The past year brought a bumper crop of fun and exciting things to do with kids in New York City. Missed some?  Don’t fret: Plenty are here at least for a little while longer, and some are here for the long haul. Take a look back at our greatest hits of the past year, and take notes for 2019!

1. New parks a plenty

Some parks debuted, others got upgrades, all added to the amazing spots where NYC kids can play! (Williamsburg's 
Domino Park, pictured.) 

photo: Mimi O'Connor

2. Pop-ups everywhere

Some were here for a brief spell (Human's Best Friend, The Museum of Pizza) others stuck around for a bit (The Trolls Experience, The Color Factory) but each brought a fresh opportunity for interactive fun! Pictured here, sweet treat Candytopia.

photo: Emily Myers

3. The Magic of Harry Potter Lived On

A comprehensive exhibit all the way from London took a deep dive into the magic of the world of everyone's favorite child wizard. The New-York Historical Society hosted, and provided plenty of additional programming for families throughout the year. 

photo: Richard Cadan

4. NYC's Flagship Toy Store Returned!

FAO Schwarz returned with great fanfare, bringing families all their favorite elements from the classic store (the Big keyboard, the giant clock, toy soldier greeters) and some new features as well. Read our full review here! 

5. Governors Island As Awesome As Always

The family-friendly island in the harbor returned with all the usual fun (slide destination The Hills,, Figment art fest, The Yard, Hammock Grove, The Jazz Age Lawn Party, etc., etc.) but added new attractions as well, including a summer time "ice" rink, mini golf, overnight camping opportunities, and a restaurant where mom and dad could nosh on oysters.) 

6. Movie Theaters Took it To The Next Level

NYC has always been home to its fair share of family-friendly movie theaters. This year brought the long-awaited debut of Nitehawk Prospect Park dine-in theater, as well as CMX CineBistro, serving families food, drink, and movies on the Upper East Side before 6 p.m.

photo: Big Apple Circus

7. The Big Apple Circus Returned!

After a season off (and some new owners) the Big Apple Circus returned, with a refreshed show more cirque than circus. 

photo: Camp

8. Camp Came to Town

Just in the nick of time to make 2018, interactive shopping experience Camp set up shop—permanently!—in the Flatiron District. The retail experience will changes themes every 8 to 12 weeks, offering a new crop of activities with each season. (You access it via a secret door, so that's about all we need to know.)

9. Industry City Continued to Crush It

Home to kids rock and roll dance parties, an arcade, and visiting exhibits, Industry City welcomed Lola Star's Dreamland Roller Disco (with family-friendly skate hours, and even a toddler skate time coming soon), as well as Japan Village, a Japanese food hall that will transport you to Tokyo. 

photo: Julie Larsen Maher WCS

10. The New York Aquarium Went Big With Sharks

After years of planning and development (and recovery after a setback due to Hurricane Sandy) the New York Aquarium debuted its new—and spectacular—Ocean Wonders: Sharks! exhibit, as well as new sustainable dining options. Read our full review here! 


Main photo: Lola Star Dreamland Roller Disco Facebook page

—Mimi O’Connor


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