We've finally emerged from the blanket of cold and the Arctic air, so it's a perfect time to get out and embrace the warmer weather. We've compiled 10 fun spots to take the kids to this Spring in New York that all offer outdoor fun.
1. Visit a beach
Take a family walk on the beach. From the North Shore to the waves of the South shore, there's a beach for everyone on Long Island. Pack a picnic, bring a ball or kite and unplug for a day of collecting shells and playing.
2. Coney Island
Yes, it' still there if you haven't visited in a while! You've got the boardwalk, the aquarium and over 50 rides. You've got the people for the ultimate people -watching experience, the sea air and the hot dogs ( Nathan's Famous ). And of course, the Cyclone and the Souvenir shops. And there's a website to tell you more and a park site to entice your kids with ride info.
3. The Zoo
Bronx, Central park or Queens, it's your choice. The Bronx Zoo is my pick for a full day of fun from camel rides, gorilla walks, monorail viewing of giant elephants and rainforest rooms. So much to see and do and don't forget the Bug Carousel and Butterfly Garden!
4. NY Hall of Science
We just went a few weeks ago and the Hall of Science is better than ever. It's got a few floors of amazing hands -on science activities for all ages, the hall of mirrors, a super gift shop and an outside area open now in the Spring that kids LOVE! See the site for all the info and remember that Sundays are FREE admission from 10-11 AM and Fridays 2-5PM until July. The science playground, mini gold and 3d theatre all cost a fee though, even if you get in free, but are well worth it. Super place to visit!
5. Greenport/Sag Harbor
A leisurely drive out on the North Fork will put you into the nautical town of Greenport. Spend the early afternoon browsing the shops, taking the kids on the outdoor, partially enclosed carousel and eating lunch at one of the many wonderful cafe's and restaurants then take your car aboard the ferry to Shelter Island for some more exploring. From Shelter Island, another ferry will take you to Sag Harbor where you can again, explore the many shops, eat a wonderful dinner, awe at the giant yachts and even put your feet in the water on the tiny "beach" front area. Wind your way home from Sag Harbor along through the Hamptons for more awesome sight seeing and spur of the moment exploration stops.
6. Farm stands and Farmer's Markets
Along that ride to Greenport, you may be tempted to stop at the many farm stands and vineyards, but why not save that for another day. The North Fork has a ton, as does the South Fork. If you want to stick closer to home, visit some local farmer's markets on Sundays. Some even offer music and free samples for a nice way to spend a weekend morning. You get to buy fresh LI grown produce, support local farmers and fellow Long Islanders and artisans and enjoy the outside air.
7. The Long Island Aquarium
Now that the weather is warm, the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center is a wonderful place to spend the day along the riverfront in Riverhead. The outside area doubles your exhibits to visit and kids can even roll up their pants and wade with the crabs in a shallow supervised water area. There's a game room, a rock wall, ice cream, an arcade and a ride( fee) that offers beautiful views of the River. Inside you'll find the shark tunnel, the touch tanks and many other exhibits. There's a short sea lion show a few times a day too. For an extra cost, you can visit with the birds and butterflies in the Hyatt Hotel exhibit. Cafeteria and gift shop round out your experience. Kids love this place!
8. Central Park and the city experience
If you live on Long Island like I do, you probably don't make it to the city as often as you'd like with the kids. But Spring is such a great time to visit! We have such fun days taking the train in, walking around Rockefeller Center and Times Square and then heading to Central Park. The kids climb the rocks, we people watch, we eat junk from street vendors, listen to the street musicians and throw a few coins in their boxes, and we gaze at the sky scrapers while we listen to the clop-clop of horses hooves. Or take a walk past the Empire State Building- kids love looking straight up at that beauty! If that's not enough to get you to in the city mood, I don't know what is. And all this can be done on a budget of train fare, hot dog and lunch money and maybe a few bucks for a souvenier.
The End, as it's known is a town that simply has too many things to list and literally offers something for everyone. Fishing? But of course. Sailing? Boating? Stand up paddle board lessons? yes. yes. yes!Montauk IS mini golfing, miles of hiking, sand dunes, expansive views, horseback riding, shopping and of course eating the freshest fish you will find anywhere. Live music, fairs and festivals , great stores, docks to walk, and of course, the lighthouse to climb. Can it get any better than this town? I think not.(can you tell it's one of my favorite places to visit?) It's a world away-you feel like you are on vacation- but a mere few hour drive from the city. Montauk attracts the jet-set and the serious fisherman,visits from families, couples and anyone who wants to drink in the wild air.
10. Visit the Intrepid
This popular sea, air and space museum makes a great day trip , situated on the Hudson River, the Intrepid boasts incredible views of the Statue of Liberty, George Washington Bridge and the New York City skyline and is a 15 minute walk from other popular attractions. Families love to see the Exploreum Interactive Hall, check out the simulators and XD theaters and learn more about everything from space shuttles to submarines and from history to science.