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Everything You Need to Know When Visiting Coney Island With Kids

visiting coney island with kids
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Coney Island. Photo Credit: Navigation Junkie.

Known as the concrete jungle, New York City is thought of as a place of skyscrapers, busy streets, culture, glowing lights, and lots of opportunity! Less often when thinking about New York City do people think of amusement rides, fair food, beaches, sandcastles, and sun bathing. But truth be told, you can find all of that right in New York City! Visiting Coney Island with kids can give you the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of New York, whether you are a first time visitor or a local!

Coney Island is a neighborhood located in the New York City borough of Brooklyn that is well known for its entertainment venues and relaxation options that come to life every summer. At Coney Island visitors can find amusement parks featuring classic wooden roller coasters and the famous Wonder Wheel, the New York Aquarium, sandy beaches, street performers, and tasty food!

Hours/Fees

Coney Island hours vary depending on the time of year. The park is usually open from April to October. The amusement park opens in April on weekends through Memorial Day. Starting Memorial Day the park is open daily through Labor Day before resuming the weekends only schedule. Times will be specific to each attraction that you can find below.

Coney Island Beach and Boardwalk is open year round, but lifeguards are only on duty from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Fees vary for each attraction, you can find more information below.

Tip: The amusement rides are not centrally managed, so if you purchase tickets for Luna Park you will not be able to ride the Demo’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park rides without purchasing additional tickets.

How To Get There

GPS Address: 1208 Surf Avenue (You can drive to Coney Island, you will find metered parking on most streets and paid parking areas in several spots near Coney Island).

The Coney Island Attractions are located just steps away from the Coney Island-Stillwater Avenue subway station, making it very easily accessible. The Coney Island- Stillwater Avenue subway station can be reached via the D, Q, N or F trains. If you are coming from Manhattan, plan ahead for the travel time. It can take up to an hour to reach Coney Island.

If traveling to Coney Island via bus, you will want to take one of the following buses:

  • B36 (Coney Island / Avenue U/Sheepshead Bay)
  • B64 (Coney Island / Bay Ridge)
  • B68 (Coney Island / Windsor Terrace)
  • B74 (Sea Gate / Coney Island)
  • B82 (Coney Island / Spring Creek)
NYC subway to coney island
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Image by Sue Park from Pixabay

Best Things To Do When Visiting Coney Island With Kids

Luna Park

Luna Park is home to home to some of Coney Island’s most famous rides, including the Cyclone and the Thunderbolt. Luna Park features 13 kiddie rides, 5 moderate thrill rides, 11 high thrill rides, and 5 extreme thrill rides. Throughout Luna Park you will also find plenty of classic fair games, including water racers, ring toss, and an arcade.

For entrance into Luna Park a wristband purchase is needed. A number of options are available, including the Extraordinary Wristband, family fun wristbands, and thrill seekers wristbands.

Single ride tickets are available for the Cyclone, Thunderbolt, and B&B Carousel.

The Beach and Boardwalk

The Coney Island Beach is located just steps away from the Coney Island and is the perfect spot to cool off on a hot New York summer. A trip to Coney Island would not be complete without stopping to dip your toes in the crashing waves. Coney Island is home to 3 miles of sandy beaches along the Atlantic Ocean. You will also find a pier stretching out over the ocean, the perfect spot for relaxing, observing street performers and people of different cultures, fishing, and bird watching. You will also find some great views of the Coney Island Amusement parks.

The jettys stretching out into the water are great places for some bird watching. For the parents looking or some relaxation, be sure to bring your sand toys and set your kids up for some sandcastle building while you kick back for some sunbathing. If you forget your beach gear, you can find some at nearby shops. You can also find recreational activities at the beach, including volleyball and basketball courts.

The best part? The beach and boardwalk are free to enter!

Coney Island Boardwalk, visiting coney island with kids
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Image by Bruce Emmerling from Pixabay

Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park

Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park is the second and older amusement park located on Coney Island. Deno’s has 16 kiddie carnival rides for the family to enjoy, making it a must when visiting Coney Island with kids.

Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park is also home to the Wonder Wheel, one of the oldest attractions on Coney Island, being built in 1920. The Wonder Wheel boasts great views of the beach, Coney Island, and views as far as the Manhattan skyline at 150 feet. The wheel has options for both stationary and swinging cars, so the ride will be enjoyable for kids of all ages.

Admission to Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park is free, but the rides cost credits, which can be purchased on-site. The kiddie rides are 5 credits each. The adult rides are 8 credits and the Wonder Wheel is 10 credits.

*Upcoming: Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park is set to add on another roller coaster in the summer of 2021-the Phoenix Family Thrill Roller Coaster.

wonder wheel, visiting coney island with kids
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Wonder Wheel. Photo Credit: Navigation Junkie

Visit the New York Aquarium

The New York Aquarium is located along the Coney Island Boardwalk a short distance from the amusement rides and thrills of Coney Island. The aquarium is home to a variety of sea life, from sharks to octopuses to sea otters, jelly fish, and more! The aquarium is also home to a shark tunnel for the kids to walk through and a daily sea otter show.

A 4D theater takes visitors into ocean life with a unique experience, included with the cost of admission. A Wild Encounter is another experience for visitors that will get you up close to the animals and teach you about how the aquarium runs (currently closed due to COVID). The sea otter feeding experience is another opportunity to get up close with the animals (also closed at this time).

