Queens

Take the Subway to NYC Beaches: Coney, Rockaway, Orchard Beach

Fourteen miles of sparkling sand and crashing waves can be found in four of the five boroughs (sorry river-locked Manhattan), which is good news for NYC families. Because as much as we enjoy hitting the Jersey Shore, Fire Island, and other Long Island beaches, we're not big fans of renting cars and sitting in traffic.

New York City's beaches are just a subway, bus, or ferry ride away. From the "Bronx Rivera" to iconic Coney Island and the Rockaways, these urban seasides often offer just about everything suburban beaches do except the out-of-town commute.

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.

Top 35 Things to Do in Flushing, Queens with Kids

The Flushing neighborhood of Queens has a bustling commercial center along Main Street filled with a wide variety of restaurants, chain stores, and culture spots like Flushing Town Hall. The north-central nabe is particularly well-known for its Chinatown section around Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue, where you'll find lots of dim sum eateries, specialty shops, and the borough's annual Lunar New Year Parade.

But Flushing, like all of Queens, is a true melting pot with residents and businesses from a multitude of diverse backgrounds. It's also home to many lovely landmarked buildings built in different eras and architectural styles. You can walk through history at the 17th-century John Bowne House, the Victorian Voelker Orth Museum, and iconic relics from two 20th-century World's Fairs held in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

We've rounded up our top 35 family-friendly things to do in Flushing, Queens, including our favorites spots to play, eat, explore, and experience with kids. We're also highlighting the major family attractions in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, such as the New York Hall of ScienceQueens Museum, and Citi Field. 

Feast Your Way Through the Best Food at the Queens Night Market

Outdoor food markets and indoor food halls seem to be popping up everywhere in NYC, but the Queens International Night Market is different from others. Fashioned after night markets in Asia, it focuses on the incredible diversity of global flavors that have been making Queens famous as one of the best places to eat in the world.

I’m surprised how many people don’t know about this foodie market. It’s one of my favorite things! The event is family-friendly and even pet-friendly. There’s live entertainment, games, and food stalls representing 80 different countries. Best of all? It's inexpensive. It truly is like traveling the world in one night, although it’d be hard to taste everything in one evening.

Read on for details on the 2018 lineup for this seasonal Flushing Meadows Corona Park food festival.

NYC Carousels: 13 City Merry-Go-Rounds To Spin You Around

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 in a iridescent fish. With spring in full swing, it's a great time to take your first ride of the season, so we've rounded up the merry-go-rounds in all five boroughs.

Best Family Festivals and Street Fairs in NYC This May

There are street fairs—and then there are street fairs. We don't mean those random ones selling irregular socks and fried Oreos; we're talking about true community festivals. Each one is unique, reflecting the character of its neighborhood, and many feature rides, performances, activities, and food. The hard part, of course, is knowing which is which, but don't worry, we've taken the guesswork out of it for you.

We've gone through the city's list of top annual festivals, street fairs, and carnivals and put together our roundup of top picks for May—more than two dozen. Most of these fetes are FREE or cost just a couple of bucks, and in many cases your dollars go to support a local charity or school. Here are some awesome fests happening in NYC this May.

You can find even more seasonal activities in our Spring Fun Guide.

Petting Zoos Near NYC Where Kids Can See Farm Animals

We're so fortunate to live in a city that offers an incredible array of fun spring activities for kids, but sometimes I fret over the disconnect from nature. I want my daughter to be as comfortable in the country as she is in the urban jungle, so we're always looking for ways to get out of NYC and explore the expansive farmland that borders the city.

While you can meet some furry friends at the city's wonderful zoos, and even get hands-on at their mini petting zoos, there's something particularly special about enjoying an authentic farm setting. We've rounded up our top petting zoos and animal havens to get some serious face time with furry friends. Get ready to load up the family for a day of donkey petting, goat bottle-feedings, and sheep shearing.

Here are our favorite spots for an up-close animal encounter, all within two hours of NYC.

Flushing's Peek-a-BooO Play Area Brings Super-Sized Kid Fun

Kids in New York City are used to making the most out of small spaces, so when you find a wide open place where they can roam free, it’s a real treat. At over 6,000 square feet, Flushing’s new play space, Peek-a-booO, is a super-sized delight. And it’s not just huge, it’s filled with modern, bright, fun climbing equipment, ball pits, interactive games, toys, and so much more!

Read on to find out all the details about this massive new Queens indoor play area.

Zip Lines, Ropes Courses, and Outdoor Adventure Parks Near NYC

We all need a little excitement in our lives. For some, any of these 13 carousels around New York City will deliver all the excitement in the world. For others, the idea of zip-lining through the air ranks high on their to-do list. Of course, adventure parks aren't for everyone, but there's proof they help children learn problem-solving and collaboration skills. Plus, it's just plain fun to play together as a family and create unforgettable memories.

New York City may not be the epicenter of adventure parks, but it's making strides, especially with the new Adventures on Governors Island, the Bronx Zoo's Treetop Adventure, and a seriously high-flying outdoor zip line in Queens. Meanwhile, just outside the city limits, there are dozens of rope and zip line courses.

We've rounded up a handful of our favorite outdoor adventure parks either in the city or reachable within a quick day trip. Also make sure to see our brand new guide to 25 outdoor adventures in the city for NYC kids.

Mini Land Play Gives Long Island City Tots a New Indoor Hot Spot

Like most New York City parents, I’m always on the lookout for new indoor play spaces to occupy my active kid when the weather isn't great. So when I find a unique play area in a cool neighborhood that doesn’t eat up my entire entertainment budget for the month, I feel like an explorer who’s made a groundbreaking discovery. Mini Land Play in Long Island City, Queens is exactly this kind of rare find: a crazy-fun indoor playground with toddler-friendly rides that is only $12 for unlimited play during the week.

Read on to find out how you can discover this new neighborhood gem for yourself.

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