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A Day Trip to NYC

Pack up the kids for a summer fun day trip

A kid friendly day trip to NYC

One of the great things about living in the Hudson Valley is our proximity to New York City. How great is it to be able to hop on a train and just zip right down to The City that Never Sleeps? A day trip to the City is a perfect solution for parents that want to get away during the summer without spending hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars on airfare, hotels, and the likes.

NYC is gigantic, so to help you narrow in on your family’s perfect NYC day trip, we’ve divided our places to go into the five boroughs. The entire family is sure to love these great places. Make sure you grab your camera!




City Island Seaside Trolley
Hop aboard this retro red-and-green trolley for a unique tour of City Island! The trolley is free, but only runs the first Friday of each month. As you take your set, the driver hands everyone a “ticket” which serves as a run-down of all the local shops along the tour that offer riders special deals. Since the trolley is a hop-on-hop-off service, you can pick and choose which places pique your interest. We suggest stopping by City Island Nautical Museum!

Bronx Zoo
With 265 acres of wildlife habitats and attractions, your family can easily spend an entire day at the Bronx Zoo.  We suggest opting for the “Total Experience Tickets,” which includes unlimited access to premium exhibits such as JungleWorld, 4-D Theater, Bug Carousel, Congo Gorilla Forest, Butterfly Garden, Wild Asia Monorail, and Zoo Shuttle. Without a “Total Experience Ticket” admission to these premium exhibits are $5/ea.  Some of our favorite animals at the zoo are the American Bison, Reticulated Giraffes, Sea Lions, and Tigers… okay, they are all our favorites! Insider Tip: Wednesdays are suggested donation day, so you can get in the park for a lot less than you would normally, but be prepared to pay for the premium exhibits and large crowds.

Wave Hill
Spend a day taking a stroll through Wave Hill garden. The garden has outstanding displays of flowers and trees, an art gallery, amazing architecture, as well as a café. Bring your camera and wear matching outfits because Wave Hill is the perfect place to take some family photos.  

Antonio’s Trattoria
Not too far from Wave Hill is Antonio’s Trattoria. This restaurant will definitely satisfy your hungry family after a long stroll through Wave Hill garden. The Frutti di Mare will not disappoint and your children will love the chicken parmigiana from the children’s menu. Make sure you order the Nutella pizza for dessert!


Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Get immerse in interactive activities at this museum made just for kids! Explore the various exhibits including “Dynamic H2O” where your child will play with an interactive water table as they learn the role water plays in the community. If your kids are born to explore, don’t miss “Adventures with Dora and Diego” where your child will learn about Latin American culture by pretend cooking Latin American foods and playing the drums. Your child will love this hands-on learning experience!

The High Line
Take a break from the busy city life and take a peaceful and relaxing stroll on this elevated park overlooking the Hudson River! This old abandoned train track has been transformed into a beautiful garden and walkway. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, visitors can take a tour and learn about how the High Line came into existence. Our favorite High Line activity is stargazing every Tuesday at dusk!

Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum
History comes to life as you take a guided tour of the legendary aircraft carrier Intrepid, guided missile submarine Growler, and space shuttle Pavilion! Your family will learn all about how these aircrafts and vessels served the US throughout history. Also on display are 28 authentically restored aircraft, including the Lockheed A-12 Blackbird, the world’s fastest military jet and spy plane. If your child is a history buff, the Intrepid is a must-visit.

5 Napkin Burger
How does sinking your teeth into a big juicy burger sound to you? Great… Grab lunch at 5 Napkin Burger where a variety of delicious mouth-watering burgers are offered. The Original 5 Napkin is a must-order for adults. It is made up of 10 ounces of beef topped with gruyere cheese, caramelized onions and rosemary aioli on a soft white roll. Have you gone gluten-free? No worries, 5 Napkin Burger serves up creative “Burger Bowls” which include a burger patty of your choice (beef, turkey, veggie, tuna, salmon, chicken) over a delicious green salad. Our favorite Burger Bowl is the Kale Burger Bowl which includes a burger patty of your choice over a bed of kale topped with pine nuts, currants, cotija cheese, and walnut vinaigrette.  They have a great kids menu selection as well which includes good-ole standbys like pizza, grilled cheese, and an imaginative peanut butter waffle served with a Belgium waffle topped with peanut butter, honey, banana, powered sugar, celery and carrots (hey wait, can adults order off the kids menu too!?).


Garden Creativi-Tea at Voelker Orth Museum
Join a summer art workshop, complete with delicious ice tea, at the Voelker Orth Garden! Every Tuesday get creative with hands–on activities like Terrarium Making. These activities are fun for all ages, so you and your child can engage in art together. Admission is $3 per individual and $6 per family for each session.

Museum of the Moving Image
Discover the art, history, technique, and technology of the moving image in all its forms. See the process of musical scores being placed into some of your family’s favorite films. The kids are sure to love the interactive activities and arcade exhibit! Sign your kids up now for “Drop-in Moving Image Studio: Game Room,” a workshop offered until July 30th where children can play and design their own games!

