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What to Do with Your Kids this Spring in New York

What to Do with Your Kids this Spring in New York

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

Participate in Phagwah, a Hindu celebration of spring and love.
Paint away the gray of winter during the Phagwah Parade and Festival in Richmond Hill, Queens, in early to mid-March. During this Hindu celebration of spring and love, attendees enjoy music as they literally color one another with dye and powder.

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

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 in Manhattan, the month-long Oscar-qualifying event spans several theaters and features screenings of films and shorts made just for younger audiences.

Learn what it takes to be a professional ballerina.
Aspiring ballerinas can learn a little about the hard work that goes into becoming a professional dancer when the School of American Ballet presents The Beauty of Ballet, held in late February and early March at multiple venues in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Harlem. Not into ballet? Find other kids’ dance classes near you.

Attend the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Don’t miss the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which starts in Midtown Manhattan, passes St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and ends on the Upper West Side at the Irish Historical Society. This more than 250-year-old traditional marching parade features Irish step dancers, bagpipe bands, and more.

new york city st patricks day parade
Photo by Dian Robinson

Celebrate spring at the Orchid Show.

The annual Orchid Show returns to the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx in February through April. This exhibition boasts thousands of brilliantly colored flowers in kaleidoscopic displays and is the largest of its kind in the country.

Walk for a good cause.
Join the March of Dimes’ March for Babies on a trek through Manhattan in mid- to late April, and 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 weekend Easter Egg Hunt 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.

See outrageous hats in the Easter parade.
Throw on your Sunday best and an over-the-top hat and join the Easter Bonnet Festival on Easter Sunday, which marches along Fifth Avenue in Midtown East, Manhattan.

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.

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 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 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 late April, help make our planet (and our city) a little better while enjoying a full day of environmental education, performances, and workshops during Earth Day New York at Union Square Park in Manhattan.

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! 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 visiting the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn.

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.

Celebrate Mom.
Get in some mommy-child bonding and enjoy some music, activities, face painting, art, activism, and more during Mamapalooza at Riverside Park on the Upper West Side in Manhattan in mid-May. You can find more Mother's Day activities on our calendar.

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. 

fleet week in nyc
Photo courtesy Fleet Week NYC

Attend Bethpage Airs 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

Get a taste of pure maple syrup.
Head over to the Maple Sugaring Party in early March at the Greenburgh Nature Center in Scarsdale for educational activities on the history of maple syrup, syrup making demonstrations, and plenty of the sweet treat! Or find another location that offers maple sugaring activities for more fun.

maple sugaring
Photo courtesy Greenburgh Nature Center

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Don’t miss the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Eastchester, featuring Irish step dancers, bagpipe bands, and more. Community parades are also held in Mount Kisco and Peekskill.

westchester st patricks day parade
Photo by Michael J. Cindrich

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.

See beautiful flowers at the Orchid Show.
The annual Orchid Show returns to the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx in late February through April. This exhibition boasts thousands of brilliantly colored flowers and is the largest of its kind in the country, making it well worth the drive.

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 weekend Easter Egg Hunt at the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum. 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 on a trek through Manhattan in mid- to late April, and 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. And there are other numerous walks for causes in the area—find the one that most inspires you.

Watch farmers shear wool.
Take a step back in history during Sheep Shearing Day at Stone Barns Center in Pocantico Hills, held in late April. Watch and ask questions as the farmers shear the wool from the flock, and then the whole family can participate in wool and felting activities.

Camp with the wolves.
Calling all camping enthusiasts! Camp overnight with some furry friends at the Wolf Conservation Center’s Sleeping with Wolves, held on weekends from early spring through mid-October.

Celebrate Earth Day.
Help make our planet a little better during an Earth Day Celebration at the Greenburgh Nature Center in Scarsdale in late April. Parents and kids will explore volunteer opportunities and see sustainability demonstrations that help make the grounds enjoyable for everyone.

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 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

Spend time celebrating Mom.
Get in some mom-and-child bonding time at The Mothers and Others Tea Musicale at the Caramoor Center in Katonah. Share a mini-concert in the magnificent Music Room, take a tour of the Rosen House, and enjoy an assortment of tea-time items in the Summer Dining Room. If you're looking for another Mother's Day activity, have no fear!

Ride a rollercoaster.
Rye’s Playland 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. Find other cool cultural celebrations in our area while you're at it.

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.

Meet baby animals.
Take the kids to Meet the Baby Animals at Muscoot Farm in late May, when the farm’s newborns greet the public for the first time. And there are many more petting zoos and nature centers in the area!

Immerse yourself in nature.
Stargazing, campfire stories, roasted marshmallows, and falling asleep under the stars to the calls of crickets and owls are on the agenda at Rye Nature Center’s Family Campout in late May or early June (also in mid-September).

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!

Family-Friendly Spring Activities in Rockland County

Sing “Happy Birthday” to Dr. Seuss.
March 2 is Dr. Seuss’s birthday and National Read Across America Day. Head to your local library for special story times and more activities that celebrate the joys of reading.

