Staten Island

Worth It? Family Memberships in NYC to Consider for Winter

After visiting NYC's top play spaces, museums, and other fun zones, we've rounded up the various membership deals at 20 kid-centric destinations. These places will keep your kids entertained, active, and out of the cold. Some even offer short-term memberships, so you only have to pay until spring arrives.

In the dead of winter, it can be daunting to schlep somewhere new every weekend, so a membership to one (or two) of your favorite kid play spots makes sense. We've already done the math so you'll know exactly how many visits it takes until these investments pay off—and whether or not the "deal" works for your family. If the math doesn't work out for you, consider buying one of the play spaces' bulk passes instead, which usually knocks a few bucks off the daily drop-in price.

Need more ideas? Check out our Indoor Play Spaces Guide for more romper rooms by borough, bounce houses, and year-round family entertainment.

Drop-in Play Spaces for Kids in NYC That Cost $12 or Less

New York City is packed with fun indoor play spaces to keep kids active all year. Unfortunately, the average price at these parental lifesavers keeps creeping up. Admission often runs $20 to $25 per child for a single drop-in. Pricey fees or membership commitments can quickly ruin your plans for a quick escape from the staying-in doldrums.

Of course, we're here to help. We've rounded up a dozen options for drop-in play—all for under $12 a visit, and a few that cost significantly less!

Read on for open play sessions that won’t break the bank in nearly all five boroughs, and find more indoor fun spots in our local NYC guide, or at-home boredom buster games and crafts for those days when you really want to pinch a penny.

Ho, Ho, Smile! Best Places to Take Pictures with Santa in NYC

Santa Claus is coming to town, and he’s not camera shy. New York City parents have a host of options for posing with Santa, from the popular Santaland at Macy's to more casual events, where you can take your own festive photos of the kids and Jolly Old St. Nick.

We’ve rounded up nearly dozen of our favorites from across the five boroughs, including options for those who want to splurge, bring their pets, or just get it over with, as well as those with special needs. With so many alternatives, chances are, wherever you are, your kids won’t be far from Santa.

Find more seasonal fun, including a Santa brunch or tea, in our NYC Holiday Guide.

Santa Claus Brunches, Teas, and Cruises for NYC Kids

A picture with Santa can be thrilling for a little kid. But if your child wants a heartier visit with the big red guy, a tasty breakfast, brunch, or tea might be in order.

We've found eight spots in New York City where families can enjoy a special holiday meal with Old St. Nick. These range from inexpensive pancake brunches hosted by local organizations to lavish spreads at Rockefeller Center and the Plaza Hotel. You can even hop on a cruise with Santa.

All require advance reservations and sell out quickly. Whichever one you choose, bring your camera—and your appetite—and for more seasonal family fun check out our Holiday Guide.

NYC Car Services with Car Seats for Babies and Kids

Whether you're headed to the pediatrician, the airport, or just visiting New York City, it can be hard to find a taxi or car service that offers car seats. In fact, it's probably one of the most frequent questions we get asked by tourists and locals alike. 

If you have a car seat of your own, taxi drivers are required to let you install it. (I've had anxious drivers balk, but I've always made them wait.) But maybe you don't feel like lugging your seat to and from JFK or up and down the pediatrician's steps. Solution? Call a car service with car seats!

We've rounded up some of our staff favorites for service in all five boroughs. Just remember to specifically request an infant or a toddler seat depending on your child's needs.

The Top 13 Indoor Play Spaces Across New York City

Whether it's cold or hot or you're just plain tired of the same neighborhood spots, sometimes, you just need to break out of the norm. We feel you.

Though we've long had curated lists of the best spots to play in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, today we present the best of the best: the top 12 indoor play spaces across New York City. So hit your neighborhood spots first, then venture out to the rest of the city to cross every one of these awesome locations off the list.

Visit our Indoor Play Spaces Guide for more indoor fun, or our Family Fun Guide to all of NYC's top family attractions.

9 Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks to Visit with Kids in NYC

It's time to sharpen those ice skates. Many of New York City's outdoor rinks are open for family fall, er, winter fun.

Whether you prefer to twirl with the tourists at Rockefeller Center and Central Park's Wollman Rink, or go off the beaten path to a Mommy Poppins favorite such as Lasker Rink, the city offers plenty of options for newbies to polished skaters—even a FREE skate spot. If it ever gets too cold to glide outside, you can always hit one of NYC's indoor ice skating rinks.

15 Not-So-Scary Halloween Events in NYC for the Preschool Set

When my son was a baby, I wondered if he'd ever know the joy of trick-or-treating door to door like his suburban counterparts. But over the years, I've learned that NYC really knows how to celebrate Halloween. There are a dizzying number of FREE Halloween celebrations, kid-friendly costume parades, and close-knit communities that dole out copious amounts of candy to trick-or-treaters.

For little New Yorkers, the holiday can sometimes seem more scary than sweet—or take place mostly after bedtime. So we've put together a list of 15 Halloween events perfect for the preschool set, many of them FREE. Ease them in and enjoy the holiday fun while it lasts; they'll be celebrating at the Village Halloween Parade before you know it.

For more Halloween happenings, check out our Halloween Guide and our events calendar, which is continually updated with new, fun events as we find out about them.

Best Places to Trick-or-Treat on Halloween with NYC Kids

One of my favorite childhood memories from growing up in NYC was Halloween in Greenwich Village. Back then, the Village Halloween Parade was just a couple hundred artists and others who marched through the neighborhood. Afterward, we would trick-or-treat up and down the brownstone blocks. Everyone was friendly, and we would come home with our shopping bags completely filled. It was magical.

Although the parade and Greenwich Village have changed a lot since then, your kids still can enjoy that kind of thrilling trick-or-treat experience in many New York City neighborhoods. Which neighborhood is the best for Halloween trick-or-treating depends on who you ask. New Yorkers love to bicker over the best coffee shops, the best (and worst) train lines, and yes, the best places to take their kids on Halloween. We also love to find that secret gem.

So we asked our astute readers and collected recommendations from our parent-driven NYC staff over many, many years to bring you a list of our favorite trick-or-treating spots so you'll know where to bring your kids this October 31.

Join one of the local Halloween parades and then go trick-or-treating throughout the community with local families. Or hit one of the neighborhoods or streets listed below: We have a slew of spots to try in all five boroughs. For more seasonal fun, check out our jam-packed Halloween Guide, showcasing FREE events, haunted houses, pumpkin patches, and more.

Register for Free Swimming Lessons for NYC Kids

The New York City Parks Department offers FREE aquatic programs for children under 18 all year round, as well as adults, but you have to apply through an online lottery for each session. Winter swimming lessons are on the horizon, and the lottery for registration opens Saturday, December 23, 2017 at noon through Saturday, December 30, 2017 at 11:59pm, so straight through the school holiday break.

The winter swim lessons will take place Monday, January 8, 2018 through Thursday, March 22, 2018. The mandatory water test for older kids will take place Saturday, January 6, 2018.

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

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