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Are you wondering about the places to visit or the fun activities you can enjoy? The following article has all its answers. Primarily, let us learn about Staten Island, its location, and other necessary facts about it.
1. Facts on Staten Island
Staten Island is the southernmost borough in New York City, USA, and one of the NYC boroughs. New York City has a total of five boroughs. These are the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. Now, what is a borough? A borough is a small town that powers its council or government.
Staten Island, NY, sits on the New York Harbor and is approachable through New York City’s Staten Island Ferry. The ferry is a boat or a ship and acts as an en route between Lower Manhattan and Staten Island via the New York Harbor. The Staten Island Map gives you the streets, highways, and other sites.
As per World Population Review, the estimated current population in Staten Island is 4,75,000. It also gives information on demographics and other statistical facts about Staten Island, NY.
1.1. For What is Staten Island famous?
Staten Island, NY, has attractive parks, historic buildings, museums, restaurants, and other fascinating cultures and attractions. The spectacular views of Staten Island, New York, with its history, keep the family and children entertained.
Let us now discuss the best places, attractions, and things you can do in Staten Island, NY, that you must never miss.
2. Things to do in Staten Island
2.1. New York Harbor
New York Harbor is one of the most famous, significant, and recognized natural harbors of New York City. Located at the outlet of the Hudson River, meeting New York Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, it is the largest and most historic harbor in the entire world.
The harbor comprises 23 national parks and Nationally Recognized Historic Sites around it. Some of the sites are the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the childhood home of Theodore Roosevelt, Alexander Hamilton’s family home, the Gateway National Recreation Area, the Stonewall National Monument, and much more.
Visitors can approach the historical sites via land and enjoy charming views of the New York City Skyline.
2.2. Staten Island Ferry
The Staten Island Ferry is a 3-tiered orange-colored ship with nine vessels that offers a free trip between Staten Island and Lower Manhattan. It is a 24-hour and 5.2-mile-long ferry ride where around 70k people travel daily.
The ferry departs from St. George Ferry Terminal in Staten Island, NY, and the other destination is from Whitehall Terminal in Lower Manhattan. It takes 25 minutes to cross the harbor, and the ferry takes place every 15-20 minutes with 100 scheduled trips.
The residents of the island travel to work daily, and visitors can get views of New York Harbor and the skyline. Additionally, the Staten Island Ferry gives views of Governors Island, Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, Ellis Island, Jersey City, Lower Manhattan Skyline, and the Statue of Liberty.
2.3. Staten Island Zoo
The Staten Island Zoo, alternatively known as “Biggest Little Zoo,” is a small suburban zoo of eight acres eminent for its Serpentarium (enclosure for snakes). The zoo is open to visitors throughout the year and exhibits various reptiles and animals.
The pleasant walking paths will guide visitors to the large-scale collection of reptiles in the 16,000-square-foot facility area, with the highest group of rattlesnakes. Also, it showcases 800 varied animal species.
Visitors can also watch a tropical forest wing, leopard habitat, animals from Australia and Africa (native to the Sahara Desert), foxes, horses, predators, and many more.
The Staten Island Zoo attributes an aquarium displaying marine animals like coral reefs, Caribbean Sea Life, and Pacific Kelp forests. Besides, there are gift shops and a cafe where visitors will enjoy the meal and pick a moment for a trip.
2.4. Staten Island Museum
The Staten Island Museum is one of the best and oldest cultural museums in New York City. It is also called the General Interest Museum in the city.
Established in 1881, the Staten Island Museum exhibits scientific, historical, and artistic items and various other natural and human-made artifacts of the ancient past. Hence, it serves as a learning place of history for kids of all age groups.
The best collection of Staten Island Museum includes botanical and biological specimens like minerals, animals, and fossils. Additionally, there are drawings, paintings, handicraft items, films, maps, photographs, and audio relating to history. There are also programs sponsored for kids and adults in Staten Island Museum.
2.5. Staten Island Children’s Museum
The Staten Island Children’s Museum is exclusively a children’s museum located on the Sailors Snug Harbor. Kids can enjoy hands-on imaginative, creative, and interactive experiences alongside learning sciences and arts.
