Best Of Lists

What Ages Get in Free to NYC Museums, Zoos, Amusement Parks

How's the old adage go? The best things in life are free. But for families in NYC, that may sound like crazy talk. From housing to classes to entertainment, everything here seems to cost so much money...or does it?

The fact is, there's plenty of FREE fun for kids in New York City. And even top family attractions that charge entry fees like museums, zoos, amusement parks, and water parks offer no-cost admission for children under certain ages, and those savings can really add up, especially when you have preschoolers or toddlers

So, we decided to make a list of when the freebies end for kids at New York City's best family destinations, from tourist hot spots like the Statue of Liberty to all of the children's museums and zoos and gardens. Yet another reason to wish your children could stay young forever! We've even included a few of our favorite picks in nearby locales, too.

Note: The cut-off ages imply that once kids reach that age, they no longer qualify for free admission, and some places may ask for proof of age. Looking for a 100% FREE outing? Check out our roundup of no-cost admission hours at NYC museums.

The Best Annual Family Festivals for NYC Kids (Mostly Free)

There are certain New York City celebrations we love so much, my daughter and I go every year, like the interactive, art-filled Figment on Governors Island, the incredible (and educational) World Maker Faire New York, and Street Games, the Parks Department's tribute to old-school pastimes.

I know I'm not the only mom out there who likes to plan ahead, and since the festival season kicks into high gear this month, we figured it was a great time to round up our top annual festivals for families. Every single pick on our list is either an event my family or one of our writers has been to personally, or an annual favorite endorsed by our friends and readers. In other words, they're really worth your time and money—even better, in many cases they don't cost a penny.

11 Food Trucks Los Angeles Kids and Parents Love

The City of Angels is all about highbrow food in casual, comfortable settings, and nowhere is that more evident than the food truck scene. LA's food trucks offer up every cuisine mash-up imaginable, and between the trucks' websites, Twitter, and Instagram, it's easy to track down your favorites. A truck at a festival can be a little culinary surprise, but there's also a thriving, family-friendly, deliciously casual scene that pops up at regular local gatherings like the Santa Monica Food truck lotAbbot Kinney’s First Fridays, Natural History Museum First Fridays, and others. A bonus for us with food trucks is no worrying about the inevitable mess left behind by my little whirlwind, or trying to keep her butt in a high chair.

Here are the LA trucks I most enjoy tracking down with my tiny food critic.

50 Indoor Activities for Kids on a Rainy Day

When rain or cold weather keeps kids inside, it can be hard to keep everyone entertained. Of course, NYC offers plenty of amazing children's museums and exhibitsindoor play spaces, and classes and activities where families can take shelter when bad weather arrives, but sometimes staying home can be just as much fun—if you know the right games.

Whatever the reason you're staying put, try one of these 50 indoor, boredom-busting games, crafts, and other things to do with kids to turn a rainy day into a memorable one. 

NYC's Best Playgrounds: 15 Parks Worthy of a Subway Schlep

Playgrounds may be as much a part of childhood as potty training and the tooth fairy, but to city families, finding a go-to playground is a real sanity saver. When you live in tiny apartments, the neighborhood park is akin to a backyard, and while New Yorkers are lucky to have many awesome local play spots, some are a cut above the rest.

These spots offer plenty of space to romp and enough outdoor entertainment to make them worth a schlep on the subway. Without further ado, read on for 15 of the city's best playgrounds—our NYC playground hall of fame.

100 Things To Do in New Jersey with Kids Before They Grow Up

Now that my oldest child is a 'tween, I understand that phrase I heard often during those difficult baby/toddler times: "The days are long, but the years are short." Thankfully, filling those short years with quality bonding time is even easier with our top 100 not-to-be-missed family activities right here in New Jersey.

From indoor play to awesome zoos, and from quiet fun to thrill-seeking adventures, there's tons of incredible stuff to make memories that will last forever. We have beautiful forests for hiking, beaches for lounging, and cool playgrounds and parks—all of which make for a great day trip with Jersey kids.

Read on for our 100 best things to do right now in NJ.

100 Things To Do in NYC with Kids Before They Grow Up

The number of family-friendly happenings in New York City on any given day is enough to overwhelm most parents. Our city plays host to top-notch museums and art, creative play spaces, amazing parks and playgrounds, and even amusement parks, all of which pump out fun children's programming year-round. Even NYC restaurants get into the game, hosting dedicated kid play spaces, events, and cool DIY opportunities like ice cream and chocolate making.

Yet every year, our kids suddenly grow up on us a little more. They age out of one activity after another, whether it's storytime at the library, the carousel, or just needing to hold our hand as they cross the street. That's why we're focused on finding ways to take advantage of all the amazing things to do in New York City with kids, creating meaningful memories as we go. I created this "life list" of all the things I want to experience with my kids before they grow up. It's not just the stuff that is fun to do, but also the stuff that I think will be important to do with them—things that will shape them and be formative in their experience as little New Yorkers. We're also big fans of FREE fun, so we included as much of that as possible!

So enjoy this list of 100 things to do in NYC, whether you're a local or a visitor trying to experience the very best of our city. Now, off I go to wring every drop of goodness from that damp, dirty rag that is New York City.

NEW: We have a free printable version with the best anytime NYC activities from this list. Print it out and stick it on your fridge to inspire you any time you need an activity idea.  

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