By Mireille Consalvey
When you think Brooklyn, you think Central Park. Close enough to Aro Valley or Brooklyn Village, make the walk there with your takeaway coffee still warm, find a bench to catch your breath while your little Citywriggler burns off energy.
Babies, toddlers, teens – this park has you covered. From baby-friendly bucket swings to a flying fox (and yes I tried it and it passes the fun test). Set within a contained yet wide-open space, you can also quickly head off the beaten track to explore less-trodden paths for an array of kiwi wildlife; including bugs and grubs with glow-worms.
But head back up the hill and the village itself has lots to offer too.
Cafes, Brooklyn Style
Café Caribe is too small to loiter with wriggly kids, but’ll set you up with a coffee and sweet treat to fuel your visit to the Harrison Street Play Area. Although a less glamourous location to Central Park, this park has a nice rustic charm. With the adjoining community centre hosting after school and holiday clubs, little kids can watch wide-eyed at the big-kid activity.
For those wet weather days, or when you just need a sit down, there are a few other great eateries in Brooklyn. The Penthouse Cinema has long been a haunt of the local Plunket in the Neighbourhood (PIN) groups and offers up a kid-friendly space in its front room with a basket of toys. No shame here in leaving a trail of toddler destruction, the staff are always awesome and have even yielded a vacuum after one particularly disastrous visit I had there. Again in the name of survey I have sampled some of their fare, though it is hard to get past their ginger loaf. They also run Thursday morning Babes in Arms sessions. The ultimate sanity saver in my early baby days. And did I mention the ginger loaf.
Brooklyn’s real hidden gem is the Brooklyn Bar and Bistro. While a bit of a rough diamond, it’s one of the most kid-friendly venues in all of Wellington. While not a intimate pub setting, their cavernous space plays well to raucous kippers. Their whole front section given over to settees and a toy cabinet (a cabinet! A whole cabinet of toys). The littlies can play whilst mum has a whisky (okay, I’ve only thought about it). Their food is good, honest pub grub and to really test their hospitality my little boy dropped a whole pottle of ketchup on their floor. Dealt with by smiles and good grace.
Still to sample Brooklyn’s newest kid-on-the-block: The Salty Pidgin, but this momma is up to the challenge. Stand by.
Mireille Consalvey is a Brooklyn resident, mother and writer. When she’s not savouring the delights of her neighbourhood, Mireille also works at Victoria University.