25 Outdoor Adventures in the City for NYC Kids

One of the main reasons we're willing to deal with the challenges of raising kids in NYC (the crazy rents, the stressful school searches, the closets for apartments) is our easy access to enriching cultural activities like theater and museums. When it's time for some good old-fashioned outdoor fun, New York can be equally enriching. The city offers a range of bucolic parks and more destinations where kids can get busy playing outside, without leaving the five boroughs. 

From camping under the stars to fishing to zip-lining, here are 25 fresh ways to enjoy a spring staycation with the whole family. Some are FREE, most are accessible by public transportation, and we guarantee that they are all tons of fun. 

If Cute Panda Videos Make Your Day, the Science Center Has Something for You

Few things are more universal than cute panda videos. Even people who can resist the internet's most infectious silly cat videos melt in the face of an insanely cute panda bear rolling around hugging himself in a Facebook share. The California Science Center embraces this inescapable truth with a full-on bear hug. This past weekend the museum's IMAX theater debuted the movie Pandas, a nature documentary for the whole family. Imagine the cutest collection of baby panda clips ever made. Now imagine them in 3D on a screen seven stories tall. It's a level of cute few people can handle, but we all should try.

Horseback Riding Centers for Kids on Long Island

There are plenty of benefits for kids that take up horseback riding. Imagine your child bonding with one of these magnificent creatures while also improving his or her confidence by working effectively to communicate with the horse. With continued lessons and riding, kids can also learn responsibility, caring for their trusty steed.

We’ve rounded up 10 of the best equestrian centers in Nassau and Suffolk counties open to the public. These offer a variety of services, including pony rides, trail rides, weekly lessons, and even on-site birthday parties. When visiting one of the stables for pony or trail rides, it is important to dress appropriately. Helmets are provided. Boots are preferred, but sneakers are usually acceptable. Call ahead to check on rules and regulations.

For more outdoor activities, check out our guide to Long Island family fun and our seasonal activities guides, including our roundup of spring entertainment options.

(Video) Egg House Opens on LES with Pop-up Playground and Museum

Attention social media mavens and budding Instagram stars, The Egg House, an interactive pop-up with a funky story has just opened on the Lower East Side. Photo-ops abound as you wind your way through the fantastical wonderland that is Ellis the Egg's fictional New York City pad.

It's part playground, part museum, part snackbar—all served with a healthy side of one of our favorite proteins...eggs.

Shop Local & Fresh Goods at These Houston-Area Farmers Markets

Family trips to the local farmers' market are the best. There's just nothing that quite compares to walking past stands stocked with colorful produce and local treasures and knowing that whatever you bring home is going to be fresh, seasonal, and bursting with flavor. It's also a great way to encourage healthy eating with your kids; I know mine loves to pick out fresh fruits and vegetables to bring home each week!

No matter where you live in the greater Houston area, there's a farmers' market nearby. The city is also home to several farms where you can pick your own produce! Now, what are you waiting for - check out these local gems.

Best Destination Sandboxes at Local Parks for NYC Kids

There's no denying it—kids love diving into a sandbox, running their shovels and hands through the grains of sand, dumping a full bucket over and generally getting their hands dirty.

Though NYC parents might get grossed out at the thought of what could be lurking in our uncovered, urban sandboxes, it's hard to forbid preschoolers one of their most beloved sensory experiences. So pull up a bench (and your cup of coffee; you'll be here a while!), and check out these eight toddler-tested, mom-approved NYC sandboxes. We've done our best to find the cleanest ones across the city. Besides, you can always wash their hands in the nearby sprinklers or park bathrooms when you're finally able to get them out.

And hey, you don't have to hoof it out to the local beach to reach this sand, which just means more time for other NYC kid activities. Find more destination playgrounds in our NYC Parks & Playgrounds Guide.

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