Circle Line cruise: “The Circle Line was a hit as they got to see a lot of the city without walking and my son loves boats. The shorter excursion was perfect for everyone. If the times had worked out we would have done a boat ride from south street seaport.”
Circus trip: “Big Apple Circus [is] really special!”
Brooklyn Bridge Park: “Take the bus to Brooklyn Bridge Park and visit the various playgrounds there - easier for young children to keep walking if they know another playground is upcoming. Get off the B63 bus at the Atlantic Avenue end and finish at the Carousel.”
Bumper cars: “My daughter had lots of fun with grandpa at Coney Island going to the bumper cars.”
Diner: Get some morning time to yourself and have the grandparents take the kids for breakfast or brunch! They can head to Little Purity or 7th Ave Donuts & Diner (“Dive-y, but fun and good donuts”).
Dumplings at Mr. Bao or East Wind Snack Shop
Exploring and cooking: “Picking a new neighborhood and shopping for ingredients / making a meal.”
Ferry ride: “My parents take my 4 year old on the NYC Ferry from Sunset Park/Navy Yard dock (plenty of parking) to Dumbo Atlantic Ave dock …
Kids under 45” ride free.
Then they play in the 3 playgrounds just off dock landing and walk to see the boats.
In good weather —- ice cream shop or/and pizza at Fornino.
All inexpensive except Fornino!”
“Ferry ride! Just riding the ferry with no destination is fun for the kids I’ve been with or you could choose DUMBO carousel, Governor’s Island, Bay Ridge restaurant etc.”
Gazillion Bubble Show: “I joined as well but my mother recently treated her 4 grandkids (ages 4-8) to the gazillion bubble show near Times Square and we all had a blast! Followed by lunch at a nearby Applebee's which got the job done and had plenty of seating.”
Governor’s Island: “Since we aren’t close to the ferry my husband had to provide transportation to the ferry, but from there my Mom and then 5 year old son had a grand time with the various activities on the island. Since it was spring break some things were reserved for camps only, but there was still plenty to do. My mom rented a bike and they took my son’s bike on the ferry.”
Jewish Children’s Museum: “Much less known and visited than the Brooklyn Children's Museum. You don't have to be religious or Jewish to enjoy it.”
Kid-led tour: Let your kids lead the way! As one member shared: “My son also gave them a tour of ‘his’ 7th Avenue, so he got to feel like he was in charge of part of the visit and they were charmed. It also got him talking about his interests (at Little Things and Tarzian). I got to go to the gym and then met them outside at Blue Bottle! This might be good for grandparents who’ve moved recently to the area or see the grandkids less often.”
LeFrak Center at Lakeside for skating or splash pad and snacks.
Liberty Science Center: “A huge hit, especially the interactive parts on the top floor. Go on a weekday afternoon and you will have the place to yourselves. School groups fill it up in the morning, and families on weekends.”
Mini golf: Shipwrecked is a great local spot.
Movie at Nitehawk: “For less walking - a brunch family movie at Nitehawk - settle in and get lunch.”
Nature tour: “The Brooklyn Museum, Botanical Garden and Prospect Park Alliance nature tours can be great if a grandparent is ok with more walking. I think it’s been fun and helpful to go to the programs for kids at each of these spots. They are well organized and provide a fun structure. My kid has gone on a tree tour with the Prospect Park Alliance and it was super.”
New Victory Theater in Manhattan—their mission is to bring kids to the arts and the arts to kids.
Play cafe: Local options include Kids Town and Good Day Play Cafe.
Playground: Harmony Playground, JJ Byrne, and so much more. Check out the PSP Best and Easy Meet-Up Map for recs all across Brooklyn.
Puppetworks show: “Another activity my Mom will do with both kids when she visits is go to a show at Puppetworks.”
Tenement Museum: “There are special tour days.”
Final thoughts: Enjoy brunch at home or date night out while grandparents are keeping the kids occupied—it’s a win-win-win! Offer ideas and inspiration, but if you can let them be after that and avoid micromanaging what they get up to, that’s even better. Let the kids and grandparents develop their own relationship.
Further reading on Park Slope Parents:
Tourist Activities for Tweens & Teenagers
Quality Virtual Time with Grandparents