Like numerous Jersey transplants, I was born in Brooklyn, near Coney Island, an area that suffered as much as New Jersey during Superstorm Sandy. Also like New Jersey, the neighborhood undertook major rebuilding efforts and now is open for business.
Less than 10 minutes from the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, Coney is closer to many NJ regions than Manhattan is, and this month it brims with kid-friendly Halloween events.
So fill your tank with Jersey-priced gas, then venture over the Verrazano toward the following destinations.
The biggies are Luna Park and Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park. At Luna Park, you’ll find rides to suit every thrill level (with surprisingly short wait times)—including the world-famous Cyclone roller coaster—and traditional amusement park games.
This past summer, the city reopened the B&B Carousell, and re-lit the historic Parachute Jump. Throughout October, there’ll be familiar characters in costumes, free candy, and free live Halloween-themed shows. 718-373-5862; lunaparknyc.com.
As its name suggests, Deno’s is home to the iconic Wonder Wheel ferris wheel, built in 1920. Adults and kids alike will enjoy riding this official NYC landmark—and the park’s bumper cars—but Deno’s specialty is its “Kiddie Park,” with 17 rides for little ones. Head over to the website for a $2 coupon. 718-372-2592; wonderwheel.com.
New York Aquarium
You’ll find everything you love about aquariums here. While the rebuilding continues, the aquarium is offering reduced-price admission ($9.95), which is a great deal since most exhibits are open. Kids especially get a kick out of the sea lion show and the walrus, sea otter, and penguin feedings. Also visit the touch tank, where kids can get their hands on hermit crabs and sea stars. Check the website for more details. 718-265-3474; nyaquarium.com.
My kids love Williams Candy (718-372-0302; candytreats.com), known for its toasted, nut-covered marshmallows on a stick. And no trip to Coney is complete without a hot dog from Nathan’s Famous (nathansfamous.com).
Like the Jersey Shore, Coney Island boasts a happening boardwalk, along which you’ll find the above attractions (except Williams). The annual Children’s Halloween Parade is scheduled for Oct. 26 along the boardwalk. There will be contests, giveaways, and goody bags. coneyislandfunguide.com.
Come back next summer to swim at the beach and catch a Brooklyn Cyclones baseball game. Once you visit, you’ll want to keep coming back!
Renée Sagiv Riebling is always on the lookout for family adventures .