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Top Ten Things To Do with Children In NYC

Published: August 5th, 2014

Need some great ideas on what to do in New York City with your kids? Our concierges love kids and we are delighted to present you with a few fun activities that will fulfill the childhood wishes of travelers of any age.

1 ) Enjoy a little bit of nature right in the middle of the Concrete Jungle. The Central Park Zoo was originally opened in 1890 as a menagerie and was the first of its kind in NYC. It has since been renovated to accommodate the animals as much as possible. Whether you’d like to spend some time watching the penguins and puffers swim in the aquarium or petting the small animals in the Children’s Zoo,  this is the spot for an afternoon in the park! Tickets start at $12 per person. The zoo is open from 9 am to 5 pm every day. After exploring the zoo,  you can rent a bike for you and your kids, using a kids seat, or even a tagalong attachment. Spend the day biking around Central Park exploring all it has to offer.

During your tour, you can thrill your little ones with stops by the Central Park Carousel and the Bethesda Fountain near the Loeb Central Park Boathouse. At the Conservatory Water be sure to sail model sailboats. Visit the Alice in Wonderland Statue or Balto Statue and of course, enjoy a picnic on the great lawn. If you are planning on visiting Central Park, be sure to also read our article on the top Five Spots You Must See in Central Park Before You Leave NYC!

2) If you want to make full day of it, and you want to see much more variety than at the Central Park Zoo, venture out to one of the most well known zoos in the country, the Bronx Zoo. This zoo was built in 1899 and has now grown to feature over 6,000 animals and 650 different species. The prices for this exhibit start at around $17 per person for general admission Giraffes at the Bronx Zooand up to $34.00 for all inclusive tickets.  The zoo is over 265 acres and can honestly take up to the whole day to see all of the different exhibits. Safari through the
African Plains and see the regal lions, the elegant giraffes, and herds of Grevy’s zebras grazing. Another amazing exhibit is riding the Wild Asia monorail. The monorail  last about 20 minutes and you travel through forests, plains, and river banks. You will encounter black rhinoceros, elephants and even tigers. Once you are done and ready for lunch the Dancing Crane Café offers a very wide of different meals to please the whole families taste buds (The café has surprisingly reasonable pricing as well). The zoo is fairly easy to get to. You can take the 2 train uptown to Pelham Park and walk a few blocks to the Bronx River Entrance. Getting there from Times Square should take less than an hour.

3) Spend a few hours exploring the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space museum. Once on board, be sure to visit the British Airways Concorde, the Submarine Growler, and the space shuttle Enterprise. You’ll get to examine original artifacts, explore interactive exhibits, view historic video footage, and experience the power of a supersonic jet plane with their simulators. Located at Pier 86, on 12th Ave at 46th Street. (Before you head out, please stop by our front desk to pick up an Intrepid discount card that will also get you to the front of the line.)

4) Visit the Build-a-Bear on 5th avenue and 46th street. Honestly, who can resist making an adorable teddy bear of their own?! When entering Build-a-Bear there are tons of different stuffed animals to choose from. You get to pick one that you like. From there you get to fill them with stuffing, a “heart” and you choose a name for your new little buddy as well! For the very creative at heart they have tons of outfits you can put your new friend in. While this will only take up an hour at the most this will be family fun all around!  You can make something to last a lifetime filled with memories of your time in NYC!

5) Next, be sure to visit the American Girl store only a few blocks up from the Build-a-Bear has everything a child could dream of for their doll collection. You also could enjoy a spot of tea and a scone with your doll after you bring your doll to the salon and have her hair styled. The American Girl dolls were originally aimed to teach different aspects of American History. There are also books that are geared towards children ages 8 and up that tell the story of a certain time period and “their life” in that time period. These dolls still have short stories attached to them. The store has tons of different dolls, clothing, accessories and even furniture to make them more comfortable! There are over 60 different dolls to choose from while purchasing them. There are many different hair and eye colors, skin complexion and features to make them more individualized.

6) Spend the day exploring one of the largest museums in the world right here in NYC, the American Museum of Natural History, which is located on Central Park West at 79th Street

Courtesy of the Museum of Natural History

Courtesy of the Museum of Natural History

. The museum houses various exhibitions to thrill kids of all ages, exploring the natural world from dinosaurs to spiders. Also, get to see and learn about ocean life, birds of the world, various mammals and so much more. One of the Museums largest exhibit is the Rose Center for Air & Space which features the Hayden Planetarium. Inside the planetarium you can learn about the history of the earth along with a bit of astronomy. The museum is pay what you wish for general admission. If you would rather have admission to all of the exhibits you can purchase your SuperSaver tickets for $35.00 per person. This includes access to the whole museum.

7) A trip to NYC is not complete without seeing a Broadway show and introducing your little ones to the love of theater is a great gift. Among the most popular family friendly Broadway shows right now are The Lion King, Newsies, Aladdin, Cinderella and Wicked. However, our favorite at the Library Hotel Collection is of course, Matilda, because it is about a young girl who loves to read! Shows generally run about 2 ½ hours and have an intermission of 15 minutes.  Many Tuesday night performances start early, to help parents get their children to bed earlier. Tickets to any Broadway show can be arranged through the concierge of each hotel.

8) A trip to NYC would not be complete without venturing out to explore other neighborhoods as well. Hop on the 2 or 3 train to Brooklyn Botanical Garden and explore nature with their Family Workshops and Walks or just explore the gardens and collections on your own. Afterwards, take the 2 or 3 to Clark Street. Stroll the streets of Brooklyn to the water edge and fall in love with the views of Lower Manhattan, Manhattan Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge from the docks.

9) Ride Jane’s Carousel who’s horses originally were installed in Youngstown, Ohio in 1922, and have since been restored by Jane Walentas. The restoration process took almost 2 full decades. These beautiful horses have found their new picturesque home in Brooklyn in 2011 between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge under an acrylic jewel box. Jane’s Carousel is located in the Brooklyn Bridge Park, enter at either Dock or Main Street.  Right in the neighborhood is one of the most Famous NYC pizzerias, Grimaldi’s. Make sure you stop in for a slice or two, but be sure to leave room for dessert. Only one block over is Jacques Torres Chocolate artisan chocolate shop. You can either get a few freshly made Bon Bons or even a cone of ice cream in their adorable Ice Cream Parlor.  Finally, end the day with a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge while enjoying beautiful views of the Manhattan skyline.

Image courtesy of Magnolia Bakery

Image courtesy of Magnolia Bakery

10) After wandering around the city and seeing all of the sights, getting desserts is a must! There are numerous bakeries and restaurants that offer some of the best desserts around. My favorite place to satisfy my sweet tooth is at Magnolia Bakery.  The bakery offers some of the best sweets in the city! For more concierge tested recommendations take a look at our blog; Discover NYC’s Most Decadent Desserts.

If you have any questions on the hours of these attractions or how to get to and from them please contact our concierge at the Casablanca Hotel in Times Square, the Library Hotel, the Hotel Giraffe, and the Hotel Elysee they would all be delighted to help you with any arrangements you may need to make your stay memorable.