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Spring Activities for Kids in the New York Area

Spring Activities for Kids in the New York Area

80 things to do with your kids in the spring in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Westchester, Rockland, and Long Island.


After the cold of winter, there’s nothing we want more than to head outside and celebrate the arrival of spring with our kids. In honor of the slightly warmer weather, we found the top family-friendly things to do in the spring in New York City, Westchester, Rockland, and Long Island. Whether you want to shop a farmers’ market, see sheep get their annual haircuts, celebrate Easter or St. Patrick’s Day, or just get out of the house, you’ll find something fun to do for every interest.

Family-Friendly Things to Do in Spring in New York City

*In the wake of coronavirus concerns, we recommend calling these venues ahead of time to make sure events are still happening.*

Celebrate Pi Day at MoMath.

Celebrate Pi Day and all things mathematical at the Museum of Mathematics in Murray Hill, Manhattan. The celebration changes every year on March 14 (3.14)–this year, there was a pi-themed activity and free admission from 4-6pm!

museum of mathematics
Photo courtesy Museum of Mathematics. Taken before Coronavirus.

   

See movies at NY International Children’s Film Festival.

In March, fledgling film fanatics can get their fix of silver screen goodness at the New York International Children’s Film Festival. Held online this year, the month-long Oscar-qualifying event spans several theaters and features screenings of films and shorts made just for younger audiences.

Go for a hike on Staten Island.

Taking the family on a hike is a great way to get outside, get moving, and stay socially distant! And you can hike on NYC’s only hiking trail at the Greenbelt on Staten Island, or get out of the city for a day and hike one of the family-friendly trails in Westchester, Rockland, Long Island, and beyond.

Attend the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

The pandemic won’t stop the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade this year, though it will look a little different. The virtual event will kick off with a live broadcast of St Patrick’s Day mass from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, followed by a virtual parade, and TV specials through the evening.

 
new york city st patricks day parade
Photo by Dian Robinson. Taken before Coronavirus.

   

Celebrate spring at the New York Botanical Garden.

The annual Orchid Show is on hold this year due to limited capacity, but the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx is still showcasing the unique flower. Through April 4, visit select galleries of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory to see displays of orchids in brilliant white and striking colors set against the foliage of aroids, ferns, and bromeliads—planted as they might be found in nature and blending gracefully with their surroundings.

Walk for a good cause.

Join the March of Dimes’ March for Babies is hosting an online experience in late April to help raise funds to support research to expand programs and educate medical professionals so that moms and babies can get the best possible care, even when pregnancy doesn’t go as planned. After you walk this walk, find another in the area!

Hunt for Easter eggs in the Bronx.

Search for sweet treasures hidden by a furry friend at the annual Easter Egg Hunt (being held over 3 weekends this year) at the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum in the Bronx. Kids can participate in crafts, have their photos taken with the Easter Bunny, and enjoy light refreshments.

Celebrate Easter.

Throw on your Sunday best and an over-the-top hat and join the Easter Bonnet Festival on Easter Sunday—last year, the event was held online, and we have a feeling this year will likely be the same. And round out the day with egg dying, snacking on delicious Easter candy, enjoying an Easter brunch, and more.

Learn about Japanese culture at the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Welcome spring and learn about traditional Japanese culture during the Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival, a celebration of the blooming cherry trees held in mid- or late April at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden in Crown Heights. The garden hasn’t announced whether it will be hosting a festival this year, but you can still see the cherry blossoms!

Run for the animals.

Make the planet better for our animal friends by participating in the Run for the Wild 5K and Family Fun Run at the nearby Bronx Zoo in late April.

Learn how to play classic street games.

Grab the kids on your block and join NYC Parks at Thomas Jefferson Park in East Harlem, Manhattan, for some classic Street Games, typically held in late April. For even more fun, brush up on the rules for some classic lawn games.

classic street cames
Photo by Richard Warren

   

Don your derby hats and watch a horse race.

