Monday, April 22, 2024

Is New York Good For Families

Enjoy Hot Dogs And Coasters At Coney Island

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Taking the subway to Coney Island is a summer rite of passage for New Yorkers of all stripes. Located on the last stop on the D, F, Q and N subway lines in Brooklyn, this onlyinNew York spot boasts two amusement parks along a glorious beachfront boardwalk. As you slowly rotate the 150ft-high Wonder Wheel and chow down on a Nathans hot dog, youll enjoy a bit of urban Americana. Older kids will enjoy riding the Cyclone, a wooden roller coaster thats been generating screams of delight since 1927, while younger kids will find thrills in the kiddie rides. Stay late on Friday nights for a weekly fireworks show.

They’ll Be Ready To Tread The Boards

Think that children’s theater means bad actors in cheap animal costumes singing crappy songs? Go to the New Victory Theater on 42nd Street to see the best family entertainment from around the worldcircus, opera and puppetry. Broadway is also more kid-friendly than ever beforeshows like The Lion King, Aladdin and Matilda are enchanting visitors from here and abroad.

Does New York Work For A Family Holiday

The one good thing about jet lag when you fly to the United States is that you wake up so madly early, you can beat everyone else to the big tourist attractions and miss the queues. Thus it was that we found ourselves at the front of the line to get into the 9/11 Memorial Museum on our first morning in New York. Wed already had a belly busting breakfast of pancakes and piles of almost cindered streaky bacon, travelled across to the other side of town from our super-stylish midtown West Side hotel and we were still there before anyone else.

I decided to take our two children to the museum in the hope they would appreciate what this remarkable, resilient city had endured and marvel at how it still thrived. A video featuring the key decision makers of that day sets the scene. A strangely smiling Condoleezza Rice recalls hearing about the first plane to hit the Twin Towers, a tearful George W Bush talks of the moment when he feared the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania later that day might have been shot down by US fighter jets under his orders.

The Mad Men tour of New York

As you walk through the museum, what strikes you is how little remains in such a cavernous space. All the desks, chairs, photocopiers, printers, computers and personal ephemera of the tens of thousands that worked in the two buildings vanished. Just some voices remain, trapped in messages endlessly replaying on answer machines.

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Some Days Are Better Than Others

New York City is one of the largest metropolises on Earth and has a population of 8.4 million. Imagine that added to the number of tourists the city sees every year!

Tourism increases every year in New York City , which makes it pretty crowded on the weekends. So much so that you might not be able to enjoy and take in the real beauty of sightseeing if you plan on weekend visits.

If you prefer the noise and energy of crowded places, then I wont stop you you do you! That said if you want to make the most of your visit and shirk the large crowds, hit up the more tourist-trap locations in New York City during the week.

Discounted Tours And Family Activities In Nyc

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When considering what to do with kids in NYC, you may wish to take a look at an all-in-one attraction pass because it can save you money on your New York City family vacation. I say can because it depends on how much time you have in New York and how busy you would like to be during the day.

  • The CityPass New York can save you up to 40% on a some of the top New York attractions for families. The pass offers discounts for children 6-17 years . This pass is valid for up to 9 consecutive days.
  • The New York City Go Pass is another good option because it allows you to discover NYC at your own pace. Choose options from a 1-10 day pass allowing you to visit up to 115 attractions! Discounted passes are available for children 3-12 years.

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Visit Little Island Park

In May 2021, NYC saw the grand opening of Little Island Park. This beautiful new public use space replaced the old Pier 54 along the Hudson.

Within the 2.4 acre grounds you will find an outdoor concert venue, yummy food carts, a kids play area, and gorgeous landscaping to explore. Learn about upcoming events at

Note: Free timed reservations are required May- September, from Thursday- Sunday and on holidays. They can be booked here.

/11 Memorial & Museum

I wasnt sure how the kids would react to the 9/11 memorials or the museum. The attacks occurred before they were born and even though I know we mention it I knew they would have lots of questions.

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Standing at the base of where the building fell on that tragic day was deeply saddening. To think of all the innocent lives lost, the first responders that never made it out memories just came flooding back to my mind. I am not going to lie. It was HARD.

The kids could feel the mood and they grew somber. As expected the questions came pouring out. Thankfully the 9/11 museum was right there. What better way to give the kids the answers they needed than by visiting the exhibits?

