Crown Heights

Best Children's Museums for Families to Visit in New York City

New York City doesn't lack for world-class museums and cultural institutions. While I've been to The Met more times than I can count (and still haven't seen it all) and can while away an afternoon at The Whitney no problem, sometimes my kids need something with a little more action.

That's where New York City's many family-friendly children's museums come in. We've rounded up a dozen of our favorites, ranging from totally interactive playspaces to spots for making art, studying history, and much more. All of NYC's kid museums provide plenty of fun things to do, and are great indoor activities whether you're beating the summer heat or escaping winter's chill.

14 Brooklyn Gym Party Spots for Kids

For preschoolers and young school-age kids, gym parties are an easy solution to the space limitations of the typical Brooklyn apartment. Young guests get to run, tumble, bounce, and jump around without having to worry about breaking anything or using their indoor voices, while you sit back, relax, and just watch. By the end, they're so tuckered out, even the sugar rush from the cake won't get them going again.

Here are 14 Brooklyn gyms that will make your kid's party extra special and allow guests to celebrate by burning off all their excess energy. Find even more birthday ideas in our Party Guide.

30 Top Things to Do in Brooklyn with Preschool Age Kids

Brooklyn is full of fun experiences for little kids, whether you live here or are just looking for new adventures. From pedal boating in Prospect Park to sharing Key lime pie along the water in Red Hook, we guarantee you’ll want to take your preschooler or toddler on these 30 must-do activities.

And one of the great things about these early years is that your kids may not be in school every day, so you often can avoid the weekends and enjoy some of these Brooklyn places without crowds.

8 Things to Love About the Brooklyn Children's Museum

As the world’s first children’s museum, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum has been a beloved NYC destination since 1899. This Crown Heights institution offers three floors of rotating and permanent interactive exhibits and hands-on cultural and science programs for little ones, ages 6 months to 10 years. BCM aims to inspire children to ask questions and discover answers through exploration and play.

My daughter and I have passed countless hours in the Totally Tots exhibit, designed for children under six. This pint-sized paradise features water, sand, and is usually filled with thrilled toddlers and bleary-eyed parents. Read on to see our top reasons why BCM is one of our top NYC must-see museums.

Chinese Lunar New Year Parades and Celebrations for NYC Kids

Lunar New Year is one of our favorite winter celebrations in New York City, and we're particularly excited for 2019's family activities. School-aged kids ought to be excited, too, as the holiday gives them an extra day off from school.

Often referred to as Chinese New Year, although many Asian nations celebrate it, this year the holiday takes place on Tuesday, February 5, 2019, and ushers in the Year of the Pig. Mark this cultural holiday with a family-friendly celebration. We've got the scoop on the best Lunar New Year parades, family dance parties, museum events, crafts, and more for NYC kids.

Commemorating Lunar New Year is a great way to learn about Asian culture and enjoy the food. Check out one of these dozen NYC eateries where you can enjoy Lunar New Year banquets, snacks, or desserts. With celebrations and parades in almost every borough, it's also an opportunity to get out and explore a new-to-you neighborhood such as Manhattan's ChinatownFlushing in Queens, Sunset Park in Brooklyn, or Midtown Manhattan's Koreatown.

21 Brooklyn Drop-In Play Spaces and Kiddie Gyms

Brooklyn can't be beat for indoor play spaces. While Manhattan and Queens have about a dozen drop-in indoor playgrounds apiece, Brooklyn boasts nearly twice that number, from the Brooklyn Children's Museum's Spark, to Busy Bodies in Clinton Hill and Fairytale Island in Bay Ridge.

While we've included a couple of the more mellow tot spots with crafts or storytelling, this best-of-Brooklyn list is focused on active play spaces, where toddlers, preschoolers, and even bigger kids can conquer multilevel mazes, swoosh down slides, climb up rock walls, or just turn around in circles until they fall down exhausted, ready for a nap.

Read on for the best drop-in indoor romper rooms for kids in Brooklyn. Find more play spots in our Indoor Family Fun Guide to Play Spaces.

Indoor Play Spots for NYC Toddlers with Weekend Hours

Indoor play spots are an essential resource for NYC families with young children (and limited square feet) as temperatures begin a steady decline into winter. Unfortunately, so many of the city's indoor play spots are limited to weekday hours. That's great for caregivers Monday through Friday, but mom and dad are left out in the cold, scrambling to fill up those chilly fall, rainy spring or snowy winter weekends with their preschoolers in other ways.

Luckily, we've uncovered over two dozen fantastic play spaces that get it, and are keeping weekend, drop-in play hours for kids, no membership required. All include playthings sized just right for the little ones, including for babies in many instances. They are stroller-friendly and equipped with changing stations, making them no-fuss options for the toddler squad.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Day with Kids at These NYC Events

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is peaceful for New York City kids, but it sure isn't boring, with music and storytelling and volunteer activities all focused on celebrating Dr. King's life and teachings with kids. Enjoy interactive peace marches, a special story hour, a FREE bash at BAM in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, and various museum events.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Monday, January 21, 2019) is also a National Day of Service, when citizens are encouraged to help out in their communities. So we've included a list of family volunteering opportunities that are wonderful ways to honor King's work. You can find even more things to do on MLK Day in our Event Calendar.

Worth It? Family Memberships in NYC to Consider for Winter

After visiting NYC's top play spaces, museums, and other fun zones, we've rounded up the various membership deals at popular kid-centric destinations. These places keep your kids entertained, active, and out of the cold. Some even offer short-term memberships, so you only have to pay until spring arrives.

In the dead of winter, it can be daunting to schlep somewhere new every weekend, so a membership to one (or two) of your favorite kid play spots makes sense. We've already done the math so you'll know exactly how many visits it takes until these investments pay off—and whether or not the "deal" works for your family. If the math doesn't work out for you, consider buying one of the play spaces' bulk passes instead, which usually knocks a few bucks off the daily drop-in price.

Need more ideas? Check out our Indoor Play Spaces Guide for more romper rooms by borough, bounce houses, and year-round family entertainment.

18 Best New NYC Family Destinations That Opened in 2018

City kids are a lucky bunch. The past year saw a huge crop of new kid-friendly destinations popping up throughout the five boroughs. From a major new exhibit at the New York Aquarium to overhauled and brand new playgrounds and even a whole park, plus indoor places to shop, romp, and create, cool new exhibits, exhibitions, and a brand new museum, our kids have got it made. We're just lucky they let us come along for the ride!

Read on on for our top 18 new kid-friendly destinations in New York City that opened in 2018. If you've already conquered these, see what other adventures await on our list of 100 kid-friendly things to do in NYC before your kids grow up.

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