It’s not really summer if you don’t go to an amusement park with the kids at some point, right? But which one is best for your family? We rounded up our favorite amusement parks near NYC, with kiddie rides for little kids, thrill rides for bigger kids and extra fun like water parks and beaches if you need it. For more fun this season, see our list of Must-Dos for summer 2022, our guide to Coney Island this year and our picks for the best outdoor water parks near NYC.

Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement & Kiddie Park in Brooklyn

Home to the iconic Wonder Wheel, this Coney Island classic amusement park has been in business since the 1920s. (Yes, the Wonder Wheel recently celebrated 100 years.) The park is, oddly, in between the two sections of the other amusement park at Coney, Luna Park. You pay per ride here (you don’t have to pay an admission fee to get in) and while there are rides for big and little kids, the kiddie rides are more the draw. (The park did introduce a new family thrill coaster, The Phoenix, last year.) Kiddie rides are 5 tickets each. You can buy a package of 50 for $45. While people afraid of heights should probably avoid the Wonder Wheel, it’s a must-do otherwise, providing incredible views of Conney Island, the beach and beyond.

Pro-tip: Fireworks on Fridays at 9:45 p.m. start July 9th. (Weather permitting)

1025 Boardwalk
Coney Island
Nearest train stations: Stillwell Ave or W. 8th St (Aquarium station)
Mon.-Fri., 12-6 p.m.
Sat. & Sun., 12-9 p.m.

Luna Park

Thrilling New Yorkers for decades, Luna Park is home to the famous Coney Island Cyclone, which celebrates 95 years this summer. You can pay per ride or buy a wristband for unlimited rides here. There are plenty of tamer rides for little kids (the tiny rollercoaster is a popular choice) and lots of thrillers like the Tickler, Thunderbolt, Steeplechase, and many more. Plus two new rides coming later this season.  Tony’s Express will be a family-friendly rollercoaster with over 1,200 feet of track and Leti’s Treasure will have 12 6-seater boats that will rise over 40 feet high the drop into water with a splash. Both are planned to open this summer so keep your eyes open for them. In addition to rides, you can try your luck (or skill) at many games and potentially head home with an oversized stuffie.

Check the calendar for hours, which fluctuate.

1000 Surf Ave.
Coney Island
Nearest train stations: Stillwell Ave or W. 8th St (Aquarium station)
Mon.-Fri., 12-8 p.m.
Sat., 11 a.m.-12 a.m., Sun., 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

kids on motorcycle ride at adventurers park in brooklyn

Photo: Wai Sze Zara

Adventurers Park in Brooklyn

Is it your little one’s first time visiting an amusement park? This is a great place to ease kids into the amusement park experience. Enjoy classics like tea cups, car rides, a merry-go-round, flying planes and more.  P.O.P. On weekdays, you can buy wristbands for unlimited rides between 12-3 p.m. or 4-7 p.m. You’ll also find Go Karts, miniature golf and bumper cars here. Tickets are $4, with most rides one or two tickets.

Pro-tip: Visit the L&B Spumoni Gardens (one of our favorites) nearby and grab their celebrated Sicilian square pizza.

1824 Shore Pkwy
Nearest train station: Bay Parkway & 86th Street followed by a 5-minute bus ride
Mon.-Fri., Opens at noon
Sat. & Sun., Opens at 11 a.m.

3 girls riding dragon coaster at fantasy forest amusement park in flushing meadows park

Photo: Wai Sze Zara

Fantasy Forest Amusement Park in Queens

Visit Queens’ only amusement park in the heart of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. You can’t miss it: this fun zone is smack dab between Queens Zoo, the New York Hall of Science and the Playground for All Children. It’s another manageable spot with gentler rides for little kids and is a fun placer to stop before or after a day at the zoo, museum or playground. In addition to classic rides the park also has games and shows.

5351 111th St.
Nearest Train Station: 111th Street
Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Sat. & Sun., 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

girl riding helicopter at adventureland in long island

Photo: Wai Sze Zara

Adventureland in Long Island

Adventureland has been delivering family fun on Long Island since 1962. New this season is The Fireball, a family rollercoaster that’s “the only one of its kind in North America.” Adventureland has thrill rides, water rides and kiddie rides, too.
All guests that enter the park must buy a ticket. Guests ages 2-24 are $41.99 each. An adult ticket accompanying guests under 25 is $31.99 each. For a quick visit and saving, go one hour before closing and pay $20. 
Check the calendar for operating times, which fluctuate throughout the summer.

Distance from NYC: 30 mins.

2245 Broad Hollow Road (RT. 110)

Rye Playland

Operating since 1928, Rye Playland is an old-time favorite and a historical landmark. Enjoy a nostalgic ride on the Dragon Coaster or try the friendly Crazy Submarine.
Admission and unlimited rides for those 48″ or under cost $24.99; for those 48″ and taller the cost is 34.99. Spectators who want to come and watch pay $14.99. Children three and under are free and Westchester residents receive a discount. (Save a few dollars by buying your tickets online.) Parking is available starting at $12 on weekdays and $15 on weekends.
Pro-tip: Don’t leave Rye without a stop at Playland’s beach and brand new pool. Then take a stroll along the boardwalk and enjoy views of the Long Island Sound.

