Looking to Travel This Summer? Check Out Our NYC + Brooklyn Summer Family Fun Guide
Some family outings are a given in NYC (our new Rebby US headquarters). Others depend on the spend, age of your little ones and how many family members will be along for the adventure. We’ve assembled this Family Fun Guide so you can find the perfect summer adventures based on your budget, mood, patience and location. And if you haven’t been to Brooklyn lately, your FOMO is real. From parks to playgrounds, museums to aquariums, we’ve got plenty of seasonal picks to keep parents proudly in the loop. We’ve rated the cost (FREE, $ affordable or $$ moderate) to help navigate them all because we’re all a bit budget-conscious right now.
Step into this 3-level ice cream dream and get scooped up in giddy disbelief. Our favorite interactive, hyper-sensory playground turns what-ifs into why-nots for insatiable dessert lovers. Feast on unusual flavors, play in the sprinkle pool, go flying down the highest slide in the city and learn all about ice cream’s surprisingly sweet history. It’s all kinds of crazy, hands-on fun and (hooray!) you won’t have to clean up a single drip or crumb of it.
$$ Adults $38, children 2 and under FREE
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
This 52-acre landscape is so lush in the summer it’s absolutely one of the most picture-perfect wedding venues. But you need no excuse to celebrate and partake of this sun-dappled wonderland. Brooklyn’s Botanic Garden gives you a chance to be at one with nature’s soothing sights and sounds, and enjoy the vibrant summer colors that boast more than 18,000 kinds of plants. This outdoor adventure encourages kids to nurture plants as living things. It will create delight and curiosity while inspiring gratitude for the world around us.
$ Adults $12, children under 12 FREE
The High Line
By far the hippest, most happening park, maybe in the entire country. The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long elevated linear greenway created on a former New York Central Railroad spur. The so-called living system synergizes landscape architecture, urban design and ecology. You’ll find artisan eats and gift vendors, seasonally changing art and gorgeous gardens that take their cues from the wild plants and grasses that once covered the abandoned tracks. Stroll above the city at a leisurely pace, soak up the sun with a stroller , or stargaze through a high-powered telescope. Chelsea Piers is a massive athletic complex (located at 23rd Street along the Hudson River) where you can bowl, ice-skate, rock climb and play golf. Check out the Toddler Gym and guided gymnastics.
Dress the fam in black from head-to-toe and immerse their inner spies in this alternate universe that takes its cues from Mission Impossible, Spy Kids and every espionage movie you’ve ever loved. Prepare to spend hours enjoying this techie-spooky-cool destination where challenges include code-making and breaking, lying and lie-detecting, and face recognition, among other superpowers. A real-life intelligence expert will help you fine-tune your skills
In the summertime, Coney Island comes alive as if by magic, and the feels are truly electric. Not actually a theme park, but more like a seaside playground, it has an old-school charm that’s famed for a reason. Worth checking out, in no particular order: the Cyclone roller coaster, Wonder Wheel, original Nathan’s Famous hot dogs and funnel cake on the Boardwalk. So many things make this a bucket list must, from unexpected sideshows to pizzerias.
FREE - $$$
New York Aquarium
This spot, located on Coney Island, is a day-long adventure in itself. Go nose-to-nose with nature and dive into a stunning underworld of sea turtles, gentle fishies, ravenous sharks and things that thrive in the deep. Underwater adventures, like the coral reef tunnel, are oddly satisfying, soothing and sure to relax you. New to the scene:The Playquarium, a kelp forest and the opportunity for little ones to turn themselves into a sardine or whale. This is the oldest continually operating aquarium in the United States with an impressive 500 species of marine life that will keep their little jaws wide open.
$$ Adults $27+ Children under 3 FREE
Make an ordinary day feel downright wondrous — and potentially inspire a future artist or designer — with this mood-lifting, urban-cool exhibit where touching things and interacting with displays are actually encouraged. Every installation is curated to spark creativity and encourage a love of color, which puts the cool factor off the chart. Walk in, and skip out with a memory that will leave you smiling for weeks
$$$ Adults $38, Children under 3 FREE
Prospect Park Zoo
Brooklyn’s 12-acre zoo, and its buzzed-about Discovery Trail, never disappoints, dropping you up-close into the world of big cats, red panda, dingo and rare birds. It’s the personalities of each animal, and how they delight the kids, that we could watch endlessly. We love the sea lion feeding sessions and gorgeous peacocks patrolling the premises. With a captivating photo op around every corner, your blog, ‘Gram or Facebook will be the envy of all.
