Budget-Friendly Spring Break Spots in NYC for Kids and Families

Budget-Friendly Spring Break Spots in NYC for Kids and Families
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Budget-Friendly Spring Break Spots in NYC for Kids and Families

Spring break is almost here, and while the kids are looking forward to this time off, for parents, running around New York City can get costly. While our city parents are pretty savvy, we wanted to remind the seasonal parents about what they can do for free and introduce the newer and visiting families to what they can enjoy in Gotham.

The good news? There is so much to do in NYC! Check out our curated pick of museums, zoos, gardens, parks, libraries, and much more, where you and your kids can enjoy fun and immersive activities for free!

Tip: If you have the IDNYC card, you can enjoy access to this list of museums and cultural institutions (just click on Museums)  for free all-year long.

Psst25 Spring NYC Bucket List for Families 2024

Take a trip on the Staten Island Ferry

Incredibly, access to the Staten Island Ferry is always free. Take your kids on a boat ride from Manhattan to Staten Island (or vice versa) to enjoy some incredible sights  as well as a different way to travel. The ferry runs approximately every 15-30 minutes from  St George on Staten Island and Whitehall Street in Manhattan.  Check out the complete ferry schedule here.

 

Check out a museum during spring breal
Student Looking At Artifacts In Case On Trip To Museum

Visit a Local Museum

Enjoy a day of culture and interactive play at one of NYC’s many museums. While many have a paid option, there are numerous free days that you can take advantage of. This includes the Brooklyn Children’s Museum with Amazon Free Hours every Thursday from 2:00pm-5:00pm (register in advance here); Queens Museum offers pay-what-you-wish admission and free admission to kids under age 12; and the National Museum of the Native American is always free.  Additionally, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has pay-what-you-wish admission for New York State residents.

Brooklyn Children’s Museum, 145 Brooklyn Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11213; The Queens Museum, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Building, Queens, NY 11368, ; and the National Museum of the Native American, 1 Bowling Green, New York, NY 10004, americanindian.si.edu

 

Visit the Bronx Zoo

There’s always something fun going on at NYC’s zoos.  The Bronx Zoo! Encompassing more than 265 acres, you and your kids will love learning about different animals, enjoying a range of educational activities, and experiencing fun exhibits like the Children’s Zoo, World of Birds, Tiger Mountain, and more. The Bronx Zoo also has free visiting hours on Wednesdays. However, you have to register on Monday at 5:00pm during the week of your visit. Additionally, these tickets are only for the park (no rides) and there is a maximum of four tickets per order. Kids must be three and up. Register at ticketing.wcs.org. 2300 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10460

 

Enjoy the Grounds at the New York Botanical Garden

April is primetime for a visit to the New York Botanical Garden. Enjoy viewing a collection of budding plants – like the mesmerizing cherry blossoms – among its 250 acres. They offer community passes for Bronx residents every Tuesday–Sunday and holiday Mondays. This includes access to the outdoor gardens and collections. Bronx residents will have to show proof of their residency. Additionally, ground access passes are free on Wednesday to NYC residents. 2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10458, nybg.org

 

Visit the Socrates Sculpture Park

Take a day trip to Long Island City to view a collection of sculptures and art exhibits. Currently, this includes the “We are Between Worlds” exhibit as well as incredible views and its grounds to discover. The park is open from 9:00am-sundown. 32-01 Vernon Blvd, Queens, NY 11106, socratessculpturepark.org

 

Spring Brak at New York's only Little Island

Check out Little Island

This fun and uniquely designed public park features a collection of beautiful overlooks and a playground for discovery and play. Located along the Hudson River, guests can enjoy an urban background within this natural setting. They have free audio tours where you and your kids can learn more about the neighborhood and the pier, or simply stroll and explore at your own pace. The park also has many interactive activities. This includes musical instruments, a mesmerizing spinning disk, dance chimes, a spinning chair, and hula hoops. The park is open from 6:00am-11:00pm. Pier55, Hudson River Park West 13th Street, New York NY 10014, littleisland.org

 

Enjoy a Picnic and Playground Visit to Central Park

Did you know that Central Park is home to 21 playgrounds? Explore one – or a few – that you haven’t been to during spring break. Pack a picnic lunch from home and enjoy a day of play and discovery as well as a new neighborhood.  Some favorites include the Heckscher Playground with its climbing rocks and full playground; the toddler-friendly Tarr-Coyne Tots Playground; and the Ancient Playground with its Egyptian-themed architecture.  Check out the complete list of playgrounds here centralpark.com

