Some of New York’s sights and attractions are designed specifically with kids in mind, but many others I’ve discussed are terrific for kids as well as adults.
Probably the best place of all to entertain the kids is in Central Park, which has kid-friendly diversions galore.
In addition to the museums specifically for kids detailed in our listings, consider the following, discussed elsewhere in this guide: The American Museum of Natural History, whose dinosaur displays are guaranteed to wow both you and the kids; the New York City Fire Museum, in a real firehouse; the Museum of the Moving Image, where you and the kids can learn how movies are actually made (and play vintage video games); the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, whose weekend living-history program intrigues school-age kids; the New York Transit Museum, where kids can explore vintage subway cars and other hands-on exhibits; the South Street Seaport & Museum, which little ones will love for its theme-park-like atmosphere and old boats bobbing in the harbor; and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, 145 Brooklyn Ave. (tel. 718/735-4400; www.brooklynkids.org), which in 2008 completed a decade-long $80-million renovation.
Other Kid-Friendly Diversions
Shopping -- Everybody loves to shop in New York—even kids. Don’t forget to take them to Books of Wonder; that temple of sneakerdom, NIKETOWN; the NBA Store; Dylan’s Candy Bar, for a real Willy Wonka experience; and Toys “R” Us in Times Square, with its very own indoor Ferris wheel.
Sky-High Views -- Kids of all ages can’t help but turn dizzy with delight at views from atop the Empire State Building. The Empire State Building also has the New York Skyride (tel. 888/759-7433; www.skyride.com), which is a short motion-flight-simulation sightseeing tour of New York, in case the real one isn’t enough for your kids. Skyride open daily 8am to 10pm; when purchased online, tickets are $19 for adults, $18 for seniors, $16 for kids; tickets cost more when purchased at the Empire State Building. Combination Empire State observation deck/New York Skyride tickets are available at a discount.
Special Events -- Children’s eyes grow wide at the yearlong march of parades (especially Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade), circuses (Big Apple and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey), and holiday shows (the Rockettes’ Christmas performances).
Zoos & Aquariums -- Bigger kids will love the legendary Bronx Zoo, while the Central Park Zoo, with its Tisch Children’s Zoo, is particularly suitable for younger kids. At the New York Aquarium at Coney Island, kids can touch starfish and sea urchins and watch bottle-nosed dolphins and California sea lions stunt-swim in the outdoor aqua theater. Brooklyn’s Prospect Park also boasts a wonderful little zoo.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.