Founding Editor & Publisher
I was born in Park Slope, spent my early years in the West Village and by the time I graduated high school, had lived in 4 of the 5 boroughs. Growing up in NYC in the '70s meant the streets were my playgrounds, museums and avant garde music venues were the kid-friendly activities and living downtown taught me the importance of creating community for families in NYC.
Now, raising my own two children in Lower Manhattan, I try to create the same sense of magic and community that I grew up with, despite today's more commercialized version of kid-friendly New York.
I started writing Mommy Poppins in 2007 to share my vision for a more artsy, educational, non-commercialized and community-oriented way to raise kids in New York City. Today, Mommy Poppins is relied on by more than 500,000 parents each month to curate the best things to do with kids in New York City, New Jersey, Long Island, Connecticut, Westchester, Boston and Los Angeles, plus a Family Travel site. I'm happy that we are successfully helping families do more than just find a way to spend an afternoon with kids by sharing activities that are enriching and create amazing family memories.
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Latest posts by Anna
The number of family-friendly happenings in New York City on any given day is enough to overwhelm most parents. Our city plays host to top-notch museums and art, creative play spaces, amazing parks and playgrounds, and even amusement parks, all of which pump out fun children's programming year-round. Even NYC restaurants get into the game, hosting dedicated kid play spaces, events, and cool DIY opportunities like ice-cream and chocolate making.
Yet every year, our kids suddenly grow up on us a little more. They age out of one activity after another, whether it's storytime at the library, the carousel, or just needing to hold our hand as they cross the street. That's why we're focused on finding ways to take advantage of all the amazing things to do in New York City with kids, creating meaningful memories as we go. I created this "life list" of all the things I want to experience with my kids before they grow up. It's not just the stuff that is fun to do, but also the stuff that I think will be important to do with them—things that will shape them and be formative in their experience as little New Yorkers. We're also big fans of FREE fun, so we included as much of that as possible!
So enjoy this list of 100 things to do in NYC, whether you're a local or a visitor trying to experience the very best of our city. Now, off I go to wring every drop of goodness from that damp, dirty rag that is New York City.
Ice Age: Collision Course is the fifth epic adventure for Scrat and friends. This time their pursuit of the elusive acorn leads the heros on a cosmic attempt to save the universe. You can bet the film is full of fun and laughs for the entire family, but what about the science? None other than Neil deGrasse Tyson, America’s favorite astrophysicist and the voice behind the film’s character Neil deBuck Weasel, has taken the time to vet the science behind the cosmic epic.
New Yorkers often bemoan rapid changes to old-school spots such as Coney Island, where recent “upgrades” seem to have wiped away the grit and charm of old Gotham. Anyone who yearns for the New York of yesteryear needs to head directly to Playland in Rye, New York. Somehow, the amusement park in southern Westchester, in operation since 1928, has managed to revitalize itself with modern standards while maintaining the original charm of the last century. It’s among the most underrated gems for summer fun in the area and definitely one of the best amusement parks if you have a preschooler.
To say the July launch of Pokémon Go has been a phenomenon would be to vastly understate it. Few mobile games have ever launched to so much anticipation and so many immediate downloads. And, it’s obvious why it would. Pokémon Go takes mobile gaming to a whole new dimension.
The idea of Pokémon Go is to turn your real-life environment into a Pokémon world through augmented reality technology. Players collect Pokémon as they move around, and, through their phones, Pokemon appear right in their real world. The Pokémon, and Poke Stops, are scattered all over the map, so as you travel through life you will find and catch more. When players get to higher levels, they can train and battle their Pokémon as well.
Pokémon Go has already had a huge impact on my kids. Some of it is super good, but there are also some trends that are very concerning. Here’s what parents need to know about what to love and what to fear about Pokémon Go.
Great outdoor dining makes summer in the city tolerable, at least in my book. An hour sitting on a shady patio, sipping a cold drink, steels me for the rest of the week on sweaty NYC subways and dog-pee-scented streets. Of course, eating out with kids is never as simple as that, so we’ve selected not just sublime outdoor dining spots but ones with enough room to roam. Hopefully, these family-friendly restaurants give you a few more minutes to soak in the ambience before you have to dart.
These Manhattan eateries, from the Battery up to Inwood, will make you forget you are in New York City with that backyard living life, even for those of us whose apartments are too small and too dark with nary a leaf to be seen. We’ve also covered the best backyard outdoor dining in Brooklyn and Queens. See all our restaurant recommendations in the Mommy Poppins NYC Kid-Friendly Restaurant Guide.
The Adirondacks region is one of the most idyllic family vacation spots around. The enormous, pristine natural setting features numerous lakes and quaint towns sprinkled across gorgeous mountains. Visitors find the best of outdoor adventures as well as family fun attractions. My family stayed in Schroon Lake, a cute lake town that's a little more laid-back than nearby Lake George and centrally located to explore the region. We visited all the family-friendly attractions to pick the best things to recommend.
Of course, you could spend all your time hiking, boating, and enjoying whatever outdoor activities your family likes. There are tons of outfitters that will help you do those things so I only made a few recommendations for those types of activities. The below list is the best of the best for other family fun attractions in the Adirondacks. We really enjoyed Fort Ticonderoga, the Wild Center, and the Adirondack Museum, but if I had to pick just one must-do it would definitely be Ausable Chasm. The gorge is just phenomenally beautiful, and we really enjoyed walking and boating through it.
Find more family vacation ideas in our Adirondacks, Catskills & Hudson Valley Family Travel Guide.
For more than a decade, I worked across the street from Rockefeller Center and found the food choices downright depressing at first glance. Whether you're there over the holidays to see the tree, or enjoying one of the other fun experiences in the action-packed complex, you'll need to eat eventually, and there are some good options if you know where to look.
Here are my top picks for kid-friendly places to eat near Rockefeller Center.
Imagine eating breakfast while toucans soar from tree to tree just feet from your perch. By day, you hike the same trails that cougars roam at night. And your evening activity is prowling the resort paths spotting kinkajous, tree frogs, and spiders as big as your fist. This is not a canned jungle-themed ecotourism resort experience; this is the jungle. And you are in it.
Off the radar for many, Honduras offers 300,000 acres of protected rain and cloud forests and beautiful Caribbean waters with one of the last unspoiled coral reefs. The Lodge and Spa at Pico Bonito, named for the national park it sits in, is one of the independent properties trying to draw more ecotourism to help ensure that the amazing natural resources, and the stunning array of wildlife that live in them, persevere.