Nataki Hewling

Nataki Hewling

Nataki Hewling's picture

Nataki Hewling - NYC Writer

A Staten Island mom to two boys, Nataki doesn't like to stay in one place too long. She and her family enjoy exploring all of New York City's wonderfully diverse neighborhoods, dining, playing, shopping, hitting museums and other culture spots, and people watching. Nataki is also a foodie who loves trying different NYC restaurants (with and without her kids). She also spends a lot of time in the car, taking her kids to basketball practice, casting calls, soccer practice, etc. On her bucket list: Visiting Brazil and taking a cooking class with her husband. Follow her on Google+.

Latest posts by Nataki

Staten Island with Kids: Top 50 Things to Do for Families

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.

Rock 'Em Not Sock 'Em Offers a New Take on Rock Climbing

Rock 'Em Not Sock ’Em caught my eye not only because it’s the first rock climbing gym I had seen on Staten Island, but because of its unique anti-bullying message. 

As a mother of two active boys, I am always looking for something to keep them off electronics and active. During the summer, I can find plenty of fun, affordable things to do. However, during winter or on days when the weather is poor, it’s good to have a few different places the whole family can enjoy.

Camelbeach Mountain Waterpark Opens Toddler Area, Mummy's Oasis

A popular Poconos resort's water park, Camelbeach Mountain Waterpark, opened a new toddler and preschooler outdoor attraction this summer, Mummy’s Oasis. It's a fun-themed kids zone for those 48 inches and under and definitely a great place to park your family to cool off. It's one of the reasons we added this Poconos attraction to our list of best water parks near NYC for toddlers.

We visited earlier this summer and have the scoop on the dumping buckets, mini water slides, and more. Check out the NYC Beaches, Pools and Water Parks Guide for more splashing fun or our roundup on 15 Awesome New Jersey Water Parks.

30 Fun Things To Do with Kids on Staten Island This Summer

Staten Island, the oft “forgotten” borough of New York City, may not offer the hustle and bustle of that other island, and that works just fine for isle residents. Staten Island has its own rich, vibrant community, and summer is the perfect time to explore it when FREE fun and outdoor activities are on tap for kids in every corner of the borough.

The ferry docks in St. George, home to the Staten Island Yankees, Snug Harbor, Staten Island Museum, and more. Head further inland with the kids to discover gorgeous parks and greenways, community events, beaches, fairs, and parades, as well as destination play spaces, museums, and even NYC's first indoor trampoline park and the city's only indoor skate park—all adding up to a summer full of family-friendly activities.

As a Staten Island resident raising two boys, I love discovering new ways to enjoy the isle with my family. Read on for our top picks for summer fun with kids on Staten Island. And be sure to check out NYC Summer Fun Guide for more summer planning ideas, and the 100 Free Things to Do in NYC This Summer.

Family Day Trip for Sports Fans: Basketball Hall of Fame in Massachusetts

While aspiring Carmelo Anthonys have lots of ways to indulge their love of the game as NBA season kicks off, the best way for kids to experience the sport's history is by visiting the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, this 40,000-square-foot hoops haven is home to hundreds of exhibits, many of which are interactive, so kids (and grown-ups!) can get in on the action. It's the perfect indoor day trip destination for basketball fans of all ages.

Staten Island Museum Opens Second Location at Snug Harbor

The Staten Island Museum recently opened a second location, adding to its existing space in St. George, and it's just minutes from the Staten Island Ferry terminal, making it a great destination for NYC families from other boroughs.

The new museum nestled in the island's beautiful Snug Harbor Cultural Center isn't a kids' museum per se, but we found plenty there to engage the four boys, ranging in age from 3 to 14, who tagged along with mom. Plus, kids under 12 are admitted for FREE!

Indoor Extreme Sports Paintball and Laser Tag Opens on Staten Island

My 11-year-old son and his friend were thrilled when I told them that the popular Indoor Extreme Sports Paintball & Laser Tag center in Queens recently opened a location on Staten Island. They couldn't wait to visit. Our trip ended up falling on a hot and muggy day, which was perfectly timed because we got to escape the humidity. That said, after a few exciting games of laser tag, we all ended up rather sweaty and exhausted anyway. But it was so worth it!

NYC Children's Theater's 'A Band of Angels' Revival Is a Captivating Must-See

My family and I recently attended the wonderful revival of A Band of Angels produced by the New York City Children’s Theater (formerly Making Books Sing). A decade after its debut, the show remains both captivating and thought-provoking.

This revival not only commemorates the 10-year anniversary of the musical, but also the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War. Adapted from Deborah Hopkinson's book of the same name, A Band of Angels takes the audience through a little known, yet exciting piece of history. Director Colman Domingo and the entire cast share the beautiful story through an amazing production, and I’m happy that we were able to witness it.