Aquariums and zoos are a wonderful place for kids to learn, and many provide educational opportunities for young visitors. Although learning is the aim, kids will also take away the memory of coming nose to nose with a toothy shark, a giant giraffe, or some fanciful creature that will delight and awe. It's always good to bring a camera; you never know when a priceless moment of discovery may occur.
The Big Kahuna of New York City's wildlife parks, the 265-acre Bronx Zoo is home to more than 4,000 animals, from Siberian tigers and snow lions to its star attractions living in the Congo Gorilla Forest and the Butterfly Garden -- both of them fascinating. On a good day, you can practically go nose-to-nose with one of our simian cousins through a large glass window. As befits its status as flagship zoo of the Wildlife Conservation Society, the exhibits are extremely humane, outdoors if possible, in large environments recreating the species' native habitats. This does mean that there are often long walks between exhibits, but strollers are available. As you'd expect from this New York City star, the Bronx park has lots of show-biz dazzle, with cleverly designed exhibits and novel ways of getting around. Don't miss the narrated Wild Asia monorail, which somehow convinces children that they've taken a 20-minute trip to the wilds of West Asia. See Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island, and Metropolitan Museum of Art.