$$ Adults $9.99, Children under 3 FREE
Arguably one of the best places to host a birthday party for older kids because it’s an actual firehouse, this living ode honors heroes and heroines galore with artifacts, exhibits and highly informational tours to help you avoid real-life fire hazards. Learn all about New York’s resident superhumans, adored for their bravery, strength, sacrifice and, oh yeah, awe-inspiring trucks.
$$ Adults $10, children under 3 FREE
Staten Island Ferry
Usher your little pirates aboard this beloved boat. The ferry runs a single route approximately 5.2 miles from New York Harbor through the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Staten Island. It’s a 25 minute must-ride for visitors, but never fails to make locals lift their heads from their phones to appreciate where they live. Bonus points: This experience is provided by the city, so it’s as FREE as it is fun for those on a budget. It runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week allowing parentals to fly by the seat of their pantaloons.
Once you hop off the ferry, look over your shoulder at the view of the Manhattan skyline. Swoon. Now head toward a painstakingly restored Jane’s Carousel, which awaits in Brooklyn Bridge Park. We just love a nostalgic merry-go-round and this one is definitely the most resplendent. Next up: Dumbo. Not the Disney character, but the perfect neighborhood for cool-hunting with its idyllic cobblestone streets. In true urban style, converted warehouse buildings serve as the backdrop for lots of indie boutiques and trendy restaurants. Grab the perfect pizza in the history of ever at Grimaldis.
$ Adults $2, children under 42” may share a ticket with adult
American Museum Of Natural History
Tyrannosaurus Rex. Need we say more? This Jurassic, joy-filled destination is the ultimate school field trip for a reason. It takes an entire afternoon to enjoy the giant screen movies, planetarium space shows, butterfly conservatory and endless exhibits. In a matter of minutes, kids will become experts on brown bears, blue whales and climate change.
$$ Adults $23, children under 3 FREE
Brooklyn Walking Tour
If you’ve got a baby, one of the best things to do in NYC is walk, like a true New Yorker. You get to choose your own adventure on this one, any time of day, anywhere you choose. Take a stroller through the charming neighborhoods, pop into Blue Bottle Coffee or get a cocktail at one of the amazing bars and restaurants with patio seating. Our favorite destinations for safety and views: Central Park, High Line, along the Dumbo Water and across the Brooklyn Bridge (from which you can see the Statue of Liberty). PS wear comfortable walking shoes.
Central Park Playgrounds
Central Park, the largest in Manhattan, offers respite from a bustling concrete jungle. There are an astounding 21 playgrounds and lots of other hidden adventures, which means you’ll never get bored wandering (or need a swing set in your own backyard if you live here). Each is unique in theme, design and play equipment but our favorite is Ancient Playground on the East Side at 85th St. Just north of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this popular city playground was inspired by the museum's collection of Egyptian Art so it’s got towering pyramids you can climb, an obelisk, tunnels and forts. There are also user-activated water features and a cascading mini waterfall for surviving the sweltering summer season. Sign us up for the sandpit, slides and sprinklers.
Brooklyn Children’s Museum
Learning, unleashed. Brooklyn Children's Museum was the first created just for children, fueling the creation — and imitation — of roughly 300 other children's museums around the world. Hands-on exhibits and collections engage children from pre-K to high school, fostering self-confidence in themselves, and a respect for others and the world at large. Delve deep into the stories of world cultures, history, science and nature. There are live animals and a collection of 30,000 historical artifacts mom and dad will also dig.
$ Adults $13
It’s perpetually playtime at Lalo Land. The brand, best known for its sustainable and non-toxic baby gear, offers everything from music classes to sensory splendor. Union Square Play hosts classes for babies and parents, plus they host a well-known group for moms. Check the schedule before checking out a class.
Your partner in parenting (lighter),