Family-Friendly Activities in New York City with Kids

Things to do with Kids in NYC

New York City is actually a very kid-friendly place to explore. With plenty of playgrounds, kid's museums, outdoor areas, and several impressive zoos, it's not hard to fill the day when you're traveling with kids. These activities are kid-tested and have proven to be a favorite for the young and young-at-heart.

Beaches

Coney Island
Coney Island
Coney Island is a classic, old-school amusement park and entertainment area that offers visitors a glimpse into the past. The park is just over an hour outside of Manhattan and it has several classic thrills including a wooden roller coaster, an aquarium, and a boardwalk. The island also has a beach and a chill atmosphere that makes a strong contrast to the vibe in the city.
1218 Bowery Street, West Brighton, NYC, New York, 11224
Long Beach
Long Beach
Long Beach on Long Island offers a large stretch of sand from the Atlantic Beach area on the western side to Point Lookout on the eastern side. You can get here from Manhattan on the LIRR, and once you do you will be greeted with relaxing waves, chairs and umbrellas for rent, a nice long boardwalk, and various restaurants, bars, and ice cream shops along the main road for when you get hungry or thirsty. You can also take surfing lessons here, or enjoy the concerts in the summer.
300 W Broadway, Long Beach, New York, 11561
Interested in more travel advice for New York City? Check out The Best Children's Museums in New York City and Things to Do in New York City's Central Park.
Rockaway Beach & Jacob Riis Park
Rockaway Beach is located in Queens and is accessible with public transportation. Here you can find some nice sand, fairly calm waves, and a relaxed crowd. In the summer months, especially on weekends it can get a bit crowded as this is one of the most accessible beaches to the city. A large section of this beach is Jacob Riis Park which is a National Recreation Area managed by the NPS. Here you'll find several historic art deco buildings in addition to the wide sandy beach (and a sizeable parking area).
125 Beach 135th Street, NYC, New York, 11694
Brighton Beach
Next door to all the fun at Coney Island, Brighton Beach has some wide sandy beaches with a relaxing but fun vibe. As expected, it's very popular in the summer months when the water and weather is warmer. Lifeguards are on duty during the day in the summer, and the facilities are wheelchair accessible, too.
Ocean Parkway to Corbin Place, Brooklyn, New York City, New York
Cedar Grove Beach
You'll find this fairly new beach on Staten Island. It's charming and small, and it's also wheelchair accessible. Lifeguards are on staff in the summer months, too.
Ebbitts Street and Cedar Grove Avenue, Staten Island, New York City, New York
Manhattan Beach
Not far from Brighton Beach is this smaller family-friendly beach with nice sand and fairly calm waves. It's the perfect place to spend the afternoon with your kids and enjoy beautiful weather. Picnics and BBQ's are popular here and it's easy to keep everyone entertained with the sporting venues and other activities nearby as well.

The surrounding neighborhood is filled with single family houses, many with private swimming pools.
Oriental Blvd, from Ocean Avenue to Mackenzie Street, Brooklyn, New York City, New York
Jones Beach State Park
Jones Beach in Wantagh on Long Island is very popular, and can get crowded in the summer. But the popularity is warranted as the beach here is terrific, and there's also a lengthy boardwalk, changing areas and bathrooms, and other nice facilities. They also have concerts in the summer which bring in a crowd. As it's a state park, there is a small admission fee.
1 Ocean Pkwy, Wantagh, New York, 11793

Nature

Ulysses S. Grant's Tomb
Ulysses S. Grant's Tomb
Formally known as the General Grant National Memorial, this is the final resting place of Ulysses S. Grant (1822–1885), the 18th President of the United States, and his wife, Julia Dent Grant (1826–1902). Construction was completed in 1897, and the tomb and monument is located in Riverside Park in the Morningside Heights neighborhood.
501 Riverside Drive, NYC, New York, 10024
New York City has plenty more to offer, so see also our other articles: The Best Museums in Manhattan and The Famous Bridges of New York City.
African Burial Ground National Monument
African Burial Ground is the oldest and largest known excavated burial ground in North America for both free and enslaved Africans. It protects the historic role slavery played in building New York City.
NYC, New York
Federal Hall
This is one of the first two historic buildings to be located on Wall Street. It once served as New York's City Hall and after the American Revolution it was the meeting place of the Congress of the Confederation.
Pine Street, NYC, New York, 10005
Hamilton Grange National Memorial
The Hamilton Grange National Memorial is the home and burial site of U.S. Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. The mansion showcases the restored historical rooms of the house, along with an interactive exhibit showcasing the history and life of Hamilton.
160 Convent Avenue, NYC, New York, 10031
How much does it cost to get out into nature in New York City?

Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $23 to $23. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $23. A few of the best options are below.

Family-Friendly

New York City has plenty to offer families and children, from attractions that appeal to kids of all ages to restaurants that cater to kids' needs. There are plenty of kid-friendly things to do in New York City also, from visiting Central Park to special shops along times square such as the flagship Disney Store, to the Children's Museum of the Arts, to the Staten Island Ferry, the view from the top of the Empire State Building, the Firefighters Museum, and more. Also, many of the hotels are family-friendly, and taking the subway around town is an adventure itself. So, if you're visiting NYC with the whole family, here are some great ideas for what to do.
Central Park
Central Park
The heart and lungs of New York City, the famous, expansive, and huge Central Park is an iconic destination in the city featuring a variety of smaller attractions and features within itself. From ball fields and jogging paths to botanical gardens, concert spaces, cafes, ponds, playgrounds, and more, the park offers something for everyone. Don't forget to take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the park - one of the quintessential tourist activities in the city.
New York City, New York
Times Square
Times Square
Times Square is one of the most famous areas in New York City. It's known for its brightly lit billboards which really brighten the city at night. But even if you visit during the day you'll find the area filled with energy, activity, and people. If the crowds get to be too much, there are bleachers set up on one side where you can sit and take a break. Times Square is also recognizable as the location of the iconic ball drop on New Years Eve. It's also an entertainment center for the city.

