There are plenty of things to do in New York with kids, whether you want to explore a fast-paced city or go back to a simpler time.
Steamboats and Six Flags at Lake George
Explore the countryside by riding horseback on over 500 acres of trail at Circle B Ranch, just 17 miles north of Lake George. Family-owned since 1961, the ranch has trails for riders at all levels and breathtaking views of the Adirondack Mountains. Come dash through the snow on a horse sleigh, bound on a wagon ride through the countryside and watch the kids enjoy pony rides.
The Last of the Mohicans Outdoor Drama at the Wild West Ranch gives visitors a historical glimpse of the region. The story, written by James Fenimore Cooper, takes place in 1757 during the French and Indian War. The French and the British were fighting over the Lake George and Lake Champlain waterways. Enjoy the two-hour outdoor production under the stars and dine at the Wild Horse Saloon before the show and explore the Western town and ranch. Wild West Ranch also features family entertainment during the day with horseback riding, pony rides, a petting zoo and paintball.
The Fort William Henry Museum, located at the southern end of Lake George, also offers a vivid historical account of the area. This guided tour teaches about Native Americans and military techniques, and kids get to be in the King’s army.
Located 11 miles north of Lake George, Up Yonda Farm features 73 acres to hike and explore with your group. Wildlife exhibits, hiking trails, a maple sugar house, a woodworking program and a butterfly garden are all available.
There is fun for everyone at Great Escape Six Flags, whether you want to squeal tires around go-kart tracks, scream aboard one of the top wooden roller coasters in the world or dive into a 500,000-gallon wave pool. This family activity is a great thing to do in New York with kids on your next vacation.
Enjoy the sites of Lake George on a calm and entertaining cruise with Lake George Steamboat Company. The three 400-passenger steamboats feature sightseeing, meals and fireworks.
Just down the road from the steamboat docks is the most popular beach in Lake George: Million Dollar Beach. The beach is free, except for parking, and features plenty of room to swim, sand volleyball courts, lifeguards on duty, picnic areas and locker rooms. Great for a beach getaway for your family members.
Breathtaking Views in Buffalo
Just a 20-minute drive from Buffalo and your group will witness the grandeur of Niagara Falls. Throw on a blue poncho and hop aboard the Maid of the Mist, ferrying to the base of the falls and feeling the water roar on the rocks below. Next, experience the Cave of the Winds and walk on wooden walkways to the Hurricane Deck, where you will feel stormy weather conditions and get sprayed with cascading waters. Also visit Niagara Falls State Park, the oldest state park in the United States, for guided tours of scenic hotspots and exhibits showcasing park history.
Looking for a sports fix while your family is in town? Just 20 minutes south of Buffalo is New Era Field, home to the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. Buffalo also claims one of NHL’s oldest franchises, the Sabres, who play at KeyBank Center.
Come take a walk on the wild side at the Buffalo Zoo, the third oldest zoo in the United States. Pace through the 23.5-acre zoo and enjoy the large exhibits of exotic animals.
Rain or shine, discover horticultural treasures at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. The 11.5-acre garden is at the entrance to Buffalo’s historic South Park and features both native and exotic plants. Explore the nine greenhouses and three glass domes.
Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park, located on Lake Erie, allows visitors to climb aboard ships, observe aircraft, and explore exhibits like women and African-Americans in the military.
The Albright-Knox Art Gallery has been collecting paintings for over 100 years. The Greek Revival building houses sculptures and paintings from 3000 B.C. through the present.
Suffragette History in Rochester
Originally known as the “Flour City” because of its milling industry, Rochester quickly became known as the “Flower City” for the vast gardens, nurseries and parks. Tourists across the country come to Highland Park for Rochester’s famous Lilac Festival, which features over 1,200 lilac bushes. The park contains botanic gardens, an outdoor amphitheater, a Vietnam veterans memorial and biking paths.
Thrills and chills are guaranteed for everyone in your group at Seabreeze Amusement Park. The country’s third oldest operating roller coaster, the Jack Rabbit, is a wooden coaster with steep drops and wicked turns. If you don’t like rides, take a dive into the water park, featuring a wave pool with waves reaching four feet.
No matter what age, everyone will have a blast at the interactive Strong National Museum of Play. Explore the butterfly garden, walk on Sesame Street, observe the coral reef aquarium, ride on an indoor train and carousel, fight crime as a superhero and rediscover toys in the National Toy Hall of Fame. Kids will love the interactive museum designed for them while parents love rediscovering their childhood.
Located 40 minutes southwest of Rochester, Genesee Country Village and Museum offers historical interpreters who guide you through over 40 furnished buildings. Observe live demonstrations in this 19th century village; kids will enjoy village games. A recreation of a Civil War-era hot air balloon takes passengers to new heights, while the village shops offer the ultimate pioneer experience.
For a glimpse of history, walk through the home of Susan B. Anthony. Guided tours through this Victorian home feature the activist’s struggle for voting rights and her ultimate arrest in 1872. The tour showcases Anthony’s personal artifacts and a collection of suffrage material.
Seneca Park Zoo is fun for your whole group. Ride a double-decker safari bus or view polar bears, sea lions and penguins in the Rocky Coast exhibit.
Countless Attractions in the Big Apple
In the city that never sleeps, why should your group? Consider the New York CityPass and Explorer Pass which allow you to see top attractions at a discount.
New York City is one of the most filmed cities in the world, so enjoy the city in reel time. Take an On Location TV and Movie Tour to hit the famous cinematic sites. The NBC Studio Tour has been running since 1933 and lets visitors explore sets like Saturday Night Live and Dr. Oz. The Radio City Music Hall Stage Door Tour offers a one-hour tour of the theater where music legends have performed.
The diversity offered at the Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium will enrich your trip, with over 950 species between the two attractions. The 265-acre Bronx Zoo offers expansive exhibits, camel rides, a 4-D theater and a Children’s Zoo. The New York Aquarium in Brooklyn offers exotic fish, a 4-D film and a floor-to-ceiling glass shark tank for an up-close look at the aquatic life below.
Find New York City food choices overwhelming? Ahoy NY Tours and Tasting says they will help your group take a bite out of the Big Apple, so come hungry. The three-hour tour guides your group to family-owned restaurants in Chinatown and Little Italy, some of which have been in business for over 100 years.
The American Museum of Natural History is one of the most famous museums in New York City. It includes 46 permanent exhibit halls, research facilities and over 32 million cultural artifacts, including a famous dinosaur hall.
Visit the National September 11 Memorial to contemplate the attacks and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center.
Times Square is a must-see in New York City. If you don’t know what to do before you get there, you’ll sure have a few ideas once you arrive. For the ultimate shopper, there are flagship stores like Hershey and Toys R Us. Broadway and off-Broadway shows make Times Square a hotspot for arts enthusiast. Visitors can head to Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in Times Square and be surrounded by wax recreations of Hollywood stars.
Want to see all the famous buildings while in New York City? Then take an OnBoard Sightseeing Tour, which combines a bus tour, short walks and boat rides for six hours of viewing pleasure. The boat tour takes you up close to the Statue of Liberty. Some of the sites you will take in are Rockefeller Center, World Trade Center Site, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Times Square, Trinity Church, Wall Street, Strawberry Fields and 5thAvenue. Don’t miss a chance to view Manhattan from atop the Empire State Building or the GE Building’s Top of the Rock observatory.
Need a haven from the city tempo while you are here? Central Park, designed as a refuge for New York residents, has gardens, lakes and trees. It contains ice-skating rinks, a swimming pool, a zoo, buggy rides, Shakespeare plays, bicycling, tennis, boating, fishing and horseback riding.