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Governors Island's Come Out and Play Festival 2013

The Come Out and Play Festival will host its annual family day on Governors Island on Saturday, July 13. Here's what to expect!

  • Come Out and Play Festival

  • Photograph: Lia Bulaong

    Come Out and Play Festival

  • Photograph: Tricia Vesey

    Come Out and Play Festival

  • Photograph: Tricia Vesey

    Come Out and Play Festival

Come Out and Play Festival


Every year, the River to River Festival presents a day of active outdoor play on Governors Island. At this year’s Come Out and Play Festival on Saturday, July 13, kids and parents can take part in travel-themed activities, participate in inventive games and more. Here are some of the fest’s highlights.

RECOMMENDED: Governors Island in New York Guide 2013

Enter the Time Travel Portal
The time travel experience begins as soon as you enter the island's parade grounds. At Passport Control, participants pick up a Time Travel Passport (much more fun than the actual process of getting a passport, we promise!), before heading into the Time Travel Portal, a huge tent manned by official Time Travel Agents. Pick a destination (think 19th-century Japan or the Civl War era) and take the corresponding exit—your crew wil find themselves in a game set in that time period. Once you’ve had your fill of the game, return to the portal to select your next stop.

Play wacky games
No kickball and three-legged races here! Instead, choose from 11 original games that transport participants to the dawn of the universe, the end of time and everything in between. Matter Mayhem, a tag-style game, invites kids to take on the role of a solid, liquid, or gas after the Big Bang, moving about the field personifying their state of matter. In Super Bacon Grab, players are survivors of the apocalypse who compete in teams of six to collect the only resource remaining on earth (yes, you guessed it—bacon!) At Pirates, Ghosts, Ninjas, Oh My!, kids are asked to dress up their parents as one of the aforementioned characters, then work as a team to create a human chain. History buffs might enjoy the Battle of the Cardboard Clads, a reenactment of a naval standoff between the Monitor and the Merrimack in the Battle of Hampton Roads. In this version, cannonballs are replaced with a safer (and more refreshing) alternative—water balloons.


Communicate with future civilizations
Kids can answer questions from a time-traveling reporter and give some insight on the 21st century to future audiences or send a postcard to their future selves (the fest will collect the postcards and mail them out six months later). Throughout the day, kids can also interact with fellow time travelers, collecting and exchanging beads—which, didn’t you know, are the official currency of time travel.


Check out field day
The Come Out and Play Field Day will take place concurrently with Family Day, and is a fun option for older kids and teens (most of the games are geared toward adults and children ages 11 and older). The activities include a Nerf gun battle and a creative activity that unexpectedly combines dodgeball and chess (don’t ask us to explain the rules!). Or check out a new field sport in which players attempt to score points by making a goal. The catch? The goals are moving targets worn on the opposing players’ heads.


Explore Governors Island
Take advantage of the open fields and city views of one of our favorite family attractions and stick around after the fest for a picnic, guided walking tour of the historic Fort Jay and Castle Williams (check the Governors Island website for times and details) or a bike tour of the island (Saturday at 2pm). Saturday is also opening day of Fete Paradiso, a vintage carnival festival that will remain on the island through September.

The Come Out and Play Festival takes place on Governors Island on Saturday, July 13 at 11am.


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