New York City is a bustling, colorful, and exciting place to visit. It has plenty to offer as a family-friendly destination. One of the main benefits of NY is the vast variety of things to do, see, and experience. If your kids like dinosaurs, or shopping sprees, or even roller coasters, then New York has options for you. Another benefit to visiting New York with kids is that the city has excellent transport links. However, NY is a busy and sometimes loud place. There are not always lifts or ramps for pushchairs, so consider this if traveling with young kids.
The world-famous collections of the American Museum of Natural History are well worth exploring with kids. The museum has some of the most impressive dinosaur fossils on display anywhere, with interactive exhibits for kids and grown-ups. The museum is fully accessible with guided tours aimed at entertaining kids too.
Films like Night in the Museum have made the museum famous too, and family can spend a happy day wandering through the AMNH. Admission is free with a suggested donation of $19 per adult. Additional costs apply for access to the planetarium, IMAX shows, and any special exhibits.
No visit to New York would be complete without seeing the iconic Statue of Liberty. This 310 feet (93 meters) high statue was a gift from the French and constructed from 1876 to 1886.
Today, there are several options to visit lady Liberty. You can journey by ferry to Ellis Island as the immigrants once did on first arriving in America. Here you can see the real books where new citizens signed their names on entering America. The Statue of Liberty has a lift inside to travel to the top and look out from the viewing platform. Make sure your kids have a head for heights. This attraction can be busy, and the souvenirs are pricey. Alternatively, you can see the statue on a helicopter ride if you splash out, or admire it from afar for free.
New York has several zoos for kids who love animals. The Bronx and Central Park Zoo are the largest with the best facilities for families. Central Park Zoo costs $12 for adults, $7 for children between 3 and 12 years old, and younger kids go free. Admission to the Bronx zoo is more expensive at $22.95 for adults, $14.95 for 3 to 12-year olds. However, kids two years and under are free, and a visit to either zoo will easily provide a full day of entertainment for kids of all ages.
Fans of the Madagascar franchise will have a host of souvenir options at the Central Park Zoo, where the film was based. Alternatively, the Bronx zoo is more focused on conservation with pre-bookable possibilities such as for kids to ‘be a zookeeper for a day’ and find out how the keepers care for the animals.
There are several large theme parks in or close to New York City, and several smaller fun fares too. If you want, big thrills, try Luna Park, which is better for older kids. Luna costs $52 per person with no discount for children older than three.
Try Coney Island in Brooklyn for some beach fun and rides for all ages - opening times vary seasonally so check beforehand. Or the stunningly beautiful carousel in Central Park where the whole family can pick their horse to ride. Please note that some theme parks do not allow you to bring your own food in with you, check before going at considering any extra costs.
No matter your team allegiance or even if you don’t watch baseball, a visit to watch a match is great fun for kids. The fun isn't just the sport itself, but the acrobatics of the cheerleaders, the crowd entertainment like t-shirt cannons, and plentiful fast-food options. All this mean, kids will enjoy watching a game for the experience itself.
The two major league teams in NY are the Mets, and the Yankees, tickets for both vary in cost but expect to pay about $80 per adult and half that for kids. Watch the weather report carefully, both Citi Field and the Yankee Stadium are open to the elements and a few hours in pouring rain will dampen anyone’s spirits.
Feel like Holly Golightly for a few hours and window shop on 5th Avenue. Make it clear to your kids what your budget is - or that you are strictly window shopping; 5th Avenue has costly boutiques!
While some of the more upmarket stores might not have much for very young kids, some stores specifically cater to fashion-conscious youth. Kids can try on Channel outfits, spritz themselves with perfume or cologne, and gaze at luxury apparel from around the world. Remember that 5th Avenue can be busy, and locals won’t appreciate tripping over kids. Keep a tight hold on your kid's hands.
Every star of the stage dreams of making it to Broadway. Here, the biggest, best, and most entertaining shows are on offer. Do your research in advance and consider what kind of show your kids might like. Whereas older kids might like We Will Rock You or Wicked, younger ones might prefer The Lion King.
Book tickets in advance, and look for seats for the matinee performances for significant savings.
Exploring New York with kids can be a busy and sometimes stressful experience. Take kids to the big, green open spaces of a park for some relaxation time.
There are several to choose from, but Central Park is ideally located in the middle of the city and has plenty of areas for kids to play in. If the weather is pleasant then bring a picnic along and make a day of it. Alternative parks that have play areas for kids are:
Another right of passage for many visitors to New York is taking in the view from the top platform of the Empire State Building. Kids with a head for heights will like popping their coins into the viewing telescopes to look down at the world below them.
Admission covers the cost of the elevator up to the main viewing platform. However, if your kids want to go to the heights platform, there is an additional charge. Because the top platform is smaller, there can be a queue. Bring something warm for kids to wear, even on a hot day its cold up there. You can save time if you pre-book your tickets and go at a pre-specified time.
The local New York cuisine such as hot dogs, bagels, and a massive slice of cheesy pizza might be available anywhere these days, but there is something special about eating it in its spiritual home.
Anywhere where there are tourists, you will find someone ready to sell your kids something to eat. But for some of the best try these places rated highly by the locals as kid-friendly venues: