20 Fun Things to Do in New York State with Kids

Whether you’re exploring the Big Apple or way up in Western New York, here are the best things to do with kids in NY.
Written by Jacqulyn Graber
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Updated on Jun 16, 2022
Are you in an Empire State of mind? Whether you’re sight-seeing in the Big Apple, scaling the Adirondacks, or exploring way up in Western New York,
New York State
is filled with wonderful family-friendly activities year-round. 
New York State has a host of things for families to do, no matter what you’re in the mood for! Whether you’re looking for something educational and historic, fresh and modern, provincial and relaxing, or metropolitan and high-energy, you’ll want to bring your whole family along as you explore destinations like
, and the
Big Apple
Here to guide you through the 20 best things to do with children in New York is
, your favorite
car insurance
broker and
super app
. Whether you’re a New York native looking to entertain your offspring during a school break or you’re visiting from out-of-state—if you’ve got kids, you’ll want to read on. 
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Best museums in New York for kids

The Strong National Museum of Play

Age range: Ages 0 - 12 
Location: 1 Manhattan Square Dr, Rochester, NY 
Phone: (585) 263-2700
Strong National Museum of Play
—located in
, NY—is the only collections-based museum anywhere devoted solely to the study of play. Although it’s technically a history museum, it’s got all the interactive characteristics of the very best children’s museums. 
Your little one will enjoy exhibits like a
butterfly garden
Reading Adventureland
, and a mini play version of the iconic
Wegmans grocery story.
Parents can play too! Or, simply feel nostalgic while walking down
Sesame Street
and browsing through the
National Toy Hall of Fame

Explore & More Children’s Museum

Age range: Ages 0 - 12 
Location: 130 Main St, Buffalo, NY
Phone: (716) 655-5131
Right on
’s picturesque waterfront, you’ll find
Explore & More Children’s Museum
. This fun museum is a kid-focused space that has seven play zones and three educational studios, all of which focus on the unique history of Western New York. 
Exhibits are designed specifically for children aged 0 to 12, but adults will still enjoy learning about the cultural groups that make up
Buffalo’s neighborly community
, the
history of Niagara Falls
and technical workings of the Erie Canal, the Queen City’s impressive
, and more! 
Pro Tip
—the neighborhood where Explore & More is located—has plenty of family-friendly sites and activities year-round, including a restored solar-powered
from 1924. And it’s only $1 to ride! 

Corning Museum of Glass 

Age range: Ages 0 - 99
Location: 1 Museum Way, Corning, NY
Phone: (607) 937-5371
We get it—taking your toddler to a glass-themed museum might sound like taking a bull to a china shop. But we promise that the
Corning Museum of Glass
is truly creative fun for the whole family. 
This museum is equal parts art and science—and, in fact, is the largest space in the world dedicated to the history, science, and art of glass. It was founded in 1951 and currently has a collection of over 50,000 glass objects—some over 3,500 years old! 
Kids 17 and under can always enter for free, but you’ll definitely want to make a reservation for a
glass-making project
. Kids of all ages can make ornaments, glass flowers, picture frames, and more. 

Museum of Ice Cream

Age range: Ages 0 - 99 
Location: 558 Broadway, New York, NY
Phone: (866) 665-1018 
I scream, you scream, we all scream at the
Museum of Ice Cream
! Born from the newly developed concept of a “selfie museum,” this very pink space is located in the heart of the Soho neighborhood of
, and it’s as pleasing for the eyes as it is for the tongue. 
In addition to learning about the history of ice cream through 13 multi-sensory installations, you’ll also get to “swim” in the famous pool of sprinkles. The best part? You can enjoy unlimited ice cream treats!

Sandlot Kids Clubhouse

Age range: Ages 0 - 12 
Location: 25 Main St, Cooperstown, NY
Phone: (888) 425-5633
Sports fans of all ages will enjoy the
National Baseball Hall of Fame
in Cooperstown, NY, but little leaguers, will especially love their
Sandlot Kids Clubhouse
. Located in the Library Atrium of the museum, this space is designed specifically for children 12 and under, offering a wide variety of hands-on activities. 

