When the Brooklyn air chills and the first flurries of winter begin to appear, Prospect Park becomes the perfect playground for adults and kids alike. This is the time of year that beckons Park Slope families via autumn light and foliage so stunning that taking a long walk through the woods and streams of the park is its own picturesque adventure. Add to that all the activities available in the park—from ice skating to horseback riding—and you’ll have a perfect Park Slope family adventure every weekend, just a short walk from the Baltic.
There is no place in Brooklyn better equipped to encourage your child’s relationship with nature and celebrate nature’s ability to thrive in an urban environment than the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG). Located at the north end of Prospect Park, the BBG is an easy walk from your Baltic residence and caters specifically to children with its Children’s Garden, where kids can take classes in planting flowers and vegetables, and the Discovery Garden, where they can get their hands dirty learning about different plants and identifying butterflies as they fly from flower to flower. Bookmark the Park Slope Parents blog to keep up-to-date on seasonal events at the BBG and throughout the neighborhood, like Winter on a Flatbush Farm, a fascinating event at the Lefferts Historic House on November 27th that will show 21st-century Brooklyn kids what it was like to live in the borough centuries ago. Try your hand at candle making, watch wool being spun into thread, and sample a few traditional Dutch sweets in anticipation of St. Nicholas (slated to arrive at 3 pm.)
An afternoon outdoors with your children doesn’t get much better than a horse or pony ride at the Kensington Stables, just down the street from the Parade Ground. Make an advance reservation for a guided riding tour around the park’s bridle path on a horse (or pony) for a horse’s eye view that your child won’t forget. And at the Carousel, in the Children’s Corner of the park, kids can climb aboard the hand-carved wooden horses for a different kind of ride with a charm all its own.
As the weather turns colder, the park’s most magical place might just be the recently remodeled LeFrak Center at Lakeside, where the whole family can rent skates and glide over the ice to disco tunes as the sun sets. Top off the day with a hot chocolate at LeFrak’s Bluestone Cafe.