The kids were able to view the television footage, stand before one of the fire trucks that were mangled and melted on that horrible day. It really helped them understand why all the adults around them were upset. They learned a lot that day and handled it incredibly well.

Olivia our 2-year-old was obviously too young but our four older munchkins range from 8-13 years old and I would totally recommend the museum for that age group.

You can get more information by visiting the museum website here, or if you are so inclined you can also make a donation here.

Tip- The 9/11 Museum is part of the CityPass. Get more information on their discount services here.

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Things To Do In Park Slope

Go birdwatching or host a picnic in the sprawling Prospect Park or walk over to the Prospect Park Zoo and Carousel. View paintings and sculptures, attend a visiting artist lecture, or take a studio art course at the Brooklyn Museum. Find your next Halloween costume, get a new book, or grab a greeting card at the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co., where all of your purchases benefit the writing nonprofit 826NYC. Eat Colombian empanadas or arepas during a family dinner or have an after-work sangria at Bogota Latin Bistro. Or discover your new favorite dessert at Ladybird Bakery, where you can choose from amazing pastries like the Almond Plum Tart, Brooklyn Blackout Cupcake, and Marble Cake.

Where To Stay In Lake Placid

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The lakeside Mirror Lake Inn anchors one end of Lake Placids Olympic Village, and has a great location just one block from Lake Placids Main Street shops, close to the Olympic skating, sliding, and skiing facilities. The hotel also offers a complimentary shuttle to Whiteface Mountain Ski Resort. Its Lake House sits across the street from the main inn building right on the shore of Mirror Lake and has a two-room suite thats ideal for families.

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Take In The Views From Top Of The Rock

If your kiddo isnt afraid of heights and youre looking for the absolute best views of NYC, make a beeline for the Top of the Rock Observation Deck.

Visitors can access three separate indoor/outdoor observation decks on the 67th, 69th, and 70th floors. The subsequent panoramic views from this iconic building makes this one of the most popular observation decks in NYC. As such, you can expect crowds practically every hour of the day.

From Top of Rock you will see the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, Flatiron Building and the One World Trade Center. This is a fun New York City activity for kids and I guarantee you wont forget the experience anytime soon.

New York is a work of art in and of itself. Its a masterpiece that shouldnt make sense, yet somehow, it does.

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Your Stroller As A Car

One refrain you often hear from moms, is that her stroller is her car. I can attest to the fact, that if you are walking with a baby, a good stroller is a must.

In particular, a stroller with a large basket is particularly helpful for carrying around everything you need on an outing, or even just your daily commute. Not to mention groceries!

Though you may also want to invest in a travel stroller if you live near a subway station with no elevator. Countless times I have carried a baby on one hip and a folded stroller in the other arm. More on that in a second.

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Strong Museum Of Play

The Strong Museum of Play in is one of the best things to do in Rochester, NY. It is a childrens museum but all ages will love this museum.

For younger kids check out the Sesame Street area and the Reading Adventure Land. Older kids and adults will enjoy the new ropes course as well as the National Toy Hall of Fame.

We visited often when my kids were small and like to plan a visit a few times a year now that they are grown.

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How To Get Around New York City

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Getting around New York City is easier than it may seem. You will not need a car in the city as there is ample public transportation, from the iconic yellow taxis, UBER, buses, and subways, to zip you around the city. Here are some tips to help you get around:

  • Buy or download a really good map, including subway routes.
  • Learn how to hail a taxi from a local: If the roof light is on, wave your hand out in the street with huge up and down gestures! If youre unsure, just watch the locals or ask them to hail one for you. Tell your driver where to go either by landmark or cross streets.
  • Buy subway cards at a station. 3 children under 12 years old ride free with each adult. You can also use these on the bus system.
  • Figure out your route ahead of time. Theres nothing more stressful than standing in the middle of a busy New York City sidewalk staring at your map and trying to figure out what youre doing!
  • Apple Maps and Google Maps both do a great job of giving you the best route and including step by step
  • Public transportation is a must do in NYC, so dont be afraid of it!

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New York Family Vacations Beyond The Big Apple

New York State is a family travel wonderland.

Think of a New York vacation, and the Big Apple is usually the first thing that comes to mind. But theres more to New York family vacations than the bright lights of Broadway and hustle of Times Square. The Empire State is a vast and geographically diverse place that stretches from the beaches of Long Island to the thundering cascades of Niagara Falls.

