Zoos & Gardens

Great Places to Eat with Kids Near Camden Adventure Aquarium

Let’s face it, a day at the Adventure Aquarium can work up an appetite, especially if your experience is anything like mine: Frantically chasing my child through dimly lit exhibits to make sure he doesn't get away from me in his excitement. While there is plenty to eat at aquarium's newly remodeled Marketplace, an all-new eco-friendly dining experience with a focus on locally-sourced, seasonal options for the entire family. But if you want to explore more options, you’re in luck - there are a handful of local options within walking distance of the aquarium.

Visiting the Central Park Zoo with Kids: Best Things to See and Do at the Zoo

Nothing beats a day in Central Park with kids. From carriage rides to carousels, Central Park is full of possibilities for children of all ages, but the best way to spend a day in the park with kids might just be the Central Park Zoo, where children under three are always FREE

Nestled on the east side of the park near 64th Street and 5th Avenue, the Central Park Zoo feels like a natural extension of the tranquil green space. Limestone carvings of animals adorn the brick buildings, and are reminders of the history of this iconic spot. I recently visited the Central Park Zoo with my two toddlers on a Monday in the early summer. Here are our toddler-tested (and parent-tested) highlights, including where to see sea lions...and where to find bathrooms.

31 Summer Day Trips to Take with NYC Kids

It’s summer road trip season! With school out, we’re itching to get outdoors to explore beyond NYC’s limits. Lucky for you, our Mommy Poppins reviewers know all the best spots in the tristate area, from beaches and water parks to cool nature spots and pick-your-own fruit farms.

We’ve rounded up more than two dozen of our favorites for summertime, including a few indoor options for (shudder) rainy days, or if you really just need to freeze in the a/c for a bit. All of these spots are under two hours away, because, well, who wants to day trip for longer than that with kids in the backseat?

Find more ideas in our full Day Trips and Getaways Guide, or try checking off something from our 100 Things to Do with Kids in New York State list.

Sharks Take Over Coney Island in the New Exhibit at NY Aquarium

On June 30, the New York Aquarium in Coney Island welcomed some sharp-toothed new residents to NYC, with the much-anticipated opening of the Ocean Wonders: Sharks! exhibit. The exhibit, which includes a learning lab, nine interactive galleries, and beautiful, immersive habitats that are home to over 115 species of marine animals, is a powerful reminder that New York is a coastal city, with thriving marine ecosystems right in our own (watery) backyard that deserve our respect and protection.

After the aquarium was pummeled by Hurricane Sandy, much of the complex had to close down for repairs. But with the opening of the shark exhibit, housed in a brand-new, three-story building with 57,000 square feet of visiting space, the New York Aquarium is better and more inspiring than ever. Gather up the kids and get ready for a day of close encounters with an incredible variety of ocean life. 

Caribbean Coast: Flamingos, Macaws, and Bush Dogs Debut at New Stone Zoo Exhibit

Situated on 26 acres in the quiet northern 'burbs, Stone Zoo is beloved by many as the smaller, simpler counterpart to the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston. But recently, Stone Zoo has been busy setting itself apart—with a modern new entrance, and now, an innovative exhibit celebrating the exotic, colorful creatures that live as our neighbors to the south. Caribbean Coast will be a permanent fixture in Stoneham, and, as my kids and I recently discovered, a big reason to make the trip.

Visiting the Met Cloisters with Kids: Best of NYC's Medieval Museum

One of my favorite memories from childhood was a visit to The Met Cloisters with my mother. Growing up on Long Island, any trip to the city was a special treat, and I still remember the neighborhood beauty of Washington Heights and Inwood. But it was the ascent into Manhattan's Fort Tryon Park that created a sense of lure and mystery. The Met Cloisters, which appeared to me like a castle in the sky, inspired a love of learning I would eventually share with my own children.

Decades later, I brought my own children to the Cloisters museum to experience the magic of its medieval chapels, sculptures, tapestries, gardens, and paintings—all of us dressed in Renaissance regalia to fully immerse ourselves in the experience! Here's what to know to make the most of your visit to The Met Cloisters, one of NYC's suggested admission museums where children 12 and under are always FREE.

Destination Dino: Dinosaurs Arrive at the Franklin Park Zoo

My kids are always excited for a trip to the Franklin Park Zoo; I mean, who isn't awed by lions, gorillas, or those gorgeous, roaming peacocks? But when we learned that some new animals were taking up temporary residence in Franklin Park this summer—life-sized, moving, roaring dinosaurs, no less—our curiosity was piqued even more than usual. So, on a quiet Wednesday afternoon in June, my 6-year-old played hooky from kindergarten and we went into Boston to take in Destination Dino, on display at the Franklin Park Zoo through September 3. Here's what we saw—and what to know before you go.

Prospect Park Zoo: Best Things to Do at the Brooklyn Zoo

Peppered with playgrounds, woods, and large open spaces for kids to roam free, Prospect Park is a pastoral escape smack dab in the middle of Brooklyn. The park is more than just green space: The Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Lefferts Historic House, and the Prospect Park Carousel are great places to visit for families. Need one more reason to love Prospect Park? How about a perfectly kid-friendly zoo, just the right size and pace for younger children?

The Prospect Park Zoo is much smaller than its northern counterpart, the Bronx Zoo, which means it's just right for pint-sized animal lovers. The whole interior is comfortably walkable in a few hours, so you can see everything before nap time. We've got tips for visiting with kids, including the best entry points, what to see, and the best times to visit.

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