NYC is full of fun activities that everyone can enjoy! Movies and media can make it seem like a place that only welcomes adults, but the city has a ton of family-friendly activities that kids will love! From museums to parks, there’s a ton for kids to do in this big, crazy city, and CitySignal is here to tell you some of the best ones! So grab some snacks for the kiddos, load them in the car, or on those bikes with a car seat, and head on into the city for activities that are bright, educational, and a ton of fun!
Things To Do in NYC with Kids
Best Family-Friendly Activities in Manhattan
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- The Color Factory: Bright, fun, and changing all the time, The Color Factory is one of the most family-friendly places in all of New York. This interactive museum is perfect for keeping your children’s attention, and there’s even a large ball pit area for them to run around in. Candy is given out in multiple rooms, and there’s even a gift shop so you can remember your trip for a long time after it’s over. Visit their website for more information on exhibits, tickets, and events!
- The Natural History Museum: A favored field trip for any kid in the city, the Natural History Museum in Central Park has a ton of exhibits that will leave your children’s jaws on the floor. Kids love the dinosaur bones and the giant whale, and families can explore the museum on their own or via a planned tour. The museum also features special exhibits, which currently include the World of Sharks and Extinct & Endangered species. Their website even has a special section specifically for kids! Your family will learn a lot, and have a great time doing it!
- The Statue of Liberty: Experience America’s history with a tour of The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. These national parks not only tell the history of islands and sculpture, but they tell the history of immigration in the United States. Once again, you can traverse these areas on your own or through a guided tour. It costs some extra money to go to the top of the statue, but otherwise this trip is extremely affordable. The gift shop has a ton of things that you and your family can buy to remember your trip. Check out their website to see available exhibits and deals.
- The Intrepid Museum: Big, bold, and incredibly awesome, the Intrepid is perfect for any kid who has a thing for the military, science, or space. Loaded with planes, helicopters, and even a space shuttle, this museum is devoted to teaching children and parents everything about aviation and space travel, with a bit of maritime excitement as well. They host special events and exhibitions that will leave your kids, and yourself, in awe. They even have classes that children can take in person and online! Checkout their website for upcoming exhibits, sign ups for classes, and pricing for different tours and experiences.
- Chelsea Piers: A huge facility with a ton to do, Chelsea Piers is a gorgeous party venue and sports facility. They have tons of fun stuff for kids to do including soccer fields, a gymnastics facility, and an ice rink or two! They cater to kids well too, offering a variety of classes, recreational leagues, and summer camps that will keep your children active, healthy, and engaged. Families can even drop in and use some of the facilities like the rock climbing gym or one of the swimming pools. This is a perfect way to spend a summer to make plans to visit Chelsea Piers today.
Best Family-Friendly Activities in Brooklyn
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- Brooklyn Children’s Museum: Located in the Crown Heights Historic District, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum is a great way to peak your child’s curiosity. They have exhibits catered to a variety of age groups, and new exhibits are installed on a regular basis. You can even rent out the museum for parties and events! Current exhibits include Neighborhood Nature, where your children can learn all about the plants and animals that live in the borough, and World Brooklyn, where your children can learn about different cultures of the world that have been brought to Brooklyn.
- Skyline Drive-In: Located in Greenpoint, this outdoor movie theater is truly a unique experience. Many people think that you have to go to the suburbs for a drive-in, but Skyline brings the experience to NYC in a breathtaking way. Drive your car or take a train to this location, which often shows family friendly films during the summer months. Your kids will not just love the movies, but they’ll also love gazing at the beautiful Manhattan skyline as the sun slowly sets to the west. You don’t want to miss out on these screenings.
- The Brooklyn Botanical Gardens: Located right next to Prospect Park, The Brooklyn Botanical Gardens are a perfect way to get your kids outside to experience nature. Much more than just a garden, this place has a ton of seasonal exhibits, including their famous Garden After Hours, which features professional caretakers that give tours and lessons about the plants and trees in the garden. The gardens also have activities specifically catered to children, and educational programs that will give them a green thumb. Fun and interactive, the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens are a great way to spend a summer day.
