Visitors Guide

Staten Island with Kids: Top 51 Things to Do for Families

When you ask most New Yorkers what they know about Staten Island, they name-check the Staten Island Ferry and then just stare blankly. But as a mom raising her two sons in NYC's "forgotten borough," I know firsthand how enriching and fun Staten Island can be for families, both residents and visitors.

St. George, where you disembark from the ferry, is probably the neighborhood that feels most like the rest of NYC, with its awesome views of the downtown Manhattan skyline. Many borough attractions are located here, including the minor-league Staten Island Yankees stadium, the stunning St. George Theatre, the sobering Staten Island September 11 Memorial, the Staten Island Museum, plus lots of restaurants and quaint Victorian townhouses. 

But go further inland and it's not just all malls and suburban sprawl. With almost 12,300 acres of protected parkland, Staten Island is rightly known as the greenest borough and boasts some of the most beautiful parks in the city, such as the Staten Island Greenbelt, home to the Carousel for All Children as well as living history museum Historic Richmond Town. Staten Island also has plenty of fun indoor play spaces, a great old-school roller rink, and even a trampoline park. There are lots of culture spots, too, like the Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden and museums located in lovely historic homes like the Alice Austen House. And while a car is helpful in terms of getting around, we actually do have public transportation. Check out the top 51 things to do in Staten Island with kids.

Visiting the 9/11 Memorial & Museum: Tips for Going to Ground Zero With Kids

Visiting Ground Zero with your kids is a deeply personal decision. Even if your family hasn't already talked about the terrible events of September 11, 2001, many children will learn about the attack on the city at school, from friends, or via the annual coverage of the anniversary. Whether you're breaking the news yourself, or your kids bring questions to you, a visit to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum might help provide some context and meaning.

You're probably aware that this isn't your typical kid-centric museum, and children may only be able to handle a small part of the exhibit without feeling emotional. So, whether your kid is a native New Yorker or you're just visiting, here are our parent-tested tips for your visit to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.

10 Best Children's Museums near LA and Orange County

A museum in Los Angeles where kids are encouraged to touch all of the exhibits, climb on the furniture, and ask as many questions as they want (not in an inside voice either): Fellow parents, this is the beauty of a children's museum, and in the greater Los Angeles area, we are blessed with several of them. Now don't get me wrong—LA has plenty of local museums to excite and inspire visitors of all ages. But the 10 museums below are specifically designed to entertain and enrich the lucky kiddos of Southern California.

7 Best Zoos near Los Angeles: the LA Zoo Is Just the Beginning

Did someone say zoo? If your little ones have fallen for the non-stop furry cuteness of LA's petting zoos (and there are plenty in and around LA), there's a chance they're going to start thinking bigger. There are lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) to see at many zoos, and while petting is not recommended for most of the occupants (seriously, keep your kid out of the bear enclosure), young ones love seeing creatures live and in-person that they usually only read about in books. Here are some of the many zoos within easy driving distance. While the Los Angeles Zoo is naturally on the list, it's hardly the only game in town.

Best Free Annual Parades in New York City for Kids

As the saying goes, everyone loves a parade. And in NYC, we have plenty of processions to choose from. During the warmer months, there are parades practically every week celebrating a wide variety of cultures and causes, and all of them are FREE.

While it's always cool to watch the colorful costumes, floats, and performers pass by, there are certain annual parades that are particularly great for families. These processions are either exceptionally vibrant like Chinatown's Lunar New Year Parade or the Three Kings Day Parade, or invite costumed kids to get in on the action like the small Halloween Parades that are much less intense than the big one in Greenwich Village.

Included in our list are parades we've attended—some many times—or others that come highly recommended. So, get our your calendar and save these dates to see if you can catch them all!

Kid-Friendly Wineries on Long Island's East End

With so many wineries on the East End now welcoming children, Long Island wine country has become a huge destination not just for couples and bachelorette parties, but for families with kids, too.

From picnic areas to live music, and annual events, we’ve rounded up a host of kid-friendly wineries on Long Island's East End—many of which are family-owned and operated—that offer the best experiences for little visitors. In addition to wine, most tasting rooms offer light snacks and nonalcoholic beverages, and some allow outside food and drink in designated picnic areas. Of course, kids must be supervised and any pets must be on leashes. Be sure to check individual websites for specific rules. And be responsible if driving.

Orange County's Best Kept Secret Is a Water Park Right on the Beach

Apologies, but I am about to blow a well kept secret wide open: Newport Beach has a cove hidden in plain sight that may be the best family beach day in the Southland. Of course the definition of "best family beach day" may not be the same for everyone; only continue reading if your ideal beach day would include kayaks, SUP boards, paddle boats, and an inflatable water park in a warm surf-free lagoon surrounded by clean sand, fire rings for s'mores, easy parking, and clean bathrooms. Only head to Newport Dunes if you're prepared for that level of nirvana.

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