Ticket prices for the aquarium range from $26.95 to $29.95 for adults and $22.95 to $24.95 for kids 3-12.

NY aquarium otter
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Photo Credit: Canopic on Flickr.

Catch a Game at the MCU Park

The MCU Park is a minor-league baseball field located near the Coney Island Beach and Boardwalk. For the family that loves watching sports, a visit to MCU after a day of thrills and sunbathing can be the perfect end to the day. The park features baseball games throughout the summer on select days. to be enjoyed with the ocean as the back drop. Tickets can be pre-purchased.

Special Events

Fireworks on the Beach

Fireworks on the Beach traditionally take place every Friday at 9:45pm during the summer months (late June through Labor Day).

Mermaid Parade

The Mermaid Parade is an annual summer Coney Island event. The parade was developed in 1983 as a way to celebrate ancient mythology with participants dressed in hand-made costumes as they parade through the streets. The parade is designed for artists, allowing them to be self-expressive in their designs.

Coney Island Circus Sideshow

The Coney Island Circus Sideshow is a yearly event that runs regularly from April to September. The show features different acts that are entertaining for the whole family. Acts have included sword swallowers, silks, fire breathers, and clowns.

The show is $5 for children and $10 for adults.

The Coney Island Film Festival

The Coney Island Film Festival is an annual event that takes place in September. The event is an opportunity for both new and experienced film makers to come together and show off their creations. The event takes place over a weekend, featuring a variety of different films for visitors to enjoy.

Coney Island Beach, visiting Coney island with kids
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Coney Island Beach. Photo Credit: Navigation Junkie.

Where to Eat

Nathan’s Famous Hotdogs

Nathan’s Famous is a must stop spot when visiting Coney Island with kids. The Surf Ave. location continues to house the original Nathan’s Famous Hotdogs that was opened in 1916. You can also find smaller stands throughout Coney Islands that will likely have shorter lines. Kids will be delighted to choose from a variety of hotdog options, ranging for all-beef original hotdogs, corn dogs, hot dog nuggets, and pretzel hotdogs. If you aren’t feeling the hotdogs, you can also choose from hamburgers, cheesesteaks, and chicken.

nathans hotdogs when visiting coney island with kids
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Photo by sebastien cordat on Unsplash

Ruby’s Bar & Grill

Ruby’s Bar & Grill is a beachside bar that has plenty of classic American food options that will fill and satisfy your youngster’s stomach. Choose between kid friendly favorites including hamburgers, hot dogs, corn dogs, and chicken tenders. You can also find some sweet treats including cotton candy and slushies. For the adults, Ruby’s Bar & Grill also has plenty of alcoholic drink options.

Doña Zita Mexican Restaurant

If you are looking for some delicious Mexican food, Doña Zita Mexican Restaurant will have it! You can find tacos, tortas, cemitas, and stuffed fruits. Other favorites include Mexican hot dogs, quesadillas, fried stuffed corn cakes, and deep fried taco rolls.

Totonno’s Pizzeria 

Another classic food choice among children, Totonno’s Pizzeria offers coal-fired brick-oven pizza the whole family will enjoy. Totonno’s Pizza has been named some of the best pizza in NYC, making it a go to choice. Their style is a thin-crust, Neapolitan-style pie that is purchased as a whole, not by the slice.

Tom’s Coney Island

If you are looking for a quick bite to eat check out Tom’s Coney Island for some classic American food with an option for rooftop dining. Tom’s Coney Island also offers some unique drinks, including shakes, egg creams and cherry lime rickeys.

Paul’s Daughter

Paul’s Daughter is found along the Coney Island Boardwalk and has been a classic of Coney Island’s for may years. The menu features a variety of options, including hot dogs, fries, clams, lobster rolls, beer, ice cream, and funnel cakes.

Where to Find Sweet Treats

Williams’s Candy Shoppe

William’s Candy Shoppe is the perfect stop for any family visiting Coney Island with kids (or any adult with a little it of a sweet tooth!). William’s Candy Shoppe features a variety of candy apples, chocolate covered marshmallows, cotton candy, popcorn, ice cream, and more candy options than you will know what to do with!

Candy. Visiting Coney Island with kids
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Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Coney’s Cones

Coney’s Cones is the perfect spot to find over 20 flavors of gelato and sorbet to cool off with on a hot summer day. You can also choose from your choice of drinks, including granitas, hot chocolate, and coffee.

Cinnabon

Cinnabon has a wide selection of cinnamon baked goods, including classic cinnamon rolls, cinnamon sticks, the Caramel PeaconBon, cinnasweeties, and more. They also offer a variety of drinks, including coffee, lemonades, iced coffee, and chillatas.

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Plenty of options await for relaxation, fun, thrills, entertainment, and tasty treats when visiting Coney Island with kids , offering an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
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3 Comments »

  1. I must admit that as a big kid, Coney Island evokes all kinds of fun images. Good to know the boardwalk is always open even if the amusements are not. The rides would be a great spot for family fun. But the aquarium would be a bid draw for us. I am not sure that a bag of candy would make it home!

  2. My husband and I went to Coney Island some years ago, but it was in the fall so many of the venues were closed. We did get to explore the Aquarium however, and of course eat the famous hot dogs.

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