10 Best Places to Take the Kids in New York City
If you are traveling to New York City with kids, take heart in knowing that the city has plenty to keep them occupied and interested during your trip. We’ve included activities for kids of all ages in our list of our ten favorites. And, we bet that you’ll enjoy visiting these places too!
American Museum of Natural History
Best known for its gigantic dinosaur fossil exhibits, the American Museum of Natural History has a lot of other exhibits that kids will love! Birds, amphibians, mammals (including an impressive whale exhibit) are all on display in this massive museum. If you have a space-lover, be sure to check out the Hayden Planetarium and Big Bang Theater. The Discovery Room, designed for children ages 5-12, allows them to have a hands-on experience with science. Location: Central Park West at 79th Street Manhattan
Central Park Zoo
After your visit to the Natural History Museum, head over to Central Park to explore the zoo. The Central Park Zoo features animals from all climates, including penguins, monkeys, sea lions, snow leopards, and grizzly bears, to name a few. Tip: If you are there at 10:30am or 2:30pm, you can catch a glimpse of the penguin feedings. Smaller children will love the petting zoo, where they can get up close with cows, goats, and ducks. Location: 64th Street and 5th Ave Manhattan
Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM)
Located on the Upper West Side, NYC tourists and locals bring their children to Children’s Museum of Manhattan to see exhibits such as Dora the Explorer, Clifford the Big Red Dog, or Alice in Wonderland. The museum offers a variety of daily events ranging from art projects, circle time, and S.T.E.A.M labs, as well as special workshops, performances and festivals, all to get children to be interested in the arts, sciences and humanities. In the summer, City Splash enables kids to sail a boat, and play and paint with water. Location: 212 W. 83rd Street Manhattan
The Intrepid provides an education experience for kids (and adults) of all ages. Much of this sea, air, and space museum is located on a decommissioned aircraft carrier, stationed right on the Hudson River. Space-enthusiasts will be entertained with 17 dynamic exhibits about space. Older kids will be enthralled with the G-Force Encounter and Transporter FX simulators. Plan to spend a few hours here as there is a lot to see and do. Location: W. 46th Street and 12th Ave Manhattan
Brooklyn’s Children’s Museum
This was the world’s first museum dedicated for kids, with exhibits that allow children to learn through playing and exploring. The Sensory Room where children of all abilities can feel comfortable with activities such as story time, a music session, or petting one of the museum’s live animals. The Totally Tots exhibit caters to the younger crowd---children ages 0-5. They can play with water, sand, dress up, and blocks. The museum also includes exhibits where children can learn about the environment, such as a green house, a community garden, and a pond aquarium. Location: 145 Brooklyn Ave, Brooklyn
Pier 6 Playground
If you plan to visit the Brooklyn Bridge, stop by the Pier 6 Playground, which features an enormous sandbox that both little and older kids love digging in. Kids can also burn off energy on numerous slides (even a 2-story one!), swings, ropes, and jungle gyms. There’s even a playground just for the little ones. Then, cool off at the Water Lab, which has an enormous water-jet field. Location: 334 Furman Street, Brooklyn
New York City Transit Museum
Any child who loves trains will love this museum, which is located in a decommissioned subway station. The museum’s interactive exhibits will keep the kids entertained and the memorabilia will keeps parents interested as well. The “On the Streets” exhibition is a particular favorite of New York City kids. Older children will enjoy walking through the collection of vintage subway cars. Location: Boerum Place and Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn
Times Square is a busy tourist area, no doubt, but offers fun activities that the whole family can enjoy. There are usually a few costumed characters, such as Spiderman or Sponge Bob, who you can take a picture with. The Discovery Times Square has time-limited exhibits that incorporate museum artifacts, props, and costumes. Make your way into the Toys R Us Store and take a ride on the huge ferris wheel inside the store. Times Square is also home to the famous Ripley’s Believe it or Not! and Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. If your children are old enough, consider a Broadway show. If you have younger children, the New Victory Theater does puppet shows, musicals, concerts, and storytelling sessions, and is right in the heart of Times Square. Location: Around 42nd Street, Mid-town
Staten Island Ferry
Take a free ride from the tip of Manhattan to Staten Island. The boat ride take about 25 minutes, during which time you’ll enjoy fantastic views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the skyline. Try to avoid rush hour when commuters are coming to and from the city. And, oh, did we mention it is free? Location: Whitehall Ferry Station (The 1 and 9 subway lines are closest).
Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
A must-see attraction to appreciate this huge part of American history. Kids of all ages are thrilled be able to climb up to Liberty Torch, the highest point accessible to the public. Continue on the boat from Liberty Island to Ellis Island, which is best for children who are old enough to appreciate its significance. Kids ages 7-12 are able to participate in the Junior Ranger Program. Tip: Book tickets early, otherwise be ready to wait in long lines. Ferry Location: Battery Park, Manhattan
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