The 15 Best Activities To Do With Your Kids In New York

Fun-filled activities that will captivate you and your kids here in New York City are aplenty! From thrilling observation decks, cruises, zoos, museums, various exciting attractions, tours, parks, stores, art, and more, there’s something for everybody in your family that’ll make your trip to the Big Apple one to fondly remember for years to come.

1- Discover Art, Nature, & Science In The Best NYC Museums

 

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See the massive T.rex at the American Museum of Natural History, and marvel at a model hanging from the ceiling of the largest animal on the planet, the Blue Whale! At its Rose Center for Earth and Space, you and your kids will take a trip into outer space and learn all about the 13 billion year history of the universe. Discover naval history, space, technology and more at The Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum! Bask in your guilty pleasures and celebrity fixations at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. Let your kids participate in the exhibition/dance space, explore self-expression through art-making, and for very young ones drop in for the Art Lab programs at The Children’s Museum of Manhattan. At The Children’s Museum of the Arts, art and performance classes are available for kids as young as 10 months up to teenagers, which foster socialization, creativity, and self-expression. Lastly, the largest museum in NYC exclusively dedicated to children, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum provides numerous opportunities for hands-on learning, observation and role-play for kids of all ages.

 

 

2- Embrace Fun-Filled Times Square

 

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World-famous Times Square is essentially a kids’ and adults’ playground! From the 500+ astounding artifacts, artworks, and mind-bending displays, its escape adventure, and 20 galleries packed with curious oddities at Ripley’s Believe it or Not you and your family will surely be thrilled and amazed! Get up close to your favorite stars at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. Discover 25,000 square feet of M&M’s chocolates and merchandise at M&M’s World Store. Chow down on some delicious burgers and fries at Five Guys or Shake Shack. Have a blast at the arcade, sports bar, restaurant Dave & Buster’s. Have an unforgettable experience at National Geographic Ocean Odyssey where this immersive adventure, developed by Academy, Emmy, and Grammy winning artists, takes you across the Pacific Ocean to feel, hear, and see what it’s like to live under the sea. And don’t miss the incredible Gulliver’s Gate, a 50,000 square foot interactive and immersive world of miniatures to awaken your imagination and challenge your perspective. Lastly, when you’re in Times Square, don’t hesitate to come by our office! We’re conveniently located at 690 8th Avenue between 43rd and 44th street.

 

 

3- See The Magical Cityscape From Above

 

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With skylines such as New York City’s, you simply must take your kids to visit at least one, if not all of the three world-famous NYC observation decks! The views and the excitement of soaring above this metropolis will send chills down spines and preserve life-long memories of the Big Apple. Climb up Top of the Rock atop the Rockefeller Center, in Midtown, or the nearby monumental Empire State Building. Or if you’d prefer the newest attraction, head to the financial district in Lower Manhattan to blast up the Sky Pod and experience the highest observation deck in the Western Hemisphere at 1 World Observatory.

 

 

4- Visit Fascinating Animals At NYC Zoos

 

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Observe and hang out with the magnificence of the animal kingdom at one of the 4 amazing zoos in four of the 5 NYC boroughs! Manhattan’s own Central Park Zoo will delight you with its grizzly bears, penguins, sea lions, red pandas, leopards, monkeys, sheep, goats, and much more. Explore the tufted deer, black-tailed prairie dogs, Hamadryas baboons, golden lion tamarins, and many more at Prospect Park Zoo. At Queens Zoo, check out the American alligators and bison, bald eagles, coyotes, pumas, Texas longhorns, among many other fascinating furry friends. And at the Bronx Zoo, have your heartstrings tugged by the memorizing gorillas, alpacas, sloths, monarch butterflies, and ebony langurs.

 

 

5- Discover Famous Soulful Harlem

 

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Take your family to see a world-renowned authentic Harlem gospel concert in a local church! Sing along and be moved by the passion of the choir and afterwards taste some acclaimed soul food at a top quality neighborhood restaurant! We have Harlem Gospel Tours with Brunch on Sundays and Harlem Gospel Tour on Wednesdays with lunch. Aside from attending service in a local church, your experienced and accredited live tour guide will lead you in a luxury coach from our office in Times Square, along Central Park, up to Harlem, revealing tons of historical and cultural facts and insider travel tips along the way. The tour also exists in a shortened walking version on Wednesdays.

