35 Things To Do During a Spring Staycation With NYC Kids
Spring is in the air and spring break is on the horizon. If you're not planning a vacation to one of these family-friendly all-inclusive resorts and instead opting for a spring break staycation, we've pulled together a gold mine of things to do in NYC this spring for families looking to keep busy all season in the Big Apple.
From exhibitions and excursions to our favorite zoos, to everyday fun in our beautiful parks and playgrounds, we've found 35 must-do spring activities in NYC. Find even more seasonal fun in our Spring Fun Guide.
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1. Tour a Ship
Celebrate the return of the 1885 full-rigged ship Wavertree at the South Street Seaport.
2. Play Tourist
Finally visit the Statue of Liberty and the on-site museum. Although access to the crown is still closed, the pedestal has reopened and the grounds and surrounding views are stunning. Want a completely different Lady Liberty experience? Stop by the public art piece Reclining Liberty on display in Morningside Park through April.
3. Little Zoo, Big Fun
Head to the Queens Zoo to enjoy the animals, aviary, petting zoo, farm, and more.
4. Grab a Treat
Find something delicious to nosh on at one of these 20 must-visit cafes, sweet shops, and iconic family-friendly restaurants in NYC.
Explore the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens and spy its famed cherry blossoms in bloom. Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens
5. Marvel at the Cherry Blossoms
6. Pull Out the Bikes
7. Ride the Ferry
Hop aboard the Staten Island Ferry then get off and explore the neighborhood.
8. Show the Kids a Farm in the City
Check out NYC's only working farm at the Queens County Farm Museum.
Take a walk in nature at Wave Hill. Photo courtesy of Wave Hill
9. Head Uptown
The family-friendly enclave of Riverdale is perched on the Hudson River. While you're there, be sure to visit Wave Hill, a gorgeous 28-acre public garden and culture center with extensive programming for families.
10. Have an Alfresco Meal
Dine outdoors at one of these local restaurants with fun outdoor dining setups.
11. Do the Drive-In
Still haven't made it to a drive-in movie? The Skyline Drive-In is going strong on the Greenpoint waterfront—no car, no problem: There's outdoor seating, too.
12. Visit Chelsea Market
Walk through the coral tunnel at the sharks' exhibit at the New York Aquarium. Photo by Julie Larsen Maher for WCS
13. See Some Sharks
14. Head to the Battery
Visit the nature-inspired Battery Playscape, which features plenty of interactive play areas, a performance space, and loads of room for kids to get their wiggles out.
15. See Brooklyn's Back Yard
Explore all the family-friendly destinations Prospect Park has to offer.
16. Go for a Strike
Visit one of these family-friendly bowling alleys for NYC kids.
Climb aboard the Wild Asia Monorail to see the elephants at the Bronx Zoo. Photo by Julie Larsen Maher for WCS
17. Head to the Bronx
18. Enjoy the Blooms
19. Romp in a Playground
20. Visit a Museum
Take a thrilling ride on the Roosevelt Island tram. Photo courtesy of NYCGo
21. Take the Tram
Explore a neighborhood with its own unique transportation: Take the tram to Roosevelt Island.
22. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
Stroll across the mighty Brooklyn Bridge and then wind your way through Brooklyn Bridge Park, with its stunning vistas and multiple playgrounds. While you're there, be sure to check out the Pier 2 Uplands.
23. Trek to West Harlem
Head to Riverbank State Park where you'll find lots of recreational activities for kids and families and plenty of sports fields and courts.
24. Bad Weather Day?
Take cover from nasty weather with a trip to one of these indoor play spaces.
Pretend to set sail at the City Island Nautical Museum. Photo by Suzy Q
25. See City Island
Visit City Island for a taste of New England's shore towns without the travel.
26. Take a Hike
27. Stray Off-the-Beaten-Path
Explore the hidden areas of Central Park.
28. Cool Off
Once the temperature soars—and the sprinklers spring to life—get yourself to the mega splash pad at the foot of the Unisphere.
29. Journey to Jersey
Go climbing at The Cliffs Harlem, or another local rock climbing gym. Photo by Jody Mercier
30. Climb the Walls
31. Start Birdwatching
Head to the Central Park Ramble to see what kinds of feathered friends you can spot.
32. Check Out Little Island
If you haven't been yet, visit the floating park, Little Island, which features a 687-seat amphitheater, plenty of space to run around, and dazzling views of the city and the Hudson River.
33. Plan Your Escape
Visit one of NYC's many kid-friendly escape rooms where families can work together to solve complex puzzles.
34. See a Puppet Show
See Puppetworks' performances of Pinocchio: Carlo Collodi's 1883 Adventures of a Marionette or Hansel and Gretel.
35. Follow the Story
Bring your child's favorite literary characters and settings to life at one of our family-friendly NYC outings inspired by storybooks.
A version of this article was first published in April 2009, but it is updated annually.