 

Staten Island Zoo

Take a trip to the Staten Island Zoo to enjoy a day of discovery. Kids will have the chance to learn more about animals from Africa as well as learn about reptiles, foxes, lemurs, and more. The zoo offers free admission every Wednesday after 2:00pm. Additionally, kids ages two and under are always free. 614 Broadway, Staten Island, NY 10310, statenislandzoo.org

 

The Museum at FIT

Does your child have a passion for fashion? Check out the Museum at FIT where they can view their permanent collection with more than 50,000 garments and accessories. Additionally, you and your kids can check out the exhibit “n ¡Moda Hoy! Latin American and Latinx Fashion Design Today” featuring the work of students from  FIT and LASALLE College of the Arts showcasing various themes around myth, rituals, activism, resistance, and more. The Museum at FIT is open from Wednesday – Friday : Noon – 8pm Saturday – Sunday : 10am – 5pm. Seventh Avenue and 27th Street, New York, NY.

Prospect Park’s Audubon Center 

The Audubon Center at Prospect Park offers free programming to kids of all ages. They also have an animal center where kids can learn more about animals and their habitats and touch and/or pet them. 101 East Dr, Brooklyn, NY 11225, prospectpark.org.

 

Spring break has so many free things to do during Spring Break

Local Libraries

The New York Public Library system is one of our favorite resources for fun activities! The NYPL Events Calendar (https://www.nypl.org/events/calendar) is packed with fun activities during spring break such as baby storytime, teen poetry workshop, open play, family read aloud, and much more. Various locations.

 

Visit the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens offers free tickets to kids 12 and under as well as community tickets where tickets are free for those who may need it. Enjoy access to its beautiful grounds to view its spectacular trees, plants, flowers, and Japanese ponds and gardens. Various entrances at 150 Eastern Parkway, 455 Flatbush Avenue, and 990 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11225, bbg.org.

 

Walk the High LineAs the weather gets nicer, enjoy a leisurely stroll along the High Line. Located on a former train line, families can enjoy a mix of nature and public art as well as docent-led tours. Families with older kids can likely walk the entire High Line; while those with younger kids might want to pick a section to explore. There is also elevator access on Gansevoort street; 14th street; 23rd street; Hudson Yards Gate; and Moynihan Connector.  The High Line is open everyday from 7:00am-10:00pm, thehighline.org

 

Visit Fort Tryon Park and The Met Cloisters

Take a trip to Washington Heights to explore the magic of Fort Tryon Park and The Met Cloisters. Here, you can spend a day in nature and/or at a local playground and immerse yourself in the world of medieval art. The Cloisters ar3e free for kids under age 12 and they have a pay-what-you-what admission policy for New York residents. 99 Margaret Corbin Drive, Fort Tryon Park, New York, NY, 10040, metmuseum.org

 

Visit the Brooklyn Bridge this Spring Break
Photo by Anas Hinde/pexels.com

Walk or Visit the Brooklyn Bridge

Enjoy the beautiful weather and speculator views of NYC by walking across the massive suspension bridge known as the Brooklyn Bridge. If you have time, spend a day in lower Manhattan and/or DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights, exploring local playgrounds as well as taking in the local sights. The walk each way is around 30 minutes.

Explore a New Playground

The beauty of NYC is that we have access to so many incredible parks – all of which are free! Make a plan to visit a new neighborhood as you find a nearby playground. Some favorites include Inwood Hill Park with its natural forest and land marsh (Payson Ave. &, Seaman Ave, New York, NY 10034); the five-acre Domino Park (1200 Kent Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249); and the Bronx River Greenway (1490 Sheridan Blvd, Bronx, NY 10459), to name a few options.