 

 

6- Have Fun at Brooklyn Bridge Park

After joining our exciting Brooklyn Walking Tour, you’ll end up at beautiful Brooklyn Bridge Park, which offers tons of activities and play areas for you and your kids! Aside from being able to admire the striking views of the skyline and the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, you have the opportunity to play volleyball, shuffleboard, bocce, basketball, soccer, Ping-Pong, and handball on the courts located along the Piers of the park.

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Photo: Charlie/Flickr CC

Just remember to bring your own balls and supplies! There are also 9 playgrounds for kids of all ages, a lovely flower field, a roller rink, a Carousel, an environmental education center, numerous picnic areas, and tons of eateries steps away. Click here for the full list of activities and amenities offered at Brooklyn Bridge Park and calendars with hours of operation!

 

 

 

7- Marvel at Eye-popping Street Art

 

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If you and your kids want to see some really brilliant street art, start at the poignant Keith Haring mural in Harlem on 127th St. and 2nd Ave. (to be reopened by the end of 2019). In Lower Manhattan, the Houston Bowery Wall has a changing mural on East Houston St. and Bowery. The Audrey Hepburn Mural in Little Italy is also a must-see (photo above). For more ideas on what to catch here on the groundbreaking streets of New York City, check out our article, The Best Graffiti & Street Arts to See in NYC: Manhattan to the Bronx.

 

 

8- Explore First-Rate NYC Toy Stores

 

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Fortunately, a great cluster of toy stores in NYC is centrally located in Midtown Manhattan, just a couple steps from each other. There’s the LEGO store at 50th St. and 5th Ave. and FAO Schwartz as well as gamer’s paradise Nintendo NY across the street, with the Disney Store just a block away. Down at 37th St. and 5th Ave. is where you’ll find Image Anime Co. a place to buy collectibles and toys inspired by anime. Another LEGO store can be found at 23rd St. and 5th Ave., and the smaller independent shops such as Kids Preferred, The Antique Toy Shop, and Kidding Around are located a bit further south just before you get to Greenwich Village.

 

 

9- Watch a Bedazzling Broadway show

 

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Watching a Broadway show is always a brilliant activity to do with kids in the Big Apple! Theatrical productions currently on Broadway include The Lion King, Mean Girls, My Fair Lady, Pretty Woman- The Musical, The Cher Show, Oklahoma!, King Kong, Ain’t Too Proud- The Life and Times of The Temptations, The Phantom of the Opera, Frozen, Aladdin, and Wicked. Contact us at info@harlemspirituals.com for more info and to book your tickets!

 

 

10- Take Thrilling Guided Tours

 

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Walking, boat, and bus tours are always a fun-filled time for the whole family! For a half-hour wet n’ wild ride, The Beast Cruise is your best bet. For a bit mellower 2.5 hour sightseeing voyage, hop on the Best of NYC Full Island Cruise. For a 75-minute interactive entertainment ride, sit stadium-style side facing on a giant bus touring quintessential NYC hotspots like Times Square, the Empire State Building, Carnegie Hall, and much more on The Ride. To really take your time with your sightseeing in the Big Apple, there’s also the All Around Town in 48H Double Decker Tour which explores Manhattan, Harlem, and Brooklyn, includes an entertaining live guide, and allows you to hop-on hop-off over 2 days. For a zanier comic book themed time, embark on the Super Heroes of NY Tour to explore the exact spots that your favorite superheroes saved the day! Click here for a complete list of our sensational tours.

