Free Activities

12 Surprisingly Fun Places in NYC to Hang with Your Baby

Yes, infanthood is a wonderful time, full of snuggles and milestones. But entertainment options for non-walkers and even early walkers can start to feel repetitive day after day. Once you've tried all the baby play spaces and gymsplaygrounds, and even stroller tours at museums, what's next?

The thing about New York City, is there's always something open, always something going on, and always something new to try. We've rounded up some out-of-box ideas to shake up your daily routine with your NYC kids ages 12 months and under—many of these ideas are 100% FREE things—and most will also entertain your toddlers. Each destination is loaded with sights and sounds or another cool sensory experience for little ones, plus a change of scenery for the grown-up. So read on to plan the next city adventure with your little one.

Peruse our NYC Baby Guide for more need-to-know info and cool activities for the littlest New Yorkers.

New Jersey Restaurants Where Kids Eat Free

Who says there’s no such thing as a free meal? Restaurants throughout New Jersey offer free kid meal promotions nearly every night of the week. (Basically, you never have to cook again.) Visit your favorite family-friendly restaurant on a kids-eat-free night, and you won’t have to worry about overspending on kids’ entrees, especially the ones that are barely touched. Check out some of these New Jersey dining spots that feature free kid meals on certain nights of the week. 

Free, Kid Friendly Workouts for Mom or Dad at the Mall

The first time you throw your little ones in the backseat of the car and take them to the mall, it’s a magical, low-cost experience for all: Ice cream! Merry-go-round! Free air conditioning! A few hours later, you’ve got yourself a happy, tired family. The twentieth time? Not so much.

But don’t give up! Malls want you to come, and they’re willing to do you a favor or two to get you there. It may seem counterintuitive to head to the mall in search of free stuff, but, in the spirit of reeling us in, many malls offer kid-friendly, free workouts for moms. In other words, the mall is one of very few places where you can exercise without dropping a wad of cash on an expensive class and/or babysitter. I can’t promise that you won’t end up splurging on lunch or a new pair of skinny jeans (that’s the whole point of the free workout, isn’t it?), but the sweat sessions listed below are free to anyone with an iron will.

Check Out a Free Museum or Zoo Membership Pass at your Local Suburban Library

Looking for something free to do to entertain the kiddos? If you live in the suburbs, go to your local library and you can check out passes for you and your family to visit a number of great nearby museums, zoos, and gardens. Each library has different policies when it comes to checking out library passes, so be sure to call or check in at your local branch before reserving. To search and see what's available, use the keywords "Museum Pass" in your library's catalog search. You'll only be able to check out passes in your county with your library card and some libraries have restrictions about what township you live in, so scroll down to your county to see what great passes you can find. 

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