Family Things to Do
New York City pulsates with the kind of energy that makes you want to shake, move and run all the time. And you know who else wants to shake, move, and run nonstop? Kids. Children seem to have energy levels that adults can't keep up with. If you're travelling with kids in New York, finding an attraction that will be able to hold up their short attention span can make you sigh a big breath of relief - if only for a short while.
Thankfully, there are New York family attractions that will entertain and impress your children. From historic sites, to cultural landmarks, to zoos and breathtaking stores for kids, New York has it all. Visiting one of America's most cosmopolitan cities should be anything but "boring." The best thing about the city is you and your kids can enjoy the Big Apple any time of the year. For a more memorable family vacation, check out some of the top family attractions in New York we've rounded up for you.
A great day trip around New York is not complete without making a stop at The Bronx Zoo. Considered as one of the oldest and most popular zoos in the world, The Bronx Zoo has been fascinating visitors - young and old alike - since 1898. The zoo's 265-acre expanse is home to various animals ranging from African Elephants, snow leopards, sea lions, bears and different kinds of birds. Each display will surely leave kids and adults amazed and delighted.
Opened in 1898 to serve as a conservation park, the Bronx Zoo quickly flourished into a larger, more popular tourist destination that caters to family, schools and animal lovers. The Bronx Zoo has perpetually maintained their commitment to wildlife preservation and protection. The zoo is a great place to study and appreciate the diversity and impressive characteristics of animals from all over the world. Each display in the zoo is as impressive as the next one - you can observe gorillas as they entertain guests, play with affable elephants and witness how long-necked giraffes feed. Other activities to enjoy include visiting the zoo's large aviary which is home to several kinds of birds and observing tigers up close - behind a safety glass just to be sure.
Allow 3 to 4 hours of your time here since the sights and the attractions to see are seemingly endless. Get an insight into what life was like during the Dinosaur Age by making a stop at the Dinosaur Safari. Visit Wild Asia Monorail and have a fun relaxing ride over the Bronx River. For a more modern activity, head over to the 4D Theater and experience the Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaur adventure - a 15 minutes 4D film which features Ice Age characters saving baby dinosaurs.
Empire State Building
New York isn't called "the concrete jungle" for nothing. The towering landmarks that graze the landscape and effortlessly pierce the skies of New York are already breathtaking attractions. But not all buildings are created equal. One building is always on top of the itinerary of NYC tourists and is a subject of many songs. The famous landmark is more popularly known as the Empire State Building. Visiting the Empire State Building isn't just among the top family things to do in New York - it's one of the tourist activities that will make your Big Apple adventure complete.
Since it opened its doors in 1931, the Empire State Building has been one of the East Coast's most commanding attractions. Catapulted into fame by numerous photographs and movie features, there's no wonder why the Empire State Building has become one of New York's most popular tourist destinations. This famous landmark features impressive deco architecture that exudes sophistication and elegance - as New York's tallest building, it's anything but unnoticeable. The building offers breathtaking 360-degree views that allow you to see the Chrysler Building, Central Park, Times Square, The Statue of Liberty and the panoramic city lights that New York City is famous for.
Nothing beats a family activity in New York spent on the building's 80th floor - the sunset view here is incomparable. Breath in the New York city air by climbing up the open deck of the 86th floor. If you feel a little braver, go all the way up to the 102nd floor - the building's top deck - and behold the entire beauty of America's most glitzy city. However, these sights come with a price - 45 USD to be exact. You have to go through long lines and longer loops to get to the popular floors. But despite all of the steep prices and the seemingly endless lines, a trip to the Empire State Building is all worth it - surely, the once-in-a-lifetime views you'll get to enjoy will make you sigh and say "I'm glad I am here."
One World Observatory
Of all the towering attractions in New York City, there's one that stands out the most - One World Observatory. New York's newest observatory literally thrives in the sky - the observation deck is located on the 104th floor. Experience the Big Apple like never before by viewing it an angle that can only be seen from the observation deck. Taking in the sights of New York from One World Observatory's perspective is one of the best New York family activities you should not miss.
Built on top of the tallest buildings in the Western Hemisphere, One World Observatory is the place for anyone who wants to feel close to the sky. The building literally pierces the skies and time spent in the observatory equal time spent with the clouds. One World Trade Center - the building where One World Observatory is housed - opened its door to the world in 2012. The iconic landmark was built to stand as a reminder of America's resiliency after the 9/11 attack in New York. The structure boasts of sophisticated and modern architectural details that make it one of New York's most impressive buildings. Taking in the sights of New York from the observatory is a one-of-a-kind experience - you'll get to see what the glamorous city looks like from 1250 feet above.
