20 Fun Things To Do with NYC Kids on Columbus Day

There are plenty of New York City kid spots and activities ready to entertain you and your brood on Columbus Day.Fall weather offers the perfect chance to hit up one of New York City’s many destination playgrounds, of course, but we’ve also scoured our event and museum listings, favorite children’s shops, and combed through our day trip guides to put together a list of 19 things to do with the family on Columbus Day. Read on desperate parent, read on.

Check out our Columbus Day Weekend event picks for NYC kids to find even more happenings for the holiday weekend.

1. Take a hike on one of these seven trails within city limits.

2. Head to the New York Botanical Garden to check out its new seasonal exhibit Scarecrows & Pumpkins.

something for everyone at Koreatown's many eateries
There’s something for everyone at Koreatown’s many eateries.  

3. Explore a new-to-you neighborhood like Koreatown or one of the other enclaves we’ve scouted for you.

4. Read our post on seeing the Bronx Zoo like a local then head there to make some furry friends and enjoy its Boo at the Zoo festivities.

5. The Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, and New York Aquarium are also open on Columbus Day.

6. Or try one of these nearby petting zoos for fall fun on a real farm.

Catch the marching band during the Columbus Day Parade
Catch the marching band during the Columbus Day Parade.

7. Everyone loves a parade. Catch the Columbus Day Parade as it marches north along Fifth Avenue between 44th and 72nd Streets.

8. Finalize your Halloween costume and event schedule.

9. Pick the perfect pumpkin with a day trip to one of these nearby farms or local NYC pumpkin patches.

10. Drop in at the Environmental Educational Center in Brooklyn Bridge Park for hands-on marine fun. (Yep, it’s open on a rare Monday for Columbus Day!)

Peek at the fall foliage at Wave Hill, plus falcons and more birds of prey
Peek at the fall foliage at Wave Hill, plus falcons and more birds of prey.

11. Head to the quaint, beautiful Wave Hill to take in some seasonal nature, meet some birds of prey, and enjoy a falconry presentation.

12. Take one last spin on the rides at Coney Island’s Luna Park where its Halloween Harvest fest offers a spooky carnival setting over the weekend—Monday included—with crafts, face painting, gigantic pumpkins, and more.

13. Climb the outdoor wall in Brooklyn Bridge Park before it closes for the season. It’s open 3pm to 10pm on Monday.

14. Catch a kid-friendly version of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Can’t make it today? Get tickets for one of the other shows playing this season at the New Victory Theater.

Kids can turn the keys on the door of the jeep to make the butterflies flutter at Socrates Sculpture Park
Kids can turn the keys on the door of the jeep to make the butterflies flutter at Socrates Sculpture Park.

15. Take in one of the must-see art exhibits in NYC this fall; some are only here for a limited time.

16. See Central Park through a different lens by embarking on a FREE PARK-itecture tour. Stick around afterward to explore a new-to-you corner of the park.

17. Venture out of the city for one of these 30 fall day trips.

18. Tackle a corn maze; there’s even one right here in Queens.

19. Check out an offbeat museum exhibit. Madam Tussauds is offering FREE admission for kids on Columbus Day, while the National Museum of Mathematics invites you to give its Twisted Thruway a whirl.

20. Sign up for a mini camp  just opened NYC maker spaces, or another STEM hot spot in the city.