Crown Heights

Prospect Park in Brooklyn: 25 Best Things to Do with Kids

Prospect Park, a 585-acre oasis adjacent to Park Slope in Brooklyn, is home to the borough’s only forest, plus bird life galore, roller skating, biking, picnicking, sledding...You name it, Prospect Park's got it. When people ask if we have a backyard, my nature-loving son immediately exclaims, “Yes, it’s called Prospect Park!” For kids growing up in Brooklyn, it truly feels like an extension of home, a haven that satisfies our need for fresh air and fun, year-round.

Prospect Park was designed by Frederick Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the same duo who designed Manhattan’s Central Park, and many consider Prospect Park their crowning achievement. Whether you want to hike, skate, boat, catch a concert, learn about nature, or just hit an awesome playground or splash pad for a few hours, Prospect Park welcomes you with green space aplenty.

Though the park offers countless activities and experiences all year long, this curated list of the top 25 things to do in Prospect Park with children showcases our true favorites.

Best Summer Festivals for NYC Kids This August

Many families flee the city in August for end-of-summer vacations, but it's actually one of my favorite months to be in NYC. With summer staples like swimming, play fountains, and Governors Island, plus hundreds of free summer activities and only-in-August favorites like Summer Streets and Arthur Ashe Kids' Day, there's plenty to do if you stick around.

So we've rounded up a dozen FREE family-friendly festivals happening throughout the Big Apple in August to help you get the most out of NYC with kids during the last month of summer.

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.

Brooklyn Children's Museum Opens ColorLab, a Family Art Studio

Rainy, steamy, and sticky summer days in New York City have met their match. If you’re in desperate need of indoor activities that will engage and inspire the whole family (in the air conditioning!), check out ColorLab, a new family art studio at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum (BCM) in Crown Heights.

The just-opened studio space within this top NYC kid museum encourages kids and adults to create collages, sculptures, drawings, and other artworks, through independent exploration, hands-on collaboration, and experimentation—and you get to take your creations home.

Brooklyn and Queens Beer Gardens Where Kids Are Welcome

New York City is overflowing with family-friendly restaurants, but how about bars? Chasing a toddler through a dimly-lit room that's crowded with tables probably isn't your idea of a successful happy hour. When you're looking to grab a drink with the kids in tow, beer gardens are a better option, with plenty of space for little ones to roam around and menus packed with hearty fare that's sure to please picky palates.

Turns out that Brooklyn could give Bavaria a run for its money when it comes to kid-friendly beer gardens. A few even offer special activities for tots like sing-alongs and playgroups during daytime hours. So whether you're celebrating a birthday, or just making it through the day without a meltdown, here are some of NYC's best beer gardens and halls where families can raise their glasses. We've even thrown in a couple of Queens spots, too.

Remember to call ahead or check the weather if you're looking to sit outside. Some beer gardens are just seasonal, or will close all outdoor seating in cold temperatures.

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. To celebrate the arrival of spring, we've rounded up our favorite places to enjoy springtime

Indoor Play Spots for NYC Toddlers with Weekend Hours

Indoor play spots are essential 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 nearly 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.

The New IDNYC Card Perks for Families You Don't Want to Miss

It's no secret that living in New York City and raising kids here isn't cheap. So one of my favorite finds has been the IDNYC program, which, among other things, offers FREE and reduced-price memberships more than 40 cultural institutions across the city.

Since the municipal ID program launched in 2015, more than 1 million people have turned up at IDNYC centers to get their free ID cards and the benefits that being a card-carrying citizen of this great city brings. In 2018, the city introduced several new institutions to the program, including two that might interest NYC families: Aviator Sports and Events Center in Brooklyn and Chelsea Piers are now IDNYC partners. At Aviator, you can nab an individual membership for 20 percent off and score 15 percent off party bookings. Chelsea Piers invites you to enjoy 2-for-1 admission at its indoor ice skating rink as well as discounts at its driving range.

The IDNYC card offers more than cultural benefits: Families can take advantage of discounts on prescription drugs, car-share memberships, movies, sporting events, and more. It even acts as a public library card and can help you open an account at a bank or credit union.

I've put my card to use to take advantage of these benefits and more, so read on for a dozen reasons to sign up for your FREE card, including discounted admission to some of the city's best children's museums and zoos.

Free and Cheap Summer Camps for NYC Kids

Summer camp can be an especially stressful financial issue, because while we want our children to have a fun, rewarding, and safe experience, we don't want to dig into our retirement fund to pay for it. Even if your family's swimming in money (and if you are, congrats), we all appreciate a good bargain anyway.

Although there seem to be fewer FREE New York City summer camps than in years past, our list of inexpensive or cheaper camps for local kids is substantial. Some wonderful New York City programs are subsidized by arts and education funding so that all children can experience the amazing resources of this city.

Read on for all the info on our picks for FREE and bargain summer camps for NYC kids. You can find even more summer options in our jam-packed Summer Camp Guide and search for programs by interest, age range, and location in our Camp Directory.

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 2018'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, the holiday takes place on Friday, February 16, 2018, and ushers in the Year of the Dog. 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.

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