Also, there are dance and art workshops and various other cultural performances. These features make the Staten Island Children’s Museum more engaging and interactive for kids.
2.6. Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden
The Snug Harbor Cultural Center Botanical Garden is a Cultural Center Botanical Garden on the Sailor’s Snug Harbor, North Shore. Built in the 19th century, it’s an area of 83 acres and is one of the best places on Staten Island’s Northern Shore.
It was the former retirement place for sailors with today 28 historical buildings, museums, a working farm, artist residences, a performing arts center, various schools, and an extensive botanical garden.
The notable must-watch attractions in Snug Harbor Cultural Center Botanical Garden are Greek Revival Buildings on Temple Row, Staten Island Museum, Staten Island Children’s Museum, Botanical Garden, Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art, Veteran’s Memorial Hall, and Chinese Scholar’s Garden.
The Veteran’s Memorial Hall is an Italian-style chapel built in the 1850s with a gambrel roof, a bell tower, and a brick wall with curved windows.
The Chinese Scholar’s Garden is an eminent attraction built by Chinese artisans fitted with splendid rocks and areas for meditation, pavilions, bridges, and flora like lilacs, peonies, and roses. The Ming Dynasty Gardens inspired it in Suzhou.
Families come and enjoy spending a whole day exploring the buildings and cultural institutions and wandering around the garden at Snug Harbor Cultural Center.
2.7. National Lighthouse Museum
The National Lighthouse Museum sits on the New York Bay of Staten Island, NY Coast Guard Station. This attraction showcases the history of lighthouses in the USA and New York City, where visitors can learn about lighthouses that helped sailors with dangerous coastlines during navigation.
With an area of 2400 square feet, it has a collection of over 180 lighthouse models from 29 states, 200 actual lighthouse models in the USA, and various artifacts from historical lighthouses.
Some of the featured exhibits are “Beacons Through Time,” “Supplying the Nation’s Light Stations: The General Depot,” and “Life at the Light: Lighthouse Keepers.” Visitors can learn about beacons, historical artifacts, and the life of a lighthouse keeper at the National Lighthouse Museum.
Also, there are arranged boat tours seasonally to nearby lighthouses and a few more attractions with a fee.
2.8. Fort Wadsworth
Fort Wadsworth is one of the largest military forts in the USA, situated at the foot of Verrazano Narrows Bridge. Built in the 17th century, Fort Wadsworth was formerly a defense base in the American War of 1812 and World War I and II.
With an area of 226 acres today, Fort Wadsworth is a public park managed by the National Park Service, located at New York Avenue as a section of Gateway National Recreational Area. It guides you with an educational tour through well-known forts like Battery Weed and Fort Tompkins.
Providing historical and picturesque views of Manhattan and Brooklyn, Fort Wadsworth also attracts visitors to camping for a fee and on the reservation.
2.9. Historic Richmond Town
Historic Richmond Town is a living history museum built in the 1950s of the 17th century, located in the neighborhood of Richmond Town. It is a historical preservation site covering 30 original structures on more than 100 acres of land.
Visitors enjoy a pleasant time seeing the town-restored buildings, witness exhibits of the USA’s past 300 years and cottages, shops, and houses and learn about the lives of 19th-century homemakers and farmers.
The other highlights within Historic Richmond Town are Guyon Lake-Tysen House, the colonial farmhouse of the Dutch of the 1940s, and the Voorlezer’s House, the oldest elementary school in the USA of 1695.
2.10. South Beach
South Beach is one of the popular outdoor destinations and a recreational spot in Staten Island, New York. It forms the largest fishing pier in New York City.
Visitors are bound to enjoy swimming, sunbathing, free concerts, and fireworks celebrations during summer. The beach also features a fountain of six bronze dolphins with colorful lights at night.
Further, there are checkboard tables, bocce courts, and plenty of benches for senior adults to enjoy the atmosphere and the Ocean breeze. Also, the beach has a skate park open to the public.
2.11. Staten Island Greenbelt
The Staten Island Greenbelt, also called Greenbelt Nature Center, is one of the most beautiful nature preserves in New York City. Founded in 2004, it provides an extensive range of greenbelt activities and programs.
