Worried about keeping the kids entertained over NYC's 11-day spring break? We know it's daunting, but we've also got it covered for you.
If you're sticking around the city, there's plenty to keep 'em busy at every age group. From interactive exhibits and hands-on museum programs to cool circus and family theater shows, parks, playgrounds, and indoor play spaces, we've rounded up 50 things to do with kids in New York City during the break. Some of our picks only take place on specific dates; others run the entire duration, but all are engaging ways to get out and celebrate spring.
If you're thinking of heading out of town for a last-minute vacation, or just a day trip or two during the break, which technically runs from runs from Monday, April 10 to Tuesday, April 18, you can find great nearby getaways in our Day Trips Guide and more far-flung destinations in our Regional Travel Guide. We've even rounded up a collection of discounts on water park deals.
Be sure to click the links for all the details, including addresses, and times.
1. Get your goodies before the Easter Bunny hops out of town by stopping at a treat-filled hunt.
2. Get dolled up in your fanciest headwear and join the masses along Fifth Avenue during the annual Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival. FREE
3. Visit the cool, new drop-in STEAM center, ARTech, in Manhattan's Meatpacking District. The pop-up closes at the end of April. FREE
4. Play a family game of laser tag at Indoor Extreme Sports in Long Island City or at one of these other fun spots.
5. Channel your inner heroine and hang out with Moana during family matinees at the Museum of the Moving Image, which offers midday screenings of the film each day plus a coordinating workshop at which you can design a symbol inspired by Moana's ocean journey, craft a pendant, fold an origami boat, and more. Both the screening and workshop are included in the price of admission.
See the iconic Fearless Girl. Photo by Anthony Quintano via Flickr.
6. Speaking of girl power, plan a visit to pose with Fearless Girl and consider a visit to the nearby, always FREE, National Museum of the American Indian.
7. Give rock climbing a try—NYC has a few kid-friendly indoor rock climbing centers with drop-in hours.
8. Head to Westchester to check out the new Lego Ninjago City Adventure at Westchester's Legoland Discovery Center.
9. Although the beach is off limits for swimming until Memorial Day, Coney Island's Luna Park and Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park are open for the season with special spring-break hours.
10. Those rides too intense for your tot? Then hit Queens' mini-amusement park Fantasy Forest at the Flushing Meadows carousel, which has teased at a new ride's arrival.
11. Another option: Head to Staten Island, where the former Staten Island Go Karts has reopened as SI Fun Park. In addition to the usual go-karts, batting cages, and mini golf, there is a new snack bar, instant-win games, and plenty more family-friendly fun just a ferry ride away.
12. Ride a square-wheeled trike and enjoy other interactive fun at the Museum of Mathematics.
13. Stop in at Prospect Park's Audubon Center, where kids can participate in a bird trivia game, go on a nature walk, or pick up a ready-made Discovery Pack full of nature-inspired fun to enjoy throughout the park. FREE
14. Marvel at the over-the-top spectacle of UniverSoul Circus in Brooklyn.
15. Hit the Bronx's bucolic Wave Hill to take in springs blooms and find inspiration for its Vacation Art programs.
Enjoy the blooms at Central Park. Photo by Shinya Suzuki via Flickr.
16. Scour the city to see where cherry blossoms are blooming. FREE
17. Make a mixed-up transportation book, enjoy an epic rap battle between an MTA bus and subway train, and explore all the art materials in the Discovery Room during the New York Transit Museum's special spring-break programs.
18. Craft beautiful spring blooms by learning the historic art of paper quilling at the Lefferts Historic House.
19. Explore the just-opened Science Fiction, Science Future exhibit, get in a round of mini-golf, or get hands on by crafting custom wooden Lego heads at the New York Hall of Science.
20. Spend a spring break weekend checking out one of the many popular festivals that take place this month.
21. Head to the Children's Museum of Manhattan to check out the newly reopened Hello from Japan! exhibit, which closes in mid-May. Visit Easter weekend to take part in a museumwide egg hunt for prizes.
22. Get in touch with your inner archeologist at the American Museum of Natural History, where you can check out the newly opened Mummies exhibit, on view through the new year.
