New York City abounds with things to do with kids outside (many of them, like amazing playgrounds, absolutely free) but during the winter, these spots can be a bit chilly, to say the least. (This polar vortex thing is become a bit too familiar, no?) The good news, of course, is that there is not shortage of places to have fun inside in NYC when the temperature drops. From museums to play spaces to store experiences and spots for high-activity fun, New York has a place where you can the kids can have a blast this winter, inside. Our top suggestions (which play well in combination together, FYI, below)!
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Head to Kids' Week at The Intrepid Museum
Just in time for February break, Kids' Week returns to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum with STEAM programming ranging from animal shows, performances, science demonstrations and more! It runs from February 17-23. Full details here!
Take In One of Our Favorite Museum Shows For Kids Happening Now
Andy Warhol! Frida Kahlo! Jackie Robinson! (And lots more.) See our list here!
Hit Some Pins at An Area Bowling Alley
Old school, new school, rock and roll, in Times Square or deep in the boroughs. NYC has a bowling alley for you and the kids. See our picks here!
Escape to Singapore at The Orchid Show
The stunning spectacle of the New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show returns for a 17th year on February 23. This year’s exhibit, “Singapore”, is a tribute to the country and its National Orchid Garden, which features sky high vertical habitats of Supertrees and Arches. Developed in partnership with Gardens By the Bay and the National Orchid Garden, the show features thousands of orchids in every shape, color, and size, including specimens from the NYBG’s extensive orchid collection as well as varieties showcasing Singapore’s achievements in orchid hybridization, research, and conservation. Tip: buy your tickets in advance online to ensure entry.
Feb. 23 - April 28
Tickets: Weekends: adults/$28; children 2-12/$12; kids under 2/free. Weekdays: adults/$23; children 2-12/$20; kids under 2/free
2900 Southern Blvd.
Got a Baby or Toddler in Brooklyn? Drop In to One of These Singalongs, Art Activities, or Play Groups
Gather with other parents and little ones for music, painting, crafting—as well as socialization and getting out of the house! Click here to find the drop-in happening where you can just show up!
Check Out the Latest in Flicks for Kids at the New York International Children's Film Festival
The New York International Children's Film Festival is back with a full slate of features, docs, and shorts from around the world for kids ages three to 18. (Its website has a handy filter on the program page for you to screen films by age.) This year showcases films from countries including Sweden, Germany, Kenya, Malawi, Japan, Belgium, and beyond, as well as programs of shorts for different age groups. Plus: a shorts programs with a focus on girls, another dedicated to boys, and a free, VR Jr. experience for kids ages eight and up. Films are screened at numerous theaters in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.
February 22-March 17
See a Winter Show For Kids
Productions for kids of all ages are going up around town, including magic, puppetry, acrobatics, and those folks from Sesame Street. See what's playing here!
Push the Envelope at Teknopolis
The digital playground and showcase of cutting-edge art and storytelling returns to Brooklyn's BAM for a third year. The 2019 edition features two levels of participation (and pricing)—the main distinction being the more expensive ticket includes virtual reality experiences. (You must be at least nine to do the VR.) Teknopolis is open to kids ages six and up.
Feb. 23-Mar. 10
Tickets: $16 kids; $21 adults (no VR); $35/kids; $45/adults
Go Deep at National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey
This popular attraction is a life-like digital aquarium in the heart of Times Square! Interactive, educational, and transporting, Ocean Odyssey will make you feel a world away from wintry NYC! Read our full review here.
Hot tip: Back by popular demand for 2019 is the Family Fun Pack, offered at $99 for four tickets.
Tickets: Adults $39.50, Children 12 and under $32.50
Hours: 10 a.m.- 10:30 p.m., Sun. – Thurs.; 10 a.m. – midnight, Fri. & Sat.
226 W 44th St.
Jump In At a Trampoline Park Near NYC
Don't bounce off the walls—bounce at one of these NYC area trampoline parks.
