In a booming metropolis like New York City, it can sometimes be overwhelming to find kid-friendly attractions. If you are planning on leading a group of youngsters through the Big Apple, here are some destination ideas for kids to keep them occupied and interested.
American Museum of Natural History
This museum is on the hot list for adults as well as children for its expansive collections and exhibitions from every major field of science. Kids will love the fossils and dinosaurs at the Hall of North American Mammals, the exhibits in the David H. Koch Dinosaur Wing, and the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda. Check out the Discovery Room for hands-on activities in every field of science represented in the museum. Also look into the Rose Center and Hayden Planetarium for interactive learning experiences about space and time.
New York Aquarium
The New York Aquarium is open 365 days a year, rain or shine, to offer you a unique chance to meet ocean life up-close. Feed penguins, otters, and walruses, watch sea lions and seals do tricks in the Aquatheater, or catch a 4D multi-sensory movie. Look into Glover’s Reef for a snorkeler's view of this complex and often colorful habitat or head down to the Sea Cliffs to meet the marine mammals.
Central Park offers children and families some of the best and most extensive entertainment in the city. With over 800 acres, Central Park has plenty of room for activities. Take the kids down to the carousel, Central Park Zoo, or Victorian Gardens Amusement Park. Visit the Belvedere Castle, Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, or Wollman Rink for ice-skating in the winter. Fish, hike, bike, climb on the statues, or run through the many playgrounds.
Brooklyn Children’s Museum
Museums are always a great attraction for kids, especially those designed for them. The first museum specifically for children, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s mission is to positively engage and inspire children to learn and experience new things. Visit the Collections Central to see everything from a shark’s jawbone to tribal masks and dolls or Neighborhood Nature to learn about what creatures live near you. The Sensory Room is a great attraction for children with disabilities to explore the space with all of their senses.
The kids in your group might mutiny if you don’t at least stop in FAO Schwarz, the oldest toy store in the country and one of the largest. Even if you don’t buy anything, everyone will still enjoy marveling at the towers of toys, playing on the floor piano dance mat, and being greeted by the living toy soldiers. Stroll through this wonderland, get some treats at FAO Schweetz, and feel like a kid again yourself.
New Victory Theater
Broadway and the New York live theater is a staple in the city though it may sometimes be difficult to find a production suitable for children. The New Victory Theater has been devoted to entertaining children and families exclusively since they opened in 1995. Take part in the pre- and post-show activities around the theater and then see a production designed for kids. Most shows have Autism Friendly extra showings for children with disabilities.
Among one of the largest metropolitan zoos in the world, the Bronx Zoo is home to over 6,000 animals. Visit the animals, feed penguins and sea lions, ride a bug themed carousel, or take a tour on the Wild Asia Monorail. Get up close to the Western Lowland Gorillas and Mandrills at the Congo Gorilla Forest, pet and feed the animals at the Children’s Zoo, and sing with the birds at the World of Birds exhibit.
If the kids in your group like carnivals and amusement parks, Coney Island is a must-see destination. Circus sideshows, funnel cake and cotton candy, and roller coasters are just a few of the attractions. Magic shows, street performers, the Mermaid Parade, and fireworks every summer Friday night. Check out some of Coney Island’s other kid-friendly attractions or stick to the ever-popular carnival rides.
New York Hall of Science
Whether you are chaperoning a group of third graders or middle school kids, the New York Hall of Science has over 450 exhibits, activities, and attractions to entertain and educate visitors. Spark creativity and curiosity with the Science Playground, Rocket Park or the New Mars Rover, or the hands-on exhibit Mathematica. With revolving and evolving galleries, there is always something for visitors of all ages.
Statue of Liberty
It would be practically illegal to come to New York and not visit the Statue of Liberty at least once. Not only is it one of the most important historical landmarks of our nation, but kids will love the ferry ride out to Liberty Island and climbing to the top of the crown to look down on sea and city. Take a side trip out to Ellis Island or finish up your New York visit with a trip to the top of the Empire State Building after you see Lady Liberty.
In the city that never sleeps, it’s never a problem to find something to do. If you are planning a trip to NYC with a group of students or young children, check out some of these recommended destinations for a kid-approved good time.