- The New York Aquarium: Fun and engaging, the New York Aquarium will have your kids begging to come back every week. Part of the New York zoo family, this magical place has live shows, interactive exhibits, and large aquariums full of freaky things, colorful fish, and awesome sharks. The sea lion show will get you wet, and is guaranteed to make you smile. They even have a touch pool so your children can interact with the creatures of the deep! Get your tickets through their website, so you and your family can experience a day that will never be forgotten.
- Luna Park: An amusement park in beautiful Coney Island, Luna Park is a perfect destination for locals and visitors alike. With rides, food, and games that will excite both adults and children, your family will make memories that will last a lifetime. For families seeking a thrill, try out the Coney Island Cyclone or the Astro Tower! For families who get motion sick, try out some of the fun games the park has to offer. You can win prizes at the 3 point challenge, Whopper Waters, or the Luna Arcade. This park is perfect for getting the kids outside.
Best Family-Friendly Activities in Queens
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- The Museum of the Moving Image: Celebrating all things film, the Museum of the Moving Image is located in Astoria next to Kaufman Studios. Loaded with exhibits, both educational and interactive, families will love this place for its bright colors, fun vibe, and the arcade room! Some of their most popular exhibits include the Jim Henson Exhibition, which is ongoing, and Behind the Screen, a detailed look through the history and process of movie making. There are even exhibits that will allow you to experience voice over and editing processes. So, if your kids love movies, this is the place to be.
- Citi Field: Everyone loves going to a baseball game on a sunny summer day, and Citi Field is one of the best stadiums around! Home to The Mets, Citi Field has a ton to offer people on game day. Heck, even when there are no games, the field is great for families! You can host an event there, or take a guided tour. If you go enough, you might even be able to join the Citi Field Club, which gives you special access to some of the cooler stadium features. That said, if you just want to bring the family to a game, then buy a hotdog and kick your feet up. There’s no wrong way to enjoy the field.
- The New York Hall of Science: It can be hard for some kids to find science interesting, but this museum is ready to change that. The New York Hall of Science is a popular destination in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. They have a ton of interactive exhibits that kids will love, including a playground on the lower levels. Your kids will be laughing, dancing and learning when you spend the day here, so get your tickets and join the fun!
- Queens County Farm Museum: Though this activity is a bit out of the way, it is well worth the trip, especially if your kids enjoy the great outdoors. The Queens County Farm Museum is the oldest functioning farm in NYC, which means they’ve had 325 years to perfect their craft. The farm/museum also hosts several annual events that will delight and educate your kids, like hayrides and animal feedings. They also have educational programs for kids who are interested in the agricultural sciences. This is the perfect place for families who don’t mind getting their hands a little dirty.
- Queens Zoo: Wild, wonderful, and easy to navigate, Queens Zoo is another branch of the NYC zoo family. Unlike other zoos and aquariums, visitors have to book tickets in advance. But, once you have your date booked, you’re in for one wild ride. Your family can feed tons of animals in the petting zoo, and sea lion feedings happen three times a day. Summer camps are also available for kids who love animals. Who knows? Maybe these camps will inspire the next generation of zoo keepers! No matter what, you and your family will have an amazing experience here.
Best Family Friendly Activities in The Bronx
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- The Bronx Zoo: Easily the most popular zoo in the city, The Bronx Zoo is the big daddy of the NYC zoo family. They have tons of animals, tons of food, and tons of extra exhibits that kids will love, like the 4D movie theater, or the Dinosaur Safari. There are also close encounter experiences, where you and your kids can meet some of the zoo’s most fascinating animals including penguins, sloths, and even cheetahs! The Bronx Zoo is one of the finest zoos in the world, so book your tickets today and experience the animal kingdom.
