Winter has been long. Cold. Snowy. Endless. But spring is finally almost here and there’s plenty of kid-friendly fun to look forward to, other than warm weather and running free in the park without dressing like an Eskimo of course. Read on to find out about new openings and favorite seasonal events coming soon.
1. Move over Cronuts, a new hybrid treat is on the menu. While Cronuts are undoubtedly NYC’s hottest sweet eat right now, your kids may love Dominique Ansel’s latest concoction even more (not that they, or you, ever got to try one, right!?). A magician in the bakery, he’s now presenting trendsetters with Chocolate Chip Cookie Milk Shots. In true kid-friendly style, they’re available as an “after school special” starting at 3 p.m. daily. Grab one for $3 or a box of 8 for $25. Dominique Ansel Bakery, 189 Spring St., Soho
2. The PS 321 Brooklyn Flea gets fun. Park Slope’s Brooklyn Flea outpost opened last year, but this year it promises to be even more fun for families. Besides the 30 or so vendors, 5 of which will be food, you can count on kid’s entertainment from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. Performances by Carmelo the Science Fellow, Brooklyn Music Conservatory, Construction Kids and the like should give you a bit of leeway to shop for vintage and handmade treasures with your brood in tow. PS 321, 180 7th Ave., Park Slope, 10 a.m. -5 p.m., Sat. & Sun. starting April 5
3. Brooklyn Bridge Park expands…again! In late April, Brooklyn Bridge Park‘s Pier 2 will open, adding another five acres to the park. Included in the addition? A full-size roller rink complete with skate rentals; five full-size basketball courts; bocce space and shuffleboard courts; plein-air fitness machines for you; and if all that activity tires you out, take a rest at the 20-table strong picnic area along the promenade. Plus, we hear a new pool is coming this summer, too! Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 2, Clark St. & Furman St.
4. It’s finally time to party in the park. Madison Square Park will once again host the much-loved Spring Kids Fest featuring concerts, crafts, face painting, storytelling, food and all kinds of other fun on May 17. And soon after, Art in the Park (kicking off on May 20th) and Tuesday and Thursday kids concerts (June 10 – August 7) will begin to add to your outdoor drop-in options. Madison Square Park, 23rd St. & Madison Ave., Flatiron District
5. Gowanus gets even cooler. Red Tricycle told you about this up and coming Brooklyn neighborhood last month and the cool factor just keeps on growing. The latest? Prospect Height‘s old-timey and undoubtedly delicious Ample Hills Creamery is opening up a new ice cream shop in May. What’s more, this location will be big – as in 2-story, 3,600-square-foot big – which means lots of seating including an outdoor deck, birthday party space and lots of flavors. The larger kitchen has the capacity to churn out 24 flavors a day. We also hear the currently 21 and older Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club is ready to roll out family hours any day now. Stay tuned! Ample Hills Creamery, 305 Nevins St., Gowanus
6. There’s a new roller coaster coming to town. With a 90-foot vertical drop, an 80-foot zero-g roll, a corkscrew and speeds of 55 mph, Coney Island’s Thunderbolt guarantees a thrill ride. The brand new coaster is being built now and is expected to open at Luna Park Memorial Day weekend. Even if your kids are too little to ride, they’ll be impressed by the massive 115 foot tall behemoth – the first custom coaster in the neighborhood since the Cyclone was built in 1927. Luna Park, 1000 Surf Ave., Coney Island
7. Fort Tilden opens for the first time since Hurricane Sandy. You survived the winter, just barely, and after enduring those colder-than-average temperatures you deserve plenty of beach time once the weather heats up. Finally, work is underway to clean up Queens’ pristine and more-secluded-than-most Fort Tilden Beach to get it ready for a Memorial Day opening. Fort Tilden, 169 State Rd., Rockaway Peninsula
8. Little builders have a lot of blocks to choose from. The Brooklyn Children’s Museum is hosting a new pop-up activity set to open on April 5 – the Brooklyn Block Laboratory. Here, kids can put on their engineer hats and create all kinds of structures using wood, foam and magnetic blocks. Brooklyn Children’s Museum, 145 Brooklyn Ave., Crown Heights
9. Dinos, dinos and more dinos! On April 5, the American Museum of Natural History‘s latest exhibit Ptersaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs opens. You and your kids can learn about flying dinosaurs ranging in size – some that can fit in the palm of your hand, others with 25-foot wingspans! You’ll see lots of rare fossils in this flying reptile showcase, plus a virtual flight lab allows you to use your body to fly a ptersaur over a prehistoric landscape. If that’s not enough for your dino lover, take a road trip to Lancaster, Pa where Dutch Wonderland will open Exploration Island on April 26. This new interactive area of the theme park boasts more than 15 animatronic dinosaurs. Go on a Gondola Cruise or take a walk down the Prehistoric Path to spot a few species; visit the hands-on Dino Dig to uncover fossils and footprint and ride the slow (5 mph), yet thrilling, Turnpike ride. American Museum of Natural History, Columbus Ave. & 79th St., Upper West Side; Dutch Wonderland, 2249 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster, Pa
10. Beloved children’s businesses open in new neighborhoods and boroughs. Tribeca residents are lucky enough to welcome a brand new Brooklyn Robot Foundry, the first in Manhattan, that’ll host the same type of hands-on classes and after-school programs the original Gowanus location does. Summer session sign-ups will be available soon and the retail store is now open. And soon to open in Gowanus? Brooklyn’s first School of Rock, which is the second NYC location – there’s one on the Upper East Side too. If your kid (age 3 to 18) dreams of starting a band or wants to hone his guitar or drum skills this is where to sign up for lessons. Brooklyn Robot Foundry, 528 Canal St., Tribeca; School of Rock, 327 Douglass St., Gowanus
What’s new in your neighborhood this spring? Give us the scoop!