Distance from NYC: 1 hour, 30 mins.

1 Playland Pkwy.
Sun.-Thurs., 12-10 p.m., Fri. & Sat., 12-11 p.m. (Check calendar for holiday hours)

Mimi O’Connor


LEGOland in NY

Legoland in Goshen, New York, is celebrating its one-year anniversary. If you haven’t visited yet, now is the time. All seven themed lands are now open, and you can beat the heat with new water activities coming this summer. You’ll find big kid and little kid versions of the same ride here, such as Driving School and the Drsagon Coaster. In addition to rides, LEGOland entertainment is stellar and includes meet and greets with characters, a nature maze, and a 4D movie theater. 
Pro-tip: You may get wet! For the Lego purist, step in the Build & Test and challenge your creativity. Build it and test it on their race track. Don’t miss out on a visit to Miniland. Everything looks better when it’s miniature! Extend your weekend by booking a room at their resort. The outdoor pool is open!
Admission tickets for three and up start at $67.99. Annual passes and combination discounts are available.
Parking is extra and they recommend that you pre-pay online. You scan your pass on the way out.

Distance from NYC: 1 hour, 20 mins.

Bus transportation is available and departs to and from Port Authority. (Tickets are separate)
1 Legoland Way
Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Sat. & Sun., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

Jenkinson’s Amusement Park at Point Pleasant Beach NJ

Looking for a classic Jersey Shore experience? Head to Jenkinson’s, where you’ll find lots of beginner rides for the little kids, and thrill rides for older ones. Hop a tiny train to get around the Point Pleasant boardwalk and check out the aquarium, an Adventure Lookout Rope course, miniature golf, and much more. And of course, you can also hit the beach.

Credits start at 50 cents. Kiddie rides are 6 – 8 tickets.

Distance from NYC: 1 hour, 20 mins.

Public transportation: NJ Transit to Point Pleasant Beach, followed by a 10 min. walk to the boardwalk.

300 Ocean Ave.
Point Pleasant Beach, NJ
Daily 12-11 p.m.

Six Flags Great Adventure in NJ

When you need some serious firepower to get the kids excited, this is the place to go, thanks to thrill rides like Kingda Ka and wood coaster El Toro, the latter of which was voted the #1 roller coaster by readers of USA Today 10 Best. Six Flags also has plenty of rides for little kids, live shows, and special events. Check out the Wild Walkway and meet some exotic animals up close at the Golden Kingdom. 
You can also choose to get in your car and observe the 350-acre preserve. (Keep in mind that the experience takes 1.5 to 3 hours.) New for 2022: Join the Giraffe Encounter Tour for an off-road adventure. Meet the animals and get an opportunity to feed them. 
A one-day ticket costs $44.99. One-day admission to Wild Safari Drive-Thru costs $19.99. Parking is $35 per car.

Distance from NYC: 2 hours

1 Six Flags Dr.
Jackson Township NJ
Mon.-Fri., 10:30 a.m.-7:00 p.m.
Sat. & Sun., 10:30 a.m.-9:00 p.m.
Wild Safari 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Nickelodeon Universe at American Dream Mall

Escape the heat and plan the perfect daycation. Hang out with your favorite Nickelodeon characters including Dora, Blaze and Blue at the biggest indoor theme park in the Western Hemisphere. Need more to do? American Dream has a water park, an indoor ski slope, mini-golf courses, a LEGOland Discovery Center, a SEA LIFE Aquarium and more. 
Tickets are available online. Admission for guests ages 10 and up start at $49 on non-peak days and vary between $59 – $89 on peak days. Admission for guests ages three to nine start at $44 on non-peak days and vary between $54- $85 on peak days. Buy a Dream Pass this season to take advantage of discounts when you buy a bundle.

Distance from NYC: 30 mins
Easy and convenient by public transportation.
1 American Dream Way
East Rutherford NJ
Mon.-Thurs., 12-8 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Sat., 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun., 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

Casino Pier in Seaside Heights NJ

 Casino Pier is back and better than before with an amusement park, arcade and waterpark.  Take in the views of the boardwalk and the Jersey shore with your family on the 40-meter Ferris Wheel. There are classic rides for every age and thrill level and admission is free. Kiddie rides need 2 to 3 credits per ride with credits costing $1.
You can also Soar over the ocean and experience the SkyCoaster or relax on the Sky Ride. Extend your stay and cool off at the Breakwater Beach Waterpark. Take a peek at their specials for discounts and events.

Distance from NYC: 1 hour, 30 mins

800 Ocean Ter.
Seaside Heights, NJ
Mon.-Fri., 1 -11 p.m.
Sat., Noon-12 a.m., Sun., noon-11 p.m.

The 2022 NYC Summer Bucket List: What You Must Do with the Kids
Hot Dog! Your Guide to Visiting Coney Island with Kids
Wet & Wild: The Best Outdoor Water Parks Near NYC

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