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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. 

Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms as a Family in NYC

There are few more delightful ways to celebrate the arrival of spring than by viewing the beautiful cherry blossoms flowering all over New York City. In Japan, cherry blossom-viewing is taken to almost religious heights. Blooming flowers are carefully watched, enjoyed, and celebrated. Traditional Sakura Hanami parties feature eating, drinking, and music.

Everyone seems to know about the Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, but there are other places to enjoy these gorgeous blossoms without the crowds this April and even deeper into the spring season. Here are the best places to see cherry blossoms in New York City this spring.

8 Free New York City Skateboard Parks

Skateboarding is one of the few sports actually designed for urban spaces, which may be why NYC kids love it so much. Skating uses the city environment as the stage for its tricks, but finding a safe place to skate can be tough. Skate parks provide a perfectly designed place to practice those skateboarding fakie flips and to grab some air. These spots in and near New York City are great for beginners and seasoned skateboarders alike. (Sometimes you'll also spy inline skaters or BMX bikers.)

All these skate parks put safety first. Athletes must wear helmets, kneepads and elbow pads, and kids under age 18 are also required to put on wrist guards. That said, most skate parks are unsupervised and have an enter-at-your-own-risk policy. Some even require parents to sign waivers for their children. So be safe, and enjoy the spring weather! For more outdoor sports and kid-friendly fun, see our guide to NYC's best parks and playgrounds.

14 Miniature Golf Courses for NYC Kids

For many families, mini golf is a quintessential spring and summer activity that they look forward to every year. My son loves it, so we've tried just about every putt-putt course in the tristate area.

While there are plenty of courses on Long Island and in New Jersey, you don't need to head out of town. There are currently more than a dozen places to play mini golf right here in New York City. And as sports go, it's typically fairly inexpensive—often as little as $5 a round for kids. Another bonus is that it's one of those rare activities that parents and kids can play together. You can even host a birthday party at most of these spots.

Read on to find out where to play mini golf with the kids in the city, and I'll see you on the green!

10 Birthday Cake Bakeries in NYC with Stunning Designs for Kids

Looking for a kids’ birthday cake takes the cake, doesn't it? Call off the search, because we’ve scoured the five boroughs to find the most mind-blowing confections that pair perfectly with that awesome party spot you found.

Whether you want a twist on a classic treat, gluten-free goodies, or a sculpted replica of your child's favorite character, there's something for everyone in this delicious roundup of New York City bakeries and studios.

10 Things to Love About the New York Botanical Garden

Founded in 1891, the New York Botanical Garden is a 250-acre oasis in the middle of Bronx Park, housing 50 specialty gardens, and more than one million plants. The largest botanic garden in the United States, it's also a National Historic Landmark and well worth a visit in any season. 

When I was growing up, my family ran a generations-old business selling plants and designing fabulous landscapes for the well-to-do in my native Colorado. My first job was weeding the plants in the garden center, and for a time, I thought I'd go to school to become a landscape architect and follow in my father's footsteps. Plants are practically in my blood, and to this day, I still crave a connection with nature and want my born-and-bred New Yorkers to feel blades of grass between their toes and get their hands dirty.

While we've always found our nature fix in Central Park and some of the wonderful gardensflower shows, and greenspaces the city has to offer, no park in the city has captivated me as much as the Bronx's New York Botanical Garden. Read on for 10 things to love about this green treasure, as the cultural gem embarks on its yearlong celebration of #plantlove.

NYC Opens Free Summer STEM Camps...But Apply Now!

New York City is offering public school kids entering kindergarten through grade 12 in September the chance to attend a STEM-focused summer camp for FREE, but applications are due Friday, April 5.

The camps will take place at about a dozen popular NYC institutions known for STEM programs, including zoos, museums, and botanical gardens. There are also internship and college-credit courses available for NYC high schoolers. Charter school students in NYC may also apply.

Easter Egg Hunts for Kids in New York City

Easter Sunday is April 21 this year—later than usual, but really just a hop, skip, and a jump away. One of the best ways to celebrate with kids is to attend one of NYC's treat-filled egg hunts. Most are outdoors in playgrounds and parks, zoos, and gardens, but a few are indoors at museums and other cultural spots. Many offer additional spring fun, including seasonal crafts, face painting, and live entertainment.

Remember, Easter egg hunts in NYC are extremely popular so arrive early and expect hordes. If you dislike crowds, avoid the free hunts and opt for those that carry a small fee as they usually cap the number of participants. Or get your photo op with the Easter Bunny in ahead of time at these brunches.

Spring Festivals, Fairs, and Carnivals in April for NYC Kids

New York City's spring outdoor festival season kicks off this April with more than a dozen fun and mostly FREE fairs, festivals, parades, and carnivals. Some annual Mommy Poppins favorites take place too, including the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Cherry Blossom Festival, the Queens County Farm Museum's Children's Carnival, Staten Island's St. George Day celebration, and the annual Street Games in East Harlem.

These events aren't just fun, they also foster community spirit by bringing folks together. Many fairs include old-fashioned games, eco-activities, homemade treats, and live performances. Here's your guide to the awesome NYC fairs, carnivals, and festivals happening for families this April.

Click through to our listings for all the details, including address, time, and recommended ages. And by the way, you can also find loads of fun spring festivals to our north in Westchester and the Hudson Valley, as well as out on Long Island.

Macy's Flower Show and 6 More NYC Spots to See Spring's Blooms

After so many hours spent indoors during cold winter months, springtime in New York City is one of my family’s favorite seasons. Besides the warmer weather and increased outdoor playtime, we love spotting the season’s first snowbells, crocuses, and blossoming trees

While plenty of flowers poke through the earth in neighborhood parks and along city sidewalks—not to mention community gardens—there are a few spots in the city where spring blooms are downright outstanding. Springtime also brings the annual flower show at Macy's, which kicks off this weekend on Sunday, March 24. To celebrate the arrival of spring, we've rounded up our favorite places to enjoy springtime

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