Brooklyn Tourist: Four Neighborhood Field Trips for Very Small Children and the People Who Schlep Them

Before I had kids I used to think I’d be that cool mom you see  toting her baby to a hipster loft party at midnight, or at an art opening with the freewheeling toddler dancing in the corner. Turns out, I’m in my pajamas pretty much every night by 7 pm. When I do manage to take the kids somewhere outside our everyday routine — the park, the Y, the other park — it’s a carefully crafted outing that can be executed between naptimes and accomplished with minimal effort, to somewhere we can very easily drive or take the F train to. Which means I rarely leave Brooklyn.

A bit provincial, perhaps, but there are worse places to be stuck. And after a winter of being so pregnant and snowed-in I never really left the neighborhood, venturing even a few miles away becomes an exciting journey. Here are some of the exotic locations we’ve traveled to in the past few weeks, and which I would recommend for similarly unambitious parents of small children/visitors to Brooklyn. Oh, and the cost of each field trip is about $5 or less — the cost of train fare and maybe an ice cream. Holla!

Kid visit pros: Easy parking for those days when stroller-subway-schlepping does not appeal. Cool ship-shaped playground. Beautiful views of Manhattan and bridges.
Kid visit cons: Kids don’t care about beautiful views, and mine found the bridges to be “too loud.”toddler in dumbotoddler in dumbotoddler in dumbo

Sunset Park. (No photos. Didn’t bring camera. You will just have to IMAGINE IT.)
Kid visit pros: Good park. Highest point in Brooklyn=great views. Lots of exotic, delicious food nearby. Easy street parking.
Kid visit cons: As previously discussed, kids don’t care about views. Or exotic food.

Carroll Gardens.
Kid visit pros: Cute and very contained small-person playground. Good places to eat. Book Court. My friend Liz lives there and her son is very cute.
Kid visit cons: Getting dirty looks from the yous who haven’t procreated yet. But realistically that can happen anywhere.Carroll GardensCarroll ParkCarroll Park swings

Coney Island.
Kid visit pros: If your kids are heinously early risers, like mine, you can get there early and before the crowds, even on a weekend, and it’s actually pleasant. Also, hello, it’s the beach, accessible by subway — and the station has stroller-friendly ramps! Beach plus kid-friendly (or kid-terrifying) rides, readily available ice cream, and the aquarium nearby in case it suddenly rains.
Kid visit cons: Your child will hear a lot of loud, bad music, and see a whole lot humanity in all its bulbous, fleshy glory.( And I don’t just mean me in a swimsuit, hey-oh!) Or maybe that’s a pro? Also, may possibly go swimming with a mysterious tampon or two. Big whoop.

Maybe this week we will go somewhere really exotic like Windsor Terrace. I don’t know, though. It’s like one mile away.

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