Watch top thoroughbred horses fly down the track for a chance to race in the Kentucky Derby when they compete in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct Racetrack in South Ozone Park, Queens, in early April. If the kids love horses, look into local stables that offer riding lessons and more.

 
horse race in queens
Photo by Upendra Kanda

   

Help make the city a little greener.

In mid-April, help make our planet (and our city) a little better while enjoying a full day of environmental education, performances, and workshops during a virtual Earth Day Fair. Want to easily make a difference at home today? Check out our 10 easy ideas for celebrating Earth Day at home.

Putt your way to a hole-in-one.

Waterfalls, windmills, and sandtraps, oh my! Challenge your kids to a round of mini golf at Pier 25 in Tribeca or one of the other mini-golf courses in NYC. Loser has to do the dishes!

See sheep get their annual haircuts.

Things get wild and woolly every weekend in May at the Prospect Park Zoo in Brooklyn. Learn how goat farmers in Mongolia are saving local wildlife, participate in animal activities, and on one weekend, see sheep get their annual haircuts during the Wild and Woolly Festival (the 2021 event hasn’t been announced yet, so check back for details)! Meet more animals at zoos and nature centers near the city, too.

Ride a train.

Celebrate National Train Day in early May with a train ride (including one on Thomas the Tank Engine, nearby in Connecticut!) or by participating in a virtual program with the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn.

Shop for fresh, local produce.

One of the great things about living in the city is the abundance of weekly farmers’ markets featuring local produce, dairy items, meats, baked goods, and more, fresh from the farm. Find a farmers’ market near you, grab your reusable bags, and spend some time picking out your goodies.

Bike around the city.

Kick off National Bicycle Month and see the whole city when you ride the TD Bank Five Boro Bike Tour. In early May, 32,000 cyclists (kids should be accompanied by a parent) can take part in an amazing 40-mile ride coursing through the city’s streets and over five of its famous bridges. Before you head out, brush up on bike safety.

Honor those who serve during Fleet Week.

See what life is like for sailors, marines, and coast guardsman when hundreds of service men and women dock their ships in New York Harbor in Midtown, Manhattan, for a visit during Fleet Week NYC in late May. The 2021 Fleet Week events will be held online.

 
fleet week in nyc
Photo courtesy Fleet Week NYC. Taken before Coronavirus.

   

Attend Bethpage Air Show on Long Island.

Spend Memorial Day weekend fulfilling your need for speed when the United States Air Force Thunderbirds, the B-17 Yankee Lady, and more take to the sky in the annual Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach on Long Island.
    

Family-Friendly Things to Do in Spring in Westchester County

*In the wake of coronavirus concerns, we recommend calling these venues ahead of time to make sure events are still happening.*

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Though most St. Patrick’s Day parades have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, there are still plenty of ways you can celebrate at home and in the community! Check out our 11 ideas and the family-friendly events happening in Westcheter.

westchester st patricks day parade
Photo by Michael J. Cindrich. Taken before Coronavirus.

  

Shop at a farmers’ market.

Pick up some local produce at outdoor farmers’ markets, such as the Down to Earth Larchmont Farmers’ Market, which boasts everything from fresh baked goods and meats to plants and flowers.

Walk among treetops.

If your family is on the adventurous side, take a trip to Boundless Adventures in Purchase, which reopens for the season on March 27. Consisting of nine different ropes courses, this park will satisfy any adrenaline-fueled family.

See beautiful flowers at the New York Botanical Garden.

The annual Orchid Show is on hold this year due to limited capacity, but the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx is still showcasing the unique flower. Through April 4, visit select galleries of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory to see displays of orchids in brilliant white and striking colors set against the foliage of aroids, ferns, and bromeliads—planted as they might be found in nature and blending gracefully with their surroundings.

Spend an afternoon at an indoor play space.

They say April showers bring May flowers, but don’t let the rain hamper your family fun! Get out of the house and spend the afternoon at an indoor play space to get the sillies out.

