New York City offers a plethora of kid-friendly activities that are sure to keep the little ones entertained and engaged. From parks and museums to iconic landmarks and exciting attractions, there’s something for children of all ages to enjoy in the Big Apple. Whether you’re exploring Central Park, visiting the American Museum of Natural History, or taking a boat ride to the Statue of Liberty, NYC provides countless opportunities for family fun and memorable experiences.
In this article, we will cover some of the best things to do in NYC with kids, such as:
- Exploring Central Park
- Visiting the American Museum of Natural History
- Enjoy a private tour in NYC
- Experiencing the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
- Enjoying the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
- Going to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan
- Exploring the Bronx Zoo
- Trying delicious treats at Chelsea Market
Exploring Central Park
Start your family adventure in New York City by exploring the iconic Central Park. Spanning 843 acres in the heart of Manhattan, Central Park provides ample space for kids to run, play, and let their imaginations soar. Besides as a free things to do in NYC with kids, this is a refreshing escape from the busy city streets and enjoy the outdoors.
The Central Park Carousel is a classic attraction that kids adore. Riding the beautifully crafted carousel horses can bring a sense of enchantment and nostalgia, creating lasting memories for children. Kids can also rent rowboats or take a guided boat ride on the park’s serene lake. This experience allows them to enjoy a unique perspective of the park, learn about boating, and perhaps even spot some ducks or turtles along the way.
Within Central Park, there is a charming Central Park Zoo that children can explore. The zoo houses a diverse range of animals, including penguins, snow leopards, monkeys, and more, providing an opportunity for kids to learn about different species.
Don’t miss the charming Belvedere Castle, which offers a unique blend of history, nature, and playfulness that can captivate a child’s imagination. One of the free NYC activities for kids, this castle-like appearance can capture a child’s imagination, evoking a sense of wonder and adventure. Kids often find the idea of exploring a castle incredibly exciting. Belvedere Castle serves as a visitor center and also houses the Henry Luce Nature Observatory. The observatory features exhibits that focus on the park’s natural environment, including plants, birds, and insects. Kids can engage in interactive displays and learn more about the diverse ecosystem of Central Park.
Alternatively, you can consider joining a NYC private tour when visiting Central Park with kids as it offers a tailored, educational, flexible, and safe experience that allows the whole family to make the most of your time in this iconic park.
Visiting the American Museum of Natural History
For an educational and awe-inspiring experience, head to the American Museum of Natural History. Located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, this renowned institution is a treasure trove of knowledge and adventure. There are several reasons why this is one of the best things to do in NYC with kids:
- Fascinating Exhibits: The museum boasts a wide range of exhibits that captivate young minds. From lifelike dinosaur skeletons to ancient artifacts and interactive displays, kids can immerse themselves in the wonders of the natural world.
- Dinosaur Fossils: The American Museum of Natural History is famous for its impressive collection of dinosaur fossils. Children who have a fascination with these prehistoric creatures will be in awe as they come face to face with towering skeletons, including the iconic Tyrannosaurus rex.
- Discovery Room: The Discovery Room is a dedicated space for children to explore and learn through play. Here, they can touch and examine specimens, engage in scientific experiments, and take part in engaging workshops led by knowledgeable staff.
- Planetarium Shows: The museum’s Hayden Planetarium offers immersive shows that transport young visitors into the depths of outer space. Kids can embark on a journey to distant galaxies, learn about stars and planets, and expand their knowledge of the universe.
- The Butterfly Conservatory: For a magical experience, children can visit the Butterfly Conservatory, a seasonal exhibit that allows them to observe and interact with beautiful butterflies in a lush tropical environment.
Note: The American Museum of Natural History does not have a set admission fee. However, they operate on a suggested donation basis. This means that while there is a recommended amount for admission, visitors can choose to pay what they can afford or what they feel comfortable donating. The suggested admission prices may vary for special exhibitions or certain areas within the museum. It’s worth noting that long queues can be expected during peak visiting times, and purchasing tickets online in advance is recommended for a smoother entry experience.
Enjoy a private tour in NYC
Private tours offer the flexibility to customize the itinerary and taking in mind of best things to do in NYC with kids. Kids can ask questions, share their interests, and engage in interactive discussions tailored to their age and curiosity. Private tours often provide access to knowledgeable and experienced tour guides like PhotoTrek Tours who are locals or well-versed in the city’s history and culture. This expertise allows families to gain deeper insights into the attractions, neighborhoods, and hidden gems of NYC. The tour guide can provide recommendations for kid-friendly activities, restaurants, and additional attractions that are suited to the family’s interests.