Best outdoor activities in New York for kids

Coney Island

Age range: Ages 0 - 99
Location: Brooklyn, NY 
Phone: N/A
Located right on the ocean in
, Coney Island has become synonymous with New York summers. Spend the day at the
, walk along the colorful boardwalk, ride the thrill rides at
Luna Park
, eat at
Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs
, and interact with ocean animals at the
New York Aquarium

Holiday Valley Resort

Age range: Ages 0 - 99
Location: 6557 Holiday Valley Rd, Ellicottville, NY
Phone: (716) 699-2345
The Empire State is abundant with amazing mountain ranges that are perfect for the adventurous skier, While
Holiday Valley Resort
certainly doesn’t have the tallest peaks in the state, we think that makes it a top-notch option for novice skiers and snowboarders. Another reason your kids will love it is the recent installation of their
brand new high-quality ski lift
, which makes it easier for beginner skiers who may have trouble getting on and off traditional lifts. 
Combine diverse trails with three base
, a great ski
, and other snowy adventures like
and a
mountain coaster
—and you’ve got a family-friendly vacation perfect for winter break. Even better—because Holiday Valley is located nearby Lake Erie, you’re likely to enjoy some knee-deep lake effect snow. 
If you’re not a family of snow bunnies—don’t write HV off just yet! Warm weather activities include a sky-high
ropes course
mountain biking
chairlift rides
Spruce Lake
, and more. 

Niagara Falls State Park

Age range: Ages 0 - 99
Location: 332 Prospect St, Niagara Falls, NY
Phone: (716) 278-1794
Historically known as the Honeymoon Capital of the World,
Niagara Falls
is a popular destination for young couples who want to take in the awe-inspiring scenery.
But don’t let the title fool you—it’s the perfect destination for families, too! The state park is open 365 days a year, and the area offers ample outdoor kid-friendly activities. We recommend the
Cave of the Winds
experience—which allows you to get up close and personal with the Falls—and the
Maid of the Mist
—the very famous ferry ride into the misty waters. 

New York State Fair

Age range: Ages 0 - 99
Location: 581 State Fair Blvd, Syracuse, NY
Phone: (315) 487-7711
State fairs are a summertime staple nationwide, and NYS is no exception. Like any great large-scale carnival, the
New York State Fair
celebrates with food, rides, exciting exhibits, farm animals, big-name musical entertainment, competitions, and so much more—all over a 13-day period in late August. 

The Hamptons 

Age range: Ages 0 - 99
Location: East End of Long Island, NY
Phone: N/A
While the Hamptons are generally famous for being the summertime playground of New York’s elite, you don’t need to be a Rockefeller to enjoy some of Long Island’s top-rated beaches. We recommend paying a visit to East Hampton’s
Main Beach
or Southampton’s
Cooper Beach
—both of which have been dubbed some of the nation’s very best. 
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The Thousand Islands

Age range: Ages 0 - 99
Location: St. Lawrence River, between the U.S. and Canada border
Phone: N/A
Over 1,800 islands dot the St. Lawrence River between New York and Canada, and the area’s history is as captivating as its beauty. We recommend getting acclimated with a tour from
Uncle Sam’s Boat Tours
, where you’ll hear about pirates, mansions, and millionaires. 
Take your little princes and princesses to two real-life castles:
Boldt Castle
on Heart Island and
Singer Castle
on Dark Island. 

Ausable Chasm

Age range: Ages 5 and up
Location: 2144 US-9, Ausable Chasm, NY 
Phone: (518) 834-7454
Known as the “Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks,” the
Ausable Chasm
is a must-visit for adventurous families. Hike, float, and climb around one of the oldest natural attractions in the United States, full of gorges, caves, waterfalls, and more. 