- Yankee Stadium: Like we said for Citi Field, everyone loves a baseball game. That said, there’s more than one team in New York, and the Yankees have their own stellar stadium in The Bronx. The stadium offers baseball camps for kids, guided tours, and exclusive experiences for those who frequent the stadium. You can even host an event here! So come up to The Bronx and check out the home of the 27-time World Series Champions!
- Children’s Adventure Garden: Located inside The Bronx Botanical Garden, this special place for children is a one-of-a-kind wonderland. Open year round, this bountiful garden allows children to run around free or have a more structured experience through the classes that are offered here. Some programs include the summer camp and the nature explorers program for toddlers. While the kids play in the adventure garden, adults can take classes with the botanical garden staff, with programs that include botany, landscape design, and even health and wellness. There’s something for everyone here, so come check out the Botanical Gardens today!
- The Bronx Little Italy: While everyone knows of Manhattan’s Little Italy, a crowded neighborhood with a ton to eat, The Bronx Little Italy has a similar cultural heritage, but a vastly different experience for those who visit. For one, it’s not as crowded as the neighborhood in Manhattan, but the food is just as delicious and the traditions just as rich. Numerous films have been inspired by the neighborhood including “The Bronx Tale,” whose writer was born in the area. To bring your family here is to bring them to a cultural hotspot. Also, you’ll eat one of the best plates of pasta you’ve ever had.
- Pelham Bay Park: An enormous park in the northeast Bronx, Pelham Bay Park has something for literally anyone. Does your family like mini-golf? Turtle Cove Golf Center has you covered. Does your family like to fish? They have a ton of fresh and saltwater locations to fish on. Does your family like to play sports? The park has a ton of tennis fields, basketball courts, and track and field areas. For those seeking to just spend some time outside, they also have a ton of hiking paths to choose from. If your family loves the outdoors, this is a great place to stay active.
Best Family Friendly Activities in Staten Island
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- Staten Island Children’s Museum: A wonderful museum that any age can enjoy, Staten Island Children’s Museum is fun, engaging, and educational. Local kids take field trips here all the time, and tourists rave about the exhibits in the museum like the Bugs Arthropod room and the Garden Terrace. They even have special events that teach kids about important holidays like Juneteenth and Arbor Day. Summer camps are also available to local kids whose families live in the area, so Staten Island children can be engrossed in learning all summer long. Get your tickets today!
- Staten Island FunPark: A place of pure enjoyment, Staten Island FunPark is a great way to spend a day. There’s something here for children with any interest, and the fun never seems to stop. With activities like mini-golf, go-karts, and batting cages, who wouldn’t want to hangout here? Families can rent the park for birthdays or other such events, or you can rent out the park for a day just to make your kid happy! So, if you have an active child who loves sports and thrills, this is definitely the place for you.
- Fort Wadsworth: One of the oldest surviving forts in the US, Fort Wadsworth is rich with history. With multiple attractions, as well as hiking and bike paths, your family will be able to learn a lot while experiencing breathtaking views of New York Harbor. The visitor’s center is the de facto museum of the fort, and teaches you about the history of the fort and the battles that were fought there. The Mont Sec House is a 19th century home that has been restored to its original state, and showcases how life was lived over 100 years ago. Even if your family just goes on a hike, this fort is well worth the visit.
From parks and zoos, to museums and activity centers, NYC has no shortage of great activities for families to enjoy. Everything we’ve listed above is affordable and easily accessible. Families can spend days exploring these places. They will enrich the lives of you and your children, providing your family with memories that will last a lifetime. So go feed a sea lion, drive a go-kart, experience a museum, or just frolic in the flowers. You can’t go wrong when you visit these places, so bring a good attitude and a camera, cause you’ll be taking plenty of pictures.
Russell is a writer and comic based in New York City. His plays have been featured at Penn State’s Cultural Conversation’s Festival, The NYC Thespis Festival, and Imaginarium’s Inaugural Theater Festival. Follow him on TikTok and Instagram @pooleparty528