You’ve been cooped up with the kids long enough, mom and dad! Spring means it’s time to start venturing outside, in and around the NYC area, for fun ways to entertain and even educate your children.
We compiled a list of several of the best kids’ spring activities you can find in the boroughs (and few farther out) to help you exercise your child’s body and brain.
Best kids’ spring activities in NYC: Nature in bloom
New York Botanical Garden — Head to the Bronx to see the azalea gardens and hundreds of cherry trees coming into bloom. Don’t forget to check out the amazing annual indoor orchid show. The Everett Children’s Adventure Garden offers 12 acres of fun just for little ones. If you can’t make it to the Bronx, visit the city’s other beautiful botanical gardens. The ones in Brooklyn or Queens also have nature trails and special children’s programming.
Macy’s Annual Flower Show (click link for dates) — You don’t need to brave chilly weather or muddy paths to indulge in the beautiful blooms of spring in New York City. For two weeks every March/April, Macy’s Herald Square flagship store puts on an amazing indoor display of floral and plant life tied to together by a theme like fairy tales or space adventure. Best of all — it’s free.
Visit your local park — Every NYC borough offers a little slice of nature amid the concrete and steel jungle. In addition to greenery for play and chilling, New York City parks offer tons of programming for kids of every age. Go to the NYC Parks website, click the Kids tab and find some fun for the family.
Best kids’ spring activities in NYC: Animals (and more!)
Visit a zoo — Beat the summer crowds and heat at any of the four NYC zoos (Bronx, Central Park, Brooklyn’s Prospect Park and Queens) or the New York Aquarium by Coney Island in Brooklyn. Better yet see all of them or visit your favorite multiple times at a great discount by becoming a member of the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Queens County Farm Museum — If your wee one loves animals, but the zoo can be a bit overwhelming, head over to these historic 47 acres in Floral Park, Queens — home of NYC’s last remaining working farm. You can roam the grounds, visit the petting zoo and feed the chickens, pigs, geese, goats and other creatures anytime, but the weekends are when the fun really happens. The spring brings hayride season (for a nominal fee) and events such as an Apple Blossom Children’s Carnival, Sheep Shearing Festival, Easter egg hunt and a season farmer’s market.
Best kids’ spring activities in NYC: Outdoor thrills
Adventures at Governors Island — Governors Island is just one big playground to begin with: great biking, walking trails, playgrounds and amazing water/downtown views. But now it has Adventures. Literally get lost in the challenging Amazen’ Maze. Play 18 holes of mini-golf. Scale one of three 25-foot outdoor climbing walls. Zipline at 21 mph down a 300-foot long cable while taking in sensational views of the Statue of Liberty, New York Harbor and downtown Manhattan. Check website for age/weight restrictions and hours.
Bronx Zoo Treetop Adventures — Little Tarzans (age 7 and up) and their parents will love this climbing park, with aerial courses for all abilities, and a 400-foot-long zipline that crosses the Bronx River. Check website for age/weight restrictions and hours.
Fly a kite — The spring winds and less-crowded parks and beaches make this the perfect time to let children test their aviation skills. Kite flying is allowed anywhere in Central Park but open areas like the Great Lawn and North Meadow are obviously the best. Any of the beaches in the NYC boroughs are also great. Also consider Liberty State Park in New Jersey, just across from the Battery, for spectacular views of the harbor; the enormous Freshkills Park in Staten Island or Long Meadow in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.
Best kids’ spring activities near NYC: Ice cream!
The Museum of Ice Cream — What kid, from 1 to 100, does love ice cream? This imaginative, multi-sensory experience features 13 installations across three floors in the heart of SoHo. You can slide down an epic three-story slide, take a celestial ride on a pink MOIC subway, dive into the largest Sprinkle Pool and, of course, sample its signature flavors and ice cream treats. Reserve tickets in advance, kids age 2 and under free.
Best kids’ spring activities near NYC: Indoor water parks
If the unpredictability of the spring weather makes you nervous, look into one of the many indoor water parks in our vicinity.
One of our faves is Great Wolf Lodge in Scotrun, Penn., (that’s the Poconos, folks) It’s about a 90-minute drive from Manhattan.
If you want to stay in state, maybe head to the Monticello in the Catskills for The Kartrite, also 90 minutes. Opened in March 2019, it’s New York’s largest indoor water park at two acres. It features 15 water slides and coasters, a wave pool, lazy river and indoor beach.
See our full list of area indoor water parks and helpful tips for other locations, ways to save money and have more fun.
+ + +
You can also check out our friends at New York Family magazine for updated lists of seasonal events and Mommy Poppins NYC for other great suggestions for things for families and children to do in and around NYC this spring.
Photos: Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, Governors Island