Staten Island

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.

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. 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 20 awesome fests happening in NYC this May.

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

A Dozen Miniature Golf Courses for NYC Kids

For many families, mini golf is a quintessential spring and summer activity that they look forward to every year. My son loves it, so we've tried just about every putt-putt course in the tristate area.

While there are plenty of courses on Long Island and in New Jersey, you don't need to head out of town for putt-putt golf. There are currently a dozen places to play mini golf right here in New York City. And as sports go, it's typically fairly inexpensive—often as little as $5 a round for kids. Another bonus is that it's one of those rare activities that parents and kids can play together. You can even host a birthday party at most of these spots.

Read on to find out where to play mini golf with the kids in the city, and I'll see you on the green!

Where to Roller Skate with Kids in NYC and Beyond

City dwellers seem to go crazy for ice skating season, but once the ice thaws and spring is upon us where's a skater to go? It's time to introduce the kids to the old-school art of roller skating at one of these seven rinks within city limits and just beyond.

In addition to retro skating fun, many of these spots offer extras, including arcade games, bounce houses, and party packages.

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. There are more than a dozen merry-go-rounds in our city and each offers a unique spin on this traditional kiddie ride. With spring in full swing, it's a great time to take your first carousel ride of the season. With merry-go-rounds in all five boroughs, there's probably one near you.

9 NYC Batting Cages That Hit it Outta the Park

For my family, no season is as sacred as spring since it means the start of Little League and hours spent at our local ball fields. Of course, leading up to the season shift my son, who is serious about baseball, is itching to get some real reps in.

There's only so much that can be tackled within the four walls of a cramped New York City apartment. Luckily, the city has a slew of batting-cage options; some even include private instruction and facilities where players can work on their fielding skills. Check out our roundup and be sure to click through to each spot's website for details on current operating hours and prices.

Find more action in our Kids' Sports Center Guide for NYC Families.

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.

Don't worry if you don't have a backyard. There are 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. Best of all, you and your kids get to disconnect from technology and enjoy a few hours of awesome bonding time.

Candy Stores for New York City Kids

For many New York City kids, holidays like Easter (and Valentine's Day, and Halloween, and....) mean candy. And with New York City in the midst of a chocolate renaissance—Jacques Torres recently opened the city's first chocolate museum—it's a good time to be a kid. 

But what of the classic candy store, where kids can enjoy filling a bag, or a Mason jar, before they begin filling their faces. Many of these NYC spots are stores without seating or bathrooms; places sticking true to shelves and aisles stuffed with packages of colorful, cavity-creating treasures. A few offer more modern treats and additions like chocolate-making classes for kids.

Best NYC Spring Festivals, Fairs, and Carnivals in April 2017

New York City's spring outdoor festival season kicks off this April with almost a dozen fun and mostly FREE fairs, fetes, parades, and carnivals. Some annual Mommy Poppins favorites take place, including the the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Cherry Blossom Festival, the Queens County Farm Museum's Children's Carnival, Staten Island's St. George Day celebration, and the annual Street Games in East Harlem. 

These events aren't just fun, they also foster community spirit by bringing folks together for a common cause. Many include old-fashioned games, eco-activities, homemade treats, and live performances. Here are a dozen awesome NYC fairs, carnivals, and festivals for families this April. (One notable omission: The Tribeca Film Festival's annual fair has been discontinued in 2017.)

Spring Theater for NYC Kids: Peppa Pig, Acrobats, Peter Rabbit

Beloved children's characters spring to life this season. Our top theater picks for the coming months include page-to-stage adaptations of classic kid stories like Peter Rabbit and the oeuvre of Dr. Seuss. There are also a number of immersive, multi-sensory productions created specifically for preschoolers while tweens can thrill to offbeat circus performances and the just-opened The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical, which we highlighted in our winter theater roundup.

While the highly anticipated family musicals Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Anastasia both open on Broadway this month, there's no need to shell out big bucks to give your kids a memorable live entertainment experience in NYC. Most of the 15 shows we're spotlighting are just $25—or less—per ticket.

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