The New York City Parks Department offers FREE swim lessons for children and adults all year round, but you have to apply through an online lottery for each session. The FREE winter swimming lessons are on the horizon, and the lottery for registration is now open and runs Monday, December 16 at noon through Monday, December 23 at noon.
Katie Nave Freeman
Katie Nave Freeman
Latest posts by Katie Nave Freeman
Back after 11 years of hibernation, the Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights have returned to NYC this season, bigger, brighter, and greener (thanks to LED technology) than ever before.
My daughter and I—who are known for chasing all the city's many holiday thrills—recently headed uptown to check out the acres of light displays in all their LED glory. While the Bronx is admittedly a haul for us Brooklynites, I can confidently say that it was worth the trip. Read on for a look at the beautiful lantern show at the Bronx Zoo, and tips for visiting with kids.
Whether your toy shopping trip is a winter day activity, a pre-birthday party stop, a bit of Santa research, or a special family outing, NYC's toy store options do not disappoint. From painstakingly curated indie experiences to unforgettable big-brand toy extravaganzas, we’ve rounded up over a dozen of our favorite go-to toy stores across New York City, where you’re sure to find the perfect item for your little one or the winning gift for a birthday party.
Whether you prefer an iconic New York City destination like the ice rink at Rockefeller Center or something off the beaten path like the rink at Riverbank State Park or the brand-new ice skating rink at JFK, the city offers plenty of options for beginners and experienced skaters alike—there’s even a FREE skate spot. And if it ever gets too cold to glide outside, you can always hit one of NYC's indoor ice skating rinks.
The highly-anticipated Hunters Point Library in Long Island City is now open to the public, with a lovely waterfront location, a sunny children's section, a packed calendar of family programming, and that delicious "new library smell." (Just kidding. Sort of...)
An estimated 15 years in the making, the $41.5 million Queens architectural marvel is now welcoming visitors of all ages. So if you’re looking for an indoor adventure and the allure of your local library has worn off, here's a peek inside NYC's newest literary jewel box.
We can't fight it anymore: The Halloween season is upon us! And what's Halloween without the perfect pumpkin? Sure, you can grab one from the local farmers' market, grocery store, or one of the few pumpkin patches right here in New York City. But for a more immersive experience, head to the country to pick your own pumpkin this fall. Many of these farms and orchards offer additional activities for kids, including hayrides, bouncy houses, corn mazes, and apple picking, so you can expand your hunt into a family day trip.
Like our recent profile of nearby pick-your-own-apple orchards, these 12 pumpkin patches are all about an hour from Midtown Manhattan by car. We even found a few reachable via public transportation.
Navigating the twists and turns of a giant corn maze is the perfect fall outing for adventurous NYC families. But with dozens of mazes scattered throughout the rural parts of our tristate area, the real challenge is deciding which one to visit.
My family loves our annual corn maze trip to the local Queens County Farm Museum's Amazing Maize Maze. It's just the right size for kids, includes fun clues, and doesn't take all day to get to. However, if you're looking to get out of the city for that true country feel, or you're headed to upstate New York or elsewhere for a long weekend getaway, we've compiled a list of almost two dozen of the area's best corn mazes—most within 90 minutes of NYC.
We've broken down our picks to let you know which are better for older kids vs. preschoolers, which are accessible by train—and which offers the best doughnuts! Most farms include extra seasonal things to do like apple picking, pumpkin picking, pony rides, petting zoos, and even, in one case, a 100-foot mountain slide. For more farm fun, check out our Pick-Your-Own Guide to Farms near New York City, and our guide to harvest festivals, hayrides, and pumpkin patches right in NYC.
A visit from the grandparents can be a special time for everyone. Parents get a break and kids get to spend time with family members who aren't mom or dad. That may mean slightly different ground rules, like snagging treats they aren't allowed at home, but it's also an opportunity to hear stories about what mom and pop were like as children. Plus, we live in a city where grandparents can actually explore history with their grandchildren by visiting museums and other enriching destinations that highlight a variety of cultures, interests, and time periods, including the immigrant experiences so many American families share.
Whether your kids' grandparents drop by all the time or are only able to visit once in a while, the next time they ask where to take the kids, skip the usual playgrounds or play spaces, and suggest one of these meaningful outings, which help the generations find common ground while having fun.