Spending some time in the observatory is a break from New York's hustle and bustle. Imagine how awesome it is to enjoy the view without someone bumping you! Enjoy the endless "ohhhs" and "aahhs" from the kids as they point out some of New York's most iconic buildings like the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. Enjoy the seemingly serene panorama of the Concrete Jungle - it's a sight you will always remember.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art - commonly known as The Met - is the biggest art museum in the United States. Frequented by 6 million tourists yearly, it's the world's third most visited art museum and the fifth most popular museum of any kind. The Met's permanent collection features over two million masterpieces which are sectioned into seventeen different departments. The Met will surely fascinate you and your family even if you are not major art enthusiasts. If you're looking for New York family attractions that both fascinate and educate, The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a top choice.
Start your New York family activities with a trip to one of the most impressive art museums in the world. Opened in the year 1872, it was built for the purpose of educating the American people with regards to matters of art. Over the years, it has evolved into a prestigious art museum with a growing collection that includes medieval art, artworks from different regions around the world and modern and contemporary art. Feel as if you've travelled the world by seeing firsthand art collections from different parts of the globe. Introduce kids to various forms of art as you walk along tribal displays and ancient art creations.
Enjoy a closer look at some of the prized art pieces from Africa and Asia. The artefacts from the Middle East and Ancient Africa and Old America give a deeper insight into their beliefs and their culture. Visit the Egyptian Temple - a section which houses notable Egyptian art - and get to know their deities. You don't need to travel to Rome to see some of the most historically significant creations such as The Death of Socrates, The Denial of St. Peter and the interior of St. Peter's.
The museum's main building - located at the edge of the Central Park - houses the largest art collections. The smaller buildings - on the other hand - are where you will find various art pieces from Medieval Europe.
New York Transit Museum
Built inside an 82-year old subway, New York Transit Museum is a kid-friendly attraction which features artefacts and items that tell the story of the city's railway system. Informative and entertaining, it's a family attraction in New York that's worth your while.
It's a busy subway where people come and go but mind you, trains are not expected to arrive anytime soon. The popular tourist destination is known as the New York City Transit Museum. This family attraction in New York pays a nod to the city's impressive railway and bus systems through a series of photographs, impressive displays, memorabilia and equipment like vintage subway cars and station topography.
New York City Transit Museum is the largest museum dedicated to urban transportation. Through the museum, guests - tourists and locals alike - get informative insights into the complex world of metro trains, subways and buses people use every day. The subway stands as a creative example of the ingenuity of New Yorkers. The decommissioned subway station did not forever remain idle - it was transformed into a kid-friendly attraction that's considered one of the city's most frequented locations.
Visit the downstairs area - it's the best part of the museum. The highlight of NYC Transit Museum is its platform where you can climb aboard and explore 13 vintage subway and elevated train cars that date back to the early 1900s. Other must-see sections include an interactive gallery with a traffic intersection, a 12-seat bus and a "Fishbowl" bus cab from the 60's.
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
Towering skyscrapers and bright, lively shops can only entertain kids for a short while. Boredom coupled with seemingly endless walks can make kids wonder "When is this going to end?" Questions like that don't make great vacations. Fortunately, New York has kid-friendly attractions that will surely brighten up moody kids. Re-energize your little tourists by visiting the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum - home to historic items such as an aircraft carrier, a missile submarine and a military jet.
The iconic USS Intrepid survived deadly kamikaze and bomb attacks during the second world war. Today, the enormous aircraft carrier serves as a host to a multi-million dollar museum which features significant military stories through photos, interactive videos, historical artefacts and preserved living quarters. Visitors of all ages can learn history through firsthand exploration, learning about stories of heroism and hearing accounts of people who fought during the Second World War.
Take a tour of the museum's flight deck where you can find military helicopters and fighter planes that will surely convince you to try the in-house flight simulators. The Intrepid's deck is also home to 28 aircraft which include the world's fastest military jet. Be impressed with the sophisticated details of the space shuttle Enterprise or take a tour inside the Growler, the only missile submarine open to the public. Engage in an experience of a lifetime by visiting the Exploreum - an interactive exhibit space where you can enjoy adrenaline-pumping activities such as climbing into a real Bell 47 helicopter and land a space shuttle.
A tour around the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space museum combines science, adventure and history. Educational and fun, it's the perfect family attraction you shouldn't miss.
It is safe to say that a trip to the Big Apple will eventually lead you to one of the top 10 attractions in New York - the famous Central Park. Central Park is a beautiful leisure destination comprised of fascinating landscapes, iconic spots, well-manicured walkways, a lake and reservoir and random areas that bid you sit down and relax. The vast expanse - 843 acres to be exact - offers a seemingly endless list of activities that both adults and kids will enjoy. If the crowded streets and the busy city scene tire you and your family, enjoy a stress-free break at New York's most beloved park.
