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NYC for Families: Kid-Friendly Activities, Parks & Museums

City Guide September 22, 2023

 

Planning a trip to the Big Apple? Look no further because here we have the ultimate guide to NYC for families! Whether you're visiting NYC with family, eager to explore kid-friendly activities, or seeking the best NYC parks for kids and museums, we've got you covered. Get ready to discover the top spots that will leave your little ones wide-eyed with wonder!

NYC has it all— truly. It is a wonderland for people of all ages and preferences. We also understand that with so many options and things to do, it becomes difficult to carve your path.

In this New York for Families guide, we will discuss some of our favorite places and things to do in the city that will excite all family members equally. Okay, maybe not equally— equality is complex— but enough with that, it’s time to focus on New York parks & museums for children since the children are the stars in this article.

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Coney Island

Coney Island is the ultimate coastal playground that promises loads of fun for families! Take a walk along the lively boardwalk, soak up the sun on the sandy beach, or cool off in the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. It's the perfect beach escape!

But the real excitement begins at Luna Park. Brace yourself for adrenaline-pumping rides and classic attractions like the legendary Cyclone roller coaster and the iconic Wonder Wheel. It's a day full of thrills and giggles!

Oh, and let's remember the mouthwatering treats! Nathan's world-famous hot dogs are a must-try, and the creamy ice cream is simply irresistible. Treat your taste buds to a delightful feast!

So grab your shades, lather on sunscreen, and prepare for a memorable family adventure at Coney Island. It's the ultimate combination of sun, sand, laughter, and delicious indulgences – a day you'll cherish for years to come— it’s one of the best things in NYC for kids.

Address: 1208 Surf Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11224

 

 

Central Park

Welcome to Central Park, the iconic green oasis in the heart of Manhattan, and a must-do when visiting New York City. A land where kids can run wild, play, and dive into endless adventures at the playgrounds scattered throughout the park. It's a land of imagination and wonder!

If you’re looking for something to do, rent some bikes and cruise along the park's picturesque trails – an excellent way for the family to explore nature's beauty together. Or how about rowing a boat on the serene lake at the Central Park Boathouse? It's a leisurely activity that'll include the whole family.

You can also spend some time at the Central Park Zoo. Get ready to meet fascinating animals from all corners of the globe. It's like a mini-safari in the city's heart, and the kids will be amazed.

Looking to relax and recharge? Central Park's got you covered with its cozy open spaces, perfect for picnics and delightful seasonal events that keep the excitement going all year round.

So pack your favorite snacks, get your game faces on, and let Central Park treat your family to an oh-so-fabulous adventure.

Address: Central Park, Manhattan, New York, NY 10022

 

American Museum of Natural History

Step into the American Museum of Natural History world, where jaw-dropping adventures await curious minds of all ages! Get ready to be in awe as you come face-to-face with the giant dinosaurs that ruled the Earth eons ago. It's like traveling back in time, right in the city's heart!

Prepare to be amazed by the lifelike animals from diverse habitats, each as cool as the last. You'll journey through the world's wildest places, from the African savannah to the ocean's depths, without leaving the museum.

We're also blasting off to outer space! The planetarium will take you on a breathtaking tour of the cosmos. Stars, planets, galaxies – the universe will unfold before your very eyes.

But wait, there's more! The museum's interactive exhibits are like a playground of knowledge, engaging young minds and making learning a super fun adventure. It's a place where curiosity meets discovery and meets fun!

Address: Central Park West & 79th St, New York, NY 10024

 

 

New York Botanical Garden

Calling all nature enthusiasts, big and small – the New York Botanical Garden is in the heart of the Bronx.

Picture this: kids exploring the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, a wonderland with diverse plant species from every nook and cranny of the globe. It's like a secret garden filled with botanical treasures waiting to be discovered by little adventurers.

The Everett Children's Adventure Garden is the ultimate playground for young botanists. Kids can dive into interactive exhibits, uncover plant mysteries, and get their hands dirty in exciting hands-on activities. It's science, exploration, and laughter all rolled into one.

Throughout the year, the garden hosts special events and seasonal exhibitions. Every visit promises something new and delightful for the entire family, from dazzling flower shows to enchanted winter wonderlands.

Address: 2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10458

 

Children’s Museum of Manhattan

This place is like a treasure trove of awesomeness and one of the best NYC museums for kids, filled to the brim with hands-on exhibits that are perfect for kids aged 0 to 10. It's like stepping into a wonderland of learning and play!

CMOM's art workshops allow you to unleash your creativity and paint, draw, and craft to your heart's content. It's a canvas of colors and possibilities for scouting the next Picasso. There is also an art exhibit with climbing structures that combines arts and activity.

Here, kids can play in imaginative environments where you can be a daring knight, a graceful ballerina, or an explorer venturing into the wild unknown. It's a world of endless possibilities.

But that's not all – CMOM celebrates education and the opportunity to teach the kids important lessons. Many children’s museums don’t incorporate culturally relevant pedagogy into their exhibits, but CMOM is here to teach kids about voting and making a change.

It’s an enriching experience like no other for both parents and young children! CMOM fosters exploration, learning, and play. It's a place where you'll laugh, learn, and create memories that'll stay with you forever.

Address: 212 W 83rd St, New York, NY 10024

 

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

Let’s face it: kids love space museums, so get ready to set sail on an extraordinary journey at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum – where history, innovation, and excitement collide on an actual aircraft carrier!

Step aboard and explore historic aircraft that once ruled the skies. From the legendary Concorde to the space shuttle Enterprise, it's like a time machine that takes you through epic aviation and space exploration moments.

But that's not all – this museum is about getting hands-on and up close! Kids can hop into flight simulators and soar through the clouds like real pilots.

