Monday, October 11, 2010

Family Friendly New York City Attractions

Walking in Central Park
New York City offers some fantastic family friendly attractions and activities.  If you are traveling with children, New York City can seem geared towards adults with a heavy emphasis on shows, food and shopping.  But, if you dig a little deeper, you will be surprised at what’s available for families.  Below, we have listed our favorite children friendly New York city sites.  We think these are the best in New York City and offer extraordinary experiences for children.    

There are plenty of great hotels in New York that can satisfy nearly any taste.  As we previously have previously written, if a hotel pool is a requirement for your stay, your choices are surprising limited.  But, there are a handful of good choices (click here to see our list of New York Hotels with Pools).   Beyond finding a New York Hotel with a pool, we offer you our simple, but good, list of our recommended friendly New York City attractions. 

Best Kid Friendly New York City Attractions
  • America Girl Shop609 Fifth Avenue at 49th Street, New York, NY 10017 - The The American Girl Shop is simply paradise on earth for young girls.  Resembling a high-end boutique with the latest American Girl clothes fashions, it is a shopping experience par excellence.  In the back of the store, there is a beauty salon with authentic styling chairs, vanity mirrors and real stylists that will recondition and style the dolls' hair.   Upstairs, there is a Doll Hospital where you can take your Doll for any repairs or other “procedures” which might be necessary.  Finally, the American Doll Store offers its own tea and dining room which is very popular for young girls celebrating their birthday in style with friends and family.  All in all, we think this is one of the best experience based kid stores in New York City (sorry boys, but the NBA store is probably a close second).  Visit:
  • Bronx Zoo - Looking for one for the world's best zoo?  Look no further than the Bronx Zoo.  The Bronx Zoo has a first rate collection of exotic animals, including elephants, gorillas, giraffes, polar bears, rhinos and leopards.  Getting to the zoo from downtown New York City is easy.  You can take a train from the Metro North station at Grand Central Station, or take one of the frequent BXM11 express buses from Madison Avenue direct to the zoo.  Trains from Grand Central Station on the Metro North Line stop at the Zoo.  Also, there are express buses (Look for the BXM11 Buses on Madison) that make pickups along Madison Avenue and go right to the Zoo. Visit: Bronx Zoo Web Site / Bronx Zoo Directions
    Central Park Carousel
    The Central Park Carousel – Central Park, New York, N.Y. - Continuing a tradition that remains ongoing since 1871, the carousel in Central Park is a beautiful old fashioned carousel.  Housed in a turn of the century housing, 57 ornately carved wooden horses await rides from youngsters.  It offers a simple pleasure from times long since past and is a nice respite from the hustle and bustle of the day.  While you are there be sure to stroll the paths, garden areas and sculpted ponds inside the park. It is a relaxing and expansive park setting and leaves one wondering how such a serene pace can exist in one the largest cities in the world  It’s no ordinary city park.  Visit:  Central Park Carousel 
  • Dylan’s Candy Bar - 1011 Third Avenue, New York, NY – What Willy Wonka did for the imagination; Dylan’s Candy Store does in reality. An emporium of sweets in all directions, it’s a veritable wonderland of candy which will have the kid’s wide-eyed and mouths wide open with awe. Dylan's is the most famous sweetshop anywhere, and its reputation is well deserved.  This New York City candy store is an absolute must visit, and parents we apologize for the post candy sugar rush that follow. Visit: Dylan's Candy Store
    Fun at Ellen's Stardust Diner
    Ellen’s Stardust Diner – 1650 Broadway, New York, N.Y. - Located in the Broadway Theater District, the Stardust Diner is a fun experience for kids and adults alike.  The dinner is a retro 50’s drive-in theater theme, but the real treat is the singing wait staff.  Comprised of aspiring Broadway actors, the staff will break out into a fully fledged Broadway style singing performance.  The wait staff is incredibly fun and very friendly and willing to kibitz.  The kids will eat it up.  Visit: Ellen's Stardust Diner

