Staten Island

Harvest Fests, Pumpkin Patches, and Hayrides Right Here in NYC

If you think you need to head out to the 'burbs for an authentic fall harvest experience, we've got good news: You can pick the perfect pumpkin, go on a hayride, meet farm animals, and even get lost in a massive corn maze right here in NYC.

So if you're looking to skip the car rental, hop onto the subway instead to head out to these fall harvest festivals and pumpkin patches, all located within the five boroughs. Looking for more fall fun? Check out our NYC Fall Fun Guide for the best of the season.

Free and Cheap After-School Programs for NYC Kids and Teens

Back-to-school season is also back-to-after-school season, as families look for enriching and fun programs for their children. There are tons of sports, arts, academics, and other kinds of classes for New York City kids, many of them reasonably priced. In fact, a handful of high-quality after-school programs are actually free or super inexpensive!

Some places, like the New York City Parks Department, offer after-school coverage Monday through Friday. Other programs only meet once or twice a week. We've rounded up 15 organizations that offer complimentary or reasonably-priced classes to kids and teens throughout the five boroughs.

Best Events This Fall for NYC Preschoolers

Let the fall fun begin! This fall there are tons of events, festivals, and shows in NYC just right for the preschool crowd. From fall fairs with petting zoos to music performances to great toddler and preschooler activities, here are 30+ fall events for NYC preschoolers—and best of all, many events and activities are FREE.

Don't forget to check out our September GoList and Best NYC Fall Festivals for even more great fall events, not to mention our just released Fall Fun Guide. Looking for a special day trip? Preschoolers are old enough to pick their own apples this September or even find the perfect pumpkin.

Best Fall Festivals for NYC Kids in September

Kick off autumn at one of September's fun-filled (and mostly FREE) fall festivals in NYC. Annual family favorites abound this month, including top September GoList picks such as the Richmond County Fair and the annual Queens County Fair. For more interactive fun, make sure you hit up the Maker Faire at the New York Hall of Science. There are also plenty of cool under-the-radar events you may not have heard of, including a marine science fest in Tribeca, a sweet honey fest in Rockaway Beach, and Italian fairs in the Bronx and on Staten Island, which are both a lot less crowded than San Gennaro.

So banish the back-to-school blues by hitting one (or more) of these kid-friendly festivals this September.

Visiting the Staten Island Zoo with Kids

There are so many great zoos in NYC, and each zoo has something different to offer. Prospect Park Zoo is perfect for the toddler set, the Bronx Zoo is designed for the more adventurous child, Central Park Zoo is steeped in historic charm...but what about Staten Island? This compact zoo is the perfect layout for small children, but offers a huge variety of programs and species for kids of all ages. Head across the Verrazano (or take the ferry!) for a day of fun with the animals. 

After-School Registration Now Open for Free NYC Program

We've told you all about the lottery for swimming classes operated by the NYC Parks Department, but did you know it also has you covered after school? Registration for the FREE after-school program run by the Parks Department opened on August 15, 2018 for NYC kids ages 6 to 13, and we've got details on what the program offers and how to sign up.

Find more after-school options in the Mommy Poppins Classes Guide.

The Best Zoos and Aquariums in NYC

Ever think you would spot a seal in Manhattan, or a giraffe in The Bronx? Did you ever hope you'd be surrounded by sharks at Coney IslandNew York city zoos offer families the chance to get up close and personal with animals from all over the world.  Each borough boasts its own unique zoo experience. Whether your children are big or small, there is a zoo somewhere in NYC suited to their age, interests and attention span. Best of all, access to these creatures doesn't have to break the bank. Free admission can be as easy as picking the right afternoon to visit. Check out our insider tips for making the most of New York City's zoos.

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.

Best NYC Playgrounds for Children with Special Needs

There's certainly no shortage of wonderful playgrounds and parks in New York City. But when you add a child with special needs into the mix, the selection of truly great playgrounds suddenly seems much smaller. As a mom of of a special needs child, I've explored quite a few of the city's playgrounds in search of the ones with the best play-for-all features and equipment.

Happily, many NYC playgrounds meet or exceed the Americans with Disabilities Act standards, and there are literally hundreds of special needs-friendly playgrounds throughout NYC. Some also include accessible JennSwings, those big plastic swings that offer full-body positioning support for kids up to 125 pounds. But the adaptive swing doesn't always appeal to my son, so there need to be other attractions for a playground to be cool in his book.

I'm spotlighting 17 playgrounds that I feel truly are the best. Not only are they accessible (half the battle), they're fun for all ages, with and without special needs. Grab some sunblock, towels, sand toys, and running shoes and get exploring: Your kids will thank you for it!

100+ Free Outdoor Family Movies in July for NYC Kids

New York City overflows with no-cost outdoor movie screenings each summer, with at least one FREE flick nearly every single evening in a park or garden this July. While a few series aim specifically for children, including RiverFlicks for Kids, most series sandwich their family films in between grown-up ones.

But it takes a LOT of time to sort through all the different calendars to weed out the movies for kids, so we've done the work for you. Behold: More than 100 FREE outdoor movies this July, all rated G, PG, or PG-13, and all organized by date.

So pack your picnic, grab a blanket, and head out to one of our picks for the best family-friendly alfresco flicks this month. Need more options? Check out our 100 Free Things To Do with Kids This Summer in NYC to save both your wallet and your sanity this school break. And keep an eye on our calendar, too!

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