The days are getting longer, the trees are beginning to bloom, and the Yankees have thrown out their first official pitch of the season. That could only mean that spring has finally sprung in New York City (at least, according to the calendar.) After months of hibernating with junk food and Netflix, your family probably has a major case of cabin fever. If you are longing for the great outdoors, you don't have to go far to enjoy the first signs of spring in the city. There are lots of kid-friendly places in New York City to go in the spring.
In a city the size of New York, it's easy to feel a little claustrophobic at times. From working farms to museums and huge beautiful parks, every one of the five boroughs is full of wonderful opportunities to stretch your legs and enjoy nature — many of which are free and open to the public.
So get out of your PJs, load up that Metrocard, and head out to one of these amazing city destinations that your entire family is sure to enjoy. Do it now, because in about six months, you could be wearing your down parka and Uggs again!
1. The Bronx Zoo
Lions, tigers and bears aren't the only thing you'll see at the Bronx Zoo. Exotic birds, giraffes and a host of animals from around the world call this zoo home. Watch one of the twice daily sea lion feedings, and don't forget to visit the Children's Zoo where kids can get close to goats, sheep, and other barnyard animals.
2. Brooklyn Botanical Garden
An eerily quiet oasis in the middle of a bustling neighborhood, the Brooklyn Botanical Garden is a great place to experience nature with your little ones. Walk around and see all of the beautiful flowers in bloom, then head to the Discovery Garden, which is full of kid-friendly activities for the tiniest gardeners.
3. Brooklyn Bridge Park
Explore the 85-acre Brooklyn Bridge Park, which runs along the East River from The Brooklyn Heights Promenade to the Brooklyn Bridge. Kids will love exploring the unique play areas along the way, including the Tarzan ropes at Swing Valley, the boat-shaped sandbox at Main Street Playground, and the massive Slide Mountain at Pier 6.
4. Central Park
Central Park is one of the most iconic landmarks in the city, and a family favorite. Climb the pyramids at the Ancient Playground, visit five species of turtles at Turtle Pond, or just hang out on the Great Lawn. If that wasn't enough, check out the Central Park Zoo where the animals from the Madagascar movies call home. The best part about this park, it's impossible to see it all in one visit, so you'll get many family activities out of it.
5. Coney Island
Home to Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, the entire family will have a ball at Coney Island. Stroll along the boardwalk and enjoy a host of carnival rides and games. If you're feeling brave, take a spin on the Cyclone, a classic wooden roller coaster that's been around since 1927.
6. The High Line
An unused New York rail line was converted into a 1.5-mile long elevated park called the High Line. Enjoy the beautifully exotic greenery and art installations all around as you stroll high above the congestion of the city. Check the event calendar for kid-friendly activities on the weekends.
7. Hudson River Park
A 550-acre park located along the city's west side, Hudson River Park runs from Chambers to 59th Street. Enjoy mini golf, water play areas, and traditional playground equipment with a beautiful Hudson River backdrop.
8. The Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum
Head to the Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum in midtown Manhattan to explore fighter jets, submarines and other cool military modes of transportation. Kids will love visiting the Space Shuttle Pavilion, where they can listen to actual conversations between mission control and pilots of the Space Shuttle Enterprise during flight tests.
9. New York Aquarium
A trip to Coney Island is not complete without a stop at the New York Aquarium. It is undergoing renovation after sustaining major damage due to Hurricane Sandy, but the penguins, turtles and sharks there still love to greet little visitors.
10. Queens County Farm Museum
Trade in that taxi for a tractor for a few hours at NYC's largest remaining plot of undisturbed farm land. Open 7 days a week, the Queens County Farm Museum has resident cattle, laying hens, and goats. Tour the historic farmhouse, or take a hayride around the grounds.
11. South Street Seaport
A fun, family-friendly afternoon is guaranteed at South Street Seaport in lower Manhattan. Hang out and enjoy the river view, while sampling food from some of the cool resident food trucks. The Seaport often hosts concerts and other special events for kids, but the highlight is definitely the massive Imagination Playground.