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The best fun places for kids in NYC

Make a checklist of fun places for kids in NYC and watch your calendar fill up! Might we suggest a pair of comfy shoes?

Written by
Allie Early
,
Dorkys Ramos
&
Danielle Valente
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Have you visited all of the fun places for kids in NYC? We've rounded up some of the best family attractions, kids' museums and local parks that'll appeal to even the pickiest members of your brood, so start making plans

It's no surprise that New York is the city that never sleeps—with so much to see, experience and eat, Gotham it certainly is worthy of the title. No matter the borough or the venue, families will find something that's right up their alley. 

What are you waiting for? Grab a slice of New York pizza and embark on a fun day out thanks to our roundup of super-sweet fun places for kids! 

Fun places for kids

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
  • Museums
  • Military and maritime
  • Hell's Kitchen
  • price 3 of 4

For little ones, the highlight of the aircraft carrier turned science museum is the Exploreum, an indoor activity zone divided into areas with nautical, aviation, cosmos and life themes. In traversing the zone, kids get to board small boats, learn why huge metal ships don't sink, wander around the living quarters of the Intrepid's former crew and try on astronaut gloves. All ages. 

New York Transit Museum
  • Museums
  • Special interest
  • Boerum Hill
  • price 1 of 4

Kids who go coo-coo for choo-choos will walk out of this museum with an even deeper appreciation for our city’s subway system. The museum is located in a 1930s subway station and features vintage subway cars that kids can climb into. They’ll also learn about the inner workings of trains and how engineering makes this city go, go, go! Ages 3 and up.

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  • Things to do
  • City Life

Explore the deep sea in this 60,000-square-foot virtual reality experience that has visitors swimming alongside underwater creatures. Giant projection screens, holograms, animation and other advanced tech features makes you feel as if you’re really going nose to nose with aquatic life. Kiddos will love interacting with lifelike projections of sea lions, rays, dolphins, sharks and more while they also learn about marine research through fun games and activities. All ages.

  • Museums
  • Science and technology
  • Queens
  • price 1 of 4

Kids get hands-on with hundreds of interactive exhibits and activities that bring science, technology, engineering and math to life. Built for the 1964 World's Fair, NYSCI is home to a revolving lineup of displays about light, 3-D printing, outer space and robots, plus the Design Lab, where kids can tackle activities at five stations: Backstage, Sandbox, Studio, Maker Space and Treehouse. Kids can also climb on a rope web and play minigolf at the massive Science Playground ($5) and Rocket Park. All ages. 

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  • Attractions
  • Theme parks
  • Midtown West

Explore a magical world of interactive miniatures at the beloved Times Square attraction, which contains almost 50,000 square feet of the world's most magnificent landmarks. Visitors can walk by the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, Buckingham Palace—even the pyramids! Have tiny train, truck and car-lovers on your hands? Expect almost 1,000 trains, 12,000 wagons and a total of about 10,000 cars and trucks on display. The longest track is almost eight miles long! All ages.

Central Park Zoo
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Attractions
  • Zoo and aquariums
  • Central Park
  • price 1 of 4
If you can’t trek up north to the Bronx Zoo, this Central Park destination is easy to get to and more manageable for little feet (it’s 6.5 acres compared to the Bronx Zoo’s 265 acres). The zoo serves as home to about 130 species, including a variety of penguins, snow leopards and fun amphibians. The Tisch Children’s Zoo is great for little ones that love to touch everything—the petting zoo there features goats, cows and other farm animals waiting to say hello. All ages.
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New York Aquarium
  • Attractions
  • Zoo and aquariums
  • Brooklyn
  • price 2 of 4

Sand tiger sharks, rays, turtles, penguins and sea otters are on view and happy to squeak hello! The 800,000-gallon exhibit, "Ocean Wonders: Sharks," features NYC's underwater residents—nurse sharks, sand tiger sharks, sandbar sharks. Take the kiddies through the glass tunnels brimming with fish so they can explore another side of the place they call home. Let them become familiar with animals during a visit to the Ocean View Learning Laboratory. The options available will certainly make for a busy family outing! All ages.

