When you ask most New Yorkers what they know about Staten Island, they name-check the Staten Island Ferry and then just stare blankly. But as a mom raising her two sons in NYC's "forgotten borough," I know firsthand how enriching and fun Staten Island can be for families, both residents and visitors.
St. George, where you disembark from the ferry, is probably the neighborhood that feels most like the rest of NYC, in large part because it offers awesome views of the downtown Manhattan skyline to remind you of where you are. Many borough attractions are located here, including the Minor League Staten Island Yankees stadium, the stunning St. George Theatre, the sobering Staten Island September 11 Memorial, the Staten Island Museum, plus lots of restaurants, quaint Victorian townhouses and the in-development 630-foot-tall observation wheel.
But go further inland and it's not just all malls and suburban sprawl. With almost 12,300 acres of protected parkland, Staten Island is rightly known as the greenest borough and boasts some of the most beautiful parks in the city like the Greenbelt, which is home to living history museum, Historic Richmond Town, and the Carousel for All Children. We also have a lot of drop-in indoor play spaces, including one of NYC's few remaining roller rinks, and even a trampoline park. And there are lots of culture spots, too, like the Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden and small, esoteric museums located in lovely historic homes like the Alice Austen House. While a car is helpful in terms of getting around, we actually do have public transportation.
Check out the top 50 things to do in the borough with kids.