 

Visit Wave Hill

Enjoy a day of nature and discovery at Wall Hill! Located in the Bronx, you might feel as if you are out of New York City as you enjoy 28 acres of gardens above the Hudson River. They also regularly host arts and culture events as well as crafting events for families. Free admission is offered every Thursday. 4900 Independence Avenue, Bronx, NY, wavehill.org

 

Queens Botanical Gardens

Enjoy a day of nature and discovery at this gem of a garden. Here, kids can enjoy art in the garden and access to its 39 acres, including a view of cherry blossoms and spectacular flowers in their annual beds. Admission is free every Wednesday from 3:00pm-6:00pm and Sundays from 9:00am-11:00am. 43-50 Main Street, Flushing, NY 11355, queensbotanical.org

 

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Kids’ Week Activities

Incredibly, the New York Parks Department is offering a range of free activities for kids during spring break. Held at various parks throughout New York City, kids can enjoy interactive workshops about earth day, upcycling, fishing, amphibians, nature, watercolors, and much more. While all of the programming is free, parents do have to register in advance. Check out the complete list of interesting classes and how to register here: nycgovparks.org

 

Take a trip to Governors Island

Enjoy a day exploring Governors Island with your kids. They have free tickets for kids ages 12 and under, as well as for IDNYC holders and residents of NYCHA housing. Here, kids can have fun on its many playgrounds, view public art, ride bikes, or simply explore. Various ports in Manhattan and Brooklyn. https://www.govisland.com/plan-your-visit/ferry,

 

Visit the Museum of the City of New York

Learn more about New York and its streets at this museum. This includes exhibitions featuring New York City artists and storytellers. For spring break week, kids can enjoy art activities, storytimes, music, and more. The museum has a pay-what-you-wish admission policy. However, this is only available at the ticket counter. 1220 Fifth Ave at 103rd St, New York, NY. Museum of. the City of New York.

Relevant Directory Listings

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Super Soccer Stars

<p>Soccer Stars is New York’s most popular youth educational soccer program! With 24 years of experience under our cleats, we have positively impacted over one million kids in our local community by putting the FUN in FUNdamentals in our weekly classes and camps.</p> <p>At Soccer Stars, we use the soccer ball as a vehicle to help children not only improve their soccer skills, but develop self-confidence and physical literacy, improve gross motor skills, build teamwork, and hone socialization skills. Our highly trained coaches and early childhood experts lead an age-specific curriculum with a low kid-to-coach ratio so every child gets individual attention and can grow at their own pace.</p> <p>Kids ages 1-12+ can join our seasonal programs, including Parent & Me, FUNdamentals, Development Training, and Travel Soccer. Join us at one of over 80 locations in neighborhoods across across Westchester County, Connecticut and New York, available 7 days-a-week:</p> <p><strong>Connecticut:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Cos Cob</li> <li>Greenwich</li> <li>Port Chester</li> </ul> <p> </p> <p><strong>Westchester:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Briarcliff</li> <li>Eastchester</li> <li>Mt. Kisco</li> <li>New Rochelle</li> <li>Ridgefield</li> <li>Scarsdale</li> <li>White Plains</li> </ul> <p> </p> <p><strong>New York City:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Bronx</li> <li>Inwood</li> <li>Upper West Side</li> <li>Upper East Side</li> </ul> <p> </p> <p>Can’t find a class or location that fits your schedule? Soccer Stars also offers private classes for small groups or individual training. Let our coaches come to you with a completely customizable program, anytime, anywhere. Birthday parties are also available! </p>

Polaris Productions Theater Camp

<p>Kids will learn, rehearse, and perform the wonderful Maurice Sendak and Carole King musical, Really Rosie. For 10 weekdays, campers will take part in physical and vocal warm-ups and learn choreography, staging, and vocal parts. They’ll develop skills in acting, singing, character development, and more. This camp will ignite your child’s imagination and passion for performing, build their self-esteem, and help them form lasting friendships. They’ll have fun! At camp’s end, the kids will perform Really Rosie for family members and friends. Kids of all levels of experience, ages 8 through 13, are welcome to join.</p>

Ivy Camps USA

<p>Ivy Camps USA is a premium online provider of engaging after-school classes, holiday camps, summer camps, and personalized tutoring. Their instructors come from the top 10 US universities and love to inspire and mentor emerging minds. Extracurricular classes, holiday camps, and summer camps are offered in STEM, Business Leadership, and Arts, Media & Communication for ages 6-14. Tutoring programs focus on supporting students academically, developing a mentoring relationship, and rekindling a love of learning. Ivy Camps USA is known for exceptional programming that kids love and parents trust.</p>