Upper East Side

Free Kayaking, Canoeing, and Rowboat Options in New York City

With all the water surrounding New York City, it's no wonder there are so many sightseeing cruises and fun ferry rides to great kid destinations. For times when you want to be your own captain, there are many seasonal opportunities for NYC families to get out on the water by themselves with kayaking, rowing, and canoeing. Much of the fun kicks off Memorial Day weekend or early summer.

We've rounded up 11 great New York City organizations that offer boating sessions on our wonderful waterways—and they're all FREE. Ahoy!

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.

27 Reasons Yorkville May Be The Most Family-Friendly Neighborhood in NYC

With the long-awaited arrival of the Second Avenue subway, Yorkville has become the best of both worlds -- a slightly off-the-beaten-path enclave with zippy Manhattan train access. The cozy Upper East Side neighborhood between East Harlem and East 79th Street has also seen an influx of kid-friendly amenities, like new restaurants and play spots, adding to the established old-time favorites, wonderful parks, and great schools.

To meet the demand, beautiful new luxury buildings, like Citizen360, offer zen-inspired design, envy-inducing views, spacious apartments and a long list of top-notch features — think relaxing residents' lounges and private entertaining suites, yoga studios, infrared saunas, and stress-free on-site parking. Surprisingly, with so much going for the neighborhood, apartments still go for less than Manhattan averages, making Yorkville a smart choice for families looking to have it all.

NYC Fun Zone Gives Upper East Side Toddlers a New Play Space

The Upper East Side is already packed with plenty to do for neighborhood families. It's almost made for kids, and we're told that the Yorkville neighborhood east of Third Avenue is booming with kid fun, too. In fact, the Manhattan nabe just got a brand-new play space that's steps from Carl Schurz Park, and it truly is a gem nestled among the shops on York Avenue.

The minute you enter NYC Fun Zone you notice its inviting, clean space for babies up to kindergarten-aged kids. Toddlers will feel right at home. Even my 5-year-old had a blast and didn't want to leave! 

Get all the details on the bright and fun new uptown venue below.

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.

Best Mother's Day Brunch Restaurants for Families Across NYC

Mother's Day is fast approaching, on Sunday, May 13, 2018 which means it's time to start planning a special day for the well-deserving mom or wife in your life. Speaking from experience, all moms really want is a little time off. You could choose breakfast in bed, but why not instead forgo chores altogether and hit one of NYC's many delicious brunch spots?

We've rounded up more 20 scrumptious places throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. As if that wasn't enough, we've got tons more picks in our Family-Friendly Restaurant Guide. Pinpoint your special lady's preference, make reservations, and get ready to dig in.

After brunch, head out to one of these great family events happening that Sunday. However you decide to spend the day, Happy Mother's Day from your peers at Mommy Poppins.

Best NYC Spring Festivals, Fairs, and Carnivals in April 2018

New York City's spring outdoor festival season kicks off this April with more than a dozen fun and mostly FREE fairs, fetes, parades, and carnivals. Some annual Mommy Poppins favorites take place, including 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 some awesome NYC fairs, carnivals, and festivals for families this April.

Up with the Sun? 21 Early Morning Spots to Entertain NYC Toddlers

New York is "the city that never sleeps," especially for parents of young children. Kids can spend countless hours at parks and playgrounds, museums, play spaces, and more. But if you have an early riser, it's not always easy to find an age-appropriate play spot.

Toddlers and babies are often ready to start their day before sunrise, so we've put together a list of awesome places to go and things to see around NYC in the wee hours with your youngest New Yorkers.  

Top Traditional Summer Camps (with Modern Offerings) for NYC Kids

New York City has always been the best place on Earth to find uh-mazing summer camps, but the options for families looking for that traditional, all around camp experience have only gotten better over the years. Between city camps with tricked-out facilities, and lots of outdoor time, and accessible-by-bus destinations just outside the city, there are plenty of places that deliver those tried-and-true camp activities and then some, combining canoeing, arts and crafts, sports, and swimming with more modern camp curriculums and amenities.

If you'd like to stay within city limits, there are day camps across the five boroughs complete with 75-foot pools and outdoor ball fields, trips to amusement parks and adventure courses, fully-equipped air-conditioned gyms, and fun-filled days at the beach or the park. Meanwhile, if your kiddo is ready to travel, you'll find completely un-plugged media-free nature day camps, lush 27-acre campuses right nearby, lakes with boating and fishing, multiple-day overnight trips to state parks, and of course, that classic sleepaway camp experience.

First Birthday Parties: Manhattan Spots to Celebrate Your Tot

By the time you've reached your baby's first birthday, you may be ready to rock out.

After all, you've survived sleepless nights, blowouts, mounds of laundry, and lived to tell the tale. Birthday parties are big business in New York City; where you celebrate that first milestone depends largely on how much of a blowout you desire, and how much cash you wish to spend. Keeping in mind that you've got years of birthday parties in your future, we've rounded up 10 spots in Manhattan to celebrate that all-important first birthday.

Whether the party is about your kid and his or her crew, or you need to cater more to grown-ups than little people, we've got a spot for you. So prime the camera and get ready to celebrate.

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