New York Botanical Garden
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • The Bronx
  • price 2 of 4
The peaceful oasis by the Bronx Zoo is a must-visit for all urban dwellers. Sometimes you need a dose of nature to cope in the concrete jungle! The 250-acre landscape regularly hosts children’s programs, themed craft projects and family events to teach budding green thumbs about nature. Swing by the Children’s Adventure Garden to let them climb and play on features, explore plants and participate in science activities. Edible Academy will educate youngsters on healthy eating at gardening at its newly reconstructed space. All ages.
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Queens County Farm Museum
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Museums
  • Special interest
  • Queens

The oldest continually farmed land in NYC, the now 47-acre stretch offers a petting zoo for kids, who do most of the visiting. But a recent expansion of the growing fields means everyone can benefit from the vegetables, wine and meat that the farm cultivates, sold on-site and on Fridays at the Union Square Greenmarket. In the fall, pick your own pumpkins here, and test your navigation skills in the corn maze. All ages. 

Snug Harbor Cultural Center
  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Staten Island
  • price 1 of 4
Many learning facilities throughout the city allow kids to look but not touch, but this expansive cultural center and botanical garden encourages youngsters to interact with their surroundings for the full experience. Grow to Eat classes at the onsite Heritage Farm let kids discover where food comes through planting, examining and preparing seasonal produce. Enroll in Little Yogis for a peaceful nature escape in the Chinese Scholar’s Garden, or explore the botanical garden grounds by getting crafty in Autumn Leaves sessions or taking an ecological tour in the science-focused Wetlands Creatures program. Ages 5–10.
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Coney Island
  • Attractions
  • Arcades and amusements
  • Brooklyn
  • price 1 of 4

This beachside neighborhood will feel like an escape from the traffic and noise and welcomes families looking for an easy day trip. Stroll along the boardwalk for a Nathan’s Famous hot dog and sweets before spending the afternoon playing games and hopping on rides at Luna Park. A seat atop the 150-foot Wonder Wheel offers breathtaking views of the beach along the Atlantic Ocean. In summertime, you'll also want to stay late on Fridays to see Coney Island's weekly fireworks show. All ages.

  • Things to do

New York City's carousels are easily the world's best, some with intricate designs even dating back to the early 1900s! Hop on classic picks like Jane's Carousel in Dumbo—conveniently located next to the upcomingn Time Out Market New York—or check out newer additions to NYC's carousel-scape like Seaglass Carousel, which is open daily and offers rides in enchanting LED fish. All ages.

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Books of Wonder
  • Shopping
  • Bookstores
  • Flatiron
  • price 1 of 4

New York City has a long list of wonderful bookstores for kids, but our favorite has to be this kid-only shop. Here, families will find both new titles and rare classic gems to add to the home library. The indie bookstore also hosts weekly story time events on the weekend and invite children’s authors and illustrators to launch their new works. Don't forget to visit the new UWS location, too! All ages.

  • Attractions
  • Libraries, archives and foundations
  • Queens

Queens Library's Children's Library Discovery Center encourages curious kids to learn about all kinds of things, including bugs, magnets, puzzles, perception and, of course, books! Tykes can tinker with hands-on activities, and parents will love that the Center also offers two databases that help children with literacy. Check the Discovery Center's website for free events that pop up throughout the season! Ages 8 and under.

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Central Park Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre
  • Theater
  • Central Park
  • price 1 of 4

Imported to the U.S. from Sweden in 1876, this venue is the coziest in all of NYC. Employing handmade marionettes and beautiful sets, the resident company mounts citified versions of well-known stories. Ages 5 and up. 

  • Theater
  • Children's
  • Hell's Kitchen

Pip's Island has made its grand return to NYC—this time, permanently. The kid-focused theater experience includes immersive sets, exploratory spaces and audiovisual features that'll have pint-sized visitors calling the shots (think of it as starring in a video game). The chief creative officer describes it as "a special blend of the creative arts including interactive space design, performance art, music, animation, digital gadgetry and play—all brought together with seamless storytelling and audience engagement." All ages. 

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Children's Museum of Manhattan
  • Museums
  • Childhood
  • Upper West Side
  • price 1 of 4

NYC has lots of museums with cool exhibits all ages will enjoy, but kids deserve a museum made just for them! This 40,000-square-foot space presents installations and educational programs with tykes in mind. They’ll learn about different cultures in America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far, move their little bodies in Let’s Dance!, learn about the environment in Dynamic H2O and more. Exhibits are interactive and engage kids in playful activities so the learning is never ever boring. Ages 12 and under.

