New York has loads of parks and playgrounds and you will probably find more green areas here than in many other cities. For a list of all of the playgrounds in Manhattan click here. Central Park is an excellent place to take babies and toddlers. There is loads of open space to run around and plenty of play grounds and activities (see above). Pier 25 Tribeca is another great playground. It juts out into the Hudson River and has a giant sandbox, swings, climbing structures and sprinklers. The pier also has mini golf, volleyball courts and a soccer field. Battery Park and Washington Square also have great playgrounds and there is a small playground next to the New York City Library. Brooklyn Bridge Park & Jane’s Carousel is just across the river from Brooklyn Bridge. Here there are fantastic playgrounds, a historic carousel and an ice-cream shop.
If your child loves trains, the New York Transit Museum is a must see. Toddlers can climb aboard numerous historic subway and train cars, fuel and drive a bus and more. The museum is located in Brooklyn Heights and is easily accessible from Manhattan by subway or taxi.. You could include a trip to this museum if you’re visiting Brooklyn Bridge Park or planning to explore Brooklyn Heights. The Brooklyn Children’s Museum also makes for a terrific day out with toddlers. The Totally Tots exhibit is aimed at children under 5 and features interactive experiences to promote literacy and development. Kids will also love playing in the grocery store, pizza place and more.
The Children’s Museum of Art (located in the West Village) has two big art rooms where kids can draw, paint, play with play dough, and assemble crafts. There is also a fantastic ball pit for toddlers. The museum offers pay-as-you-wish admission on Thursdays from 4-6pm. The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (located on the Upper West Side) is a five-floor wonderland for little ones. The interactive exhibits include a tongue you can slide down; a fire truck you can pretend to drive and a dragon you feed books to. During the summer the “City Splash” exhibit offers an outdoor water-play area (bring a towel and a change of clothes).
The New York Hall of Science is another great option. More than half of the 400 exhibits are interactive, which is a great way for older toddlers to learn about science. The Science Playground features fun exhibits on balance and sound. The Preschool area has a wide variety of interactive exhibitions especially for toddlers.
If your child loves animals and sea life, the New York Aquarium is located in Coney Island and is home to over 10,000 species of marine life. Sea lion demonstrations, penguins, seals, and walruses are all great fun to for your toddler to see. You can easily walk along the Coney Island boardwalk from the aquarium if you want to play in the sand. You can travel to Coney Island by subway. The Bronx Zoo has over 4,000 animals and is a great place for children of all ages. The bug carousel, children’s zoo and camel rides are great for young children (additional charges apply). Visiting the Bronx Zoo is an all-day activity (you can bring your stroller or rent one there).
Brooklyn’s Prospect Park is worth a visit if you have the time. You can take either the 2, 3 or F subway lines to Prospect Park, where you’ll find everything from bicycling and fishing to drum circles and butter churning. There are numerous playgrounds and a forest. There is also a 100 year old carousel adorned with horses and other creatures. That attraction is located in the Children’s Corner, which is also home to the Prospect Park Zoo. The LeFrak Center at Lakeside, has a covered rink for roller-skating in warm weather and ice-skating in winter.