Turnstile Tours offers interactive and educational tours in partnership with non-profit organizations on topics ranging from the the history of New York City’s industrial waterfront to the contemporary stories of the city’s manufacturers, immigrant entrepreneurs, urban planners, and architects. Below you will find information on all of our programs for your people, including detailed information on educational standards that these programs fulfill. Turnstile Tours guarantees that all educational tours will engage youth participants to:
- actively participate in the process of interpreting primary and secondary sources relevant to the tour experience
- share personal connections, prior knowledge, and opinions
- make observations, share opinions and perspectives, and draw conclusions based on larger issues related to the tours
All our staff members have experience teaching in either classroom or museum settings for K-12 students or at the college level, and more than half have expertise in working with young people who have intellectual, learning, and physical disabilities. Staff members are assigned to educational groups based on their relevant teaching experience and expertise and background in the subject matter. To learn more about our team, please click here.
The section below is for school and youth groups. If you are interested in more specialized tours, click below to find more detailed information for:
Academic & Professional Groups • Private Groups & Individuals • Travel & Tourism Industry
BROOKLYN NAVY YARD TOURS
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. If you are interested in these programs, please click below:
>> Info on Brooklyn Historical Society Programs at the Brooklyn Navy Yard <<
If no Brooklyn Historical Society programs are available, or if these programs do not fit your specific needs, please read below for more information on our programs.
Turnstile Tours offers group tour packages and customized itineraries on behalf of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92 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).
⚓ Past, Present & Future Tour
For 165 years, the Brooklyn Navy Yard was a leading naval shipyard, building some of America’s most famous fighting Naval ships, including the USS Maine, USS Arizona, and USS Missouri. Today the Yard is a city-owned industrial park and a center of manufacturing, technology, and craft, home to over 400 industrial and creative businesses, creating thousands of jobs for New Yorkers. This guided tour offers an overview of the vast 300-acre property and its history, from its founding in 1801, through major political and technological eras – including the Civil War, World War II, and its transition to a civilian industrial park – that are still visible in the Yard’s historic landscape.
This tour offers opportunities to take 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 in the near future. Along the way, we will use oral history clips and historical photographs from the site’s naval past, as well as stories of the people at the Yard today, to bring this place to life. While we use a bus to get from place to place, we do get off the bus at several locations throughout the Yard to take a closer look.
🔎 Yard Inspectors
Ideal for groups K-5th grade, this 1-hour, hands-on exploration acquaints students with this working waterfront. Following clues to navigate the yard, students find FDNY fireboats, see a dry dock and simulate how it’s used to repair ships, and earn badges at the end as “certified” Yard Inspectors.
🏢 Architecture & Infrastructure Tour
Once America’s premier Naval shipyard, today the Brooklyn Navy Yard is a mission-driven industrial park and a hub of industry, technology, and craft. Explore the Navy Yard’s unique architecture and examine the many layers of history visible in the landscape, from Civil War-era machine shops to innovative LEED-Certified structures, and see how these buildings have been adapted for modern manufacturing. Learn about development projects currently underway at the Yard, which are projected to more than double the Yard’s workforce in the near future, the greatest expansion of the Yard since World War II.
This tour showcases the role the Brooklyn Navy Yard plays in providing economic opportunities for thousands of New Yorkers, from small business owners to manufacturing workers to technology startups, and looks at the infrastructure that keeps the Yard – and all of New York City – running, including stormwater management, transportation, and energy. The tour covers most of the massive 300-acre campus, including visits to the still-active 1851 Dry Dock No. 1, the newly-renovated World War II-era Building 77, the sites of the Admiral’s Row and Dock 72 projects, and the LEED Platinum-certified Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92.
🚢 World War II 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. Not only did the Yard construct the USS Arizona a generation before the war, which was sunk at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, but it is also where the battleship Missouri was constructed, where the instrument of surrender ending the war was signed in 1945. Thanks to the efforts of its 70,000 workers, the Brooklyn Navy Yard became the world’s busiest shipyard, earning the nickname “The Can-Do Yard” for its ability to patch up wounded ships and put them back in action.
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 shops, the Yard’s headquarters at Building 77, and the landmark Dry Dock No. 1. Throughout the tour, we listen to clips of oral histories recorded with sailors and shipworkers who were at the Yard during the war, including from women working in industrial jobs, and from people of color, for whom the war presented both challenges and new opportunities. This tour aims to evoke a sense of what the Yard was like during the war – a place of tremendous energy, innovation, and achievement, but tempered by terrible loss.
🌻 Urban Ecology Tour
Discover the natural world in the midst a thriving urban industrial park on this 2-hour tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where we will explore New York City’s waterways, terrestrial ecosystems and urban farms. The highlight of the tour is the stunning 65,000-square-foot 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. From the rooftop, we’ll also have amazing views of the Yard, including an extensive green rooftop and one of the largest rooftop solar installations in New York City.
Descending to the bank of the East River, we will visit an oyster restoration project led by students from the New York Harbor School and will discuss the improving health of the city’s waterways, and the challenges that remain. We will also explore planned and unplanned natural landscapes of the Yard, including the landscape architecture surrounding BLDG 92, identifying native and exotic plant species along the way. Finally, we will the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative‘s Naval Cemetery Landscape, a meadow designed to restore the natural habitat, provide a space for environmental education, and commemorate the thousands of sailors, marines, and others once interred at the site. This tour will reveal that the natural world truly is all around us, even in the heart of the city.
⚓ Explore the Exhibits at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92
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. If you would like to incorporate a 1-hour guided tour of the exhibits into your visit to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, that can be arranged, subject to availability.
BROOKLYN ARMY TERMINAL TOURS
Step inside an engineering marvel that is today a center of manufacturing and innovation on Brooklyn’s Sunset Park waterfront. Built to supply American forces in World War I, this enormous Cass Gilbert-designed complex served as a supply base for the American military for nearly 50 years, employing more than 20,000 people during World War II. Today, this thriving industrial park is home to over 100 companies in a wide array of industries, from precision manufacturers to biotech researchers, online retailers to chocolatiers.
On this 2-hour walking tour, we will explore how millions of tons of war supplies and personnel were shipped through this teeming transportation hub, hear the stories of soldiers, longshoremen, and merchant mariners who worked these piers, rail yards, and warehouses, and learn how these facilities are put to use today. Looking at the broader context, this tour will discuss what made the Port of New York the envy of the world in the mid-20th century, why it went into decline, and how Brooklyn’s working waterfront is being revitalized today. Along the way, we will enjoy sweeping views of the harbor, closely examine the architecture and infrastructure, and step inside the Terminal’s architectural gem – the breathtaking atrium of Building B, where freight trains once rumbled through to be loaded from the innovative cantilevered balconies. Join us to explore the sights and stories of a century of work at the Brooklyn Army Terminal!
FOOD CART TOURS OF MANHATTAN
Join us for this strolling lunch through Midtown or the Financial District to learn about the past and present of operating a street food business in New York City. While tasting the borough’s best street food at six different carts and trucks, you’ll taste cuisines ranging from Caribbean and Mexican to Bengali and Korean and learn about the vendors behind each of the recipes. But this is more than just a tasting tour – you will also learn the ins and outs of running one of these demanding small businesses, understand the complex regulations affecting the industry, learn about advocacy efforts led by the street vending community, and meet the vendors. This tour can be adapted to complement courses on a wide range of subjects, from immigration to business, regional and food studies, urban planning and public policy.