Hunt for Easter eggs.

Search for sweet treasures hidden by a furry friend at the annual Easter Egg Hunt (being held over 3 weekends this year) at the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum in the Bronx. Kids can participate in crafts, have their photos taken with the Easter Bunny, and enjoy light refreshments.

Walk for a cause.

Join the March of Dimes’ March for Babies is hosting an online experience in late April to help raise funds to support research to expand programs and educate medical professionals so that moms and babies can get the best possible care, even when pregnancy doesn’t go as planned. After you walk this walk, find another in the area!

Celebrate Earth Day.

In mid-April, help make our planet (and your community) a little better while enjoying a full day of environmental education, performances, and workshops during a virtual Earth Day Fair. Want to easily make a difference at home today? Check out our 10 easy ideas for celebrating Earth Day at home.

Raise money for the animals.

Make the planet better for our animal friends by participating in the Run for the Wild 5K and Family Fun Run at the nearby Bronx Zoo in late April. Then pay those animal friends a visit—same-day admission to the zoo is free with your run!

Go for a hike.

Taking the family on a hike is a great way to get outside, get moving, and stay socially distant! What’s more? There are so many family-friendly trails in Westchester, Rockland, and beyond that you’re sure to find the perfect outing for your family.

Putt your way to a hole-in-one.

Waterfalls, windmills, and sandtraps, oh my! Challenge your kids to a round of mini golf at one of the mini-golf courses in Westchester and nearby. Loser has to do the dishes!

Go for a bike ride.

Go for a ride during National Bicycle Month when the Bronx River Parkway in White Plains hosts Bicycle Sundays. From early May through the end of June, the parkway is closed to cars and open to all cyclists, skaters, scooters, walkers, and joggers on Sunday mornings. Before heading out, learn about the benefits of balance bikes for beginners.

Celebrate National Train Day.

Celebrate National Train Day in early May with a train ride (including one on Thomas the Tank Engine!) or by visiting a nearby train exhibit or museum.

national train day

Ride a rollercoaster.

Rye’s Playland typically opens for the season in mid-May with rides and games for all ages. Browse the full list of theme parks in the New York metro area for more fun.  

rye playland
Photo courtesy Rye Playland

  

Celebrate the season.

Ring in spring in mid-May during the Pinkster Festival at Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow, an African-American celebration filled with music, dance, and food. Last year’s event was hosted online, and there isn’t any info available about whether the manor will be open this year.

pinkster festival
Photo courtesy Philipsburg Manor

   

Gaze at the stars.

It’s a great time for stargazing at the planetarium at the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers.

Root for the home team.

Catch a minor league baseball game and cheer on the Rockland Boulders at Palisades Credit Union Park in Pomona—or find another team to cheer for!

Plant a garden with your kids.

In addition to being a fruitful hobby, gardening has health benefits for kids and adults. Gardening outside promotes movement (walking, squatting, and lifting), and you’ll get plenty of vitamin D—just remember to wear sunscreen! So, whether you want to start growing your own produce or your child has expressed interest in digging in the soil, we've compiled a list of 17 ways to grow a green thumb, including gardening activities for kids, how to create small container gardens, and how to start composting.



Make Mom feel special.

Pack up a special Mother’s Day picnic and spend the afternoon at your family’s favorite local park, or check out these other ideas to celebrate the Moms in your life.

Spend a day at the zoo.

Spring is the perfect time to visit your favorite animals at the zoo: The weather’s not too hot and you might just spot some adorable baby animals! The Bronx Zoo is open, with COVID safety precautions in place. Just make sure to purchase your tickets in advance to ensure you’ll be able to visit on the day you want!

Family-Friendly Spring Activities in Rockland County

*In the wake of coronavirus concerns, we recommend calling these venues ahead of time to make sure events are still happening.*

Celebrate St. Patrick and the luck of the Irish.