 

 

11- Experience World-famous Central Park

 

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You and your kids can explore Central Park’s 800 some acres of cherished oasis on foot, by bicycle, rented rowboat, horse & carriage, and by a guided tour on a gondola! At the Loeb Boathouse a rowboat can be rented for a mere $15 per hour. Row around the gorgeous lake before having a drink or bite to eat at the boathouse fine-dining restaurant; lovely gondola tours can be reserved here. Rent a bike or join a guided bike tour and ride around the lush landscape while taking in views of the surrounding architectural masterpieces. Horse & carriage rides are available throughout the park wherever you see one stopped. Near the Loeb Boathouse, you’ll find the popular Alice in Wonderland bronze statue, a must-see. Also, the Strawberry Fields John Lennon memorial installation, as well as the famous Carousel attraction ($3.25/person) and the epic Belvedere Castle for its panoramic views are all must-sees for kids and parents alike! Lastly, kids ages 2-12 won’t want to miss Victorian Gardens Amusement Park! It’s got 11 rides and 3 games as well as live performances featuring magic shows, jugglers, and comedy. Click here for directions and tickets.

 

 

12- Let Loose at NYC Parks & On The Best NYC Carousels

 

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New York City is home to several beautiful parks and carousels! From the Sea Glass Carousel in Battery Park to Jane’s Carousel at the Brooklyn Bridge Park, Prospect Park Carousel in Brooklyn, the Central Park Carousel, and Hudson River Park’s Carousel, kids can ride all sorts of hand-carved wooden animals and sea creatures. The new kid on the block, Domino Park also has a great new playground along the Williamsburg waterfront. And at Hudson River Park, you can play mini golf, tennis, hang out at its skate park in Tribeca, go kayaking, even trapeze, and of course go ham in its multiple play areas along the pristine Hudson River.

 

 

13- Take A Walk Along the High Line

 

Credits: pexels.com

(Photo by Pexels.com)

Consider this park NYC’s best example of recycling on a mega scale: Built atop an abandoned train track, the High Line offers more than twenty blocks’ worth of car and bike-free strolling. Besides plenty of seating and a killer view of the ritzy Meatpacking District and Chelsea, there’s also weekly free drop-in workshops for kids during the summer, like art projects every Saturday, insect and plant life classes on Wednesdays, plus Thursday morning structured lawn time, where families can enjoy stories, bubble-blowing, music, and storytelling. As you walk up north, you’ll also come across New York’s newest neighborhood: Hudson Yards, with its famous sculpture/monument: the Vessel! Visit Hudson Yards, climb the Vessel and talk a guided walk on the High Line on our West Side Story afternoon tour!

 

 

14- Enjoy A Full Day of Fun on Governor’s Island

 

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Enjoy 7 miles of car free biking on Governor’s Island! Rent from Blazing Saddles by Ligget Terrace or a Citi Bike at the ferry landings (there are 3 Citi Bike docking stations on Governors Island), and enjoy the small island’s historic sights and of course stunning views of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty as well as nearby boroughs and islands. You can also rent pedal cars, scooters, and balance bikes for families with small children at Blazing Saddles, which additionally offers Free Bike Mornings whereby one hour is free every weekday between 10am and noon! You can also bring drinks and snacks for a nice picnic, slide down NYC’s highest public slides at 75 feet above sea level, zip glide, chill on hammocks, and play in the beautiful fountains. Ferries to & from Governor’s Island are free on Saturdays and Sundays before noon!

 

 

15- …And See the Statue of Liberty!

 

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Last but not least… Lady Liberty or Liberty Enlightening the World, as she’s officially known was a gift from France on America’s 100th birthday. A universal symbol of freedom, the copper-plated sentinel stands 305 feet tall from the bottom of her base to the tip of her torch. Since May 2019, you can now visit its brand new Statue of Liberty Museum with 3 interactive galleries and magnificent views on the NYC skyline. Click here to book the official Statue of Liberty Cruise!

 

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As you can see, NYC is a wonderland of amusing and entertaining activities for people of all ages. From the wee babies to the grandparents, this range of family-oriented enjoyments is sure to bring a smile on everybody’s face, for a high-quality New York City trip that’s one for the books! If  you are interested in finding more to do in New York City, search through our complete range of tours, attractions and activities. We can also tailor-make programs specifically to match your desires and budgets. Harlem Spirituals is the ideal one-stop-shop to simplify your planning! Find more information on www.harlemspirituals.com, contact us at info@harlemspirituals.com.