Times Square is in the Midtown Manhattan neighborhood at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue.
Planning a trip to New York City? You might also be interested in The Best Science Museums in New York City and The Best Children's Museums in New York City.
New York Transit Museum
New York Transit Museum
The New York Transit Museum is housed in a former subway station near Brooklyn's Borough Hall. Kids love this museum and it's small, so you can pass through it in about an hour and see the cars of a vintage subway train, or sit in the driver's seat of a city bus. The museum walks you through more than a century of transportation history in New York City.
99 Schermerhorn St, Brooklyn, NY, 11201
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is an American military and maritime history museum. It has an impressive collection of museum ships and they also offer planetarium shows as well as Astronomy Family Nights. The museum is located at Pier 86 at 46th Street, along the Hudson River, in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood on the West Side of Manhattan.
Pier 86, W 46th St, Upper West Side, New York, NY, 10036
New York Botanical Garden
New York Botanical Garden
Located in the Bronx, this 250-acre site is on the list of historic landmarks in addition to housing a huge and gorgeous collection of flora and stunning landscapes. Open every day except Mondays, this destination in of itself draws large crowds, especially in the warmer months. It also operates molecular labs, educational programs, cooking classes, kid-friendly events, art exhibitions, and other events to bring in crowds. The building itself is architecturally significant, as it combines a historical beauty with a practical approach to protecting and growing the plants. (Admission on Wednesdays is free!)
Belmont, NYC, New York
American Museum of Natural History
American Museum of Natural History
This is one of the largest museums in the world and it is made up of 28 interconnected buildings that house 45 permanent exhibition halls. There's also a planetarium and a library. The museum's collection includes more than 33 million specimens of animals, plants, minerals, fossils, rocks, and more.
180 Central Park West, Lincoln Towers, NYC, New York, 10024
Liberty Science Center
This is an interactive science museum and learning center that is found in Liberty State Park in Jersey City. It was New Jersey's first significant science museum and it also has a planetarium and a number of educational resources.
222 Jersey City Boulevard, Jersey City, New Jersey, 07305
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden was created in 1910 and is situated in the Prospect Park neighborhood. Here you can find a number of special plant collections a s well as the Steinhardt Conservatory which is home to the Bonsai Museum. Also in the Conservatory are several themed areas featuring various climates, a glass aquatic plant house, plus an art gallery. While admission is not free, a huge number of visitors enter every year making this a popular and well-visited destination. They host events, children's activities, and classes, too. While an admission fee is usually charged for entry, it's free on Tuesdays, Saturday mornings, and a few other days of the year, too.
1000 Washington Avenue, Prospect Heights, NYC, New York, 11238
Interested in more travel advice for New York City? Check out Beaches Near New York City and Things to Do In New York City on a Rainy Day.
Delacorte Theater
This outdoor theatre in Central Park is home to the Shakespeare in the Park shows which are free. Opening in 1962, this theatre has been home to a large number of free shows which are loved by adults and children alike. While sometimes the shows are based on Shakespeare's works, other times the theatre hosts musicals and other classic plays.
Central Park, NYC, New York
Central Park Zoo
The Central Park Zoo is a small, 6.5 acre zoo that has three different habitats. The Tropic Zone, the Temperate Territory, and the Polar Circle offer visitors a chance to see animals from each unique biome. There are Antarctic penguins, a children's area with farm animals, and a sea lion pool, among other things.
830 5th Avenue, NYC, New York, 83
Central Park Carousel
This vintage carousel located in Central Park (at the southern end of the park near East 65th Street) is the fourth carousel to run on this site, as a carousel has been here for many years. Kids love it, whether they are locals or visitors alike.
65th Street Transverse, NYC, New York, 10153
The Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium
This unique Long Island museum combines a grand mansion, a beautiful park, and a marine and natural history museum, as well as a planetarium. In addition to shows in the planetarium, there is also a rooftop observatory viewing every Friday night.
180 Little Neck Rd, Centerport, Long Island, NY, 11721
New York Hall of Science
This hands on science and technology museum has more than 400 exhibits that focus on biology, chemistry, and physics. It's perfect for kids and adults who are interested in engineering, math, and science. There are exhibits about robots, outer space, design, and light.
47-01 111th St, Queens, NY, 11368
The Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art
This museum was built in the style of a hillside Tibetan monastery. It maintains the largest private collection of Tibetan art in the country, and the complex offers a peaceful and beautiful setting where you can explore, sit bay the goldfish pond, or look out at the water. There are often Sunday programs and shows with music, dance, and art, that are perfect for families.
338 Lighthouse Ave, Staten Island, NY, 10306
Interested in more travel advice for New York City? Check out Children's Theatres in New York City and Educational Places and Activities in New York City.
Chelsea Waterslide Playground
Located in Hudson River Park, this colorful playground is fun for all ages! There are water features, fun fish shaped climbing equipment, a sand area, and shaded seating that's perfect for a parent to who needs to rest their legs. After a busy day exploring, everyone will feel refreshed after a stop at this fun playground.
Hudson River Park
Bronx Children’s Museum
This rolling museum is located in an actual bus! It has temporary exhibits and travels throughout the the Bronx, offering programs for young kids, particularly in under-served neighborhoods. You'll find the museum at a number of events around town.
The Bronx
Hippo Playground
The climbing equipment on this playground is a blast, but there's also a sandbox, swings, and, as the name implies, hippo statues that give the park a bit of personality. During the summer months they also offer a refreshing spray to cool everyone off.
Riverside Park at 91st Street, Upper West Side
Railroad Museum of Long Island
With a variety of historic train cars and engines on display, this museum is part railroad and part history, and all fun. It's great for adults and kids alike. Visitors can tour the historic rail cars, browse the museum informational exhibits, ride the "miniature" train which is large enough for kids and adults to sit inside, and view various toy and model railroads, too.
416 Griffing Ave., Riverhead, New York
Historic Richmond Town
Historic Richmond Town is an authentic town and farm museum on Staten Island. It's a living history museum that's part of La Tourette Park and it brings everyday life from the 19th century into today. Many of the buildings are historical structures and the staff make up the community of a 19th century small town, each representing a different trade.
441 Clarke Ave, Staten Island, NY, 10306
Brooklyn Children's Museum
This is one of the earliest museums designed specifically for children. Established in 1899 it offers an impressive collection of fun, games, and activities that encourage kids to learn and play. There are musical instruments, masks, dolls, fossils, and more. There's even a kid's sized cityscape with pretend stores and activities where kids can make up jobs and pretend they're adults.
145 Brooklyn Ave, Brooklyn, NY, 11213
Jewish Children's Museum
This children's museum teaches kids about Jewish history, culture, and heritage in a fun and hands-on learning environment.
792 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY, 11213
Long Island Children's Museum
The Long Island Children’s Museum has 14 hands-on exhibits that are perfect for young kids who want to play, explore, and learn. There's also a theater and several different learning studios.
11 Davis Ave, Garden City, NY, 11530
Museum of Mathematics (MoMath)
MoMATH offers kids the opportunity to visualize math and engineering in a fun and playful way. There's a laser "wall", a Math Square, a Jumbotron, and more. Whether your kids love math or need a gentle nudge, this museum will bring it all to life.
11 E 26th St, New York, NY, 10010
The Cradle of Aviation Museum and Education Center
The Cradle of Aviation Museum is an aerospace museum that educates visitor's on Long Island's role in the history of aviation. The museum also has an attached planetarium, the JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium, which shows educational films that cover a number of topics including pre-historic sea monsters and galactic journeys. This museum is in Garden City, Long Island.
Charles Lindbergh Blvd, Garden City, Long Island, NY, 11530
Ancient Playground
Piggybacking on the Egyptian Art collection found at the Met, this playground offers climbing equipment, slides, swings, and water features that inspire kids of all ages to become explorers and archeologists. This playground, in Central Park, is the perfect place to pass some time before heading out to see more sites in New York City.
Central Park
Heckscher Playground
This is Central Park's oldest playground, and it continues to bring thrills to kids who enjoy climbing, running, jumping, and playing in the water. There's a separate little kids section where the young ones can dig in the sand or play on small climbing equipment and simple slides. For a blast from the past, head to the old-school section with its metal slides, swings, and monkey bars. The classics never lose their fun.
Central Park
Battery Park
Battery Park is most notable for its beautiful views that look out over the water towards the Statue of Liberty. This is a larger park that can offer a quiet retreat from the chaos of the nearby Financial District. But it also serves as the departure point for the ferries to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, so there can be crowds of tourists in certain areas. Street performers are common in the park as well, but be prepared because watching for too long will likely come with a high price tag.
Queens County Farm Museum
This fun and family-friendly museum lets kids and adults explore everything about life on a farm, including getting to know the animals. They have pigs, alpacas, sheep, goats, and chickens, as well as hay rides, a bush maze, and a variety of education events. They also have seasonal activities such as pumpkin picking in the fall and more. Most days are free, except during special events.
73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Queens, Floral Park, New York, 11004
Long Island Live Steamers
This is a cross between a railroad museum and an amusement park. Here you'll find a number of scale model railroads and trains that are large enough sit in to take a ride, but not as large as a real train. It's lots of fun for both adults and children. The park is run as a non-profit and organized by model railroad enthusiasts. They are only open to the public on select days of the year, usually spring to autumn, on the 2nd and last Sunday of every month (but other days are available, too). Check their website for opening days and times.
Southaven County Park Gerard Road Entrance, Brookhaven, NY, 11719
Staten Island Children's Museum
This hands-on kid's museum includes a number of fun exhibits including the Block Harbor (a builder's dream!), large Connect Four and Dominoes games, and a human sized anthill. There's also pretend areas where kids can play firefighter and an environmental education room. Normally an admission fee is charged, but it's free on Wednesday afternoons.
Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden
DiMenna Children's History Museum at the New York Historical Society
This museum is designed with kids in mind. There are hands-on displays that take you back in time 350 years to learn about the history of NYC. Kids are encouraged to climb and interact with the exhibits that look at the lives of historical figures. There are also family programs available including cooking classes, scavenger hunts, games, and story time.
170 Central Park West, Upper West Side, New York, NY, 10024
Children's Museum of Manhattan
This hands on museum is perfect for kids who want to get their energy out, play, and explore. The museum's exhibits are designed to be touched and played with and kids will learn about culture, history, and science in a fun and hands on way. This museum is perfect for young kids that are 6 and under.
212 W 83rd St, Upper West Side, New York, NY, 10024
How much do family-friendly activities cost in New York City?

