Coney Island is home to the New York Aquarium, Luna Park and Deno's Wonder Wheel, the Brooklyn Cyclones baseball team, and of course, the famous beach and boardwalk. See our guide for what to do when visiting Coney Island with your family.
Across the Boardwalk from Coney's manmade attractions is nearly 3 miles of sandy beach open through Labor Day.
There's a place in New York City where you can watch sea lions leap for treats, lounge or build sandcastles on the beach, run the bases at a baseball game, taste a world-famous hot dog, and ride just about any amusement park ride you can imagine, all in one day.
Superstorm Sandy barreled through this iconic seaside attraction last fall, leaving enormous damage in its path. But following a $10 million renovation and lots of help from volunteers, Coney Island rallied and reopened just five months later. And though only about half of the site is back in action, the "People's Playground" promises a jam-packed summer season and a future full of even more family fun.
Stop by the New York Aquarium's remodeled Aquatheater to catch a high-energy show by resident sea lions, who do everything from blow whistles to flip through the air.
New York Aquarium
The oldest continually operating aquarium in the country is also the only Coney Island attraction open year-round. The Wildlife Conservation Society's New York Aquarium closed temporarily to recover from Sandy but will be partially open through Labor Day.
With more than 350 species of sea creatures, including walruses, penguins, and the ever-popular sea lions who star in daily shows in the remodeled Aquatheater, visitors can greet marine animals as familiar as otters and penguins as well as more exotic types that hail from across the globe, from Belize to East Africa to the Amazon forests. In addition to the sea lion show, you can see penguin, otter, and walrus feedings throughout the day. The aquarium also hosts educational programs, such as its summer camps (ages 6-14) held in July and August (to register: 718-265-3457 or nyaquarium.org). The aquarium continues to rebuild after the storm and has an expansion planned for debut in 2016, which will include a shark experience.
Hours: 10am-6pm daily through Labor Day; go online for fall and winter hours. Admission (reduced during rebuild): $9.95; free for children younger than 3; pay what you wish 4-6pm on summer Fridays. Parking: $13 per car.
Nathan's Famous serves up its iconic franks to visitors and hosts the annual July 4 International Hot Dog-Eating Contest.
Amusement Parks at Coney Island
Coney Island has been home to several different amusement parks in the past century, but today you can visit Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park and Luna Park.
Deno's is a family-owned park best known for its namesake ride—the 150-foot-tall Ferris wheel that's the oldest operating attraction in Coney Island (93 years)—but it boasts 22 rides total, most of which fall in the family/kiddie category. If bedtimes don't get in the way, stay for the fireworks show at 9:30pm on Fridays through Labor Day.
Hours: Check wonderwheel.com or call 718-372-2592. Admission: Free; kiddie ride tickets are $3 each and adult rides are $7 each, with discount packages available.
Luna Park, which opened in 2010, is home to five roller coasters, including that iconic wooden coaster, the Cyclone. It also has more than 40 other rides and games and historical exhibits by the Coney Island History Project (under the Wonder Wheel). The park includes the new Steeplechase Plaza, which houses the B&B Carousell and popular Parachute Jump. The park plans to open a new water ride this summer called Water Mania.
Hours: Check lunaparknyc.com or call 718-373-5862. Admission: Rides are pay-per-credit or you can purchase a four-hour unlimited-ride wristband: $29; $15 for kiddie rides.
Coney Island's MCU Park is home base for the minor league Brooklyn Cyclones, a Class A affiliate of the New York Mets entering its 13th season. Games here cater to families, with affordable ticket pricing ($9-$17 per game) and between-inning games and promotions. Starting in July, all seats at Wednesday night games are $10. On Thursdays, the first 3,000 fans receive a free jersey. Friday and Saturday games are followed by fireworks, and Sundays are family days when kids can play catch on the field before the game or run the bases afterward.
Coney Island's 2013 Flicks on the Beach program screens a different movie every Monday night through July and August on the Coney Island Beach near West 10th Street.
Address: Surf and Stillwell avenues, Coney Island
Directions: Take the D, F, N, or Q train to Stillwell Avenue Station
Hours: Aquarium is open year-round; amusement parks are open Palm Sunday through Halloween; beaches are open Memorial Day through Labor Day
Admission: Varies by attraction
Parking: Off-street parking is available in the parking lot at MCU Park (Surf Avenue and West 19th Street): $5 per day Monday-Tuesday (all days for Brooklyn Cyclones ticketholders); $10 per day Wednesday-Friday; $15 per day on weekends and holidays. At the New York Aquarium (daily through Labor Day): $10.
For more information: coneyislandfunguide.com