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, Pearl River hosts a super celebration of all things Irish, including the second-largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the state, second only to the New York City parade. It typically features 12 bagpipe bands, Catholic school groups, veterans, fire fighters, police officers, and performances by Irish dance schools. While this year’s parade has been postponed due to COVID-19, you can still celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at home.

Walk among treetops.

If your family is on the adventurous side, take a trip to Boundless Adventures in Purchase, which reopens for the season on March 27. Consisting of nine different ropes courses, this park will satisfy any adrenaline-fueled family.

Roast marshmallows on a campfire.

Gather around a Spring Campfire at the Tenafly Nature Center in Tenafly, NJ, in late March to learn how this season affects our local plants and animals. You’ll also listen to stories and roast marshmallows for s’mores. If you plan on making your own campfire at home, check out 10 tips on cooking food over the flames.

Shop at the local farmers’ market.

In early April, the Nyack Farmers’ Market moves from its indoor location in the Nyack Center to the Main Street parking lot in downtown Nyack. The outdoor market offers local produce, cheese, wine, bakery and specialty items, and more. Get details on live entertainment at the market before heading over. If you can't find what you need there, check out another farmers' market in the area.

See a new kind of circus.

In April, UniverSoul Circus sometimes comes to Newark, NJ to deliver a unique, jaw-dropping performance with the message that everyone belongs.

Search for Easter eggs with Boulder Bird.

Near Easter time, kids ages 10 and younger can join Boulder Bird’s Egg Hunt at Palisades Credit Union Park in Pomona, home of the Rockland Boulders. Special prizes are hidden along with candy-filled eggs, and kids can take pictures with Boulder Bird and the Bunny throughout the day. It hasn’t been announced yet whether the egg hunt will happen this year, so check back for updates.

Help clean up your neighborhood.

In honor of Earth Day, Keep Rockland Beautiful hosts community cleanup events throughout the county to…well, keep Rockland beautiful!

Learn where wool comes from.

The popular Sheep Shearing event at Bergen County Zoo in Paramus, NJ, typically invites visitors to cheer on the zoo’s flock of sheep as they get their annual haircuts in early May. In addition to shearing demos, there are children’s crafts, special story times, wool spinning demonstrations, and more, and you can enjoy visiting the animals and taking a spin on the zoo’s carousel while you’re there—or find another zoo, botanical garden, or nature center in the area!

sheep shearing
Photo by Al Thomas

   

Play in nature.

Stop by Grasshopper Grove at Hudson Highlands Nature Museum’s Outdoor Discovery Center when it opens for the season, typically in mid-April. Located in Cornwall in nearby Orange County, Grasshopper Grove aims to inspire children to discover nature play spaces in their own backyards.

Get moving for a good cause.

Join the March of Dimes’ March for Babies is hosting an online experience in late April to help raise funds to support research to expand programs and educate medical professionals so that moms and babies can get the best possible care, even when pregnancy doesn’t go as planned. After you walk this walk, find another in the area!

Jump aboard a train ride.

Celebrate National Train Day in mid-May with a train ride (including one on Thomas the Tank Engine!) or by visiting a nearby train exhibit or museum.

Celebrate spring flowers.

The annual Orchid Show is on hold this year due to limited capacity, but the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx is still showcasing the unique flower. Through April 4, visit select galleries of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory to see displays of orchids in brilliant white and striking colors set against the foliage of aroids, ferns, and bromeliads—planted as they might be found in nature and blending gracefully with their surroundings.

Catch some thrills at an amusement park.

Land of Make Believe, in nearby Hope, NJ, opens for the season Memorial Day weekend with rides, a water park, and games for all ages. Browse the full list of area theme parks, too.

Explore a farm.

Cropsey Community Farm in New City hosts open houses and other family events throughout the spring and summer. Visitors to this 12-acre organic, biodynamic community farm—the first of its kind in Rockland County—can typically stroll the fields, meet the farm team, meet animals, and do a planting activity or even work alongside the team in the fields.

 
explore a farm
Photo courtesy Rockland Farm Alliance

   

Walk with dinosaurs.

