Coney Island

Best Free Annual Parades in New York City for Kids

As the saying goes, everyone loves a parade. And in NYC, we have plenty of processions to choose from. During the warmer months, there are parades practically every week celebrating a wide variety of cultures and causes, and all of them are FREE.

While it's always cool to watch the colorful costumes, floats, and performers pass by, there are certain annual parades that are particularly great for families. These processions are either exceptionally vibrant like Chinatown's Lunar New Year Parade or the Three Kings Day Parade, or invite costumed kids to get in on the action like the small Halloween Parades that are much less intense than the big one in Greenwich Village.

Included in our list are parades we've attended—some many times—or others that come highly recommended. So, get our your calendar and save these dates to see if you can catch them all!

The Best Zoos and Aquariums in NYC

Ever think you would spot a seal in Manhattan, or a giraffe in The Bronx? Did you ever hope you'd be surrounded by sharks at Coney IslandNew York City zoos offer families the chance to get up close and personal with animals from all over the world. Each borough boasts its own unique zoo experience. Whether your children are big or small, there is a zoo somewhere in NYC suited to their age, interests and attention span. Best of all, access to these creatures doesn't have to break the bank. Free admission can be as easy as picking the right afternoon to visit. Check out our insider tips for making the most of New York City's zoos.

Gymnastics Classes for NYC Kids: 17 Spots for Little Olympians

Whether your kids were inspired by the stunning flips, turns, and acrobatics of the Final Five or you just need a safe place for them to get the wiggles out without disturbing your downstairs neighbor, gymnastics provides a great introduction to sports. Often called the "mother of all sports" for its conditioning qualities and focus on strength, balance, and flexibility, gymnastics gives kids an early fitness foundation.

My daughter doesn't care about any of that, of course. She just wants to tumble, jump, and dance, which is how the sport came into our lives. From the traditional artistic disciplines made famous by NBC's prime-time Olympic coverage to the lesser-known rhythmic gymnastics, in which gymnasts use props like ribbons, balls, and hoops while performing acrobatic moves to music, we've got the lowdown on where to find gymnastics classes in NYC. Bear in mind, many of these classes run on a school-year calendar, meaning fall is the peak time to register.

You may also want to check out our NYC Classes Guide or peruse our Directory Listings for more classes.

5 Brooklyn Adventures Perfect for Preschoolers

A New York City day with a preschooler is likely to be full of adventure and excitement, but those short attention spans can be downright exhausting. Thankfully, the borough of Brooklyn is filled with non-stop kid fun, even for the most rambunctious little ones.

Of course, there's no shortage of fantastic zoos and gardens, museums, and playgrounds for spending a day out and about in the city, but we've developed five parent-tested, Brooklyn-based itineraries that are perfectly tailored to the younger crowd. 

Best Beaches Near NYC: A Guide for Families

Summertime means beach time, and while there are lots of beaches near and even in NYC, some are more family-friendly than others. After packing up your gear and schlepping the kids by car, train, bus, or ferry, the last thing you want to find out is your chosen beach has no bathroom or bathing suits are optional. Skip the guesswork with our roundup of eight easy-to-reach beaches for NYC families, including detailed info on attractions, food, bathrooms, and hidden costs. Most are within two hours of Manhattan by car and are easily accessible via public transportation as well, so you can plot a great staycation for your family.

Find more beach fun in our Beaches, Pools, and Water Playgrounds Guide, or check out these summer day trip ideas.

10 Heart-Pumping, Thrill-Seeking Activities for NYC Kids

I've got three kids with three decidedly different personalities. Even though my youngest is just a toddler, it's clear she's a daredevil at heart, never content to sit still for long and always looking for a challenge sure to scare me. She's already got me thinking of activities to thrill her spirit—safely of course. If you've got a like-minded child who refuses to keep her feet on the ground and operates at hyper-speed, New York City is filled with activities to satisfy young thrill seekers, from rock climbing to surfing to trapeze and more. Read on for 10 activities that will get kids' hearts (and yours!) pumping.

Nature Programs for NYC Toddlers and Preschoolers

When your city kid has exhausted every museumshow, and playground option in town, it’s nice to be able to get a dose of nature thanks to NYC’s array of zoos, gardens, and parks. And for nature-loving, dirt-loving, mud-loving, bug-loving city kids, the good news is there's no shortage of programming for toddlers and preschoolers in each borough. 

We've rounded up our top places in New York City where your toddler or preschooler can marvel at, learn about, and connect with nature. See our guides for even more camps and classes aimed at toddlers and preschoolers.

Best Carousels in NYC: 13 Merry-Go-Rounds City Kids Love

There's something wonderfully nostalgic about kids getting a thrill from a ride on a carousel. It's the simplest of amusement park attractions, and there are more than a dozen merry-go-rounds in New York City alone. It's easy to stumble upon them on your next park outing.

Each city carousel offers a unique spin on this traditional kiddie ride, from harbor views to a ride inside an iridescent fish. We've rounded up the best merry-go-rounds in all five boroughs.

Best Amusement Parks Near NYC Reachable by Public Transportation

If you're feeling nostalgic for a summer adventure filled with cotton candy and Ferris wheel rides, it might be time for some family-friendly fun at a nearby theme park. There's no shortage of amusement parks and water parks for New York City-based thrill-seekers, but if you don't have a car, some parks can seem out of reach. Fear not, we’ve rounded up the best amusement parks that are easily accessible from NYC via public transportation. Remember the sunscreen—and forget the parking (and rental) headaches.

Find more summer fun in our Theme and Water Parks Guide.

Best Places for Family Playtime in NYC

Playing together with your kids is one of the best parts of being a parent. Not only does it get everyone off the couch and moving, but you're also creating memorable family experiences.

Most city families don't have a backyard to play catch in, but there are still plenty of ways to play in NYC that are as engaging for grown-ups as for children, from mini-golf to bumper cars, bowlingbilliards, and beyond. Read on for a few of the best ways you and your kids can disconnect from technology and enjoy a few hours of awesome bonding time.

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