Where can you jive to some live music, blow some gigantic bubbles, laugh with some crazy clowns, and literally tumble across the New York New Jersey harbor? At the Governors Island Alliance’s 9th Annual Family Festival, of course! A celebration of the summer season on Governors Island, GIA’s Family Festival is a free and creative arts and harbor education-focused jamboree, which will take place on Saturday, May 25th, from 12 to 4 p.m. in Nolan Park. It’s a jam-pack opening day with exciting arts & crafts activities, invigorating music and theatrical performances, and innovative educational games about the diverse ecology as well as the rich history of the New York/New Jersey harbor.
Never been to Governor’s Island? It’s truly a special place… quiet, bucolic… and, in many ways, it seems like a million miles from Manhattan. If you’re looking for a day where the kids can spend ample time outdoors, without getting bored, Governor’s Island is for you. A mere 8-minute ferry from the Battery Maritime Building at 10 South Street, right next to the Staten Island Ferry, there is a ferry every half hour there and back. While you’re riding out, you feel like you’re really getting away… for free!
Governor’s Island is open every Friday to Sunday from Memorial Day until September 25th. During the week, it’s open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; on the weekends until 7 p.m.
Some activities you and your kids will love:
BIKING: You can either bring your own bikes (Friday – Sunday) or rent at Bike and Roll. Through Bike and Roll’s Free Bike Mondays program, adult and children’s bikes are free every Monday for one hour. You can ride around the whole of the island in a half-hour and it’s flat, easy for everyone, and the views of Manhattan as you circle the island are breathtaking.
MINI GOLF: FIGMENT’s sixth annual artist-designed Minigolf Course is a study in the State of the Art. This year, from dozens of submissions, they have selected a 9-hole course plus a bonus hole—each designed to challenge notions of art and progress and, above all, engage the public in aesthetic enjoyment.
ART: Kids create their own pieces (for free!) at Children’s Museum of the Arts stations.
PICNIC: Either bring your own food, or grab food off a truck. At Picnic Point, you can lunch while overlooking the Statue of Liberty.
FESTIVALS: The long list of festivals this summer includes City of Water Day (July 20), Governor’s Ball Music Festival (June 7), Jazz Age Dance party (June 15–16 an August 17–18) and so many others.
MUSIC: Governor’s Island hosts musical events all summer. The Governor’s Ball Music Festival takes place on June 7 through 9.
SPORTS: Badminton, kite flying, outdoor bocce, unicycling, trapeze flying, swim and much, much more.
EDUCATION: Ongoing 60-minute orientation to the history of Governor’s Island.
– Holly Rosen Fink
Holly Rosen Fink is a mother, marketing consultant, writer and blogger for a number of sites, as well as her own, The Culture Mom.