Hi. I’m Lauren Adler, the mama behind Calendarkiddo. As the mom of a toddler, I always feel slight anxiety when looking at posts and lists about great places to take my kid. Not that the places aren’t great, of course. But the reality of transporting ourselves and our little ones to many places in New York City with anything other than the magic carpet often sounds downright impossible. Driving places is easier in many ways, but parking can be difficult and expensive (not to mention the issue of good old-fashioned New York City traffic.) So I wanted to share some ideas for places that are especially good for toddlers and offer a great family experience outside of classes. 

 

Most kids can last about 45 minutes in the car losing the plot. Most marriages can survive that long in the car, too. So I’ve put together a  list of three tried-and-true toddler-friendly excursions just a short drive from North Brooklyn, with ample parking. Yes, PARKING!

 

The Staten Island Zoo

 

Why we like it: It’s a small, 8-acre toddler-friendly zoo on Staten Island. In addition to reptiles, an aquarium, an African-themed exhibit and many exotic birds, there is a really cute petting zoo. We also love the beautiful carousel. After enjoying the exhibits, head to the onsite cafeteria for lunch or a snack. There are also various activities and special events throughout the year. Annual memberships are available.

Recommended for: Kids from 0-6 and Families

Stroller friendly: The entire zoo is easy to navigate with a stroller.

Admission: Adults $10, Seniors $7, Children (3-14) $6, Children 2 and under FREE. Admission is FREE after 2 pm on Wednesdays. Admission is FREE after 2 pm on Wednesdays.

Memberships: Memberships are available and a GREAT VALUE.

Parking: FREE Street parking or access the FREE Staten Island Zoo Parking Lot across the street from the rear entrance to the zoo on Clove Road. Parking is FREE every day. 

Birthday Parties: Birthday parties can be hosted at the Staten Island Zoo.

Tips: You can bring a picnic lunch and eat outside on one of the tables. Bring change to buy food to feed the animals and a container to hold the food.

NYSCI – New York Hall of Science

 

Why we like it: It’s a wonderful place to explore STEM with rotating exhibits that appeal to all ages – including adults. One GREAT highlight is a play area called Preschool Place for little ones under 6. There are special events as well and many opportunities for hands-on learning. If the weather is nice, head outside to play mini golf or have fun in the  outdoor play area.

Recommended for: All ages. There is something for everyone.

Stroller friendly: NYSCI is easy to navigate with a stroller and has elevators.

Admission: Adults (ages 18+): $16, Children (ages 2 – 17): $13, Students (with college ID): $13

Senior Citizens (age 62 & older): $13.

Memberships: Memberships are available and a GREAT VALUE. Reciprocal admission to 300 science centers nationwide through ASTC.

Parking: Paid parking on site except for during the US Open. Parking is free at certain membership levels.

Birthday Parties: Birthday parties can be hosted at the Staten Island Zoo.

Tips: Certain times of day and year are busier with school or camp groups so an early start is recommended. NYSCI is a great place to escape the summer heat.

LICM – Long Island Children’s Museum

 

Why we like it: It’s a fun place to take kids of different ages, and adults will love it too. There is a dedicated play area called Tot Spot geared towards ages 4 and under