Thursday, August 18, 2016

Outdoor Places to Visit with Kids in Staten Island

One of the things I love about living in Staten Island is all the fun, kid-friendly places and activities available here. Beaches, parks, playgrounds, hiking trails and more - all a short drive way from home! Below are some of the places we visited and enjoyed since Nicky started walking:

1. Cedar Grove

Cedar Grove area, located to the right of Miller Field at the very end of New Dorp Lane by the water, is one of our favorite places to hang out. The little path that snakes along the beach through trees and shrub is a perfect place to let the toddler run wild and free. We often walk along the ocean or visit a small, secluded playground at the corner of New Dorp and Cedar Grove Ave.
If you walk towards Ebbits ave. you will find the entrance to one of New York's most private public beaches. After Sandy, this once privately-owned area was bought out by the City and rebuilt into a beach, now open to the public. It is small, gated, relatively clean and not crowded. 

Cedar Grove Staten Island Places to Visit with Kids




Cedar Grove Beach Staten Island Places to Visit with Kids


Cadar Grove Beach Staten Island Places to Visit with Kids


2. Nelson Park - Pirate Playground

Pirate Playground is an amazing outdoor park located water-front at the end of Nelson Ave. It offers a large field where softball practice often takes place, a short boardwalk that leads through a swamp area, a huge sandbox for kids to play in and of course the pirate ships - two large wooden structures with playground equipment built in (perfect for older kids!) This park also has a small sandy beach area where no swimming is allowed, but which is often visited by ducks, swans and horseshoe crabs! There is also a lighthouse (great to play tag or peek-a-boo in) and a playground for small kids that looks like the Staten Island Ferry. This place is a great hang out for when it is warm and not windy (since it is right on the water).

Nelson Park Pirate Playground Staten Island Places to Visit with Kids

Nelson Park Pirate Playground Staten Island Places to Visit with Kids


Nelson Park Pirate Playground Staten Island Places to Visit with Kids

Nelson Park Pirate Playground Staten Island Places to Visit with Kids

Nelson Park Pirate Playground Staten Island Places to Visit with Kids

Nelson Park Pirate Playground Staten Island Places to Visit with Kids


3. Botanical Garden

Located in Snug Harbor off of Richmond Terrace, Staten Island Botanical Garden is a picturesque place to take your kids on a walk. It is also a great location to do family photo shoots and formal celebrations. I have a special history with this place as we shot some of my most-loved pictures there, pre-, during and post-pregnancy (I wrote about it here). Check to see if the Chinese Gardens will be open prior to your visit, stop by Heritage Farm and visit their stand for fresh produce as well as pop by the greenhouse.
If you feel a bit exhausted and overheated from all the outdoor fun, you can cool off and grab a snack at the Staten Island Kids Museum also located in the Botanical Garden (We visited the museum last week to escape the recent heat wave and had a fantastic time! I will do a separate post about it shortly!)



4. Clove Lakes Park

Clove Lakes Park is a large area with parks surrounding several lakes. You can think of it as a mini Central Park - a nice place to go for a walk, to feed the ducks or to rent a peddle boat on the weekend.
On our last visit, we discovered a really cute playground located at Clove Rd. and Forest Ave. I liked it because it was toddler-safe (pretty much nowhere for my son to fall, unlike many other places where he climbs and my heart skips a beat by the time he reaches the slide!) and also doesn't have a sprinkler (hard to find on the Island!).
I recommend visiting this park when it is not humid out because there are all sorts of bugs and mosquitoes flying about on wet & hot days. 

Clove Lakes Park Staten Island Places to Visit with Kids


5. Father Capodanno


Father Capodanno Boardwalk is our evening hang out spot for days when Daddy gets out early from work. We park our car by the boardwalk entrance and walk chase Nicky down the wooden pass. We often get ice cream, stop by one of the several playgrounds, or take a walk on the beach. During the summer, there are fireworks and free concerts on Wednesday evenings as well as some kid-friendly activities (at the Sand ln. boardwalk entrance)

Father Capodanno Staten Island Places to Visit with Kids

Father Capodanno Staten Island Places to Visit with Kids


6. Fort Wadsworth

Located right under the Verrazano Bridge, Fort Wadsworth is a perfect place to take your little history buff to. During the summer, there are guided tours offered to lead you through catacomb-like tunnels in the fort's batteries. It is also surrounded by a large park with plenty of places for your little one to explore.