Travel back in time—to the Jurassic period, to be exact—at Field Station: Dinosaurs in Leonia, NJ. This 30-acre zoo-like adventure park, where the “animals” are actually animatronic dinosaurs, reopens in May (exact date TBA).

 
walk with dinosaurs
Photo by Yasmeen Anderson

Interact with living history.

On late spring and summer weekends, the Fort Montgomery State Historic Site in nearby Orange County (690 Route 9W in Fort Montgomery, just north of Bear Mountain) hosts living history demonstrations complete with costumed interpreters and musket and cannon firings (featuring the fort’s pride and joy, a 32-pound cannon named George).

Attend the Spring Street Fair.

The New City Chamber of Commerce hosts an annual Spring Street Fair in early June on Main Street in downtown New City. The fair features live music, bounce houses, food and craft vendors, kid’s activities, rides, games, a DJ, and more. Check newcitychamber.com for details.

Root for the home team.

Catch a minor league baseball game and cheer on the Rockland Boulders at Palisades Credit Union Park in Pomona—or find another team to cheer for!

Plant a garden with your kids.

In addition to being a fruitful hobby, gardening has health benefits for kids and adults. Gardening outside promotes movement (walking, squatting, and lifting), and you’ll get plenty of vitamin D—just remember to wear sunscreen! So, whether you want to start growing your own produce or your child has expressed interest in digging in the soil, we've compiled a list of 17 ways to grow a green thumb, including gardening activities for kids, how to create small container gardens, and how to start composting.

Putt your way to a hole-in-one.

Waterfalls, windmills, and sandtraps, oh my! Challenge your kids to a round of mini golf at Space Adventure Glow in the Dark Mini Golf at Palisades Center or one of the other mini-golf courses in the area. Loser has to do the dishes!
  

Family-Friendly Things to Do in Spring on Long Island

*In the wake of coronavirus concerns, we recommend calling these venues ahead of time to make sure events are still happening.*

Enjoy an Irish celebration!

Embrace Irish music on the luckiest day of the year at the annual Huntington St. Patrick’s Day Parade in early March. This parade is Long Island’s oldest and largest, and it features a variety of pipe bands, including some of the finest of the New York metro area. This year’s Huntington St. Patrick’s Day celebration is virtual, and you can find even more ways to celebrate at home in our roundup.

Walk among treetops.

If your family is on the adventurous side, take a trip to The Adventure Park in Wheatley Heights, which reopens for the season on March 26. Consisting of eight different ropes courses amidst 5 acres of trees, this park will satisfy any adrenaline-fueled family.

 
the adventure park wheatley heights
Photo courtesy The Adventure Park

   

Find Easter eggs by the sea.

Orient Beach State Park’s annual Easter Egg Hunt is worth the trip for the novelty of hunting seaside. The Big Rabbit himself will be there to greet the wee hunters, ready to hand out prizes for those who discover the special eggs at this event, which changes dates according to when the holiday falls. Specifics for this year haven’t been announced yet, so check back for updates.

Celebrate trees.

Explore the grounds at Coe Hall Mansion in Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park in Oyster Bay. With plenty of space for wiggly kiddies to romp, they’ll go home happy and tired—and you might just be able to participate in a fun nature-based program.

Tiptoe through the tulips.

Huntington Tulip Festival at Heckscher Park in early May is a family-oriented, floral bonanza that showcases more than 20,000 tulips. Hands-on children’s activity booths, art exhibitions, and lectures and demonstrations are all featured among the blooms. The 2020 festival was cancelled due to the pandemic, and we’re waiting to see if the 2021 festival will happen with safety protocols in place.

Make Mom feel special.

Pack up a special Mother’s Day picnic and spend the afternoon at your family’s favorite local park, or check out these other ideas to celebrate the Moms in your life.

