font-family: nimbus-sans, sans-serif;">Chickenshed NYC provides programming for little ones, children and youth through semester-long activities and performances.</p>

Adventuring Portal

<p><a name="m_-1473885667065203258__Hlk72147528"></a>Adventuring Portal runs Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) games for kids.   We have created a safe online space for tweens and teens to learn and play D&D.</p> <p>Our D&D Summer Camp session are a one-week experience.  Monday – Friday.  Each day will be 3 hours of gaming (with 2 breaks build in).  15 total gaming hours for $180.  If you have played with us before, you are entitled to 10% off.   </p> <p>Need your kids, nieces or nephews, grand kids or neighbor’s kids to be occupied for a bit so you can get work done & take care of your to-do list? Maybe your tween or teen is still a bit isolated and craves connection with their peers? Whether your teen/tween has played D&D before or is brand-new to the experience, this safe space brings players together to have fun and solve problems as a team in ways few other online opportunities do.</p> <p>All our games focus on experiential learning.   Our players leave knowing all the basic game play as well as experiencing: teamwork, bravery, compassion, generosity, negotiation, improvisation, gamer etiquette, strategy, critical thinking, problem solving, cartography and probability - all through online D&D adventuring!</p> <p>We are an inclusive organization and welcome gamers who are LGBTQIA+ and those on any spectrum. </p> <p>All girls’ groups available. </p> <p>I am a parent, a certified elementary school and middle school math teacher and last summer in the midst of the mess started Adventuring Portal, an online Dungeons & Dragons business for kids. There are so many benefits to playing D&D and I hope you will consider us as a great way for your child to safely socialize, grow as people and have a great time.</p>

Instituto Cervantes

<p><span class="" style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;" data-sheets-value="{" data-sheets-userformat="{">Children and teenagers learn to understand and express themselves in Spanish, while improving their communication skills through a dynamic immersion program taught by NATIVE TEACHERS that combines CLASSES, ARTISTIC WORKSHOPS and FUN ACTIVITIES! All of our high-qualified teachers are native Spanish speakers who adapt the structure of the class to the needs and levels of each group while conducting the classes entirely in Spanish. We offer both Spanish Summer Camps and Regular Courses for children along the year to foster language learning and multicultural understanding.</span></p>