The Bronx Zoo

Age range: Ages 0 - 99
Location: 2300 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY
Phone: (718) 367-1010
New York is abundant in zoos—there are several in NYC alone—but the
Bronx Zoo
is easily the best. One of the largest zoos in the United States, this wild space features a diverse animal collection of 10,000+ creatures and award-winning exhibits. 
Pro Tip Admission to the zoo is free all day on Wednesdays—just make sure you
reserve your tickets
in advance. 

Six Flags Great Escape

Age range: All ages—though there are height restrictions on many rides
Location: 1172 US-9, Queensbury, NY
Phone: (518) 824-6000
Located approximately 60 miles north of Albany is
Six Flags Great Escape
. This roller-coaster junkie’s heaven is widely known for its world-famous wooden roller coaster,
The Comet
, which was built in 1927 and previously featured at the historic Crystal Beach amusement park. 

Erie Canal Cruises

Age range: Ages 0-99
Location: 800 Mohawk Street, Herkimer, NY
Phone: (315) 717-0350
Construction on the Erie Canal began in 1817, intended as an east-to-west gateway from the Atlantic Ocean to Lake Erie in Buffalo. Upon its completion 8 years later, it was the second-longest canal system in the world. Today, it’s considered the most successful and influential human-built waterway and one of the most important works of civil engineering and construction in North America.
There are plenty of stops along the way that offer canal cruises, but we recommend
this one
through the beautiful Mohawk Valley. 

Best historic sites in New York for kids

The Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

Age range: Ages 0-99
Location: New York Harbor, New York, NY
Phone: (212) 363-3200
No visit to the city that never sleeps is complete without seeing the
Statue of Liberty
Ellis Island
. Depending on the age of your child(ren), you may wish to see these monuments entirely via boat—or you may wish to hop off and climb Lady Lib. 

Women’s Rights National Historical Park

Age range: Ages 0-99
Location: 136 Fall St, Seneca Falls, NY
Phone: (315) 568-0024
Established in 1980 in Seneca Falls, NY, the
Women’s Rights National Historical Park
commemorates the very first women’s rights convention which took place in July of 1848. On the grounds of the park, you’ll find
Wesleyan Chapel
—the location of the convention—as well as the homes of
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Mary Ann M’Clintock

Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park

Age range: Ages 0-99
Location: 1 Naval, Marina Park S, Buffalo, NY
Phone: (716) 847-1773
Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park
—the largest inland naval park in the country—is a museum that’s both historic and unique! Why? Well, it’s housed on three decommissioned U.S. naval vessels—the USS Little Rock, the USS The Sullivans, and a submarine called the USS Croaker. 

Washington’s Headquarters

Age range: Ages 0-99
Location: 84 Liberty St, Newburgh, NY
Phone: (845) 562-1195
Not only are
Washington’s Headquarters
the nation’s first publicly owned historic site—they’re the very rooms in which America was made. General George Washington—who would become the first President of the United States—spent the majority of his time here during the Revolutionary War. This is the perfect stop for history buffs young and old. 

Fort Ticonderoga 

Age range: Ages 0-99
Location: 102 Fort Ti Road, Ticonderoga, NY
Phone: (518) 585-2821
Between Lake George and Lake Champlain, you’ll find
Fort Ticonderoga
, which offers an entire day’s worth of historical attractions to explore. 
The star-shaped fort was built by the French during the French and Indian War, and later held American troops during the American Revolution. Historians will wear traditional garb while performing musket firings, cannon demonstrations, and more.
You can also hike the battlefields, cruise the lakes, wander the King’s Gardens, gaze at artifacts in the museum, and even catch epic battle reenactments. 

Make your road trip great with great car insurance

If you’ve ever traveled with kids, you know how important it is to prepare for the unexpected. And one way to make sure your family’s road trip goes smoothly—no matter what—is by investing in a quality car insurance policy.
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