 

Go for a stroll.

As the weather warms, thoughts turn to strolling—and Downtown Glen Cove is a really good place to do just that. Meander past boutiques, restaurants, specialty food markets, a movie theater, and a marina. And don’t miss Justin’s Toys, a store that offers workshops in which kids create their own playthings.

Visit a lighthouse.

A calming and relaxing experience, visiting the Fire Island Lighthouse is a must for any Long Island family. Walk the scenic boardwalk, visit the museum, and climb to the top of the tower that’s become one of Long Island’s best-known symbols.

Spend the day at an all-in-one nature site.

Where can you find exotic animals, a fitness trail, an ecology center, a picnic area, and three pools? Only at the Town of Brookhaven’s Ecology Site, Park & Animal Preserve in Holtsville, which is scheduled to reopen in April.

Explore local flora and fauna.

Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center in Oyster Bay comes to life in spring. You’ll find birds of prey as well as reptiles and amphibians native to our area. Consider an Owl Prowl or other guided hike.

See beautiful springtime colors.

The Bayard Cutting Arboretum in Great River is awash with color in May. Five different nature walks are available next to the Connetquot River. Kids will surely stop at the duck and chicken pens. Find more info on Bayard and other nearby nature centers in our zoo guide.

See an awesome parade of planes.

The Bethpage Air Show, a Memorial Day staple at Jones Beach in Wantagh, is a can’t-miss Long Island event that showcases world-class military and civilian fliers. Pack a lunch and some sunscreen, and witness the incredible feats of amazing pilots and parachuters (be sure to bring earplugs for the youngest in your brood and for kids with sensitivities).

 
bethpage air show
Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds

Walk for a cause.

Join the March of Dimes’ March for Babies is hosting an online experience in late April to help raise funds to support research to expand programs and educate medical professionals so that moms and babies can get the best possible care, even when pregnancy doesn’t go as planned. After you walk this walk, find another in the area!

Plant a garden with your kids.

In addition to being a fruitful hobby, gardening has health benefits for kids and adults. Gardening outside promotes movement (walking, squatting, and lifting), and you’ll get plenty of vitamin D—just remember to wear sunscreen! So, whether you want to start growing your own produce or your child has expressed interest in digging in the soil, we've compiled a list of 17 ways to grow a green thumb, including gardening activities for kids, how to create small container gardens, and how to start composting.

Go for a hike.

Taking the family on a hike is a great way to get outside, get moving, and stay socially distant! Plus, there are so many great family-friendly trails on Long Island that you’re sure to find the perfect outing for your family.

Gaze at the stars.

You don’t need to go to the planetarium or have special equipment or knowledge to lay back and feast your eyes on the wonders of the universe. Grab a blanket and head into your backyard to view the night sky and see if you can spot any constellations.

Putt your way to a hole-in-one.

Waterfalls, windmills, and sandtraps, oh my! Challenge your kids to a round of mini golf at Five Towns Mini Golf or one of the other mini-golf courses on Long Island. Loser has to do the dishes!

Shop for fresh, local produce.

One of the great things about living in the city is the abundance of weekly farmers’ markets featuring local produce, dairy items, meats, baked goods, and more, fresh from the farm. Find a farmers’ market near you, grab your reusable bags, and spend some time picking out your goodies.g over. If you can't find what you need there, check out another farmers' market in the area.

Go for a bike ride.

Go for a ride during National Bicycle Month! Whether it’s in your neighborhood, to the beach or local park, or along a section of the Long Island Greenway, your family will enjoy getting active together. Before heading out, learn about the benefits of balance bikes for beginners.

Catch some thrills at an amusement park.

Adventureland in Farmingdale is reopening this spring after being closed last year due to the pandemic. While the exact opening date hasn’t been announced yet, you can be sure your little ones will enjoy thrilling rides, games, and more! Browse the full list of area theme parks, too.


Main photo by Antonio M. Rosario  


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