Guide to Fleet Week 2024 with Kids: Salute the Sailors, Tour the Ships, and More Fun for Families

The USS Bataan is set to sail into New York Harbor for Fleet Week 2024. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Bradley Rickard
The USS Bataan is set to sail into New York Harbor for Fleet Week 2024. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Bradley Rickard
5/14/24 - By Jody Mercier

Fleet Week 2024, NYC's annual salute to sea services, returns for its 36th run next week with tons of family-friendly activities from Wednesday, May 22-Monday, May 27, 2024. Fleet Week NYC activities are an annual highlight of Memorial Day weekend in NYC, bringing tons of service members to our shores, plus family-friendly programming at the Intrepid Museum, in Times Square, and at piers along the west side and in Staten Island.


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What is Fleet Week?

Fleet Week NYC is a week-long celebration of maritime service members and brings approximately 2,300 sailors, marines, and coast guardsmen to our shores for a week of ship tours, military demonstrations, and family-friendly activities.

Fleet week NYC 2024: A concert in Times Square
Navy Seaman Crissy Villalva sings during a free concert in Times Square during a past Fleet Week. US Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Charles Oki 

Best Fleet Week NYC 2024 Activities for Families

The Intrepid Museum acts as a home base for many Fleet Week activities, including the return of its popular annual summer movie nights series on Friday, May 24, when it offers a FREE screening of Top Gun: Maverick.

If that's too late for your crew, consider visiting during the daytime for tons of FREE fun on the pier outside the museum, where fun-filled activities abound from Saturday, May 25-Monday, May 27. Take in demonstrations at the US Coast Guard Dive Training Tank, climb aboard an Air Force flight simulator, or try on tactical gear and pose for a "Selfie with a Soldier" courtesy of the US Army.

Legoland Westchester, The Planetarium Guy, Epic Balloons, and other kid-centric entertainers provide fun diversions, and kids can lend support to troops by joining the USO to sign a flag and send a message of gratitude to active duty service members.

Beyond the Intrepid Museum, Times Square is a hub of activity, with pageantry on full display during nightly concerts from the Navy Band North East's Brass Band, US Fleet Forces Rock Band, and the Marine Corps Band.

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Fleet week NYC 2024: Wait in line to tour one of the visiting ships
Visitors wait in line for a tour of the USS Wasp during Fleet Week festivities in 2023. Photo by the author

Ships Visiting Fleet Week NYC 2024

Of course, what would Fleet Week be without the fleet? Several ships are set to sail into New York Harbor, docking in NYC's waters and offering FREE tours so visitors can get an up-close view of military vessels from the United States fleet. Two German ships also join the celebration. Here's when and where you can tour each ship:

  • Manhattan's Pier 88 South: Amphibious assault ship USS Bataan, tours on Saturday, May 25 from 9am-4pm
  • Manhattan's Pier 90 North: Baden-Württemberg-class frigate FGS Baden-Württemberg and Berlin-class replenishment ship FGS Frankfurt am Main, tours on Saturday, May 25 from 9am-4pm
  • Manhattan's Pier 86 (near the Intrepid Museum): US Naval Academy Yard Patrol Boats, tours on Thursday, May 23-Friday, May 24 from 10am-5pm; USCG cutter Sturgeon Bay, tours Thursday, May 23-Monday, May 27, 10am-5pm
  • Staten Island's Homeport Pier, freedom-class littoral combat ship USS Marinette, legend-class cutter USCGC Calhoun, keeper-class coastal buoy tender USCGC Katherine Walker, tours Thursday, May 23-Monday, May 27 from 8am-5pm

A note about ship tours: Go early in the day! Lines can get long. Pack plenty of patience, snacks, and comfortable shoes. Last year, adults had to present a valid ID at security, which included bag checks and walking through a metal detector. We did enjoy a rocking live band and museum-style information displays while we weaved our way through the queue.

Intrepid Museum's Memorial Day Ceremony

A poignant highlight of the Fleet Week festivities is always the Intrepid Museum's Memorial Day Ceremony. Held on Monday, May 27 at 10am, visitors can join civic and military leaders for a wreath-laying ceremony on Pier 86, followed by a flyover from US Navy jets. It's a touching tribute to service members who have given their lives to protect our freedom.

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