Brooklyn Navy Yard: Tours for School Groups

Presented in partnership with the 

Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92

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Program Highlights:

  • Programs can be adapted for all grade levels and subject areas, including history, social studies, STEM fields, and career pathway-focused curriculum
  • Tours incorporate interactive and hands-on activities, including using a scale-model dry dock
  • Explore the history of this historic shipyard turned hub of industry and innovation
  • Learn about some of the 400+ businesses that call the Brooklyn Navy Yard home
  • Learn about the ongoing development projects at the Yard

For 165 years, the Brooklyn Navy Yard built some of America’s most famous fighting ships, from sailing frigates to aircraft carriers. Today, the Yard is home to hundreds manufacturing, technology, and creative businesses, providing thousands of jobs to New Yorkers across a wide range of industries. We offer a variety of theme-based tours about history, architecture, industry, and more, so there are many ways to discover what’s behind the walls of the Brooklyn Navy Yard by bicycle, bus, and on foot.

Turnstile Tours offers group tour packages and customized itineraries that range in theme from World War II and maritime history to sustainable architecture and 21st-century manufacturing practices. The 1-hour, 1.5-hour, and 2-hour tours highlighted below explore the 300-acre (126-hectare) historic Yard that is today a city-owned industrial park home to more than 330 businesses. Any of these tour programs can be adapted based on your interests and goals for one visit or multiple visits. Packages are also available and can include guided or self-guided explorations of the exhibits at BLDG 92, pre-ordered lunches, and customized half-day or full-day itineraries of Brooklyn (contact us for a proposal and pricing information).

Below are descriptions of our standard tours, but each of these can be adapted or combined to create the most relevant and appropriate experience for your students. At the bottom of this page is information on how to book, availability, pricing, and applicable New York State Scope and Sequence learning standards.

Past, Present & Future Tour

This two-hour guided tour is a great introduction to the rich history and modern industry of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Founded in 1801, the Yard served as one of America’s premiere naval shipyards for 165 years. Today, it is a city-owned industrial park and a center of manufacturing, technology, and craft, home to over 330 industrial and creative businesses. This tour gives you a closer look at the Yard’s most intriguing sites, including a dry dock that’s been used continuously for ship repair since 1851, several historic buildings that are being adaptively reused for modern industry, and development projects that will more than double the Yard’s workforce by the year 2020.

World War II History Tour

The Brooklyn Navy Yard played a pivotal role in World War II, building battleships and aircraft carriers, repairing over 5,000 ships, and sending troops and supplies to fronts across the globe. This tour examines the role of the New York City waterfront in the war effort, explores connections between the Yard and famous battles of World War II, and visits sites of significance that remain from this era, including the former ship assembly areas, workshops, and dry docks that kept the US Navy afloat and fighting around the world. As we move around the Yard, we also listen clips of oral histories recorded with sailors and shipworkers, including from female industrial workers, to bring the story of the Yard at war to life.

Architecture & Infrastructure Tour

Explore the rich and unique architecture of the Brooklyn Navy Yard on this guided tour by bus or bicycle. Take a closer look at the many layers of history visible in the landscape, from Civil War-era machine shops to innovative LEED-Certified structures, and how these buildings have been adapted for modern industry. Learn about development projects currently underway at the Yard, including Building 77, Admiral’s Row, and the Green Manufacturing Center, and the infrastructure that keeps the Yard – and all of New York City – running.

Yard Inspectors

Step into the shoes of an inspector in-training and follow clues to uncover maritime treasures of the Brooklyn Navy Yard! Search for tugboats, NYPD fireboats, and barges, see where they get repaired, and participate in a dry dock simulation with a small-scale hands-on model! This Yard-wide adventure is fun for the whole family but especially for families with children ages 5-11. This program is designed to meet the needs of children of all abilities.

Urban Ecology Tour

Discover the natural world in the midst an industrial park on this 2-hour tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where we will explore waterways, meadows, and urban farms. The highlight is a visit to the stunning Brooklyn Grange rooftop farm, where we will learn how they produce thousands of pounds of vegetables annually and are a national leader in the development of rooftop and urban farming techniques. The tour will also visit an oyster restoration project led by students from the New York Harbor School, and the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative‘s Naval Cemetery Landscape.

A museum exhibit that includes a series of photographs and videos to the right and an exhibit case with commercial products to the leftExplore BLDG 92 Exhibits

BLDG 92 offers three floors of exhibits about the past, present, and future of the Yard. The galleries are open to the public Wednesday-Sunday, 12-6pm, and admission is always free. Your visit to the Brooklyn Navy Yard can include a 1-hour guided tour of the exhibits, or time for independent exploration, subject to availability. BLDG 92 also has a small gift shop, ample restrooms, and a Brooklyn Roasting Company café that sells drinks and light snacks.

Brooklyn Historical Society Programs

School programs at the Brooklyn Navy Yard are offered by the Brooklyn Historical Society in partnership with the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92, and these tours are offered free of charge to New York City public schools.

>> Info on Brooklyn Historical Society Programs at the Brooklyn Navy Yard <<


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