Flushing Meadows Corona Park, just a short ride from Holiday Inn LaGuardia Hotel, is an amazing destination for families. The site of two twentieth century World’s Fairs attended by millions of people, Flushing Meadows Corona Park continues to draw and delight visitors. It is NYC’s second largest park, after the Bronx’s Pelham Bay Park.
Here Are 14 Fun Things To Do With Kids In The Park:
Explore a Museum
On the outskirts of Flushing Meadows Corona Park, you’ll find the New York Hall of Science, a hands-on exploratorium housed in a former 1964 World’s Fair pavilion. With its sports floor, space exhibit, outdoor mini-golf course and interactive exhibits like Circus! Science Under the Big Top, which closes on September 4, there’s fun and learning around every corner. The museum is a wonderful destination all year round, but two popular attractions, Rocket Park Mini Golf and the outdoor Science Playground, are only open during the summer. Don’t miss the fantastic annual Maker Faire, where creative folks from all over the country show off their inventions.
Admission: $11 for adults, $8 for children ages 2-17, free for kids
under 2. Free admission September-June on Fridays 2-5pm and Sundays 10-11am. Certain attractions and events cost extra.
Unlike many of the buildings created for the 1939 World’s Fair, the
New York City pavilion was built to last. It housed the UN General
Assembly from 1947-1952 while the Tudor City building was being
constructed, and was also used during the 1964 World’s Fair. Today,
it’s home to the recently renovated Queens Museum and its famous
Panorama of the City of New York. The revamp doubles its space, and added a shop, a cafe and an amazing glass atrium.
Admission by suggested donation: $8 for adults, $4 for students and seniors, free for children under 12.
Visit the Zoo
Adjacent to the Grand Central Parkway is the 11-acre Queens Zoo, which is dedicated to conserving animals of the Americas. Attractions include the colorful bird-themed Migration Playground, an interactive Discovery Center and an awesome aviary, where you can climb skyward for a literal bird’s-eye view. Since the zoo is so small, there’s no restaurant, so bring your own lunch or grab a snack from the nearby Terrace Cafe.
Admission: $8 for adults, $5 for children ages 3-12, free for kids under 3.
Take a Spin on the Merry-go-round
Near the zoo is the park’s well-loved carousel, also a relic from the
1964 World’s Fair. Originally created from two vintage
turn-of-the-last-century Coney Island merry-go-rounds, it looks a
little worse for wear today, but your kids won’t care. $2 per ride,
even if you’re just chaperoning.
Gawk at the Unisphere
You’ve seen it before from the Long Island Expressway, but that
doesn’t compare to standing at the base of this iconic, 12-story,
stainless-steel wonder. Built for (what else?) the 1964 World’s Fair,
the giant globe is surrounded by geyser fountains—but don’t even think about jumping in. Lots of people try, but they don’t get very far. It’s always amusing to hear the security guards blow their whistles as they come running to kick the trespassers out. They don’t play!
See a Show
The Queens Theatre in the Park is located in the 1964 World’s Fair New York State pavilion. It hosts multicultural performances all year round, including many family shows. Ticket prices vary.
Walk Alongside Meadow Lake
This 100-acre man-made lake is located in the open plains of the park between the Long Island Expressway, the Van Wyck Expressway and the Grand Central Parkway. Although it feels kind of cutoff from the main part of the park and the walk through a maze of underpasses is unsightly, it’s worth the trek. The grassy meadows surrounding the water are great for kite flying, which is a popular activity during the annual summer Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival. It’s also a nice place to picnic or to go catch-and-release fishing (make sure you bring your own equipment). In the past the park has offered boat rentals but the boathouse is currently being renovated.
Ride a Bike
The park’s wide-open, multi-use paths are great for cycling, plus
there’s a one-mile bike path around Meadow Lake. Bring your own bike, or rent one in front of the tennis center for $10 per hour. Call
646-229-4470 for information.
Romp in a Playground
Just like our trip to Van Cortlandt Park, we didn’t get a chance to
check out any of the eight playgrounds at Flushing Meadows Corona
Park. Play spots include the Playground for All Children, the U.S.’s
first playground for children with physical disabilities, and two
dinosaur-themed playgrounds: Jurassic and Triassic.
Hit the Skate Park
Opened in 2010, the Astral Fountain Skate Park features stairs, jumps and railings. Inline skating and scootering are allowed, though
cycling is not. All users are required to sign a waiver and wear
safety equipment. When this area gets too crowded, shredders use the dry fountains near the Unisphere as a makeshift skate park.
Tour the Queens Botanical Garden
From the Avenue of Progress, you can cross the bridge into the Queens Botanical Garden. Sandwiched between Flushing Meadows Corona Park and Kissena Park, it’s technical not part of either, but is easily accessible from both. The 39-acre garden originated as an exhibit in the 1939 World’s Fair, and moved to its current location for the 1964 World’s Fair. It features cherry trees, a pinetum, woodlands, exhibits on small-space gardening, an 8,000-square-foot green-roof garden, and a sustainable and green parking garden.
Admission: April 1-October 31: $4 for adults, $2 for children ages
3-12 and free for kids under 3. Free to all Wednesday 3-6pm and Sunday 4-6pm, and every day November 1-March 31.
The park is home to the spiffy Flushing Meadows Corona Park Aquatic Center, which has an Olympic-size indoor pool with an adjustable bottom and a diving area. An annual membership is $150 for adults, free for children under 18.
Hit the Ice
The indoor World Ice Arena, located in the same complex as the pool, offers ice-skating year-round.
Admission: $5 on weekdays, $8 on weekends. Skate rental is $5 per person.
Hit the Green
Flushing Meadows Golf Center, located near Citi Field, offers a pitch
and putt 18-hole golf course as well as a beautifully landscaped
mini-golf course, complete with waterfalls and lights for nighttime
games. Visit the website for prices. Club and ball rentals are also
The park has tons of facilities for practically every sport, including
cricket, baseball, tennis and soccer.
Flushing Meadows Corona Park is way too big to cover in one day. It’s best to pick an area or a few attractions to focus on. Have fun!
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