Whether your kids are in pre-school, middle school, or taking their first steps, Syracuse has something for children of all ages! Parents know how tough it can be to find activities, events, places and spaces tailored to certain age groups, so we’ve rounded up the best spots for your little (or not-so-little-anymore) one, all in one place.
We know it can be tough to just get out of the house, or even the hotel room with little ones in tow, but it’s not tough to find a spot in Syracuse to take the littlest kiddos. And the great news? Most of these unique toddler- and infant-friendly spaces are also perfect for older children.
Big Don’s Bear Cub Village, Cicero : Big Don’s Wild River Outdoor Fun Center in the city’s north suburb of Cicero boasts dozens of kid-friendly fun, including their Bear Cub Village, where little tykes 3 – 8 years old can experience interactive play with mini-mini golf, a construction dig box, a giant Lego building table, a turtle scooter track, jolly jumper, a bear cub club house, three themed play areas (barber shop, soda pop shop and auto repair shop) and an animal tracks discovery table. The facility also offers ample seating for accompanying adults.
Rosamond Gifford Zoo @ Burnet Park, Syracuse : this fantastic attraction is great for children of all ages. Located in the heart of Central New York, the Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnet Park is home to more than 700 animals and is a special place where species, many of them endangered, are nurtured and celebrated. Among others, the zoo’s animal collection includes Asian elephants, tigers, snow leopards, penguins, a variety of primates, many species of tropical birds and fish, and the only giant Pacific octopus in upstate New York!
Canal Landing Park, Fayetteville : This quaint playground is located in the suburb of Fayetteville and is great for toddlers and young ones. Completely fenced in with entry gate and open to the public year-round, little feet can easily maneuver the play areas and its compact enough for adults to easily keep a watchful eye.
Onondaga Lake Park : Toddlers and younger children will love the easily accessible playground right at the edge of Onondaga Lake. Known as the "Central Park of Central New York" is a 8+ mile linear greenway, featuring four great trails - East Shore Recreation, Shoreline Walking Trail, Lakeland Nature and the West Shore - bustling year-round with social interaction, special events, waterfront picnics and the region's premier skate and dog parks. Wegmans Landing, a ten-acre venue, includes Wegmans Playground, a colorful mecca with climbers, swings, play houses and slides while the 16,000 sq. ft. concrete Onondaga Lake Skatepark, open to skateboarders, BMX bikers, and inline skaters, features the challenging Liberty Bowl, volcano, quarter pipes and fun boxes. Explore a bit of Syracuse history at The Salt Museum, built on the site of an original salt boiling block.
Camillus Splash Pad Park : Open May 30 through September 3 (11a – 6p daily), get the kids in the water for the perfect summer cool down with minimal lifeguarding needed! Additional fun through the summer months and whenever else you need to get the children outside, the park also offers swings and playgrounds for both big and little tykes.
Tully’s : This isn’t just for the little kids, but kids and adults of all ages love this staple Syracuse restaurant chain. Why? Super kid-friendly, spacious, most of their local locations loaded with mini arcades and big screen TVs so you can catch the game, and of course — the food! Home to trademarked best chicken tenders on earth, the entire family will have a good time at Tully’s.
Heritage Hill : Also for kids of all ages and a place the adults will love equally as much, Heritage Hill Brewhouse is more than just a brewery and killer BBQ spot. This locally-owned working farm features some of the best panoramic views of Central New York, with live animals, playgrounds, craft beer and beverages
Billy Beez : Located in Destiny USA, New York State’s largest shopping, dining and entertainment destination, Billy Beez is the ultimate indoor play park for kids. The 20,000 sq. ft. play parks area offers a variety of features and activities, from slides to sports courts, tunnels to towers and ball blasters to bouncy trampolines. The park is ideal for all ages, including infants, toddlers, adults and every age in between. With designated areas for the little ones and Super Speed slides for the older ones, Billy Beez has something for everyone.
Build-A-Bear Workshop : Also located in Destiny USA, here parents can bring their little loved ones in for an experience they’re sure to remember! Build-A-Bear Workshop actively works to bring the Teddy Bear to life and give children an unforgettable furry friend. At Build-A-Bear, children can custom build, name and accessorize their stuffed animal, and leave with a new best friend. Nothing says it better than the smile on their face when they’re done.
Abbott Farms, Baldwinsville : Open for year-round fun for kids of all ages, there’s tons to discover on the farm. During the fall, join them for their Fall Festival Days every Saturday and Sunday from Labor Day to Halloween, featuring tube slides, face-painting, a corn maze, an apple cannon & slingshots, Kid Zone, Game Barn & wagon rides. Dress for the weather and bring your camera — Abbott Farms also features u-pick orchards, a pumpkin patch, sunflower field, ponds and greenhouses, a cider press and food concessions, as well as much more exciting things to discover throughout specific seasons. Check their website to see what’s going on now.
5 Wits : Ready for some live-action entertainment? Head over to 5 Wits at Destiny USA for cutting-edge fun that immerses you in realistic, hands-on adventures. Computer-controlled special effects and physical interaction put you at the center of all the action, leaving kids feeling like they’re in a movie or video game.
Amazing Mirror Maze : Also located within Destiny USA, the Amazing Mirror Maze is a creative and interactive trail of mirror mazes that stimulates the mind and challenges adventurers to find their way out of the wall-to-wall mirrored space. It’s fun for the whole family!
Apex Entertainment : Apex Entertainment Syracuse is 55,000 sq. ft. of pure fun! Located on the 3rd floor of Destiny USA, Apex offers up 24 bowling lanes, 360-degree bumper cars and two VR experiences in their 50+ game arcade. Challenge family and friends to a game of laser tag in Syracuse’s largest 3,500 sq. ft. two-story arena. The fam can also grab a meal and drink at their on-site American cuisine restaurant, The Pit Stop Tavern, with over 65 gluten-free items.
Wonderworks & Canyon Climb Adventure : WonderWorks is an amusement park for the mind. Listed as one of Syracuse’s top attractions, Wonderworks offers interactive, educational fun for all ages. Be blown away by 84 MPH hurricane-force winds, maneuver the controls of a NASA spacecraft to land the shuttle, lie on a bed of 3,500 nails, and pilot a fighter jet. Then have the kids challenge their skills with their Canyon Climb Adventure, the largest indoor suspended ropes course in the world! At nearly 70 feet high at its tallest point, the Canyon Climb Adventure features more than 80 elements and 35 platforms.
Sky Zone Trampoline Park : The kids will get the energy out at this wall-to-wall indoor trampoline park featuring a variety of programs and attractions.
The Warrior Factory : Have the kids brush up on their skills at this unique ninja warrior training center. Offering dozens of programs, classes, camps, competition squads and more, families can arrange a day of play several ways. If walk-ins are more your family’s thing, scope out their Open Play blocks. If the kiddos are into exploring even more of the ninja warrior facility, you can check out their options here.