We recently committed ourselves to exploring New York City’s boroughs, with day trips to Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. I knew it would be easy to find kid-friendly attractions and eateries in Brooklyn, since areas like Park Slope are growing with families choosing to live outside pricey Manhattan.
We spent the majority of the day at the vast Brooklyn Museum. With five floors of exhibits, we decided to narrow our focus to two areas: the Egyptian galleries on the third floor, and the Period Rooms on the fourth. The highlight of the Egyptian collection was the Mummy Chamber; there are four “in residence.” The period rooms are entire floors from a variety of 17th – 20th century homes which have been transported into the museum. You step up into each room’s doorway and peer inside through glass, as if you’re looking into a life-size dollhouse.
The oldest of the homes, the Jan Martense Schenck House, is a Dutch farmhouse which originally stood in Brooklyn’s Mill Basin area. Look for the “Family Guide” brochure on the wall nearby, which not only describes the house in school-age language, but also includes a number of interpretative activities. I was equally impressed by the regularly scheduled Family Programs offered at the museum, including the “Hands-on Art” workshops, the “Arty Facts” tours for kids ages 4-7, and the “Meet the Museum” classes for toddlers.
If you continue west along Eastern Parkway from the museum’s northern entrance, you’ll hit a few more family-friendly attractions, including the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Mount Prospect Park (a city park with a great playground), and the Brooklyn Public Library, which has a special separate entrance to the children’s library. From the main library entrance, you can view the historic arch in the middle of Grand Army Plaza.
We found a great place to eat in this neighborhood for lunch – Cheryl’s Global Soul on Underhill Avenue – although it’s small and easy to miss! You may recognize the chef/owner Cheryl Smith from the early days of Food Network programming, but here we saw her involved in everything from cooking to setting tables. The cozy atmosphere is casual, and the menu includes unfussy but flavorful soups, sandwiches, salads, and brunch dishes. The kids’ menu offers silver dollar pancakes, eggs, and more.
Our evening plans included a Brooklyn Nets game at the new Barclays Center. If your kids love professional sporting events, this is a high-energy venue to enjoy NBA basketball!
Our home base for this weekend getaway was the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge on Adams Street, conveniently located across the street from a subway station, which connected us to points throughout Brooklyn, as well as Manhattan to the west across the East River. In addition to the amazing views we enjoyed from our room of the Statue of Liberty, Freedom Tower, Empire State Building and more, we were also within sight of the access point to the pedestrian walkway across the Brooklyn Bridge.
–Traci L. Suppa
Traci L. Suppa drags her small-town family to see a quirky array of the world’s largest, longest, or tallest things, and blogs about it at Go BIG or Go Home.