It covers 3000 acres of land with an incredible 5400 square feet of stone and brick buildings being a part of the natural beauty. There are well-maintained walking and biking trails in the park.
There are six main trails, out of which the trails White, Blue, and Yellow are the most difficult and the longest. The Red Trail is more moderate than the above three, with a 4-mile loop in the Greenbelt Nature Center. The Nature Center Trail, a 1-mile loop, and the Multipurpose Trail, 2.6 miles, are easy trails for walking and biking.
Furthermore, it provides guided hikes, environmental programs, lectures, workshops, and yoga classes. On the pathway, people can experience a serene environment of trees, forests, streams, ponds, and wetlands, with animals and birds.
2.12. Franklin D Roosevelt Boardwalk and Beach
The Franklin D Roosevelt Boardwalk and Beach is a 2.5-mile-long boardwalk along the New York Lower Bay, from Fort Wadsworth to Miller Field.
Established in 1935, the Roosevelt Boardwalk offers recreational activities, restaurants, showers, and other amenities at the beachside. Biking, pedaling, strolling, and water activities like swimming, kayaking, fishing, and canoeing are common interests for visitors at this boardwalk.
Adjacent to the boardwalk, there is scope for sports like basketball, baseball, volleyball, soccer, shuffleball, and handball play courts.
2.13. Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art
The Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art is an art museum in Staten Island, New York, exhibiting a vast collection of Tibetan art and culture.
Founded in 1945 by Tibetan expert Jacques Marchais, the museum resembles a Tibetan mountain monastery. It spotlights arts, replicas of Tibetan monasteries, ritual artifacts, films, scroll paintings, performances, and musical instruments.
The Jacques Marchais Museum also provides lessons in Tai Chi, meditation classes with lectures, musical performances, film screenings, on-site events, and kids’ programs.
2.14. Staten Island Boat Graveyard
The Staten Island Boat Graveyard is a marine scrapyard in Arthur Kille, located near Fresh Kills Landfill, on the West side shore of Staten Island.
It includes about 100 massive tugboats and cargo ships of the 20th century. Also, it exhibits a historical watercraft submarine used in World War II, USS PC-1264, and an FDNY fireboat used in 1904.
The graveyard has alternative names like Witte Marine Scrap Yard, Tugboat Graveyard, or the Arthur Kill Boat Yard.
2.15. Empire Outlets
Empire Outlets is an outlet shopping mall in the St. George neighborhood of St. George Terminal, Staten Island. The area of this mall is 350,000 square feet and is relatively closer to New York City.
It is a perfect shopping destination for big brands that attract localities and tourists. Empire Outlets features Gap Factory, Nike Factory, Old Navy Outlet, Guess Factory, Levi’s Outlet, Banana Republic Factory, H&M, and Nordstrom Rack, among others.
Empire Outlets also provide plenty of dining options, cafes, bakeries, restaurants, and breweries, where people can sit and relax with eateries and drinks. It is one of the best things to do in Staten Island.
2.16. Seaside Wildlife Nature Park
Seaside Wildlife Nature Park is one of the most idyllic Staten Island parks and an inventive waterfront in New York City. With an area of 20 acres, it exhibits a massive playground for kids, with a lighthouse, play sections that resemble Staten Island Ferry, and an explorable shipwreck.
The park serves as a habitat for 68 species of birds like terns, mute swans, ospreys, cormorants, and much more. Also, there are crustaceans like mussels, horseshoe crabs, and clams. Some of the varieties of trees and plants are pine and white oaks, eastern redbuds, honey and black locusts, milkweed, and invasive fragmites.
What’s more? There are nature trails for cyclists and joggers to leisurely pass through the trees and peaceful nature and salt marshes.
2.17. Alice Austen House
Alice Austen House is a museum and one of the historic houses in Staten Island, New York. The history behind this museum goes back to the 19th and 20th centuries after the person Alice Austen.
Elizabeth Alice Austen was one of the most extraordinary and impactful female American photographers and snapped approximately 8,000 photographs. She was very independent and a risk-taker who started taking snaps of street vendors, immigrants, moving trains, sports events, and activity recordings of her family, friends, and her own life.
