Whether people are kids, or simply kids at heart, the state of New York is home to an abundance of fun experiences and adventures for the entire family to enjoy. With the wide array of attractions and activities the state has to offer, there’s something for nearly everyone and every taste in fun things to do. From parks and zoos to lake regions and state parks to children’s museums and aquariums, there’s no shortage of ways for families to spend a day out together creating memories.
1.Adirondack Animal Land
© Adirondack Animal Land
Adirondack Animal Land in Vails Mills, New York is a family-owned and operated park that provides a home to more than five hundred animals in natural settings. This wildlife park encompasses eighty acres of New York farmland situated within the foothills of the state’s Adirondack Mountains. Since the property is a propagation facility for wildlife, visitors can see wooly baby llamas and bottle-raised baby animals, along with dozens of other animals, such as zebras, primates, camels, and kangaroos. Guests can feed baby animals, explore a Western town from the 1800’s, have a picnic or grab lunch from the Country Kitchen, and more.
3554 State Highway 30, Vails Mills, NY 12078, Phone: 518-883-5748
2.All Things Oz Museum
© All Things Oz Museum
The All Things Oz Museum in Chittenango, New York is where the International L. Frank Baum & All Things Oz Historical Foundation calls home. The town is the birthplace of L. Frank Baum, the author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The museum is managed by a dedicated staff of volunteers who are responsible for curating more than 15,000 pieces. The All Things Oz Museum exhibits between 1,200 and 1,400 pieces at any given time, including original costumes and props from musicals and movies, thousands of Oz memorabilia, Judy Garland’s autograph, and rare collectibles.
219 Genesee St, Chittenango, NY 13037, Phone: 315-687-7772
3.Aquarium of Niagara
The Aquarium of Niagara offers an “ocean of discovery” as the other “wet wonder” of Niagara Falls, New York. The aquarium features more than thirty exhibits, including over 1,500 animals representing around two hundred aquatic species of animals. Exhibits include the Penguin Coast exhibit, coral reefs, California sea lions, and more. The Aquarium of Niagara also offers other experiences for visitors, such as daily tidal pool, shark, and penguin feedings. The Whaling Wall, a life-sized vibrant whale painting, gives guests a look at the underwater world waiting inside the aquarium, which can be reached by the trails or the in-park trolley.
701 Whirlpool St, Niagara Falls, NY 14301, Phone: 716-285-3575
4.Boldt Castle on Heart Island
The Boldt Castle on Heart Island, situated near Alexandria Bay, New York, is one of the region’s premier attractions, located in the famous 1000 Islands. Built by millionaire hotel magnate George C. Boldt, construction of the home started in 1900 as a tribute to Boldt’s wife Louise. The castle was meant to be the couple’s summer home, but sadly, Louise died in 1904, only months before the castle’s completion. Visitors can tour Boldt Castle to see the indoor pool, George Boldt’s bedroom, and the grand staircase. The impressive and beautiful grounds are also interesting to explore and features several other structures.
1 Heart Island, Alexandria Bay, NY 13607, Phone: 315-482-9724
5.Brooklyn Children's Museum
© Brooklyn Children's Museum
The Brooklyn Children's Museum boasts the title of the first children’s museum in the world and has been one of New York City’s beloved destinations for families since the year 1899. The Crown Heights institution consists of three floors of both permanent and rotating interactive exhibits, as well as hands-on science and cultural programs, designed for children between the ages of six months and ten years, including exhibits with historical artifacts and live animals. There museum includes a special play area for kids under five years old. The Brooklyn Children's Museum is open six days a week, closed on Mondays.
145 Brooklyn Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11213, Phone: 718-735-4400
6.Brooklyn Wild Parrot Safari
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The Brooklyn Wild Parrot Safari is certainly one of the most unique experiences families will find around New York City. Most people expect to find pigeons and sparrows in the trees of Brooklyn, not wild parakeets. During the Brooklyn Wild Parrot Safari, visitors will spot flashes of bright green and hear the shrill squawk of the Monk parakeets during a unique experience that kids are sure to find a delight. The guide of Brooklyn Wild Parrot Safaris has been operating these one-of-a-kind tours since 2005, possessing patience and vast knowledge that makes him a great guide with curious kids.
