Forest Hills, New York was established in 1906. Its most exclusive area, Forest Hills Gardens, was established a few years later as a place devoid of industry for families to experience country living in the city. More than a century later, Forest Hills retains its original charm and caters to children. Located just about 20 minutes from Manhattan, the neighborhood is adorn with trees and nature and is a perfect place to do fun things with your kids.
Art and Music Classes
Plaster Party Place offers plaster craft painting for kids of all ages. It has lots of ready-to-paint items for boys and girls as well as adults. The facility hosts birthday parties, offers classes and welcomes walk-ins. Oliloli Studio is an arts and crafts studio with activities like pottery-making, painting and glass-fusing for the entire family. It offers children’s art lessons and events, such as Story Time, which teaches children to paint ceramic characters from a storybook while a narrator reads the book to them. New York Music and Arts is a private school that offers private and group music and art lessons to children ages 3 and up, although they have adult classes, too. NYMA’s offerings include music theory classes, art classes and instrument and voice lessons with frequent student recitals.
Nature, a Carousel and More
Forest Park, which pre-dated Forest Hills and inspired its name, is a great place to take the kids. Covering more than 500 acres, the park's signature feature is the Forest Park Carousel, which was created by master wood-carver in 1903. This classical carousel houses an original carousel band organ, 49 horses, a lion, a tiger, a deer, and two chariots arranged in three concentric circles. The park is a perfect place to introduce your kids to nature as there are several hiking trails that aren't too long or too steep for small legs. The park also has an athlete's playground for softball, baseball, tennis, bocce and handball. Older children might enjoy its 110-acre, par 67 golf course. You can take music-loving kids to one of the free concerts at the park’s George Seuffert, Sr. Bandshell, which can hold up to 3,500 concert goers. Forest Park also hosts a series of events for children, such as theatrical productions like Rapunzel.
Within Forest Park is a 4-mile equestrian path. Your family can rent horses from the Forest Equine Center, which is part of Lynne's Riding School, or D&D Stables (no website; 8811 70th Rd, Forest Hills; 718-263-3500). Both are located close to the park. If your kids have a genuine interest in becoming adept at riding, Lynne's Riding School provides equestrian lessons to children ages 6 and up and adults. Classes vary from beginner level to seasoned rider. The school even has an indoor lesson ring so your kids can take classes year round, regardless of the weather.
The Forest Hills branch of the Queens Library offers family programs such as Crafty Tuesdays, Toddler Storytime, and Zumba Fitness Fun for children. This library also has a large offering of children’s books, movies, and CDs for families to borrow. The local Barnes & Noble has a sizable children’s book selection. It also offers Storytime on Sunday afternoons where an adult reads stories that are appropriate for a range of ages to the kids and then leads them in a related activity.
Forest Hills has three movie theaters, which all show movies for the entire family. UA Midway Stadium 9 has nine screens, offering families many movie choices, and is conveniently located close to transportation and a plethora of restaurants and shops. Cinemart Cinemas is an older movie theater and in close walking distance to historic Eddie's Sweet Shop, a classic ice cream shop with more than 20 flavors of homemade ice cream. UA Brandon Cinemas 2 only has two screens as its name suggests, but is conveniently located close to eateries and merchants.