American Natural History Museum

Want to meet Rexy and Dum Dum from Night at the Museum?? I bet your kids do! This is why the and Museum of Natural History is a super fun place to take the kids. Not to mention the obvious fact that this museum is also educational.

Plan several hours and pack snacks because this is one gigantic museum. Besides chasing down every display from the movie Night at the Museum the munchkins also enjoyed the space show- Dark Universe and the Dinosaurs Among Us exhibit.

After you finish up at the museum I recommend grabbing some street food and heading over to relax in Central Park across the street. There is a playground at the entrance of the park on the far left side of the museum. It is gated and has plenty of things for the kids to climb on as well as plenty of benches for parents to rest their tired bodies on. Perfect combo!

Learn more about the Natural History Museum here.

Tip- The American Natural History Museum is part of the CityPass. Get more information on their discount services here.

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Great Kills Staten Island

  • Home Price: $404,414 median purchase price $1,147 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 91% of New York City neighborhoods

Dreaming of moving to the suburbs? If youre looking for an affordable home surrounded by a tight-knit community, Great Kills might just be the place for your family! This secluded area is one of the best neighborhoods in New York for families hoping to escape the city while still being able to commute into Manhattan. Located on the South Shore, Great Kills is full of waterfront views and just steps away from a day at the beach, and families can rest assured that their kids will get a good education at top-rated schools like The Barbara Esselborn School, The Gifford School, The Eltingville School, and P.S. 8 Shirlee Solomon.

The Central Park Carousel

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The Central Park Carousel, located Central Park at 64th Street, is a popular stop for young New York visitors, attracting 250,000 riders every year. The vintage carousel features 58 hand-carved painted horses and is one of the largest in the United States. The horses are nearly life-size in the outer ring and can accommodate adults as well as children. There are four horses in each row, beginning with two larger ones on the outside and two child-sized horses in the inside. The horsesy move up and down as the carousel goes around in a circle. Those who do not like to ride on horses can ride in two comfortable carriages.

The first carousel in the park was built in 1870s, powered by animals. A steam-powered carousel arrived at the turn of the century, replacing the original. The present structure is the fourth one and has been in the park since 1951. Each ride costs $1.25. The Carousel is open daily from April to November, 10 am – 6 pm, weather permitting. During the colder months, from November to April, the Carousel is open on weekends, 10 am – 4:30 pm, weather permitting. For more information, call 212-879-0244.

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Corning Museum Of Glass

Corning Museum is a day trip for us in Rochester, NYbut we have visited for a weekend away too. The small village of Corning is a great area to enjoy window shopping and dinner out.

The Corning Museum of Glass is the highlight of the area. It offers world class glass exhibits that are pretty incredible. For young kids there is an interactive scavenger hunt through the museum.

I also suggest watching one of the daily glass blowing shows.

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How To Get To New York With Kids

Traveling to New York with kids is simple as they are a major tourist destination so flights are frequent. In fact, there are more than a hundred air carriers servicing the New York area from all over the country and the world, including American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, and United.

The two main airports are John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport . They are both located in Queens but I personally like JFK better. JFK tends to have more flights as they serve more airline carriers but I would fly into whichever has a better deal if it were me. Once you land and probably are a little jet-lagged, our friends over at Mini Travellers has some great tips on Things to do with Jet Lag in New York!

You can also take a train to New York . Here are a few of the train services that travel to New York: Amtrak, NJ Transit, Long Island Rail Road, and Metro-North Railroad.

If you are driving into New York you can google directions. Just be aware that parking is very difficult within the city. It is best to use a site like to compare rates and locate places to park.

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Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

Teens, who can be hard to please, usually love this museum. Why? Because they can take endless photos for their Facebook pages with the lifelike wax figures of everyone from Jimmy Fallon to Barack Obama. The themed sections feature superheroes like The Hulk and Spider Man, sports stars including Carmelo Anthony and Derek Jeter, politicians from Abraham Lincoln to Bill Clinton, TV stars like John Hamm, movie idols past and present from Marilyn Monroe to George Clooney. Smaller fry will enjoy seeing Sponge Bob and ET. The Marvel Comics Super Heroes 4D film boasts some great special effects. Buying advance tickets online saves up to 25% off the admission price and this is often a Groupon offering, as well.Late May to early September and holiday periods: 9am 10pm daily. Rest of year, Sunday to Thursday: 10am 8pm. Friday Saturday: 10am 10pm.

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