Alice broke the ties of traditional life, didn’t get married, and lived a life in her own way. That way, she is depicted as a perfect role model for all women.
The house of Alice Austen, where she lived from the 1860s to 1945, called Clear Comfort, presently a museum, is a National Historic Landmark. Alice Austen’s House represents the history and works of her lifetime.
2.18. Conference House
Conference House was a meeting site with the aim of a peace conference held on September 11th, 1776, with a failed attempt to end the American Revolutionary War. The top leaders who attended the meeting were John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Edward Rutledge.
These leaders held a peaceful discussion with the British Commander of Forces in the colonies, Lord Howe. Unfortunately, the declined proposal and war took place for seven more years.
Built in 1680 by Captain Christopher Billopp, it now stands as a museum and a historical landmark for visitors.
2.19. Staten Island Mall
Staten Island Mall is a large shopping mall in New Springville, Staten Island. It is an indoor shopping complex with stores, eatery shops, a mall-walking program, free WIFI, and many more facilities.
This mall has more than 200 shopping outlets, including housewares, fashion, food, restaurants, stores, dining, and much more.
2.20. Freshkills Park
Freshkills Park is a public park to be developed in New York. It holds a historical significance with the name “Freshkills Landfill,” as it was one of the largest landfills before its closure in 2001. When the Twin Towers fell, this landfill served as a place to collect all the debris for processing.
This landfill is under development as a park that covers an area of 2,200 acres of land, three times the size of Central Park. It will have the facilities like playgrounds, art installations, kayak launches, athletic fields, and much more.
With engineering and infrastructure development, the area also includes wildlife, science, art, education, recreation, and more.
2.21. St. George Theatre
St. George Theatre is an arts theatre in Hyatt Street, Staten Island, located near the St. George ferry terminal. Established in 1929, it showcases a grand interior design with awe-inspiring staircases, stained-glass windows, a giant dome, and Spanish and Italian-style Baroque paintings.
The theatre has 2800 seats and attracts visitors with family-friendly musical performances, kids’ shows, and other performances by great musicians and comedians. Celebrities such as Joan Rivers, Jason Mraz, Chris Rock, and Jerry Seinfeld entertained the audience with their performances.
2.22. Postcards – Staten Island September 11th memorial
Postcards depict a memorial or sculpture built in 2004 at Staten Island’s Northern Shore Esplanade, New York. This memorial honors or remembers the 274 Staten Island residents killed in the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001.
The memorial’s structure has two fiberglass structures resembling a pair of wings and postcards sent to loved ones. The names of the people who died in the 9/11 attack have their name inscriptions on the memorial.
From the edges of the Northern shore, visitors can view Manhattan and New York City Skyline.
2.23. Clay Pit Ponds State Park
The Clay Pit Ponds State Park is a nature preserve park located at Staten Island’s southwest shore. Its area is 265 acres and is home to habitats including wetlands, barrens, and woodlands.
People can enjoy nature’s beauty at the Interpretative Center of Clay Pit Ponds and explore the park’s history, geology, ecology, and anthropology.
2.24. Carreta Tours
Carreta Tours is a travel agency that runs cost-effective customized tours of Staten Island for the public. These are walking tours that last for 2 to 3 hours.
Visitors have to meet at the Subway Sandwich Shop by the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, where tour guides will guide through facts walking along the way. So people learn about the history of the places, about the people who lived there, and their historical moments.
2.25. Cititrek Tours
Cititrek Tours offers tours in New York City. These are customized tours that visitors can choose their place of visit within a travel group according to their preferences and needs as per attractions, food, drinks, recreational areas, and more.
For instance, people can plan to learn about an island’s history or choose to visit Staten Island’s parks, beaches, or museums. Tour guides help lead the tours with all the necessary information, advice, and suggestions about the places chosen and also with refreshments and relaxation zones.
3. Final Note
I hope the article above gave you all the insights about the things to do on Staten Island and places to visit.
If you are planning a trip to stay in Staten Island, there are beautiful mid-range hotels like Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, and Holiday Inn Express, to name a few. You can check out budget hotels like Comfort Inn and Fairfield Inn & Suites.
So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and head on your travel journey.