Are you planning to visit Coney Island with kids? In this guide we will tell you everything you need to know about how to long to spend on Coney Island, the best Coney Island Rides for kids as well as where to eat and more.
Important Note: This post may contain affiliate links which means if you click through and make a purchase I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you
When we decide to visit New York with our toddler and 6 year old we knew that we wanted to do a couple of day trips from the city. And one place we knew that they would love was Coney Island.
In this guide we will tell you everything you need to know if you like us want to visit Coney Island with kids or even toddlers.
Best Time to Visit Coney Island
Now the first thing you will want to know is what is the best time to visit Coney Island because it really isn’t a 365 day attraction, especially if you want to do the amusement park.
Generally speaking Coney Island Amusement Parks are opened seasonally from Early April to the end of October. And even during this period the hours are restricted depending on whether you go in High or Low Season.
Usually, the parks is only open weekends (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) from April until Memorial Day.
After Memorial Day the parks tends to open daily until Labor Day. After which the park resumes to be operations just on weekends.
However other Coney Island Attractions are open year round, for instance the aquarium, Coney Island Beach and Boardwalk. But it is worth noting that there will only be lifeguards on the beach from Memorial Day to Labor Day usually.
Generally speaking I think the best time to go to Coney Island is during the period when the amusement park is open but if you can go on a Friday instead of a Saturday or Sunday you will be rewarded with fewer crowds and queues.
How to Get to Coney Island with Kids
So now your know the best time to go, what is the best way to get to Coney Island with or without kids?
For me the answer to this has to undoubtedly be via the Subway.
The amusement parks – Luna Park and Deno as well as Nathan’s Famous hot dogs is located a stone’s throw away from Coney Island-Stillwater Avenue subway station.
And this subway station is well serviced by the D, Q, N or F trains. If you are coming from Central Manhattan it is worth noting that your journey will take around an hour so plan accordingly.
Coney Island also has plentiful buses however we did not find these to be time efficient or convenient as we were coming from Manhattan.
For information on other things to do in Brooklyn with kids check out this post.
Best Things to do on Coney Island with Kids
Now you know how to get there and when to go we will turn our attention to the best things to do on Coney Island with kids.
And of course top of the list has to be amusement parks.
Coney Island Amusement Park
What surprised me when we arrived at Coney Island is that they have not one but two amusement parks. These are
- Luna Park and
Each of these parks operates separately so the wristband you buy at Luna Park doesn’t work for Deno rides and the Deno tickets don’t work on Luna Park ride.
Therefore we thought it would be worth going into more detail about each park separately.
Out of the two amusement parks on Coney Island Luna Park is the biggest and has more attractions. It is also home to some of the more famous rides such as the Cyclone. However it is not home to the Iconic Wonder Wheel which is in Deno’s.
Overall Luna Park has 28 rides, 13 Carnival style games and an arcade.
If you plan on riding multiple rides at Luna Park the most budget friendly way of doing so is by purchasing a Extraordinary wristband.
The rides provide almost unlimited access to all the Luna Park rides for a 4 hour period. We recommend planning your day around this as you don’t want to take time out to stop for lunch as this will greatly eat into your ride time.
There are 4 wristbands currently available. They are
- ExtraOrdinary Over 48 inch wristband
- ExtraOrdinary Under 48 wristband
- Family Fun Wristband over 48 inches
- Family fun Wristband Under 48 inches.
The price of these are:
- $75 – ExtraOrdinary Over 48 inch wristband
- $50 – ExtraOrdinary Under 48 wristband
- $45 – Family Fun Wristband over 48 inches
- $40 – Family fun Wristband Under 48 inches.
My toddler was of course under 48 inches but he was happy with the scare and thrill level of the attractions he could ride on the toddler section.
However my 6 year old was literally a whisker under 48 inches and felt the rides were too small for her especially after our recent trips to Disney World and Disneyland.
Therefore I would recommend either traveling to Coney Island with a toddler or waiting until they are over 48 inches as children of around 5 or 6 may be disappointed with the ride selection.
