When you visit or live in the city that never sleeps, finding things to entertain your children can get quite expensive! Never fear! There are so many options to save some money while still having a great time with your family. Here are a few free or cheap activities for kids in New York City you won’t want to miss!
Create and Appreciate Art
The Museum of Modern Art in midtown Manhattan and MoMA PS1 (in Queens) both offer free admission for children 16 and under. On Friday nights, admission is free at the Manhattan location, and if you’re an NYC resident, there is no cost for admittance to the Queens location, regardless of your age. Teach your children to appreciate the multitude of more than 200,000 works of modern and contemporary art. Family events, such as weekend family activity stations, give your family a chance to experience engaging activities in front of select works of art. Free tours for four-year-olds (and up to two adults and two additional children) introduce toddlers to modern art in a safe, comfortable way involving movement, drawing, and other gallery activities. MoMA gives NYC residents and visitors an easy, affordable way to learn about and create art in the Big Apple!
Visit the Bronx Zoo
Seeing one of the top zoos in the country can be expensive with a family, so take your kids on a Wednesday where admission to the Bronx Zoo is the cost of a pay-what-you-wish donation. (Children 2 and under are always free.) Experience penguin and sea lion feedings and see 265 acres filled with wildlife habitats and zoo attractions. Make your way to the Congo Gorilla Forest featuring the Western Lowland Gorilla, Mandrill, and Okapi in an indoor and outdoor facility where gorillas interact and live. Check out the Children’s Zoo (closed during Winter months) where young and old can pet goats, sheep, or donkeys. Exhibits and activities for children along with affordable admission days make the Bronx Zoo the perfect NYC destination for kids!
Explore a Firehouse
The City of New York Fire Department (FDNY) offers Fire Zone, state-of-the-art fire-safety learning center at Rockefeller Center. Kids can climb a fire truck, try on firefighter gear, and even experience a simulated fire scene. Meeting a firefighter may be the highlight of the trip for many youngsters! General admission is free, but families can also experience a fire safety presentation, complete with simulation and materials to make a plan for safety in your own home. Cost for the presentation is $6.00 for adults and children and $2.00 for seniors. The presentation is recommended for children ages 5 and up.
Take a Ferry Ride
Take a free ride on the Staten Island Ferry for a premium view of the Manhattan skyline and some excellent photo opps for the kids. See the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the Brooklyn Bridge from your free seat on the ferry. You must get off the boat before heading back to Lower Manhattan, but Staten Island has a lot to offer for kids as well! The Staten Island Museum has free admission on Sneak Peek Tuesdays from 12-2 p.m. Children 12 and under are just $2 at other times. Enjoy museum exhibits of art and sports, and hands-on events for all ages (additional fees may apply). Next, visit the grounds of the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Gardens. Visit an art museum, multiple gardens, the Visitor’s Center, the Neptune Fountain, and a beautiful amphitheater which hosts a variety of events. Grounds’ admission is free, and children 12 and under are admitted at no cost to the various centers and gardens. If your goal is just to get the view and ride the ferry, you can hop back on after deboarding, but Staten Island is also a treat to tour for many kids and adults alike!
With everything to do in NYC, it’s easy to start ranking up the costs. However, these free or cheap activities for kids in New York City will take it easy on your pocketbook while still getting the approval from your kiddos for prime time fun!