7.Buffalo Museum of Science
© Buffalo Museum of Science
The Buffalo Museum of Science in Buffalo, New York has long been a resource for answering the question of “why.” Eleven different exhibit areas make up the science museum, which include Rethink Extinct, Our Place in Space, Our Marvelous Earth, Nano, In Motion, Explore You, Explorations, Biodiversity, and Artifacts. From its captivating exhibits to knowledgeable staff to inspiring collection, the Buffalo Museum of Science is dedicated to perpetuating the question of “why” in everyone who explore its exhibit halls. Guests can find a pendulum tracking the movement of the Earth, a hive large enough to hold 80,000 bees, and much more.
1020 Humboldt Pkwy, Buffalo, NY 14211, Phone: 716-896-5200
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The Buffalo Zoo spans across approximately 23.5 acres and is the country’s third oldest zoo, established back in 1875. Housing both local wildlife and some of the most endangered, exotic wildlife in the world, the zoo is the town’s only destination for observing a broad array of domestic and exotic animals throughout the year in naturalistic habitats. Exhibits include the Rainforest Falls and Arctic Edge exhibits, as well as the Delta Sonic Heritage Farm, a replica of a farmstead during the 1850’s along the Erie Canal. Visitors can see rare Indian rhinos, sea lions, reptiles, polar bears, gorillas, and more.
300 Parkside Ave, Buffalo, NY 14214, Phone: 716-837-3900
9.Central Park Zoo
The Central Park Zoo, located within New York City’s famed Central Park, and is open every single day throughout the year. The zoo is made up of three major biomes: the Polar Circle, the Temperate Territory, and the Tropic Zone. It is also home to the Tisch Children’s Zoo, where young kids can get up-close and personal with sheep, goats, and more. The Polar Circle exhibit features puffins, penguins, and harbor seals that are sure to delight guests with their antics. The Temperate Territory transports visitors to Asia where they can visit with cranes, red pandas, and snow monkeys.
64th St & 5th Ave, New York, NY 10021, Phone: 212-439-6500
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10.Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum
© Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum
The Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum shares interesting information about the cargo boats that once carried produce, coal, lumber, and grain along the Erie Canal from the west to the markets of the east. Situated in Chittenango’s Old Erie Canal State Historic Park, the museum features a three-bay excavated drydock as its main highlight, built back in 1855. Other things visitors can see at the Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum include model canal boats, reconstructed blacksmith and woodworking shops, excavated remains of canal boats, a reconstructed aqueduct, a sawmill, and a sunken canal boat, when there is clear water.
717 Lakeport Rd, Chittenango, NY 13037, Phone: 315-687-3801
11.Delaware and Ulster Railroad
© Delaware and Ulster Railroad
The Delaware and Ulster Railroad provides a great experience for any family with kids who love trains. The railroad takes passengers on an exciting and fun ride through the scenic Catskill Mountain aboard a vintage train, providing spectacular views of New York’s Delaware County. During the train ride, the Delaware and Ulster Railroad takes guests on two-hour excursion, traveling from Arkville, New York to Roxbury and then back to Arkville, passing by world-famous trout streams, farmland, and rural hamlets along the way, all framed by the panoramic mountain views. During the summer season, guests can enjoy one of the open-air cars.
43510 State Highway 28, Arkville, NY 12406, Phone: 800-225-4132
12.Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo
© Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo
The Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo in Rome, New York is home to a large variety of different species of animals from nearly every corner of the world. While many zoos in New York focus on more exotic animal species, such as giraffes, elephants, tigers, and lions, the Fort Rickey Zoo specializes in more accessible smaller animals.While getting up close to these animals is a significant part of the zoo, it’s more than a petting zoo, home to tortoises, llamas, gray wolves, lemurs, and more. In the petting zoo, however, the most well known resident may be the African Pygmy Goats.
5135 Rome-New London Rd, Rome, NY 13440, Phone: 315-336-1930
13.Garnet Mine Tours
Garnet Mine Tours offers a fun treasure hunting experience for visitors of all ages. Beginning at the Gore Mountain Mineral Shop, tour participants follow a guide in their own care to the location of the actual location of the Garnet Mines. Once at the mine, the guide shares the geology and history of Garnet Mine and demonstrates how people can find their own garnet gemstones, beautiful mineral specimens, and large garnet crystal faces in the open pit. This mine site is primarily flat, making it wheelchair accessible and good for walking. Garnet rocks are weight at the site’s Mineral Shop.
1126 Barton Mines Rd, North River, NY 12856, Phone: 518-251-2706
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In the middle of the Rose Center at the American Museum of Natural History is a sphere approximately eighty-seven feet in diameter that seems to float inside of a glass cube. The upper part is the Hayden Planetarium, opened at the center in 2000, which remains as an enduring symbol of astrophysical education. The Hayden Planetarium Space Theater seats a little more than four hundred people and displays a hyper realistic view of the planets, nebulae, star clusters, and galaxies. It uses a 3D map that is scientifically accurate of the observable universe, which is based on countless astronomical observations.
