From its twinkling Manhattan skyline to the grand sweep of Central Park, New York is, indeed, a wonderful town, but it is by no means exclusively for older visitors. It might enjoy something of a rep for expensive tastes, or conjure the stereotype of waves of harried, fast-talking locals, but in reality, the city is a playground for little ones, as well as its work-hard, play-harder inhabitants. If you’re planning a trip to the Big Apple, pencil in some of these activities which everyone can get their teeth into.
American Museum of Natural History
You should probably explain to the kids in advance there are no guarantees they’ll see the exhibits come to life, but nonetheless, the residents of the Natural History Museum are pretty impressive, even when inanimate. Dinosaur fossils prowl through its giant, airy, galleries, a blue whale hangs, suspended as though swimming through the air and all manner of creatures slither, gallop and crawl in skeletal form through glass cases. Bring cameras and expect to spend at least a full morning here, ideally a half day, to take in just some of the 32 million artefacts within, and don’t leave without spending some time in the awe-inspiring planetarium.
Cross your fingers for sunny weather, hire some bikes for the morning and hit the trails through Central Park. So many of the activities in this green oasis were specifically designed for families spending quality down time together: ride the beautiful carousel, take a boat out on the lake or enjoy a Marionette theatre show while munching on a freshly-salted pretzel from a street vendor. Stop by to visit the wild and wonderful critters in Central Park Zoo: it’s home to a grizzly bear, sea lions and a majestic snow leopard, then, reward good behaviour with a quick trip to FAO Schwarz, the oldest toy store in the USA.
Madison Square Garden
Take them for an all-American day out at this iconic stadium, and if possible book a Madison Square Garden tour in advance to make the most of your visit: they run daily from 10:30 am until 3:00pm. Dine in one of the many eateries near Penn Station, before taking in your big ticket attraction: whether it’s a Harlem Globetrotters performance, a pop concert or a live wrestling tournament, there’s always plenty to choose from in The Garden for a perfect final night in the city activity.
Crowded, frantic, compact: the sheer energy of New York City is entirely infectious. Once you arrive you’ll see there’s no point in scratching your head for things to do: being there in itself is an experience, and visiting with the kids will guarantee one thing: they’ll never be bored!