Aquariums

New York is home to several fantastic aquariums. While the large New York Aquarium is the most popular, a few other smaller aquariums can be found in the city, too. These include the Cold Spring Harbor aquarium and the Long Island Aquarium, as well as the New Jersey Sea Life Aquarium. All of the aquariums in New York are fun for the whole family, with interactive exhibits and marine life you can touch. More details on these amazing portals into the undersea world are below.

New York Aquarium
The New York Aquarium first opened in Castle Garden in Battery Park, but it's been located on the boardwalk in Coney Island since 1957. It's been operational since 1896, making it the oldest continually running aquarium in the US. The aquarium offers interesting exhibits and educational experiences including a shark tunnel that guests of all ages can enjoy. They offer free admission on Wednesday afternoons, but charge admission fees all other times.
NYC, New York, 11224
Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center
Formerly Atlantis Marine World, the Long Island Aquarium opened in 2000 in Riverhead. It's home to a 20,000-gallon coral reef tank, which is one of the largest all-living coral displays in North America. Visitors can also see a huge shark tank, penguins, sea lions, a boat ride, and more. There's more than 100 exhibits in total which makes for a great day for the entire family.
431 East Main Street, Riverhead, New York, 11901
Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery & Aquarium
Located on Long Island near Huntington, this aquarium's goal is to educate the public about the waters of New York in order to help the freshwater ecosystem. Surprisingly, it has the biggest collection of New York state's reptiles, fish, and amphibians. It's run by a non-profit, and admission is very affordable. You can feed the fish and browse both indoor and outdoor exhibits.
1660 Route 25A, Cold Spring Harbor, New York, 11724
New Jersey Sea Life Aquarium
Located just over the river on the New Jersey side, this aquarium is very close to New York and Manhattan in particular. And it's worth the trip, because here you'll find a huge array of fish and aquatic species to gaze upon and learn about. They have sharks, seahorses, clownfish, stingrays, and more. The entire aquarium has a New York City theme to it, which adds to the fun. And one of the best and most popular exhibits is the tunnel that takes you under the massive tank so you can look up at the fish as they swim above you.
1 American Dream Way, East Rutherford, New Jersey
How much does it cost to visit an aquarium in New York City?

Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $20 to $29. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $24. A few of the best options are below.

Zoos

Zoos New York City
New York City has some of the best zoos in the country. Zoos in New York City include the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Wildlife Center & Tisch Children's Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Wildlife Center, and the Staten Island Zoo. These zoos offer visitors the opportunity to observe animals from all over the world in a natural setting. They are also kid-friendly and plenty of fun for adults, too.
Bronx Zoo
Bronx Zoo
Located in Bronx Park, the Bronx Zoo is the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States. With over 265 acres of habitats and park area full of animal exhibits, educational resources, and more, this is a destination for the whole family. And it's popular, too, as over 2 million people visit every year. Some of the more popular exhibits include the lions, red pandas, bison, cheetahs, sloths, and the World of Birds area featuring species from around the world. Admission is free on Wednesdays.
Jungleworld Road, Lambert Houses, NYC, New York, 10460
Barrett Park Staten Island Zoo
This suburban zoo is located in West New Brighton on Staten Island. It's a small, 8 acre zoo that has reptiles, spider monkeys, donkeys, foxes, cows, and more. It's also the home of the famed Staten Island Chuck, a groundhog who predicts the Groundhog Day forecast yearly for New York City. Admission is normally $10, but it's free on Wednesday afternoons.
614 Broadway, West New Brighton, NYC, New York, 10310
Prospect Park Zoo
This 12-acre zoo located on the east side of Prospect Park in Brooklyn is home to a variety of primates, amphibians, farm animals, birds, and more. The shetland sheep are a popular favorite, as are the numerous colorful frogs and other amphibians in the hall of animals exhibit. It's fun for the whole family!
450 Flatbush Avenue, Prospect Heights, NYC, New York, 11225
Queens Zoo
This 18-acre zoo in Flushing Meadows is home to a huge collection of animal exhibits that the whole family will enjoy. Don't miss the sea lions, bison, bald eagles, and other animals from the Americas. The farm animal section is a popular favorite with the little kids, too.
Corona, NYC, New York
How much does it cost to go to the zoo in New York City?

Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $14 to $31. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $22. A few of the best options are below.

Amusement Parks

Field Station: Dinosaurs
Young children appreciate this walking tour that has animatronic dinosaurs and a number of kid friendly exhibits.
1114 New County Road, Secaucus, New Jersey, 07094
Fantasy Forest at Flushing Meadows Carousel
More than just a carousel, the Fantasy Forest has a variety of smaller rides ideal for younger children such as a small coaster, teacups, and more. The carousel itself it historic and has a variety of gorgeous horses and other animals to ride, as it was built for the 1964 World's Fair by combining pieces from previous carousels. It's now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. These rides are located next to the Queens Zoo.
5351 111th St., Queens, New York, 11368
Wollman Rink
This ice skating rink is located in the southern part of Central park. During the winter months, this is one of the most popular activities in New York City. The rink is open from late October until early April.
Lincoln Towers, NYC, New York, 10153
Luna Park
Luna Park is an amusement park on Coney Island. It was opened on the site of the former amusement park, Astroland, and named after the original 1903 Luna Park.
3064 West 10th Street, West Brighton, NYC, New York, 11224
Nickelodeon Universe
This huge indoor amusement park is full of roller coasters, rides, and other fun activities, and is open year-round. Located very close to the New York City in East Rutherford, New Jersey, this place is part of the American Dream complex which also has a water park and a huge aquarium, too. The rides are exciting and fun for everyone in the family from kids to adults.
1 American Dream Way, East Rutherford, New Jersey
DreamWorks Water Park
Located at the American Dream complex in East Rutherford, this indoor water park is open year-round and claims to be the largest indoor water park in America with the country's largest indoor wave pool as well. With plenty of slides and pools for adults and kids of all ages, this is a terrific escape from the city any time of the year.
1 American Dream Way, East Rutherford, New Jersey
How much are amusement park tickets in New York City?

Where to Stay in New York City


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