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. Check for details on the parade in early March.

Find everything you need for your family.
For more than 20 years, families have flocked to Youthfest at the SUNY Rockland Community College Fieldhouse in Suffern to meet and learn about local businesses, services, and activities for kids and parents. This popular annual March event also features loads of giveaways, activities, and performances throughout the day. It’s organized by the Rockland County Youth Bureau.

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.

See your favorite Disney characters.
Experience the magic of Disney Junior Dance Party at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, NJ, where you can catch some of your favorite characters performing in late March.

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. Open Thursdays (8am-2pm) through December, 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.

Explore nature with your young children.
Beginning in late April, parents can bring their babies, toddlers, and young children to the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum in Cornwall for its Nature Strollers program, which opens up the museum’s family-friendly trails to this special group every Monday morning through June.

hudson highlands nature museum
Photo courtesy Hudson Highlands Nature Museum

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. 

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! Find details on this and other community service activities on our website.

Learn where wool comes from.
The popular Sheep Shearing event at Bergen County Zoo in Paramus, NJ, 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 in various New Jersey cities in early May 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. Find details on this and other charity walks in the area in our roundup.

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 Mom.
Make Mom feel special with a trip to the Bronx for a Mother’s Day Weekend Garden Party at the New York Botanical Garden. Live music, games, hands-on nature activities, picnicking, and the garden’s amazing array of plants and flowers all make this a worthwhile trip into the city.

Catch some thrills at an amusement park.
Rye’s Playland, in nearby Westchester County, opens for the season in mid-May with rides 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, typically opens Memorial Day weekend.

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 for details.

Family-Friendly Things to Do in Spring on Long Island

Learn how maple syrup is made.
Maple Sugaring Day at Benner’s Farm in East Setauket is an experience to remember for anyone with a sweet tooth. Nobody but Mother Nature knows exactly when the sap will run, but the four- to-six-week season typically starts in late February or early March. Learn how to make maple syrup, candy, and other sweets from the farm’s maple trees. And don't forget to visit other places that offer maple sugaring events.

maple sugaring benners farm
Photo by George Potanovic Jr.

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.

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.

Find everything you need for your family.
The All Kids Fair at the Melville Marriott in April is half resource expo, half fun family outing that delivers a trove of educational vendors for parents. Kids get to enjoy balloon-twisting clowns, face painting, a petting zoo, and magicians while you peruse the offerings.

Celebrate trees.
The Arbor Day Family Festival in late April at Coe Hall Mansion in Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park in Oyster Bay is a combo of learning and fun. With plenty of space for wiggly kiddies to romp, they’ll go home happy and tired—and with a better understanding of the importance of trees.

Make your own chocolate.
April showers bring…a need for rainy-day ideas for kids. And what’s better than eating chocolate? Making your own fresh. Kron Chocolatier in Great Neck allows you to do just that. From chocolate popcorn to chocolate truffles, a visit to this old-world candy crafter will satisfy the biggest sweet tooth.

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.

Make Mom feel special.
The Mother’s Day Picnic at Belmont Park in Elmont over Mother’s Day weekend is a unique way to celebrate the special ladies in your life. Pack your own picnic and watch the horse races with Mom and Grandma before heading over to the playground and petting zoo.

Get your first pedicure of the season.
Spring is the start of pedicure season! Looking for a bonding experience with your little girl? Lipstick & Lollipops has you covered. Located in Mount Sinai, this one-of-a-kind spa not only offers all the latest in nail styles, but glitter tattoos to show off with tank tops, too.

Hop on a mini train.
Around mid-May, Long Island Live Steamers in Brookhaven kicks off its seasonal Public Run Days, when train lovers (aka kids) can catch a ride Harry Potter-style. Relive the glory days of the railroad as you chug along 8 acres of tracks. And in honor of National Train Day, which typically coincides with Mother’s Day weekend, check out our full list of train rides and exhibits in the area.

long island live steamers
Photo courtesy Long Island Live Steamers

Snap lots of pictures of cherry blossoms.

The Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival at the Charles B. Wang Center at Stony Brook University in May is a wonderful way to learn about Japanese culture. With workshops in origami, martial arts, taiko, dance, and painting, this fest will wow kids as well as grown-ups.

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.

Walk among treetops.
If your family is on the adventurous side, take a trip to The Adventure Park in Wheatley Heights. 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

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.

Meet various dog breeds.
Sure to bring a smile to your child’s face, the Long Island Kennel Club Annual Dog Show in mid-May—recently relocated to Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park in Oyster Bay—features a breed showcase and a “My Dog Can Do That” event. Bring your own talented pooch!

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.

Take a spin on a carousel.
Remember Nunley’s Carousel in Baldwin? A historic landmark and place of fondest childhood memories for many of us, the amusement park closed in 1995. But the cherished carousel continues to spin in a beautiful dedicated building at Museum Row in Garden City.

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

Main photo by Antonio M. Rosario  

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