Deno’s is the smaller of the two amusement parks on Coney Island and operates on a credit system that come on a Deno’s Fun Card.
Credits at Deno’s Cost:
- 1 credit – $1
- 10 Credits – $10
- 50 Credits – $45
- 100 Credits – $80
- 150 Credits – $115.
The kids rides / toddler rides at Deno’s Fun Card costs 5 Credits per person while the adult rides cost 10 credits per person for the Wonder Wheel, Phoenix Coaster and the Thunderbolt. While the rest of the adult rides cost 8 credits each.
Deno’s actually has the oldest ride on Coney Island – The Wonder Wheel which is a ferris wheel with both stationary and swinging gondolas. This historic ferris wheel is absolutely a must ride when on Coney Island.
Coney Island Beach and Boardwalk
Coney Island Beach and Boardwalk is another must when on Coney Island. And it is great for families visiting on a budget as this is one of the free things to do on Coney Island.
The Amusement Park is located just off the Boardwalk so it is easy to combine both in one trip.
Coney Island has over 3 miles of beaches, all of which are sandy so they are perfect for those visiting with small children. We recommend bringing a bucket and spade with you but if you don’t have one all of the shops along the boardwalk will sell these.
New York Aquarium
The Coney Island Aquarium is one of the other best things to do with kids but is especially great on rainy days or if you are visiting in the Winter when other Coney Island attractions are closed.
From the amusement park it will only take around a five minute walk down the boardwalk to the aquarium.
The aquarium has lots of exhibits including:
- a shark tunnel
- sea otters
- sea lions
- jellyfish and more.
An absolutely must see while at the aquarium is the sea lion show in the aquatheater which is actually very funny and kids of all ages will love.
To save timewe recommend you booking your tickets in advance.
Eat at Nathan’s Famous Hotdogs
Coney Island has one of the US’s most famous eateries – Nathan’s Famous Hotdogs. The Surf Avenue location, which you can see as you exit the Subway Station.
This is the original location and the largest but you can expect long queues all day here.
There are smaller kiosks around Coney Island however we recommend going to the original and in our opinion the best.
It is also home to the International Hot Dog Eating Contest.
Watch baseball at MCU Park
MCU Park is a minor league baseball field located nearby.
If you aren’t going to a Yankees or Mets Games this is a great budget friendly alternative.
Pose with Street Art
Coney Island has some amazing street art both in the amusement parks and along the board walk.
This is a great spot to take some family photos.
Fireworks on the beach
The fireworks on the beach are a Coney Island Tradition. They take place every Friday at 9:45pm. Even though we were there on a Friday we didn’t stay for this as it was too late for our toddler.
It is also worth thinking about how you will return to Manhattan from Coney Island at this time. I personally don’t like taking the subway at night so would recommend taking an Uber back from Coney Island.
Where to eat on Coney Island with Kids
If you are only going to have one meal on Coney Island then you have to go to
Nathan’s Famous Hotdogs
As we said above we prefer to go to the original location.
Another Coney Island institution. They serve classics such as hotdogs but their lobster rolls and funnel cakes are renown.
If you want a more sit down place then Ruby’s Bar is the place to go for American classics.
Doña Zita Mexican Restaurant
If you want Mexican food while on Coney Island this is THE place to go.
If you want gelato on your visit this is the place you have to go.
FAQS About Visiting Coney Island with Kids
What are the best Coney Island rides for Kids?
At both Deno’s and Luna Park have height restrictions that are categorised largely as under and over 48 inches.
The Wonder Wheel is an absolute must for any visitor to Coney Island as this is the oldest ride here and was the inspiration for the Pixar Pal A-Around at Disneyland.
On top of this the best coney Island rides for kids over 48 inches have to be
- The Cyclone – the fastest ride on Coney Island
- Thunderbolt – the highest ride on Coney Island and
For toddlers and young children the smaller rides are most appropriate.
Have you been to Coney Island with kids? What was your favorite thing to do?