  • Empire State Building – 350 Fifth Avenue, 33rd & 34th Street, New York, N.Y.  -  Visit the Empire State building and go to the observatory level for a panoramic view of New York City.  A giant Gorilla greets you at the entrance.  Views from the observation floor are exhilarating.  It also worth trying to take a photo of the entire building from street...keep on backing up…it will give a good sense of just how tall this building really is.   The Empire State Building is unique because it was built from stone materials long before the age of steel and glass.  For a really fun time, bring along a DVD of the original King Kong Movie for a family movie night and then bring the kids the following day.  It adds to the fun and mystery. Visit:  Empire State Building Schedule & Tickets
     Stuffed Annimal Wild Kingdom
    FAO Schwartz – 767 Fifth Avenue at 58th Street, New York, N.Y. - FAO Schwartz is the mother of all toy stores in New York’s City.  Located across from Central Park, FAO Schwart
    z is child’s dream come true.  Offering the latest and greatest in toys, this store has something for everyone.  But, perhaps the part we like best is the extensive stuffed animal collection.  A virtual Noah’s ark of stuffed animals of every kind sprawls across the main floor, including amazingly huge stuffed animals (although one wonders how you could ever transport them home).  If you do venture into FAO Schwartz keep in mind you have zero likelihood of escaping without buying something and prices are not at a discount. Visit:  FAO Schwartz - New York City
  • Grand Slam - Times Square, Broadway between 46th and 47th Street, New York, NY. - Grand Slam is the king of New York souvenirs ranging from the popular FDNY tee shirts and caps, to all things you can possibly imagine that can bear a New York Yankees logo.  This store is aimed a tourists but is still loads of fun for sports minded kids.  Visit: Grand Slam - New York
  • NBA Store - 666 Fifth Avenue at 52nd Street, New York, NY. - For the kid who loves basketball, this is your 3-story hoops heaven.  Authentic NBA merchandise is offered, including NBA jerseys and basketball shorts.  NBA players make appearances at the NBA store and will sign autographs.  Check the web site to check for appearance times. Visit: NBA Store in New York City
  • Manhattan Children’s Theater – 52 White Street (380 Broadway), New York, NY. -  The Manhattan Children’s playhouse is a children’s theater that puts on child appropriate productions based on popular fairytales and children’s stories such as Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, and the Brothers Grimm stories.  These are high quality children productions for younger children.  Adults will enjoy them as well. Visit: Manhattan Children's Theater
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art - 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. – The Metropolitan Art Museum is one the world’s greatest art museums.  It houses an extensive collection of some of the most celebrated paintings and artworks ever produced.  The Museum will captivate many children, especially those with an interest in painting and art.  The Egyptian, Arms and Armor, Medieval and European Painting collections will be enjoyed by the kids. Visit: Met Museum
    Rexy at the Museum of Natural History
    American Museum of Natural History – Central Park West at 79th Street, New York, N.Y. - The Museum of Natural History is loaded with fun collections and interesting exhibits which will surely capture the fancy of any child, as well as the parents.  From Egyptian mummies and sarcophaguses, giant stuffed Elephants and wild beasts, dinosaur skeletons (including the now famous “Rexy” from the movie Night at the Museum which greets you at the front door), knights and armor, American Indian relics, totem poles and more.  The Museum of Natural History is an outstanding attraction for families. Try watching the movie Night at the Museum the night before, and then the kids will actively hunt out the exhibits. Visit:  Museum of Natural History New York
  • SONY Wonder Technology Lab - 550 Madison Ave. & 56th Street, New York, N.Y. – The Sony Wonder technology Lab is an engaging and well done interactive computer exploration environment for kids.  The exhibits include creative interactive applications with cutting edge technologies.  Interactive displays include virtual surgery stations, animation workstations,
     and nanotechnology and robots stations. Visit: SONY Technology Lab New York City
  • Theaterworks USA - 121 Christopher St, New York, N.Y. – Located in Greenwich Village, Theaterworks is a highly acclaimed family oriented theater production company.  Shows are available only on weekends, but the performances are top notch.  Performances cover children’s classics such as Charlotte’s Web, the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and Seussical. This is a top notch theater which young and pre-teen will love. Visit:  Theaterworks New York

  • The New Victory Theater – 209 West 42nd Street, New York, NY. - Located in the Broadway district, the New Victory Theater is a youth theater with a little more edge to it, and probably better suited to teens and more mature children.  Performances run from the macabre to the more juvenile avant garde style.  The interior of the theater is stunningly ornate and with just 500 seats viewing is spectacular. Visit: New Victory Theater