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Family Fun

Parents are always looking for a fun way to spend time with their children and New York City, with its many family-friendly options, will not disappoint you. New York City offers outdoors, physical, and recreational activities, arts and educational programs, and free and low-cost options. Below is a list of websites, resources, and locations to help you get started enjoying and exploring the City as a NYC parent.

Special Presentations and Events

The Big Red Chair Family Series a monthly series of fun and affordable programming designed for families continues at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.

Websites

A Place of Our Own, a California-based TV show, airs in New York City on PBS Channel 13. The show, designed for adults caring for young children, demonstrates how children learn and grow through everyday interactions and activities. The website offers a large variety of activities that will keep you, your child, and their friends entertained rain or shine.

Go City Kids has partnered with Nickelodeon to create a site that has offering a wide range of resources. The site maintains a calendar of events in most major cities. Just click on the calendar and you can browse the listed events or search for specific types of events like concerts or library programs.

Macaroni Kids Downtown provides information about activities, happenings, and cultural events in Downtown Manhattan. Sign up for weekly email alerts.

NY Metro Parents offers information about events throughout the NYC Metro area including NYC, Long Island, and Westchester and Rockland counties. The website often includes discounts to events. Sign up for email alerts.

New York Family is a resource that NYC families have come to rely on. The website offers a digital version of their popular magazine, resource guides and provides information about family events and contests and promotions. Families who are on the lookout for something new may want to sign up for their weekly newsletter.

New York Magazine's Family Guide has a well-rounded list of activities and events in New York City from arts, to sports, to shopping. They also include a list of websites for children.

NYC Visit is the city's website for visitors, but it offers great information for those who live here as well. The site lists up-to-date information about special events, shopping, dining, and entertainment. They also offer deals and promotions on events throughout the five boroughs.

Time Out New York Kids maintains a calendar of events as well as guides to the best spots and activities for families in New York City. The magazine, available on newsstands, features special articles about life in NYC.

Libraries

New York Public Library Most branches have regularly scheduled story-telling sessions throughout the week. Check the NYPL calendar or visit your local branch to find events for children of all ages. Below you will find information about two library branches that have special services and collections for children.

Jefferson Market Library 425 Avenue of the Americas (at 10th Street).

Mulberry Street Branch
10 Jersey Street, between Lafayette and Mulberry Streets
The lower level of the library is devoted to children of all ages and provides comfortable seating, books within easy reach, and computers for older children. Libray sponsored programs serves infants through school-age children and includes picture booktime, storytelling, and book discussion groups.

Early Childhood Resource and Information Center@Hudson Park Library
66 Leroy Street, 2nd Floor - (212-621-0815)
This center was created especially for young children and their caretakers. There are books, toys, puzzles, climbing equipment, play spaces and more.

Museums for Children

The museums listed below are especially designed with children in mind, but they are not the only museums that welcome children. Almost every museum in New York City offers programming and events for children. For additional ideas, a comprehensive list of museums can help you learn more about their kid-friendly programs.

Performance Arts

Similar to museums, many theaters in New York City offer kid-friendly performances and programs. The theaters listed here are just a few of those that focus on children and families.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is a place where you can go to watch performances, take classes, or throw a birthday party.

Dance Theatre of Harlem offers performances as well as dance classes for beginners and professionals.

New York Philharmonic has a regular listing of "Young People's Concerts" for families with children ages 6-12.

The New Victory Theater calls itself "NYC's ultimate theater for kids and families" with shows and workshops for all ages.

TADA! Youth Theater offers original, professional producutions that the entire family will enjoy. Children 8-18 can audition for their youth ensemble, and enroll in classes and workshops in playwriting and musical theater. Parent/caregiver and child programs are also available for children aged 24 months and younger.

Theater Works USA performs some of your child's favorite stories throughout the year. Their summer performances are free.

Playgrounds, Parks and Recreation

There are plenty of opportunities throughout the city for planned and experiential sports, fitness and recreational activities. The following offers a sampling of locations and organizations.

General

Coles Sports and Recreation Center's Recreational Programs offers programming for families and children beginning at 2 years of age through teens.

Chelsea Piers has sports and dance programs of all kinds for anyone 12 months to adult. They have a bowling alley, skating rink, and golf club. Chelsea Piers also hosts birthday parties and summer and holiday camps.

New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Visit the "Things to Do" section of the Department of Parks and Recreation website for information on events and activities taking place in NYC parks. You can search for parks with athletic facilities, playing fields, and playgrounds.

Accessible Playgrounds

The NYC Department of Parks recognizes the varying needs and abilities of children. The playgrounds listed on the website includes information about the each playgrounds' level of accessibility. Detailed Accessibility Playground Definitions are available on-line.

Indoor Playspaces

Indoor playspaces are available in many downtown Manhattan locations. Consider sampling a new one each time the weather calls for your active child to be indoors.

WSV Community Playroom - Families living in the Washington Square Village apartment complex are eligible to join the WSV Community Playroom, located in 2 Washington Square Village. The playroom is available for use by members on Monday-Friday, 8-7 pm and weekends and holidays, 9 am-7 pm. For more information, and to learn how to become a member, contact the WSV Playroom Coordinator.

Public Playgrounds

Enjoy the playgrounds located near NYU's campus listed below and mapped here

Explore a new neighborhood and add a visit to a City playground and park

Swimming Pools

Coles Sports and Recreation Center's Recreational Programs offers programming for families and children beginning at 2 years of age through teens.

NYC Department of Parks supports pools in recreation centers throughout the five boroughs. Three of the closest programs are:

  • The Tony Dapolito Pool (formerly, the Carmine Street Pool), located on 7th Avenue between Carmine Street and Leroy Street, at the Carmine Recreation Center offers a pool for swimmers of all levels. The 2 foot deep shallow end provides an opportunity for beginning swimmers.
  • Asser Levy Recreation Center, Pool and Playground on FDR Drive from East 23rd Street to East 25th Street offers pools, a court, and a playground, as well as classes for center members.
  • Chelsea Recreation Center located at West 25th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues.

Chelsea Piers Sports Center located at West 19th Street and Hudson River Park offers an indoor pool with a full range of aquatic activities and programs.

Looking for swimming lessons? The New York City Department of Parks offer free swimming programs for children through adults. See here.

Ice Skating

New York City Parks and Recreation lists ice skating rinks in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. The Manhattan rinks are:

Additional Manhattan resources for open air and indoor ice skating are found at:

  • Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers - an indoor rink available throughout the year is located at Pier 61, 23rd Street and the Hudson River
  • The Rink at Rockefeller Center - an open air rink available during the late Fall and Winter months is located in the heart of midtown at Fifth Avenue between 49th Street and 50th Street
  • Riverbank State Park - an open air rink open during the Winter months is located at 679 Riverside Drive

Science and Animals

New York City offers zoos, aquariums, and science centers to entertain and encourage the curiosity of children of all ages. A sampling is found below.

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