The Best Places to Take the Kids in New York City
Planning a day trip to NYC with the kiddos? Here are some of our favorite spots to explore.
Bronx River Pkwy. at Boston Rd.
The Bronx Zoo is a staple for summer fun, but it recently got a whole lot better with the addition of a new Treetop Adventure attraction. This thrill requires an additional admission fee, but the jungle-inspired adventure is worth it. She’ll feel like a mini-Tarzan scaling one of seven climbing courses. Once high in the sky (50 feet to be exact!), she can ride the zip line 400 feet across the Bronx River and back. A two-hour climbing ticket is $64.99, while a two-way river crossing ticket is $34.99 or $74.99 for a climb and zip line combo ticket. If she has a fear of heights, she might enjoy the Nature Trek instead, where she’ll get to cross a fully netted bridge-and-tour course that opens up into a cool rustic-inspired playground. Best part? It’s included with Total Experience zoo admission.
Photo courtesy of Children's Museum of the Arts
103 Charlton St.
If you haven’t been to this downtown gem, put it on your must-visit list. Now through early September, you can introduce the kiddos to Maker Maker, a group exhibit curated by Paul Laster and Renee Riccardo. It highlights 10 contemporary artists who work in mediums including crochet, casting, collage, macramé and woodworking. Then she’ll want to try her hand at the Sculpt Safari at the Clay Bar (sign up when you get there), get dizzy on crazy chairs in the Swirl Studio and learn to make a podcast in the Sound Booth. Admission is $12.
8 Mott St.
Throw things back to your childhood days by playing retro arcade games with the kids at this awesome center. Here, the fam can play everything from Dance Dance Revolution to Super Table Flip to Jurassic Park. Bonus for the adults: You might recognize the decor from the Al Pacino movie The Devil’s Advocate, where the tic-tac-toe-playing chicken made his big debut.
Ferry departs from Battery Maritime Building at 10 South St.
For an all-day adventure and the best free view of the Statue of Liberty, take the ferry to this city hotspot packed with free or reasonably-priced activities for kids and adults alike. The converted Coast Guard base is bustling with quirky pop-up eateries, themed playgrounds, hammocks, arts and crafts, mini-golf and a newly-opened zip line, so you can hop from one activity to another without (hopefully) any tantrums. Check the summer concert schedule, and take in a show at the man-made beach.
Photo courtesy of Gulliver's Gate
216 West 44th St.
This full city block-wide attraction in Times Square immerses your kids into a world of miniatures, making them feel like real globetrotters. They’ll get a taste of the streets of Asia or colorful roofs in Latin America. Be prepared for plenty of questions about traveling when you head home. He’ll be obsessed with the micro NYC, which took 16 people almost a full year to create. Adult admission is $36, while kids 12 and under are $27 each.
Gansevoort St. to West 34th St. between 10th and 12th Aves.
This elevated park is one of New York’s coolest free attractions. She’ll love the old train tracks that remain from the long-forgotten subway on the West Side’s High Line. Walk through the entire 1.45-mile strip while learning about the history of the area. Trek the entire length from 14th to 34th Streets stopping at food vendors and taking in art along the way, or just stroll for a few blocks on the way to your next destination.
47-01 111th St., Queens
If you want to make it a STEM-packed day, visit this Flushing Meadows-Corona Park museum that offers daily demos, learning labs and much more. Visit before August 27 to see the Angry Birds exhibit, where the game comes to life. It’s free on Fridays from 2 to 5 pm and Sundays from 10 to 11 am, but is otherwise $16 for adults and $13 for kids.
Photo courtesy of Staff
285 Fulton St.
You won’t get a better view of New York than from this super high-rise building, the tallest in the hemisphere with an elevator she’ll never forget. Once at the top, you and your crew will get a 360 view of Manhattan, Brooklyn and even NJ. We highly recommend eating at one of three lunch spots where you can take in the city from new heights. If you don’t want to trek downtown, try the Top of the Rock or Empire State Building for even more amazing bird’s-eye views. Tickets are $28 a kid and $34 per adult.
Battery Park at State Water Sts.
The Seaglass Carousel at Battery Conservancy isn’t your typical merry-go-round. This pristine structure is more like art kids can ride. Inspired by the original New York Aquarium that was in Battery Park, this carousel opened in 2016 and features a watercolor underwater scene. Sit on a fish that rises up and down to soothing music. Head over in the evening for the most Instagram- worthyphotos. Hop on for just $5 a rider.
835 Washington St. or 1991 Broadway
Prepare for a massive sugar high at this Upper West Side landmark, or check out the location in the Meatpacking district that offers 9,000 square feet of sugar-on-sugar-on-sugar. Sip on super-sweet cocktails like the Bubba Bubba Gum martini while she dives into the Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate crepe. If you want a quick snack, Sugar Factory American Brasserie has outdoor seating, candy bins and of course, its famed celeb-endorsed Couture Pops.
Photo courtesy of Donnell Culver
300 West 43rd St.
Give your little physicist a thrill when you take her to this highly-rated off-Broadway performance. David Maiullo puts on a magic show during which he experiments with everything from friction and energy to density and vibration. Tickets start at $60.50.
Pier 40 in Hudson River Park
467 Marcy Ave., Brooklyn
Was he amazed by Cirque du Soleil or the circus? Challenge him to try aerial tricks of his own in a flying trapeze class that’ll help him conquer his fear of flying by jumping off a ledge and floating through the air. (Don’t worry: He’ll have a safety harness on and safety net below him.) The school recommends kids be at least 4 years old to start.