Forest Park Carousel
Your children will love riding and you’ll love marveling at the carousel’s intricate hand-carved details. The amount of detail and attention that was put into each animal on this mystical carousel built in 1903 will amaze your family and definitely make it a carousel that your family will remember. Stop by on a weekend to catch a magic show after a turn or two on the carousel. Don’t forget to stop by the Woodhaven Express on your way out!

Queens County Farm Museum
Take your kids to this fun and educational farm where you’ll learn about organic farming. Pack some antibacterial hand gel because your child will love feeding the goats and sheep!  On Saturdays and Sundays the farm offers guided tours via a history hayride. Make sure you visit the gift shop before leaving to pick up eggs and vegetables straight from the farm!

Queen’s Comfort
Everyone is buzzing about Queen’s Comfort! The staff is beyond funny and extremely friendly. Make sure you try “The Pig Mac” which includes fried pork tenderloin, pickles, chopped onion, and spicy aioli. The disco tots are always a crowd favorite; I mean who doesn’t love tater tots drenched in brown gravy and cheddar cheese?


Brooklyn Navy Yard BLDG 92
Explore the navy yard with your family while learning about its history and examining amazing artifacts! One of our favorite guided tours is the Sustainable Architecture and Industry Tour. During this two hour biking tour, you’ll learn all about how the Yard is going green. From wind-and-solar-powered lamps, to adaptive reused historic materials, you’ll see it all. PLUS: you’ll get an up-close view of the nation’s first green multi-story industrial building. You’ll need to supply your own bicycle and safety helmet, but don’t worry you don’t have to lug your bike all the way down to the city. You can rent a bicycle at Ride Brooklyn Bike Shop, Blazing Saddles, or CitiBike.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Take a stroll and admire the beautiful flowers and plants in Brooklyn’s most popular garden! Make sure you have your camera handy as the garden is packed with a ton of photo-ops. The Discovery Garden is the perfect place for kids (and adults) to explore, learn, and have fun with hands-on exhibits about wildlife, plants, and more. Be sure to check out the Yellow Magnolia Canteen where they offer tasty sandwiches for your family!

Brooklyn Children’s Museums
Bring your children to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum for a fun and educational experience! The Totally Tots exhibit is guaranteed to engage your children through its sensory play areas. Explore life science in the Neighborhood Nature exhibit and even meet live animals! Your family will love this hands-on experience that offers plenty of activities to do for everyone.

Pop-Up Audubon at Prospect Park
Engage with nature at the Pop-Up Audubon program! Your family will learn about Prospect Park’s ecosystems through a series of hands-on activities such as identifying macro invertebrates in the upper watercourse, guided nature walks, removing litter, bird watching and more! Be sure to check out the Prospect Park website for the day’s theme before you arrive as each day has a different theme. Once you’ve absorbed as much information about nature as you possibly can, head over to the park’s carousel, playground, and zoo!

The Farm on Adderley
What’s better than a meal made with farm fresh ingredients? Our must-try pick is the local favorite, the Farm Burger! This option boasts a juicy burger atop an English muffin with house cut fries. We love adding cheddar and bacon to ours! The children’s menu offers delicious options such as an organic beef hot dog, grilled cheese, and crispy tofu.


Snug Harbor Cultural Center
Take a stroll through this beautiful, old garden. Your children will love the “Connie Gretz Secret Garden.” Parents can stand on the rock setting to watch their children go through the small maze to find the secret garden in the middle! Your children will love this adventure! Bonus for the adults: Beautiful scenic views can be seen all throughout this magnificent garden.

Alice Austen House Museum
Come explore one of the oldest private residences in NYC. The residence was home to Alice Austen, a famed photographer. Take a tour through this historical home and admire breathtaking bridge and city views. The current exhibit, “Staten Island Unlimited” features contemporary photography from thirty-five local photographers. Be sure to check their website for current exhibits as they rotate often.

Staten Island Zoo
Who doesn’t love a trip to the zoo? Your family will love the chance to see some of their favorite animals in person. Your children will learn about the animals and what we can do to protect them through the zoo’s educational guides and services. Make sure you check out the petting zoo where your kids can feed goats and sheep. Don’t miss the arctic fox and lion exhibits!

Staten Island Children’s Museum
Your kids will have so much fun playing at the Staten Island Children’s Museum, they won’t even realize they’re really learning! Your children will beg you to stay and play all day because the museum has a trove of interactive games and activities perfect for elementary age kids. The large fire truck and oversized bowling is always a fan favorite!

Denino’s Pizzeria Tavern
Let’s be real, the best pizza in the world comes from NYC (okay, maybe it comes from Italy, but NYC is a close second)! Thin crust, homemade marinara, fresh mozzarella, basil… Mouth watering yet? Grab couple slices at the pizzeria locals rave about! The friendly atmosphere makes Denino’s the perfect lunch spot for your family. Make sure to try the garbage pie (with sausage, meatballs, pepperoni, mushrooms, and onions) and do yourself a favor and start out with the fried calamari!

Jacqueline Kavana is a student at Mount Saint Mary College and an editorial intern at Hudson Valley Parent.