Financial District

22 Best Water Playgrounds and Sprinklers for Kids in NYC

When we were growing up, New York City playgrounds had sprinklers. Now parks and playgrounds across the five boroughs possess "water features"—fountains, geysers, rivers, pumps, and beautiful spraying statues. Kids just love them, and we parents prefer these newfangled playgrounds because they're pretty and cool, and make us feel as if our exorbitant NYC housing costs are justified.

As the city's sprinkler season gets into gear, it's good to know where to find the wildest and wettest playgrounds around. There are hundreds of water features in NYC parks, and we've highlighted some favorites by borough: the best in Brooklyn, best of Queens, and best of the Bronx. Some are cooler (literally and figuratively) than others, and more amazing ones seem to open every year. When we first published this article in 2008, we had five favorite splashing spots. Now we're up to 22 fancy playgrounds where kids can get wet in NYC. See if your favorites made our list.

The Skyscraper Museum: Where Kids Build on Their Love for NYC

Nestled in an intimate gallery space in Battery Park City, amid the soaring structures that comprise Lower Manhattan, the little-known Skyscraper Museum offers insight into the ever-evolving New York cityscape. While the technical information that accompanies its exhibits is geared toward adults, even the littlest urbanites can appreciate the engaging oversize photographs, historic maps, and detailed models of buildings in their world-famous backyard and beyond.

There are also STEM-inspired lessons and workshops for NYC kids as they learn what it takes to create one of those wow-worthy skyscrapers.

NYC's Financial District with Kids: 30 Fun Things To Do

The Financial District is still considered to be one of the fastest growing Manhattan neighborhoods for families in NYC. Office buildings have been converted into high-end condos and new buildings are constantly being built. There are excellent and thriving elementary schools that have been created in the area to accommodate the influx of children and the neighborhood is rich in off-the-beaten-path museums, parks, and a large number of businesses that cater to families.

Fearless Girl Statue Set to Move to New NYC Home

Fearless Girl, the bronze statue put up in NYC by an investment firm last year ahead of International Women's Day, is about to get a new, long-term home in the city. The guerilla-style art installation was meant to bring attention to the lack of women in senior-level management positions and became an instant selfie magnet for women and girls of all ages.

It has spent the past year staring down the Charging Bull in Bowling Green Park on Broadway. She will be moved just north from the skinny Bowling Green median to a pedestrian-only spot directly in front of the New York Stock Exchange in the Financial District.

The Craft Studio Brings Its Arts and Crafts Charm to Tribeca

Downtown NYC just got lucky—The Craft Studio, long a mainstay of the Upper East Side has finally opened a Lower Manhattan outpost and fans of the wonderfully charming crafting mecca couldn’t be happier. Not only is it a great place for kids to unwind after school, it is also a birthday party venue and a great option for play dates.

Learn more about the new location below, including what you can look forward to in the brand-new downtown arts space.

Up with the Sun? 21 Early Morning Spots to Entertain NYC Toddlers

New York is "the city that never sleeps," especially for parents of young children. Kids can spend countless hours at parks and playgrounds, museums, play spaces, and more. But if you have an early riser, it's not always easy to find an age-appropriate play spot.

Toddlers and babies are often ready to start their day before sunrise, so we've put together a list of awesome places to go and things to see around NYC in the wee hours with your youngest New Yorkers.  

Awesome Specialty Summer Camps for NYC Kids

Here in New York City, finding a summer camp for your kiddo isn't the hard part. It's picking one from all of the awesome options that's tough!

If you're looking to narrow your search, specialty camps are the perfect way to fuel your kid's passion or even help them hone in on a new hobby. For science- and tech-lovers, there are a number of STEM/STEAM camps, teaching everything from artificial intelligence and 3-D printing, to marine biology and wood working. Aspiring athletes can get in on a game of soccer or gaga ball at a sports-centered camp, or try their hand at figure skating or parkour. There's even Chinese language instruction for budding linguists, performing arts camps for kids who love the spotlight, programs that take your tiny historian back in time, and even hands-on cooking camps for the littlest foodies.

With half-day and full-day options, and sessions ranging from one week to the entire summer, there's truly something for everyone. Take a look at some much-loved specialty camps below, and browse our New York City Camp Guide for even more options.

Robots, Rockets, and Explosions Wow Kids at NORY STEM Camps

Summer is a time when kids should be trying new things, asking crazy questions, and exploring wild possibilities, even if it sometimes means failing along the way. At least that’s what the two dads who founded NORY believe.

NORY is a summer camp for New York City’s youngest innovators. Kids ages 3-12 can sign up for STEM-focused programs with weekly themes that are totally worth geeking out over, like wood working, kitchen science, and chemical engineering and explosions. The 5 to 1 ratio of curious campers to inspiring instructors helps to keep kids totally engrossed in the hands-on curriculum. And it’s clearly doing the trick, because the popular camp is expanding to three main campuses in FiDi, Midtown East, and the Upper West Side this year.

The South Street Seaport Museum: Tall Ships and NYC Beginnings

Looking for something unique to do with your family on the weekend in Lower Manhattan?

Stop by the gem of a historic spot, the South Street Seaport Museum—a place every New Yorker should visit at least once. Housed in New York’s southern-most seaport, this spot tells the story of how New York’s harbor gave rise to the metropolis we know and love today. After a major restoration post-Hurricane Sandy, the museum is back in action and ready to educate and entertain family members of all ages through tours, activities, workshops, and special events.

Read about other great exhibits for NYC kids in our Museum Guide.

Summer Camps for Kids with Special Needs in the NYC area

It's tough to find the right summer camp for any kid. But if your child has special needs, like autism or ADHD, sensory-motor challenges, social anxiety, or learning differences, choosing a program can be especially nerve-racking: we want our kids to enjoy a traditional summer-camp experience, complete with swimming and lanyards and new friendships, while also receiving the kind of individual attention they need and with the option to avoid activities that might cause undue stress.

We've rounded up a number of camps favored by NYC families for their kids with disabilities or other challenges. Camps outside of New York City and on Staten Island provide bussing, so don't be discouraged by the seemingly far-flung locations: it can be especially therapeutic for kids to get out of the city for the summer.

While most of these camps cater exclusively to special-needs children, other traditional summer camps often offer inclusion programs for those with mild special needs (a few are mentioned below). Please consult our Summer Camp Guide for NYC Kids for a list of our favorite summer camps across the city to see if there are any that might work for your child.

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