Private tours often provide opportunities to see NYC from unique perspectives. For example, kids may enjoy panoramic views of the city from a rooftop or from a bridge. These different vantage points offer a fresh and exciting way to explore and appreciate the city’s landmarks.
A private tour offers a unique opportunity for family bonding and creating shared memories. Exploring the city together and discovering new places as a family foster a sense of togetherness and create lasting memories. The shared experiences and stories from the tour can be cherished and talked about for years to come.
Read more: 3 Days in New York City Itinerary
Experiencing the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
Step aboard the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum to embark on an extraordinary journey through history. Kids who are interested in aviation and space exploration will be thrilled to see these iconic machines up close.
Kids can explore the USS Growler, a real submarine that was used during the Cold War. Venturing into the submarine’s tight quarters and learning about its operations can be an exciting and immersive experience, giving children a glimpse into life aboard a submarine.
Designed specifically for kids, the Exploreum is a dedicated space within the museum where children can engage in interactive exhibits, experiments, and educational games. It encourages curiosity, creativity, and exploration, providing a fun and educational environment for young visitors.
Don’t miss the opportunity to climb into the cockpit of a real fighter jet or to watch fascinating multimedia presentations.
Enjoying the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
The Statue of Liberty is an internationally recognized symbol of freedom and democracy. Kids will be awe-inspired by its towering presence and the historical significance it represents. Taking a ferry ride to Liberty Island is an adventure in itself. Kids can enjoy the scenic views of the New York City skyline and the Statue of Liberty as they approach the island. The boat ride adds an element of excitement and anticipation to the overall experience.
For older kids and teens, climbing up to the crown of the Statue of Liberty can be an unforgettable experience. The panoramic views of New York Harbor and the city skyline from the observation deck provide a unique and breathtaking perspective.
Read more: Best places to view skyline of New York City
Going to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan offers a wide range of interactive and hands-on exhibits designed specifically for kids. Children can actively engage with the exhibits, allowing them to learn through play and exploration. Whether it’s a science experiment, or an art project, the museum provides opportunities for hands-on learning and creative expression.
The museum features imaginative play spaces where they can step into different themed environments such as a pretend grocery store, or a construction site, allowing them to engage in role-playing and creative play. Kids can also engage in painting, sculpting, or drawing through the various art-focused exhibits and workshops.
The museum has outdoor play spaces where children can enjoy physical activities, such as climbing structures and slides. These outdoor areas provide opportunities for active play and exercise, allowing kids to burn off energy while having fun.
Exploring the Bronx Zoo
Kids would absolutely enjoy exploring the Bronx Zoo for a multitude of reasons. Besides a wide variety of animal exhibits, the Bronx Zoo features a dedicated Children’s Zoo. Kids can have hands-on interactions with domesticated animals. They can pet and feed friendly goats, sheep, and other farm animals, fostering a sense of connection and empathy towards animals.
The Bronx Zoo offers exciting rides and attractions specifically designed for children. Kids can enjoy a camel ride, take a spin on the Bug Carousel, or explore the zoo from above on the Wild Asia Monorail.
Trying delicious treats at Chelsea Market
If you have kids who love to eat, Chelsea Market is known for its unique and creative culinary offerings. Kids can enjoy trying out innovative desserts, such as artisanal ice cream flavors, freshly baked pastries, or handcrafted chocolates. Some vendors at Chelsea Market offer food sampling opportunities, allowing kids to taste a variety of treats. Bar Suzette for example, is a creperie that serves both sweet and savory crepes. Kids can indulge in a variety of options, from Nutella-filled crepes to ham and cheese combinations. If your kids love Mexican food, Los Tacos No. 1 is a must-visit. They serve authentic and flavorful tacos made with fresh ingredients.
Chelsea Market is also home to various artisanal food shops and specialty stores. Kids can browse and shop for unique candies, chocolates, or baked goods, to take home and enjoy later.
In conclusion, NYC is a city that never fails to captivate the hearts of both young and old. When it comes to exploring the city with kids, the options are truly endless. From iconic landmarks to interactive museums, green spaces, delicious food, to cultural diversity. So, if you’re planning a trip to NYC with your kids, rest assured that you’ll find an abundance of fun things to do in NYC with kids and attractions that will leave your little ones wide-eyed with wonder and filled with joy.