And guess what? They can even delve into the ocean's depths with immersive submarine exploration. Which will raise the question, which one is the final frontier, sea or space?

But it doesn't stop there! Brace yourselves for a journey through the immersive displays of naval history. And for the cosmos lovers, there's an exploration of space that'll ignite young minds with curiosity and wonder.

Address: Pier 86, W 46th St, New York, NY 10036

 

 

Staten Island Children's Museum

Imagine a place where you're encouraged to touch, feel, and explore everything around you. This museum is all about hands-on learning and imaginative play through interactive exhibits that'll make you feel completely enveloped.

Conduct thrilling science experiments that'll make you feel like mad scientists— it's all about discovery and wonder here. And for the artistic souls, dive into art projects that let your creativity soar as high as your imagination.

The museum also celebrates cultural diversity. Explore engaging displays that teach you about different cultures from all over the globe. It's like taking a magical journey to faraway lands without traveling or visiting Epcot Center.

Address: 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY 10301

 

Bronx Zoo

The Bronx Zoo is one of the largest zoos in the entire US, covering a whopping 265 acres! It's like stepping into a safari right in the heart of New York City.

Embark on an exciting journey through diverse habitats where you'll encounter over 6,000 incredible animals. From majestic lions to playful penguins, you’ll find it all.

The littlest explorers are in for a treat at the Children's Zoo! Get up close and personal with interactive exhibits and a petting zoo, where you can make furry friends and experience the magic of being close to adorable animals.

Next, climb aboard the Wild Asia Monorail for a safari-like experience, where you'll feel like you've traveled to the far corners of Asia. And don't miss the Butterfly Garden— it’s a mesmerizing place.

And here's the best part: it's not just a fun day out, it's an educational experience too! Learn about wildlife conservation, different animal species, and the importance of protecting our planet's incredible biodiversity.

Address: 2300 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10460

 

 

The High Line

Get ready to take your adventure to new heights at The High Line – a park like no other, built on a historic railway line that's been transformed into a sky-high park,

Above the bustling streets, you'll feel like you're on top of the world. And if you're lucky, you may glimpse a soaring eagle or two soaring over the gorgeous skyline overlooking the Hudson.

It's not just about nature— there's art, too! Admire the art installations that make the park resemble an outdoor museum. Every step is a new canvas to explore and appreciate.

The park is a staple for the community and hosts family-friendly events and activities. Just look at the park schedule beforehand to see the planned programming.

Address: Gansevoort St to W 34th St, Manhattan, New York, NY 10011

 

Sony Wonder Technology Lab

This interactive museum is like a playground of the future, filled with cutting-edge exhibits that'll engage all family members— it's a tech extravaganza like no other.

Virtual reality, anyone? Buckle up for an out-of-this-world experience as you dive into virtual reality adventures that'll transport you to distant galaxies and magical realms without going anywhere— unless you consider the metaverse to be a place. Beyond the VR, there are interactive video games that'll challenge your skills and immerse you in virtual worlds of fun. From racing against the fastest cars to solving puzzles in mysterious dungeons and more.

Address: 550 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10022

 

New York Hall of Science

Get ready to journey to the New York Hall of Science in Queens, where science and exploration come to life.

It's like stepping into a wonderland filled with interactive exhibits, live demonstrations, and workshops that'll spark your curiosity like never before. Brace yourselves for a day of non-stop discovery.

For future astronauts and engineers— you can launch rockets and reach for the stars. Strap in and prepare for a thrilling adventure as you send your rockets soaring high into the sky. NASA who?

Come back from space and learn about building structures! From towering skyscrapers to bridges that span the imagination, it's a chance to engineer your wildest dreams and see them come to life.

Once you’ve explored space and engineering, you become a scientist! Experiment with hands-on exhibits that make you feel like a mad scientist in the coolest lab ever. It's like science class but 100 times more fun!

Address: 47-01 111th St, Queens, NY 11368

 

New York Transit Museum

Picture this: The museum is housed in an actual subway station, making the experience more authentic and exciting. The exhibits are a treasure trove of historical artifacts, from vintage subway cars to classic buses. You'll feel like you've traveled back in time to the days of old New York when the city's transit system was beginning to take shape.

Here, the interactive displays make history come alive! Explore the evolution of New York City's transit system in the most hands-on and fun way possible. It's like you're part of the action!

And guess what? This isn't just a museum trip— it's a chance to connect with the city's past and present in the most incredible way. As you wander through the exhibits, you'll feel like you're right in the heart of New York's history.

Address: Corner of Boerum Place and Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

 

 

Kayaking on the Hudson

Get ready to paddle your way through the cool waters and witness the breathtaking views of the city skyline from a whole new perspective. And here's the best part – various locations offer free kayaking sessions for families!

Imagine the thrill of kayaking amidst the bustling metropolis, surrounded by the beauty of nature. It's like a refreshing escape from the concrete jungle. As you glide along the river, you'll be in perfect harmony with the tranquility of the water. It's like finding peace in the heart of the bustling city.

Address: Multiple locations, including Pier 26 and Pier 96

 

 

Statue of Liberty

No visit to the Big Apple is complete without seeing Lady Liberty herself. The Statue is a vital relic of the United States, and an adventure kids will enjoy participating in. The trip to see the statue includes a stop at Ellis Island, where you’ll learn about immigration and feel like you’re a part of history.

Once you arrive at Liberty Island, kids can join the Junior Ranger program. It’s a free and fun program for kids ages 5-12 to learn more about the statue. At the Information Center, ask the ranger for a Junior Ranger book for each child. From there, complete the activities in the book and return to the Information Center before you leave Liberty Island— once you get it done, you’re eligible for a gold badge of honor.

Address: New York, État de New York 10004

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