200 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024, Phone: 212-769-5100
15.Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum
© Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum
The Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum in North Tonawanda, New York celebrates the production of carousels, other amusement rides, and band organs in Western New York. Housed in the Allan Herschell Company Factory Building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the museum offers antique carousel rides, a variety of exhibits, a family-oriented Children’s Gallery, a gift shop, demonstrations, and occasional events. Guests can choose to take a ride on the Kiddie Carousel, a small aluminum carousel from the 1940’s, or the 1916 #1 Special, built in 1916 and featuring more than 580 lights and 36 hand-carved horses.
180 Thompson St, North Tonawanda, NY 14120, Phone: 716-693-1885
Each tour of the Howe Caverns begins with a 156-foot descent down below the surface of the earth, followed by a journey that takes visitors under huge boulders, through cavernous galleries, and through the limestone corridors until they reach the subterranean riverbed, which was carved over a course of countless millennia. The Traditional Tour of Howe Caverns is a ninety-minute walking tour, along with a boat ride. An experienced guide leads guests from Lester Howe’s study above ground, underground, and through the The Giant Formation, Titan’s Temple, and more as they learn about how the cave system was discovered.
255 Discovery Dr, Howes Cave, NY 12092, Phone: 518-296-8900
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17.Lake George Steamboat
Guests can choose from several different cruises with the Lake George Steamboat Company aboard one of three large ships: the Lac du Saint Sacrement, the Mohican, and the Minne-Ha-Ha. Cruises are offered from the beginning of May through the middle of October, with as many as thirteen different cruises offered during each day, including Entertainment Cruises, Sightseeing Cruises, and Meal Cruises. During the spring and the fall, the Lake George Steamboat Company, offers Sightseeing, Lunch, Specialty Dinner, and Brunch Cruises. Meal cruises take place aboard the Lac du Saint Sacrement, the largest tour ship on New York’s inland waters.
57 Beach Rd, Lake George, NY 12845, Phone: 518-668-5777
18.Lockport Cave and Underground Boat Ride
© Lockport Cave and Underground Boat Ride
The Lockport Cave and Underground Boat Ride is only a thirty-minute drive from Niagara Falls, New York, offering visitors an exciting and fun guided tour, which lasts approximately seventy minutes, that takes guests through the history of America near Niagara Falls and Buffalo. During the tour, the historic “Flight of Five” Erie Canal Locks 67-71, built back in 1838, are explored. Visitors will also see stalactites, a variety of geological formations, ruins from the time of the industrial revolution, flow stone, artifacts left by men who constructed the tunnel during the Erie Canal’s early days, and more.
5 Gooding St, Lockport, NY 14094, Phone: 716-438-0174
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19.Long Island Aquarium
The Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead, New York takes guests along a magical undersea journey through a wide variety of exhibits, bring the wonders of the sea to life. From outdoor exhibits by the Peconic River to indoor exhibits capturing the ambience of the legendary Lost City of Atlantis to experiences featuring an interactive dimension, the aquarium provides many different ways to captivate and fascinate visitors. One of this hemisphere’s largest all-living coral reef exhibits can be found at the Long Island Aquarium, along with several touch tanks, sea lion shows, butterflies, and a 120,000 gallon shark tank.
431 E Main St, Riverhead, NY 11901, Phone: 631-208-9200
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20.Old McDonalds Farm
© Old McDonalds Farm
Old McDonald’s Farm is located in Sackets Harbor, New York and sets the stage for a hands-on, agricultural, and educational adventure for children of all ages. The farm provides both kids and the “kids-at-heart” with several opportunities to have fun and learn about agriculture. Old McDonald’s Farm is a completely hands-on experience, from pony rides to a tour of the modern dairy farm to petting dozens of animals, to feeding the huge cows. Hayrides, miniature golf, bounce houses, a visit with more than two hundred farm animals, and more are all included with admission to the farm.
14369 County Rd 145, Sackets Harbor, NY 13685, Phone: 315-583-5737
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21.Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour
The Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour invites everyone to experience Brooklyn and its pizza “from one end to the other.” The famous tour has been features on The Travel Channel, The Food Network, and The Today Show. The Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour is around four and a half hours in duration and takes place at 11:00am, five days a week. During the tour, participants get to skip the lines at several of Brooklyn’s best places to get a delicious slice of pizza. The tour also includes a stroll down the famed Coney Island Boardwalk and a visit to famous movie locations.
