• Officers at Fort Jay, 1912.

    Governors Island

    National Monument New York

For Kids

Play this Game Before You Visit - read on to learn more...

In 1878, Governors Island was the home for U.S. Army headquarters on the east coast. This meant that plans that the army made for eastern operations took place here. Officers moved on to the island with their families and overtime, a large military community grew. This community was not much different from the one you may have grown up in. It had a public school, PS 26, a movie theatre, a YMCA and clubs such as the boy and girl scouts.

The community formed around the three historic forts on the island, Fort Jay, Castle Williams and South Battery. These forts, along with others in New York Harbor, helped to protect the city from attack during the War of 1812 and beyond.

To learn more about this early history, why these forts were vitally important to the young City of New York, and similar forts in other harbors around the country, play "Protect the Harbor" (part of the WebRangers program). You will also find out where the other forts in New York Harbor were located...you may be surprised.

Have fun!

Junior Ranger Activity Booklet

Want to learn more about the forts on the island and have fun at the same time? Consider becoming a Junior National Park Ranger and earn an official Junior Ranger badge from Governors Island National Monument.

You Are the Engineer: Pretend you are a fort designer. Explore Fort Jay and the outside of Castle Williams, answer the questions in the booklet, and design your own fortification.

Download the Junior Ranger booklet and mail completed books for a ranger to review to:

Chief Junior Ranger

Governors Island National Monument
10 South Street
New York, New York 10004-1921

Become a National Park WebRanger

Join in the fun by participating in the National Park Service's on-line Junior Ranger program for kids of all ages. If you love your National Parks, Monuments and Historic Sites, this site is for you. Play more than 50 games and learn about your National Parks.

Share park stories and pictures with other WebRangers around the world in the "My Community" section. Now there are over 49,000 registered WebRangers; and over 1,600 have earned WebRangers patches by completing all of the activities.

 

School Groups

Visit our For Teachers section to find out more about field trips to the island, classroom visits, and other great resources for school groups!

Did You Know?

German immigrant family

In 1860, nearly half of the enlisted men stationed on Governors Island had immigrated to New York from either Ireland or Germany. Women immigrants from these countries also took their first jobs "off the boat" as maids and servants in the officers' homes on the island.