April GoList: Best Things To Do with NYC Kids

Sakura Matsuri, Easter Parade, Children's Carnival, and More for NYC Kids in April

Spring festivities are kicking into high gear, so get your calendars ready! We've rounded up the best things to do in New York City with kids in April—many of them FREE.

Of course, we're looking forward to Easter-themed fun, from egg hunts to brunch with the bunny of the hour as well as Passover celebrations. There's also new family theater, including the acrobats in Something and Circus 1903, plus picks just right for preschoolers. It's also time for the debut of Gulliver's Gate, a global miniature city that is sure to wow all ages. 

Families can enjoy many outdoor celebrations, too. Don't miss the annual Children’s Carnival at the Queens County Farm Museum, the spectacular Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival, Street Games in East Harlem, and Sakura Matsuri and more cherry blossom sightings.

Don't forget that some of our top picks in March are still good this month, including ARTech, a FREE STEM fest, top theater picks like The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical, Macy's Flower Show, the new Mummies exhibit, and more. 

For more outing ideas, peruse our Event Calendar and our Spring Guide.

As always, if an event piques your interest, click through to our listing for all the details, including addresses and times. And keep in mind: In NYC, really cool things to do with kids often book up quickly, so buy your tickets ASAP or, in the case of FREE events, arrive as early as possible to beat the crowds.

Children’s Carnival — Floral Park, Queens
Saturday, April 1-Sunday, April 2 and Saturday, April 8-Sunday, April 9
Families love the Queens County Farm Museum, a real, historic working farm with crops in the fields and all sorts of animals that kids can feed. While the agricultural spot hosts plenty of great events throughout the year, the two-weekend-long Children's Carnival is definitely a favorite. It's a huge, old-time affair with an authentic midway, complete with kiddie rides, games, and family entertainment. The best part? Unlimited carnival rides are included with admission, although additional fees apply for some other activities such as the petting zoo and pony rides.

Gulliver's Gate Midtown West
Previews begin Tuesday, April 4
A miniature world is headed to Times Square. Spanning 49,000 square feet—an entire city block!—Gulliver's Gate takes some of the world's most iconic locales and shrinks them into a stunning global village. With interactive elements, including a full-body scanner and 3D printer to make a mini you, plus a fully functional airport with planes taxiing, taking off, and landing, this new attraction is generating a lot of buzz, and we can't wait to check it out. Previews begin April 4 with early-bird ticket deals before the grand opening in May. For more details, check out our full preview.

RELATED: Spring Break Camps for NYC Kids

Animatronic pachyderms are a highlight at Circus 1903, playing at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. Photos by Mark Turner/courtesy of the circus.

Circus 1903 — Midtown
Wednesday, April 5-Sunday, April 16
Experience the golden age of circus entertainment as Ringmaster Willy Whipsnade leads you on an epic journey as daring artists perform amazing feats. While celebrating the essence of yesteryear circuses, Circus 1903 offers a modern and more humane approach to delighting audiences. In lieu of real elephants, for example, the pachyderms featured in this show are carefully constructed by the award-winning puppeteers at Significant Object.

Fanny de Chaillé: The Teens Library — Upper East Side
Saturday, April 8
The French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy celebrate French art, history, and culture at its second annual Tilt Kids Festival with activities taking place at venues across Manhattan and Brooklyn—many of them FREE. On Saturday, April 8, Fanny de Chaillé: The Teens Library brings storytelling to life as teens (primarily immigrants to the U.S.) tell their tales in one-on-one sessions with kids and their parents. Best for ages 10 and older. FREE

Something — Midtown West
Friday, March 31-Sunday, April 16
The New Victory Theater is at it again. Aptly titled, this production features Something for everyone—a touch of acrobats, a dash of physical theater, a bit of comedy, and a whole lot of fun for the family.

Easter Egg Hunts — Citywide
Throughout the month
Hunting for Easter Eggs is a beloved family event. Whether you want to search for plastic candy-stuffed eggs or the real hard-boiled kind, there are dozens of places to usher in the season with a sweet hunt. Check our NYC Easter Egg Hunt roundup for one in your neighborhood. Some of our favorites include the Barnyard Egg Hunt on the grounds of the bucolic Queens County Farm Museum and the Children's Museum of Manhattan, where kids search for egg icons through the galleries scavenger hunt-style.

Kids too young or want something more mellow? Try one of these Easter-themed brunches where you can snap a pic with the Easter Bunny.

RELATED: 40 Things to Do on a NYC Spring Staycation with Kids

All the rides at Luna Park, even the water rides, open April 8. Photo courtesy of Luna Park.

Luna Park Opening Day — Coney Island
Saturday, April 8
Don't miss opening day at Luna Park. While the beach won't open until Memorial Day, ring in spring with a family outing to NYC's largest amusement park. All the park's established rides and attractions, both thrilling and tame, will be open—even the water rides. BONUS: Following tradition, the first 100 visitors score a FREE ride on the Cyclone.

Find more amusement park fun in our Theme & Water Parks Guide.

Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival Midtown East
Sunday, April 16
This is one of our favorite celebrations of the year. Fifth Avenue between 49th and 57th streets closes to traffic and opens to revelers in beautiful bonnets, snappy hats, and jaw-dropping headdresses. Show off your craziest hat or just come and take photos. Check out last year's photo gallery of some of the most creative hats and revelers. Truly a must-do event, which is why we list it on our top 100 things to do with your kids in NYC. FREE

St. George Day — Staten Island
Saturday, April 22
Celebrate Earth Day and the arts on Staten Island at this annual fest, which takes place near the ferry terminal. There's a ton of fun on tap, including local artists selling their wares and leading workshops, live music and dance performances, storytelling and poetry. There's also an Earth Day Zone full of eco info, an entire area dedicated to kids with arts and crafts, and a fanciful puppet show that recounts the St. George dragon-slaying legend with a less gruesome ending. The highlight is the 35-foot puppet dragon parade. FREE

Sakura Matsuri celebrates the return of the cherry blossoms. Photo by Julie Markes/courtesy of BBG.

Sakura Matsuri/Cherry Blossom Festival — Crown Heights, Brooklyn
Saturday, April 29-Sunday, April 30
Celebrate spring and Japanese culture at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's popular annual fest, which is set in and around its beautiful blooming Cherry Esplanade. The lineup includes Taiko drumming performances, Samurai swords, flower arranging workshops, martial art displays, Japanese pop bands, tea ceremonies, and cooking demos. Kid-specific activities include manga drawing, origami, crafts, magic, and drumming workshops. Plus, revelers come dressed in their best anime-inspired outfits, and there's even a cosplay fashion show. Although the fest usually doesn't sell out, lines often snake around the block so arrive early. FREE for children younger than 12.

Find more cherry blossoms around the city.

10th Annual National Grid Earth Day Celebration — Flatbush, Brooklyn
Saturday, April 29
This annual festival welcomes families with a day of activities designed to promote environmental awareness and to highlight ways of creating a more sustainable planet. Festivities include street performers, arts and crafts, live music, face painting, and more. FREE

Find more Earth Day celebrations by searching for the holiday in our Event Calendar. You might also consider the FREE one in Union Square.

It's old-school derby racing and more at the Street Games in Thomas Jefferson Park. Photo by Malcolm Pinckney/courtesy of NYC Parks​.

Street Games — East Harlem
Saturday, April 29
Time to get old-school. Now in its 10th year, this annual fest in Thomas Jefferson Park is dedicated to the kinds of analog amusements we grew up with. Leave your iPads and iPhones at home and encourage the kids to try out classics such as pogo sticks, hula hoops, yo-yos, hippity hops, stickball, hopscotch, handball, skully, and Double Dutch. Also enjoy performances by hip-hop dancers, a yo-yo master and, as in years past, the Dance Theater of Harlem. FREE

New York, New Year — Chelsea
Saturday, April 29-Sunday, May 21
It's opening weekend for TADA! Youth Theater's latest production. Far from the comforts of hometown Missouri, Tess, a teenager, struggles to hold on to old friendships while learning to navigate life in the Big Apple. All of TADA!'s original musical productions are performed by local youths, ages 8-18, and for many kids, there's nothing like seeing peers put on a terrific show with relatable themes, catchy tunes, and positive, non-preachy storylines. Plus, with a one-hour run time, intimate theater, and well-priced tickets, TADA!'s performances are a great introduction to musical theater.

Spring Family Fair at the Morgan — Midtown East
Sunday, April 30
Art and literature go hand-in-hand at the Morgan Library and Museum. This annual event invites families to explore the museum's historic library, create original poetry on its family poetry wall, enjoy creative arts and crafts, and explore the museum's exhibits I’m Nobody! Who are you? The Life and Poetry of Emily Dickinson and Treasures from the Nationalmuseum of Sweden: The Collections of Count Tessan. Considering the Morgan is a decidedly grown-up museum, these family fairs are the best time to visit with tykes. FREE

Honorable Mentions

NYC always has so many amazing things going on, it's difficult to choose. So here are some more cool events worth considering for your April calendar.

Be one of the first to ride the carousel at Pier 62 or the Prospect Park Carousel. Both open for the season the first weekend in April.

Celebrate all things video games as Gotham Gaming brings its first Geek Fest to Brooklyn on Saturday, April 1.

Cheer on the adorable players marching in the Opening Day Little League Parade in Prospect Park on Saturday, April 1. FREE

Get into a good, old-fashioned pillow fight at NYC's Annual Pillow Fight Day in Washington Square Park on Saturday, April 1. FREE

Check out cool indie comics, zines and cartoons at the annual MoCCA Arts Fest at Metropolitan West on Saturday, April 1 and Sunday, April 2.

Celebrate spring at the annual Shearing of the Heather Celebration in Fort Tryon Park on Saturday, April 8. FREE

Soak up Scottish culture during the annual Tartan Day Parade, featuring thousands of bagpipers marching up Sixth Avenue on Saturday, April 8. FREE

Passover celebrations abound in April, too. Try the Freedom Art Jam at the Jewish Museum (April 9) or Matzo Madness at the Eldridge Museum (April 9). 

Join the March for Science on Saturday, April 22.

Swale, a floating food forest with a mini apple orchard, is set to return in late April or early May. FREE

Give it up for NYC's amazing trees at the Queens Botanical Garden's annual Arbor Festival on Sunday, April 30.