Spring Break in NYC: 50 Fun Things to Do with Kids

Best Activities and Events Over Spring Recess 2015

Public school spring break is just a few days away, starting Friday, April 3 and running through Sunday, April 12. If you're thinking of heading out of town for a last-minute vacation, you can find great nearby getaways in our Day Trips Guide, and more far-flung destinations on our Travel Site. But if a staycation is what you're after, there's plenty to keep you busy here in NYC.

From interactive exhibits and hands-on museum programs, to cool circus and family theater shows, to parks, playgrounds and indoor play spaces, we've rounded up a list of 50 things to do with kids in New York City during spring break. Some of our picks only take place on specific dates; others run the entire time and all are engaging ways to get out there and celebrate the season. Be sure to click the links for all the details, including address and time.

  1. Learn how to swim: Register for free lessons at the YMCA's annual Splash Week. Also, the New York City Parks Department is hosting learn-to-swim lessons at seven NYC rec centers (contact each one directly to register). 
  2. Enjoy hunting for treat-filled eggs inside or outside at a seasonal Easter Egg Hunt.
  3. See the dynamic circus arts show Catch Me at the New Victory Theater.
  4. Or marvel at the over-the-top spectacle UniverSoul Circus in Brooklyn.
  5. Circus too overwhelming for your preschooler? Then see the adventures of mischievous Jack and the thieving giant in the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre's revival of Jack and the Beanstalk.
  6. Explore gems, minerals and fossils at the recently opened Astro Gallery of Gems or one of these other rocking places.
  7. Play a family game of laser tag at Indoor Extreme Sports in Long Island City or one of these fun spots.
  8. See a fully remastered version of The Wizard of Oz in 3D at the Museum of the Moving Image, followed by a character design workshop inspired by the film. 
  9. Prepare for Little League season with a trip to one of NYC's batting cages
  10. Give rock climbing a try—NYC has a few kid-friendly indoor rock climbing centers with drop-in hours.
  11. Hit the rides on the first weekend of the Children’s Carnival at the Queens County Farm Museum.
  12. Enjoy hands-on activities inspired by places and spaces at the Museum of Modern Art's Art Lab.
  13. Celebrate the season at the New York Botanical Garden's The Orchid Show: Chandeliers; kids can also make their own mini terrariums at the popular Everett Children's Adventure Garden.
  14. Catch Atlantic Theater for Kids' new musical, Camp Kappawanna, cowritten by '90s dorky diva Lisa Loeb and inspired by her own life. 
  15. Although the beach is off-limits until Memorial Day, Coney Island's Luna Park and Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park are both open for the season with special spring break hours. 
  16. Those rides too intense for your tot? Then hit Queens' mini-amusement park Fantasy Forest at the Flushing Meadows Carousel or one of NYC's many mellow merry-go-rounds, most of which are already spinning for the season.
  17. Ride a square-wheeled trike and enjoy other interactive fun at the Museum of Mathematics.
  18. Stop in at Prospect Park's Audubon Center where kids can create a nature journal, go on a nature walk and meet some of the center's animal residents. FREE
  19. Head to CMA where they will be moving the giant orbs out of the famous ball pit for the week to create an interactive Sculpture Studio for junior artists to explore. 
  20. Put on your best bonnet and join the high-fashion procession at the annual Easter Parade on Fifth Avenue on Sunday, April 5. FREE
  21. Giggle at The Amazing Max's impressively silly tricks at the McGinn/Cazale Theatre. Save 25% with our discount code
  22. Hit the Jacob Javits Center's New York International Auto Show featuring interactive experiences, off-roading simulators and countless photo ops.
  23. Visit the newly remodeled Cooper Hewitt design museum to explore the exhibits using the new, high-tech pen.  
  24. Exchange your gently-used children's tomes for new-to-you titles at Torly Kid's month-long book swap. FREE
  25. Hit the Bronx's bucolic Wave Hill for art making, birding and nature walks during Spring Wings Weekend.
  26. Or scour the city to see where the cherry blossoms are blooming. FREE
  27. Hop across the Hudson to the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City to check out its brand-new suspended play structure, the Infinity Climber.
  28. Explore STEM concepts including electricity, bridge building and architecture at the interactive New York Transit Museum's special spring break programing. 
  29. Get your hands dirty in the Lefferts Historic House's outdoor garden by planting some seeds to take home. 
  30. Play mini-golf, learn parkour or catch a performance by bubble master Casey Carle at the New York Hall of Science.
  31. Paint your family's Passover holiday stories at the Jewish Museum's art workshops.
  32. Go on a self-guided Civil Rights-themed scavenger hunt, celebrate Qingming a.k.a. Chinese Ancestors Day or fly paper 'bird' planes in conjunction with the exhibit Audubon’s Aviary: The Final Flight (Part III of The Complete Flock). Be sure to pay a visit to the DiMenna Children's History Museum while there. 
  33. Try old-fashioned fun like crafting dolls out of yarn and playing with Colonial-style wooden toys at the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden.
  34. Take a hike before the heat of summer sets in.  The nearby Hudson Valley offers some perfect treks for families. 
  35. Watch nature-themed screenings of PBS Kid's animated series Cyberchase at Brooklyn Children's Museum and enjoy its latest STEM inspired, hands-on exhibit From Here to There
  36. Break out the craft supplies and give some of our easy and fun WeeWork projects a try. FREE
  37. Never been to the Staten Island Children's Museum? You can visit at no cost on Monday, April 6. FREE
  38. Discover Hurricane Sandy's impact on NYC and make a virtual volcano and earthquake at the American Museum of Natural History's exhibit, Nature's Fury: The Science of Natural Disasters.
  39. Or check out its brand new installation Life at the Limits to explore some of nature's most extraordinary plants and creatures and how they have evolved, opening Saturday, April 4.
  40. Become a pinball wizard at Manhattan's Modern Pinball arcade.
  41. Try and find your home on the Panorama of the City of New York at the recently renovated Queens Museum.
  42. Burn off crazy kid energy at drop-in play spaces in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn.
  43. Children too old for kiddie gyms? Go bowling or play pool.
  44. Go beyond bowling at Bowlmor Chelsea Piers, which recently debuted a ropes course and laser tag arena.
  45. Immerse yourself in kawaii a.k.a 'cute' Japanese culture with a week of interactive activities like manga-style drawing, bento box creation and more inspired by CMOMs latest exhibit Hello from Japan!
  46. Get wet at a nearby indoor water park. My 10-year-old highly recommends Sahara Sam's in New Jersey.
  47. And if Mother Nature cooperates you can always hit one of our city's fabulous playgrounds and parks.
  48. Looking to head out of town for a quick getaway? You'll find plenty of destination inspiration in our NYC Day Trip Guide and on our Travel site, where we rounded up spring break vacation deals.
  49. Explore a new-to-you corner of NYC. We have in-depth Kids' Neighborhood Guides for communities in all five boroughs
  50. Or cross something off your bucket list: Print out a copy of our 100 Things to Do with Kids Before They Grow Up and get going! Done all of those already? See if you've been to all of our favorite new attractions that opened in 2014.

But wait, there's more! We have additional options in our jam-packed Event Calendar and our Spring Fun Guide.