Central Park is Big Apple's favourite backyard and the best place to enjoy New York family activities. The lush green fields and the panoramic views are irresistible to both locals and tourists. The park's calendar of activities is always jam-packed - the things you can do at the park is as endless as its fields. Central Park is for the whole family - the playgrounds, the Marionette theatre and the zoo offer so much entertainment that will surely want to make you stay longer.
New York's favourite hang out spot is home to the Central Park Zoo - an engaging attraction where you can see up close and interact with almost 130 animal species. The 6.5-acre zoo is home to various amphibians, fun birds and farm animals such as goats and cows. If you're looking for kid-friendly activities, visit the Children's Zone. Here, you'll find the Friedsam Memorial Carousel, the classic amusement park known as Victorian Gardens and the Ancient Playground.
New York Hall of Science
New York is famous for its modern city and its shopping scene - it's depicted as a place of luxury. But beyond New York's glitz and glam is a fact that not a lot of people know: New York is a place of learning. The city is full of attractions that both entertain and educate. One of these places is the New York Hall of Science - a family-friendly New York attraction that features everything about Science and technology.
If your idea of a great family time in New York is learning while having fun, you should check out New York Hall of Science. With more than 450 exhibits, demonstrations and workshops to see and to experience, there's surely no idle time here. From exploring an animated world to trying out the space-themed mini golf, the place is filled with enough attractions that will keep kids and adults on the edge of their seats.
Initially established as a part of the World's Fair, New York Hall of Science has flourished into the city's oasis of Science, serving more than 500,000 families and students yearly. The iconic attraction has three spacious floors to discover. Located on the lower floor is the Design Lab - a place where children can hone their creative and analytical skills by making and trying out different experiments. Younger visitors will love the Preschool Place - they'll experience hands-on learning here.
Don't forget New York Hall of Science's main star - the iconic Great Hall. The Great Hall is home to it's most popular attraction - Connected Worlds. Here, guests are introduced to an animated world where their actions, movements and decisions affect the balance of the digital world. This place offers an opportunity for parents to teach their kids how their actions greatly affect the world.
The outdoor attractions - the Science Playground and the Rocket Mini Golf Park - are also a must see.
American Museum of Natural History
The American Museum of National History is a classic museum considered by many as one of the most iconic New York landmarks. The museum is home to delightful exhibits and displays featuring animals and people from various eras. Also inside this structure is an impressive IMAX theatre and an interactive planetarium. With lots of restaurants and shops inside, The American Museum of National History provides the complete New York family experience.
Established in 1869, the American Museum of Natural History presents a multitude of stories to visitors through its extensive collections of artefacts - 30 million items to be exact. One of the most stand-out displays in this museum is its impressive collection of dinosaur skeletons. The Rose Center for Earth and Space is one of the favourite sections for visitors thanks to its breathtaking planetarium. From October to May, this popular tourist destination puts up an additional section - the Butterfly Conservatory - which often features more than 500 butterflies from all over the world.
Bring back the wonder in your children's eyes as you visit the natural history section of the museum. Enormous fossils - including that of the huge woolly mammoth and the jaw-dropping skeletons of the t-rex - can be found in every corner of the Fossil Halls. Kids who love animals will feel super as they explore the popular animal section. Get a closer view of the fascinating gems and minerals from all over the globe. Appreciate underwater wonders even more as you learn more about marine ecology and developments. Explore the vast universe by visiting the Dark Universe, a section which explores the mysteries of the cosmos.
High Line / High Line Park
The creativity of New Yorkers can be visibly seen in their attractions - some of the most popular tourist destinations in New York are built in abandoned places. One of these re-invented attractions is The High Line - a refreshing spot which bloomed from an old railroad that was near demolition. Enjoy New York's fair weather by walking the High Line with your family. Impressive horticulture, random artworks and friendly food vendors greet you along the way.
Walking High Line's well-decorated pavement can sometimes make tourists wonder "Did this really come from an old, dingy railroad?" Considered as one of the fanciest trails in New York, High Line stands as an example of sophisticated urban renewal. This popular public park was once close to demolition until residents - who call themselves Friends of the High Line - did all they can to keep it. Today, it is one of the city's favourite green spaces attracting visitors to enjoy a relaxing stroll or have a little picnic 30 feet above the city while enjoying the panoramic views of Manhattan's landscape.
While at the High Line, enjoy stunning vistas of the Hudson River, public art displays, wide lounge chairs that allow you to enjoy the New York sun, relaxing landscape and food vendors which allow you get a taste of popular local delicacies. Kids will enjoy the clean, wide pavement where they can run around while seeing the busy lanes of the Big Apple. At night, the High Line transforms into an uber-romantic spot where couples can enjoy some quiet time, a scenic walk and a romantic ambience. The High Line is a famous spot for various parties and events - make sure to check out their official site. This iconic attraction continues to thrive through donations - if you want to show some love to the High Line, donate here.