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, with its awesome views of the downtown Manhattan skyline. 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 and quaint Victorian townhouses.
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, such as the Staten Island Greenbelt, home to the Carousel for All Children as well as living history museum Historic Richmond Town. Staten Island also has plenty of fun indoor play spaces, a great old-school roller rink, and even a trampoline park. There are lots of culture spots, too, like the Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden and museums located in lovely historic homes like the Alice Austen House. And while a car is helpful in terms of getting around, we actually do have public transportation. Check out the top 51 things to do in Staten Island with kids.