Bryant Park
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Midtown West
Situated behind the New York Public Library is Bryant Park, a well-cultivated retreat that hosts a dizzying schedule of free entertainment during the summer, including the popular Monday night outdoor movies. The park hosts weekly kid-friendly programming such as storytime in the Reading Room and game socials in the 40th Street Plaza. Little ones with an interest in the circus can learn to juggle at juggling lessons held on weekdays in the Lawn or the 42nd Street Plaza. Additionally, on Saturdays over the summer, the park offers the Word for Word Kids series that presents special children's events like entertaining performances and Comic Con Kids. Families can take a spin on the Le Carrousel which features 14 different carousel animals to ride on. In the winter the park transforms into a wonderland where you can find an ice skating rink and pop-up shops for the holidays. The park also boasts free wireless access.
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Brooklyn Children’s Museum
  • Museums
  • Childhood
  • Crown Heights
  • price 1 of 4

When it was founded in 1899, the BCM was the country’s first museum specifically made for children. Today it’s one of the most comprehensive, with a permanent collection of 30,000 objects, including musical instruments, masks, dolls and fossils. Kids have fun while learning (sneaky!) at interactive exhibits like “World Brooklyn,” a pint-size cityscape lined by faux stores where young’uns can weigh ingredients and knead pretend dough at the Mexican Bakery, or shop for cans of Indian ghee and Turkish candy at the International Grocery.

Symphony Space
  • Music
  • Music venues
  • Upper West Side
  • price 1 of 4

This dynamic performance space hosts a robust lineup of weekend family programming (including music, dance, theater and book readings) during the schoolyear. It's also home to the Thalia Kids' Book Club Camp, a summer camp that offers children up-close interactions with children's book illustrators and authors. All ages. 

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  • Shopping
  • Toys and games
  • Midtown West

The beloved toy store opened the doors to its new permanent home at 30 Rock, and the endless stacks of empty red shopping bags aren't going to fill themselves. From stuffed animals and board games to dolls and STEM products, FAO's selection is nothing short of generous. All interests will find something that strikes their fancy, but perhaps what's so lovable about the store is the extra step it takes to make the experience interactive. Not only will kiddies be able to find a new furry friend or snag Hatchimals eggs, but they'll be able to enjoy hands-on activities (some of which are free) that'll spark a bit of imagination and playfulness. Look out for magic tricks, science experiments, spa treatments and, of course, don't forget to play the grand piano! All ages. 

  • Shopping
  • Flatiron

We have a feeling you'll get a craving for s'mores and canoeing after visiting this newly established shop in NYC. CAMP is not only a retail location where you can find the latest toys, games, books and other merchandise—it's an experience. Head to the Canteen, score some Milk Bar treats (who can say no to that?), make your way past the secret door and enter a world of dancing, sports, crafts, everything you love about camp—right in a 10,000 square-foot space. Don't get too comfortable, though. The experience will change roughly every eight weeks, so expect a whole new CAMP experience you'll love and want to explore. All ages. 

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Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain
  • Restaurants
  • Ice cream parlors
  • Carroll Gardens
  • price 1 of 4
When it’s time for treat, this old timey soda fountain shop offers a variety of different floats made with soda made in-house and Adirondack Creamery ice cream. Kids will want to grab a stool at the counter and watch their sundae handcrafted on the spot (half sizes are available on most flavors, which is welcomed for a family with little tummies). The Sir Twix-a-little features Farmacy’s shortcake crumbles topped with caramel and vanilla ice cream in a milk chocolate hard shell and sprinkled with fleur de sel. To keep from overdosing on sugar, the shop also serves more savory meals, including sandwiches, freshly baked biscuits and granola.
  • Things to do
  • The Bronx

Thrill-seekers can roam above the trees or zip line over the Bronx River at the Bronx Zoo’s new Treetop Adventure course. The park features seven aerial courses and eight to 12 different challenges of rope bridges, tight ropes, ladders and swings above the forest canopy. The courageous can then hop on one of two zip lines to travel 800 feet over the river and back while 50 feet above the ground. Participants must weigh between 50 and 275 pounds and able to reach 5’6” with their feet flat on the ground. Ages 7 and up. 

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  • Things to do
  • Birthday parties
  • Staten Island

New York’s only indoor skate park offers 8,000-square-feet of industrial skate space, plus custom-built slopes, ramps and other features needed to practice your amateur extreme sports moves. Ages 6 and up.

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