The location also offers a fantastic backdrop for photos, with the bridge and plenty of foliage in the background. We recently used for a photo shoot for my fashion blog.


Fort Wadsworth Staten Island Places to Visit with Kids

7. Staten Island Zoo

Staten Island has a small zoo that is just the perfect size for toddlers. You can walk the whole grounds in about an hour (even at toddler-pace) and still have enough time to stop by to feed livestock, walk through the aquarium and the reptile pavilion as well as to visit the leopards' habitat. There is also a carousel for the little ones and free parking to make things easier for the parents.

Staten Island Zoo Places to Visit with Kids in NYC

Staten Island Zoo Places to Visit with Kids in NYC

Staten Island Zoo Places to Visit with Kids in NYC

Staten Island Zoo Places to Visit with Kids in NYC

8. Historic Richmond Town.


Historic Richmond Town is another place to visit to learn about history. The area boasts original structures dating back to 1600s filled with artifacts and photographs to immerse you in the cultural setting of Richmond Town before it became the borough of Staten Island. Check out the map of the town to learn about all the places and exhibits you can come visit.
There also are modern events, including Richmond County Fair which will be held during the Memorial Day Weekend as well as drive-in movie nights during the summer, complete with snacks and pop-corn.
As of recently, the area also became a meet-up spot for Pokemon Go enthusiasts.


Historic Richmond Town Staten Island Places to Visit with Kids in NYC

Historic Richmond Town Staten Island Places to Visit with Kids in NYC



(at the drive in movie night)


9. Greenbelt Hiking Trails

Did you know you can go on a several mile-long hike right in your own borough? Greenbelt offers several trails through the forest of various difficulty, snaking through High Rock park and surrounding areas. There is even a paved loop at the Nevada Ave. entrance, which is where Nicky spent many afternoons perfecting his walking skills.
There are also a variety of kids programs at the Nature Center (700 Rockland Avenue) which you can read about on their website.



10. Staten Island Ferry

Looking to take a free boat ride? Head over to the Staten Island Ferry and take a 25 minute ride to Manhattan and back, past the Statue of Liberty. While Downtown, be sure to stop by the new Seaglass Carousel!

Staten Island Ferry Places to Visit with Kids in NYC


Staten Island Ferry Seaglass Carousel Places to Visit with Kids in NYC


11. Koch Playground 

Besides Pirate Park, there are several other really cool playgrounds in Staten Island. Koch playground (on Koch ave. off Richmond Ave.) caught my eye for selfish reasons - it actually has adult gym equipment right next to the swings, so mom (or dad!) can workout while the baby plays! The playground is situated on a hill, with jungle gyms and slides built right into the slope. There is an area for smaller kids and a sprinkler area (conveniently located on the side of the park, at the bottom of the hill, so that you can avoid it if you don't want your little one getting wet). Keep in mind that the playground is adjacent to a school so it's best to be avoided during recess and at dismissal.

Kosh Playground Staten Island Places to Visit with Kids in NYC
Kosh Playground Staten Island Places to Visit with Kids in NYC


12. Schmul Playground


This playground looks like a skater park, covered in foam mats. It has little slopes for your child to run up and down on, with slides, sprinklers, swings and jungle gyms. A really cool and fun-looking space for kids!

Schmul Playground Staten Island Places to Visit with Kids in NYC

13. Wolfe's Pond Park

This is a go-to park for a family outing in the summer. The park is enormous, with beach access (lifeguards on duty during the summer), playgrounds, barbecuing areas, tennis courts, roller hockey rink, and lots of trails for hiking, biking and skating. There is also a large field for ball play, which Nicky claimed for his soccer practices ;)

Wolfe's Pond Park Staten Island Places to Visit with Kids in NYC

Wolfe's Pond Park Staten Island Places to Visit with Kids in NYC

Wolfe's Pond Park Staten Island Places to Visit with Kids in NYC

14. Decker Farm 

Part of Historic Richmond Town, Decker Farm is open during Fall for hayrides and pumpkin picking on the weekend. You can also visit their stand Apt-Nov for locally grown produce, meat, diary and fresh baked bread. 



We are always looking for new places to visit! 
Know any other awesome places in or near Staten Island? 
Comment below with your suggestions!

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