New York, New Jersey, Connecticut — within a few hour’s drive, there’s an amazing variety of places to visit from the shore to the city, from seeing animals to splashing in water parks, to visiting little coastal towns packed with interesting things to see and do and so much more!
I’ve chosen 7 things for families to do in the tri state and think you’ll love them!
1 The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk , CT
This is a nice aquarium that is mainly indoors, making it great any time of the year. Recent updates and expansion, plus the largest Imax theater in Connecticut, make it a full and fun experience for all ages.
2 Riverhead,Long Island
The Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead is Long Island’s only aquarium, and Splish Splash is Long Island’s only water park. The two together make for a full water-themed weekend trip. The aquarium’s Lost City of Atlantis theme, a sea lion show, plenty of outdoor exhibits and a beautiful view of the river get my vote for a perfect trip to the eastern part of Long Island. A butterfly and bird exhibit (extra fee) round out the experience. At Splish Splash, you’ll find water rides for every age from the scary “Cliff Diver” and the new Water Coaster, to many tamer slides, to 2 wave pools and a great children’s area.
3 Liberty Science Center in New Jersey
The Liberty Science Center includes 4 floors of hands-on exploration and fun the family can dive into and have a great time at while learning about everything from animals to the body. Then head down the road to Liberty State Park for a walk with amazing views of Manhattan!
4 Long Island’s East End
Not many places can boast the diversity of the East End. On the north fork, you’ll find calm beaches, charming towns, farms and vineyards, all which make for a fantastic day trip. On the South Shore, the Atlantic Ocean beckons and the Hamptons are a mecca for locals, tourists and stars alike. From the Westhampton gateway and Dune Road, out to Montauk, known as “the fishing capital of the world,” there’s nothing like a Hampton’s experience, especially in the summer months. Read more about Montauk and Long Island towns here.
5 Atlantic City
People often forget that Atlantic City is a great Jersey shore destination that even kids can enjoy, especially school-age children. Hotels usually cost less than Ocean City, especially in season, so it’s great if you’re on a budget (just don’t gamble much)! The boardwalk has a ton to see and do from the awesome water show in the Caesar’s boardwalk shop mall, to Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum, to the Rainforest Cafe and of course the beach and the incredibly beautiful water views and all the tourist themed stores. A short drive takes you to Ocean City also for double the boardwalk experience.
6 Children’s Museums in Connecticut
If you have younger children, say 8 and under, these 2 museums are wonderful for that age. What child doesn’t love a children’s museum? Stepping Stones in Norwalk has an incredible contraption called the color coaster that is sure to mesmerize the kids plus a really soaking wet fun water room. The New Children’s Museum in West Hartford houses a seasonal butterfly house and a planetarium.
7 The Bronx Zoo
It’s always hard to believe that in the middle of the Bronx, you can take a walk through the gorilla forest and the tropics of Jungle World, ride a monorail past elephants, hop on the back of a camel, and see some very large snakes in the World of Reptiles. And that’s just a few of the great exhibits that draw families back for years. Kids can ride the bug carousel, go to the children’s zoo and even see a 4-D theater feature.