2036 61st St, Brooklyn, NY 11204, Phone: 917-515-5409
22.Statue of Liberty
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The world-famous Statue of Liberty was a gift to the United States from France and is widely viewed as a symbol of democracy and freedom. Dedicated in October of 1886, the iconic national landmark was designated in 1924 as a National Monument. Tickets are available to the public for the grounds around the Statue of Liberty, as well as for inside the Pedestal or the Crown. Visitors arrive to the island via ferry service and all tickets for the ferry include admission to the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration and the Statue of Liberty Museum.
Liberty Island, New York, NY 10004, Phone: 212-363-3200
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23.The Strong National Museum Of Play
© The Strong National Museum Of Play
The Strong National Museum Of Play in Rochester, New York is the area’s ultimate destination for play for children of all ages, featuring the largest collection of electronic games, board games, dolls, and toys in the world. Kids can enjoy hands-on play with the numerous toys in the museum’s Toy Halls of Fame or delight in a virtual 20-foot bubble tower. There are also several popular pinball machines and a 1980’s video game arcade that are sure to entertain both adults and kids alike. The museum is also home to the only indoor year-round butterfly garden in Upstate New York.
1 Manhattan Square Dr, Rochester, NY 14607, Phone: 585-263-2700
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The Utica Zoo is a fun destination for people of all ages, making it a great day out for the entire family. Visitors can connect with the surrounding nature while visiting with a wide variety of both domestic and exotic animals from all parts of the world. Guests can listen to the roars of the African lions, watch the endangered and adorable red pandas, or view the feeding of the California sea lions. A hike through the wooded North Trek takes visitors through nature at the Utica Zoo, home to over two hundred animals, such as Australian emus, zebras, and many more.
1 Utica Zoo Way, Utica , NY 13501, Phone: 315-738-0472
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25.White Post Animal Farm
© White Post Animal Farm
The White Post Animal Farm is a popular petting zoo located on New York’s Long Island. Situated in Melville, White Post is a family owned-and operated farm, and has been around since the year 1886. The family attraction has been featured in The New York Times and The Daily News, as well as on The Today Show, Fox 5, and NBC 4. The White Post Animal Farm has also been voted as the “number one petting zoo on Long Island” by the Long Island Press readers, as well as voted by New York Magazine as the “number one thing to do with the kids.”
250 Old Country Rd, Melville, NY 11747, Phone: 631-351-9373
25 Fun Things to Do in New York State with Kids of All Ages
- Adirondack Animal Land, Photo: Adirondack Animal Land
- All Things Oz Museum, Photo: All Things Oz Museum
- Aquarium of Niagara, Photo: Bob/stock.adobe.com
- Boldt Castle on Heart Island, Photo: quasarphotos/stock.adobe.com
- Brooklyn Children's Museum, Photo: Brooklyn Children's Museum
- Brooklyn Wild Parrot Safari, Photo: Premium Stock Images/stock.adobe.com
- Buffalo Museum of Science, Photo: Buffalo Museum of Science
- Buffalo Zoo, Photo: André Gerken/stock.adobe.com
- Central Park Zoo, Photo: Wilding/stock.adobe.com
- Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum, Photo: Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum
- Delaware and Ulster Railroad, Photo: Delaware and Ulster Railroad
- Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo, Photo: Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo
- Garnet Mine Tours, Photo: CrimeScene/stock.adobe.com
- Hayden Planetarium, Photo: Artsiom Petrushenka/stock.adobe.com
- Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum, Photo: Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum
- Howe Caverns, Photo: bjphotographs/stock.adobe.com
- Lake George Steamboat, Photo: MISHELA/stock.adobe.com
- Lockport Cave and Underground Boat Ride, Photo: Lockport Cave and Underground Boat Ride
- Long Island Aquarium, Photo: kichigin19/stock.adobe.com
- Old McDonalds Farm, Photo: Old McDonalds Farm
- Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour, Photo: jeepbabes/stock.adobe.com
- Statue of Liberty, Photo: EG-Keith Photography/stock.adobe.com
- The Strong National Museum Of Play, Photo: The Strong National Museum Of Play
- Utica Zoo, Photo: Mahmoud Masad/stock.adobe.com
- White Post Animal Farm, Photo: White Post Animal Farm
- Cover Photo: Monkey Business/stock.adobe.com