Queens

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.

100 Free Things to Do This Summer with Kids in New York City

Summer is the season of FREE in NYC—and here it comes. There's no-cost fun everywhere you turn, from festivals, outdoor movies, and concerts, to kayaking and fireworks. With the public school break upon us, and the kids itching to play (and swim), we've rounded up FREE things for families to do every single day of summer vacation. Starting with Thursday, June 27 and running all the way through Wednesday, September 4, we've compiled the best FREE things to do with kids in NYC all summer!

Of course, this list isn't comprehensive. There are literally hundreds of FREE fun events happening across our city this school break. You can find more cool seasonal activities and destinations in our Summer Fun Guide, including beach day trips, FREE splash pads, and more. Check out our Events Calendar for more fun happenings.

Still searching for a summer camp for a week or two? Check out our NYC summer camp directory and guide.

10 Queens Restaurants with Backyards for Kid Friendly Outdoor Dining

Nothing beats outdoor dining in warmer months, especially with kids in tow, and in family-friendly Queens, there are plenty of spots where you can enjoy alfresco eats. We don't mean a sidewalk table or two—we're talking an actual yard with ample seating and room for families to enjoy a meal. Outdoor dining often provides a more relaxed atmosphere, where kids can be entertained by simple pleasures like a passing butterfly or flowers on a nearby plant, and city noises offer cover for little ones who may forget to use their indoor voices.

We've highlighted several NYC eateries with outdoor seating options in the past (including a whole slew of outdoor eating options in Brooklyn), as well as exceptional spots where kids and families can eat and play. Read on to take a closer look at restaurants in Queens with backyards for dining.

Register for Free Summer Swim Lessons for NYC Kids

The New York City Parks Department offers FREE swim lessons for children and adults all year round, but you have to apply through an online lottery for each session. The FREE summer swimming lessons are on the horizon, and the lottery for registration opens Monday, June 10, 2019, at 7am.

Read on for the details on where to swim for free, or check our directory of paid kids' swim classes, and mommy-and-me swim lessons for babies and toddlers, including those in Brooklyn and in Queens.

Historic Carousel and New Ferris Wheel in Forest Park Are Sweet Rides for Preschoolers

Good news for pint-sized thrill seekers in Queens: There's a new ferris wheel just for kids at the preschooler-friendly Forest Park Carousel Amusement Village, now open for the season. This leafy, old-fashioned mini amusement park in Forest Park (located in the park on the bandshell side of Woodhaven Boulevard) has long been a hidden-gem favorite of Queens families, with its historic carousel, rides, and games. The opening of a ferris wheel specifically designed with little ones in mind makes the park the perfect activity for a slow summer's day. Here's what to know before you go.

Free Outdoor Movies in NYC This Summer

New York City screens hundreds of FREE outdoor movies each summer, many of them just for kids and families. 

A few outdoor movie series, such as RiverFlicks for Kids in the West Village, are aimed specifically at children. But even grown-up series, such as those in Bryant Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park, include some family-friendly screenings in their lineup. The amazing Movies Under the Stars series offers screenings in parks and at playgrounds in all five boroughs every summer, and you can find them as they're scheduled with this super-secret link to our calendar search (OK, not so secret now). We've even filtered it for you by borough: ManhattanBrooklynQueensThe Bronx, and Staten Island.

Movies usually begin when evening falls, between 8 and 8:30pm, but plan to arrive early...the well-known series fill up fast, and many parks offer pre-movie entertainment. Even if your local park is screening a flick you've watched a dozen or so times at home, it's a totally different experience viewing it in the open air alongside several hundred other fans. It's a thrilling, communal event, and a summer rite of passage for New Yorkers of all ages.

So grab your calendars, roll up your picnic blankets, and start plotting your FREE summer of entertainment now. And be sure to check out the other amazing seasonal activities in our Summer Fun Guide.

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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.

Best NYC Experiences to Give Your Kids Instead of Birthday Presents

How many Legos do you need to step on before you realize your kid probably doesn’t need another toy for their birthday? It’s not an existential question as much as it is a practical one. If your little one has already accumulated as many material goods as they could ever need or want (thanks, Grandma), try a different tack for birthday gift-giving this year. Why not pick a cool experience instead of a toy this birthday? 

Raising kids in the best city on the planet has its advantages, and there's no shortage of meaningful "experience gifts" to choose from for your city kid. Check out these birthday-worthy NYC experiences that range from totally free to a bit of splurge—and surprise your child with a fabulous birthday experience that is sure to be fun for them, and you too!

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