Uptown

25 Outdoor Adventures in the City for NYC Kids

One of the main reasons we're willing to deal with the challenges of raising kids in NYC (the crazy rents, the stressful school searches, the closets for apartments) is our easy access to enriching cultural activities like theater and museums. When it's time for some good old-fashioned outdoor fun, New York can be equally enriching. The city offers a range of bucolic parks and more destinations where kids can get busy playing outside, without leaving the five boroughs. 

From camping under the stars to fishing to zip-lining, here are 25 fresh ways to enjoy a spring staycation with the whole family. Some are FREE, most are accessible by public transportation, and we guarantee that they are all tons of fun. 

What's New for 2019 at Luna Park, Six Flags, Sesame Place, Hershey, and Theme Parks Near NYC

Spring may have just begun, but a summer of fun is right around the corner, and NYC's favorite nearby theme parks are starting the 2019 season with thrilling new rides, stunning expansions, and stellar upgrades. Luna Park at Coney Island opens this weekend on Saturday, April 6 with new attractions, and New York State's biggest indoor water park at brand-new Catskills resort The Kartrite is set to open on Friday, April 19.

Keep this post close when planning your next theme park destination getaway. Whether you're planning a day trip or an extended stay, these theme parks are all under 2 hours from NYC. Read on for a sneak peek at what's new and exciting this year at amusement parks close to NYC, from Coney to Hershey.

Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms as a Family in NYC

There are few more delightful ways to celebrate the arrival of spring than by viewing the beautiful cherry blossoms flowering all over New York City. In Japan, cherry blossom-viewing is taken to almost religious heights. Blooming flowers are carefully watched, enjoyed, and celebrated. Traditional Sakura Hanami parties feature eating, drinking, and music.

Everyone seems to know about the Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, but there are other places to enjoy these gorgeous blossoms without the crowds this April and even deeper into the spring season. Here are the best places to see cherry blossoms in New York City this spring.

8 Free New York City Skateboard Parks

Skateboarding is one of the few sports actually designed for urban spaces, which may be why NYC kids love it so much. Skating uses the city environment as the stage for its tricks, but finding a safe place to skate can be tough. Skate parks provide a perfectly designed place to practice those skateboarding fakie flips and to grab some air. These spots in and near New York City are great for beginners and seasoned skateboarders alike. (Sometimes you'll also spy inline skaters or BMX bikers.)

All these skate parks put safety first. Athletes must wear helmets, kneepads and elbow pads, and kids under age 18 are also required to put on wrist guards. That said, most skate parks are unsupervised and have an enter-at-your-own-risk policy. Some even require parents to sign waivers for their children. So be safe, and enjoy the spring weather! For more outdoor sports and kid-friendly fun, see our guide to NYC's best parks and playgrounds.

14 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. There are currently more than 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!

NYC Opens Free Summer STEM Camps...But Apply Now!

New York City is offering public school kids entering kindergarten through grade 12 in September the chance to attend a STEM-focused summer camp for FREE, but applications are due Friday, April 5.

The camps will take place at about a dozen popular NYC institutions known for STEM programs, including zoos, museums, and botanical gardens. There are also internship and college-credit courses available for NYC high schoolers. Charter school students in NYC may also apply.

Easter Egg Hunts for Kids in New York City

Easter Sunday is April 21 this year—later than usual, but really just a hop, skip, and a jump away. One of the best ways to celebrate with kids is to attend one of NYC's treat-filled egg hunts. Most are outdoors in playgrounds and parks, zoos, and gardens, but a few are indoors at museums and other cultural spots. Many offer additional spring fun, including seasonal crafts, face painting, and live entertainment.

Remember, Easter egg hunts in NYC are extremely popular so arrive early and expect hordes. If you dislike crowds, avoid the free hunts and opt for those that carry a small fee as they usually cap the number of participants. Or get your photo op with the Easter Bunny in ahead of time at these brunches.

10 Things to Love About the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum

Ever since my son could read, he's been a history buff. Our family tree is filled with brave men who have served our country, so military history has always been a subject close to his heart. We've loved exploring the city's National Parks and Monuments and learning about the storied military past of Governors Island together, but nothing has sparked his curiosity or inspired as many return visits as the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

A decommissioned Essex-class air craft carrier, the Intrepid is a floating museum docked in the Hudson River at Pier 86. It was commissioned in 1943 and served a varied history spanning from WWII to the space age. During WWII, it survived a torpedo strike and five kamikaze attacks. Later it was used in the Cold War, as a NASA recovery vessel in the 1960s and as a "special attack carrier" in Vietnam. Decommissioned in 1974, the Intrepid was saved from the scrapyard and converted into a museum in the early 80s. It was remodeled between 2006-08 and returned to Pier 86 as the museum we know today.

With that bit of history under your belt, read on for 10 reasons we love to visit the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

Top Summer Camps in NYC — STEM, Arts, and More

Most parents know the importance of STEM learning in this tech-focused world, but the arts—and balance—are just as meaningful. Once school lets out, summer is the perfect opportunity for kids to mix things up with more arts and active play, either as part of a STEM program or not.

We've gathered some of our favorite partner camps that offer amazing visual arts, film, dance, theater, and cooking programs; super cool STEM curriculums featuring everything from forensics to Minecraft; and some that keep kids on their toes by offering a little bit of this and that. For even more ideas, check out our New York City Camp Guide, or browse our Summer Camp Directory by location, type, and age!

Best Shows for NYC Kids and Families for Spring 2019

The spring is always a great time for family theater, but the next few months look particularly exciting. There are page-to-stage adaptations of young-adult favorites (The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical, Anne of Green Gables); wordless spectacles to captivate all ages (Snap, Cirque du Soleil's new extravaganza); and a few thought-provoking choices for young teens (The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer, Silent Voices: Lovestate).

While on Broadway it's all Beetlejuice and Be More Chill, there's no need to shell out big bucks to give your kids a memorable live entertainment experience in NYC. Most of the 22 shows we're spotlighting are just $25—or less—per ticket.

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