Must-see places for kids in New York City
You've probably visited the Statue of Liberty, went to the top of the Empire State Building and toured the Museum of Natural History with your kids. There are many off-the-beaten-path, must-see places for families in New York City. We rounded up 10 can't-miss spots to visit in all five boroughs.
New York Hall of Science(Credit: New York Hall of Science)
Sitting beneath two retired NASA rockets, kids can tee off at this nine-hole miniature golf course that mimics the path of a spaceship. You'll also learn about the laws of motion as you try to avoid gravity wells, wormholes, asteroids and more. Rocket Park is located outside the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows, Queens.
Chinatown Ice Cream Factory(Credit: Flickr / Robyn Lee)
There are many places in NYC serving up sweet confections, but at the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, you can try a variety of unique flavors such as Don Tot, a Chinese egg custard, and Zen Butter, which is peanut butter with toasted sesame seeds. Other flavors include ginger, pumpkin pie, rainbow cookie and chocolate bacon.
Staten Island Zoo(Credit: Staten Island Zoo)
The Staten Island Zoo is home to 1,500 animals with 68 of them on the endangered list. Kids and adults alike can check out Amur leopards, ostriches, Galapagos tortoises, monkeys and more with a petting zoo is set up like a barnyard. The carousel, which is new this year, is set to open by summer.
Wave Hill(Credit: Joshua Bright)
Picture expansive lawns and gardens at Wave Hill, a 28-acre former estate in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. Families can explore the woodland trails, take a birding walk and become naturally creative in the Family Art Project on weekends. Other seasonal activities include Raptor Day, Honey Weekend, Pajama Pop-In and more.
SHARK Speed Boat Thrill Ride(Credit: Smart Destinations)
Here's a different way to see the Statue of Liberty: With speeds up to 35 mph, the Shark speedboat takes you on a 30-minute romp around Manhattan and through New York Harbor. A local guide will narrate the sights, from the Brooklyn Bridge, One World Trade Center and more. Be warned -- if you sit in the splash zone you will get wet! The ride starts at Pier 16 at the South Street Seaport.
Governors Island(Credit: Timothy Schenck)
Little ones will love boarding a ferry from Battery Park or Pier 6 in Brooklyn (hey parents, kids ride free!) to take the short journey to Governors Island. You'll find Victorian homes on lush green lawns, giant sculptures and more. There's a host of free kids' activities, including arts and crafts and mini-golf, plus delicious food trucks and ice cream stands. New this year: 30 acres of park open to the public for the first time, 50 hammocks, ball fields, an urban farm and more.
Queens County Farm Museum(Credit: Facebook / Queens County Farm Museum)
One of NYC's oldest working farms (dates back to 1697), the Queens Country Farm Museum sits on 47-acres in Floral Park, Queens and features historic farm buildings, a greenhouse, farm vehicles, an orchard, herb garden and animals, such as goats, sheep, pigs, cows, chickens and more. The best part? The grounds are open seven days a week and it's free to enter.
Jane's Carousel(Credit: Flickr / Kristine Paulus)
Recently renovated, the classic Jane's carousel can be found near Pier 6 at the Brooklyn Bridge Park (the corner of Water and Dock Streets, DUMBO). The new embellishments feature 1,200 lights, and after sunset, the pavilion's acrylic walls are illuminated, creating a light show that's sure to dazzle the little ones and grown-ups alike.
Children's Museum of Manhattan(Credit: Children's Museum of Manhattan)
Located on the Upper West Side, the Children's Museum of Manhattan's exhibits are geared to little ones ages six and younger. You'll find a Dora the Explorer play area, a STEAM lab and more. There are five floors of exhibits, enough to find something appealing to the big kids, too. Kids can build robots, create simple circuits and enjoy the many areas of educational play.
Luna Park(Credit: Luna Park NYC)
It might be a bit of a schlep (especially with a few kids in tow) from some neighborhoods, but Luna Park in Coney Island is a must-do for every New York family. Enjoy the 87-year-old Cyclone roller coaster, kiddie rides, a revamped arcade full of games and more. A new vertical lift steel roller coaster, The Thunderbolt, is set to open after Memorial Day.