23. Spend your Wednesday enjoying some Bronx nature for FREE or low-cost. The New York Botanical Garden offers a FREE grounds pass while the Bronx Zoo is always pay-what-you wish on hump day.
24. Since you're saving money by staying home this break, consider springing for one of these splurge-worthy, only-in-NY experiences.
25. Head to the lovely northern edge of Central Park for a Beginning Birders guided walk. Check out some other fun, hidden finds in one of our favorite green spaces.
Get creative at CMA with myriad drop-in craft opportunities.
26. Head to the Children's Museum of the Arts to work on mythological bird masks, or hit up the Clay Bar to craft potted flowers, birds, desert scenes, and more.
27. Just around the corner from CMA, you'll find the just opened Choco-Story New York: The Chocolate Museum and Experience.
28. Check out the amazing inventions at the FIRST Robotics Competition then use that as inspiration to pursue your own STEM projects at one of these maker spaces offering drop-in fun.
29. Book tickets to one of the fabulous theater shows playing New York City stages large and small.
30. Go back in time with old-fashioned crafts and games at the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden.
31. More historical fun awaits at the Morris-Jumel Mansion, Manhattan's oldest house, where George Washington once plotted his attacks on the Redcoats.
32. Take your tween to one of these local spots that are sure to head off attitudes and rolling eyes.
33. Head to Union Square to celebrate Earth Day at an outdoor eco-fest on Tuesday, April 18. Enjoy live performances, kids crafts, and more. FREE
34. Introduce your kids to some old-school fun with a trip to a family-friendly arcade, where they'll learn the ins and outs of classic video games.
35. For more interactive, chocolate-centric fun, visit one of these spots to whip up your own sweets, or if you prefer the packaged variety, try these cool NYC candy shops.
36. Visit the Queens Botanical Garden to see pretty spring blooms and participate in a scavenger hunt and other seasonal, kid-friendly activities.
37. Spend an afternoon perusing the aisles at one of these wonderful, independent kid-lit spots, many of which offer free storytimes.
38. Catch a puppet show at Central Park's Swedish Marionette Theater, which plays The Princess, The Emperor, and The Duck, or the Puppetworks presentation of Puss in Boots playing in Brooklyn.
39. Head to the Museum of the City of New York in East Harlem to take in its newest permanent exhibit New York at its Core, which features plenty of historic artifacts for parents, and hands-on fun for kids.
Visit the kitties at Koneko cat cafe.
40. Adopt a pet for a day, or at least a few hours, at one of the cat cafes popping up across the five boroughs.
41. Grab a nosh at Gotham Market or one of these other popular city food halls. Find more kid eats (and sweets) in our NYC Restaurant Guide.
42. Never been to the Staten Island Children's Museum? Check out the events calendar for fun happenings, including its Kidz Cook workshops.
43. Head to the High Line for a spring walk.
44. Got a board game enthusiast on your hands? Visit the new Astoria spot The Geekery HQ, where you can pick up nearly any title imaginable or even rent a table to play.
45. Burn off crazy kid energy at drop-in play spaces in Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn.
46. Children too old for kiddie gyms? Go bowling, play pool, or go for brunch at these dine-in movie theaters.
47. Ice skating is so last season, why not strap on some roller skates and take a spin at one of the roller rinks opening this month.
48. If Mother Nature cooperates, you can always hit one of our city's fabulous playgrounds and parks. Too many to choose from? We narrowed it down to the best of the best in this kid- (and mom!) tested list.
49. Explore a new-to-you corner of NYC. We have in-depth Kids' Neighborhood Guides for communities in all five boroughs.
50. Or cross something off your bucket list: Print out a copy of our 100 Things to Do with Kids Before They Grow Up and get going! Done all of those already? See if you've been to all of our favorite new attractions that opened in 2016.
We have additional options in our jam-packed Events Calendar and our Spring Fun Guide.
This post, originally published in April 2010, is updated annually.
Top photo: Children's Carnival at Queens County Farm. Photo by Rose Gordon Sala. Unless otherwise noted, photos courtesy of the venues.