Head to the Liberty Science Center for a Day of Fun
Honestly, you can't even do this whole place in a (long) day. (Membership is an excellent idea, btw.) Permanent exhibits include a suspended Infinity Climber (pictured), a pitch black "Touch Tunnel", "Eat and Be Eaten" with naked mole rats, tamarin monkeys, leaf cutter ants and more, "I Explore", a play area for smaller kids, and the new "Microbes Rule!", featuring a gallery of colorful art made with microscopic organisms. Visiting exhibits include the interactive puzzle adventure, The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes, and The Lion Guard (opening Feb. 16), inspired by the Disney Jr. series of the same name. (And we haven't even mentioned the world-class planetarium with shows for people of all ages!) Head's up: do yourself a favor and buy tickets in advance online. The line for tickets can be long.)
Closed on Mondays
Tickets: $23.75/adults; $19.75/kids 2 -12
Liberty Science Center
222 Jersey City Blvd.
Liberty State Park
Catch the New York Transit Museum's Holiday Train Show
It's called a holiday train show, but it's here for a little while longer. The perennial favorite leaves Grand Central Station on February 24. Click here for more details.
Escape to A Steamy Waterpark
Squint and pretend its summer—and hang out in the hot tub, too. Check out our favorite waterparks near NYC! (Camelback's Aquatopia pictured here.)
Go to Camp For Some Fun and A New Snow Day Diversion
This Flatiron store/experience is a well-cultivated collection of toys and goods for kids of all ages that you enter through a secret door. There are activities
like arts and crafts, performances, and readings (some free, some ticketed) plus lots of super cool things to explore like a dance party room, old school station wagon, "bunk" with a slide exit, and more. Read our full review here!
Hit Up a Smaller Museum You've Never Been To
Have you been to Louis Armstrong's House in Queens? (It's a mid century time capsule.) Checked out the Museum of Mathematics? Explored the New York city Fire Museum? More ideas on overlooked spots here!
Attend a Rawther Fancy Tea Party at The Plaza with Eloise
Splurge a little for this quintessential New York City experience having a tea party in Eloise's digs. Click here for details.
See a Movie..or Three
LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part? How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World? A free movie at the library or MoMA? There are lots of options this winter. See our guide to where to see a movie with the family (or where to catch one with a baby in tow.)
Do Some Old School Slot Car Racing at Brooklyn's Buzz-a-Rama
Site of many birthday parties and filming for Russian spy series The Americans, the Buzz is a must for indoor fun. (Open weekends. Call the make sure they're not booked up with parties.) Read our feature on it here!
Grab Some Grub at Someplace Special (or at Least Delicious)
For a splurge and/or something out of the ordinary, check out one of our favorite theme restaurants (medieval knights, ninjas, doggies, oh my!) For a kid-friendly brunch, try these spots. Want pancakes? These are the best in the city. Need a vegan bite? Head to these restaurants, best for kids' tastes.
Or, head here where the kids can eat free!
Let it Roll at An Area Rink
The Dreamland Roller Rink (pictured) recently rolled into Brooklyn's Industry City, and hosts family-friendly skates on weekends. Find even more roller rinks in the NYC area here!
Get Your Play on in Brooklyn
Head indoors no mater where you are in the Borough. We've rounded up spots in DUMBO (Recess, shown here), Park Slope, Clinton Hill, Bay Ridge, Midwood, Cobble Hill, Bed-Stuy, Williamsburg, Greenpoint and beyond. Check them out here!
Or Play Around Indoors in Queens
Astoria (Raising Astoria, shown here), Long Island City, Sunnyside, and more—these are our fave spots in Queens to play all day!
Warm Up With Some Hot Chocolate
Not all hot cocoa is created equal in the city—and not all of it is to kids' tastes. Here are the best spots to find a cup your kid will love.
Totally Chill: The Best Places to Go Snow Tubing Near NYC
Family-Friendly Winter Getaways the Kids Will Love
Our Favorite Spots to Play Indoors in NYC