New York City is a playground, chock full of fantastic activities and attractions for children of all ages. However, we don’t recommend that you let your rug rats loose to find the fun on their own. Instead, peruse our list of Things To Do In NYC For Kids, pick out a few items that you think will appeal to your child, and then hit the town.
NYC has tons of fun stuff for boys and girls, bookworms and junior thrill seekers alike. Animals, dolls, candy, fire trucks, PB&J sandwiches, speed boats, scares, robots, and toys … if kids like it, it’s here! The dining options alone will put big smiles on the little ones’ faces. What child wouldn’t love a restaurant that specializes in grilled cheese or chocolate? (And what parent wouldn’t, for that matter?)
Parents in New York City are fanatical about making sure that their children have the best educational and cultural opportunities, so take advantage of them! Some of these attractions, like the Sony Wonder Technology Lab and the FDNY Fire Zone, are even free, so don’t let a cash shortage keep you from showing your kids a good time in NYC.
Entertainment and Attractions For Kids in NYC
Central Park Zoo
64th Street and Fifth Avenue
Conveniently located in Manhattan’s Central Park, this petite zoo is perfect for the family that would like to see kiddie favorites like the sea lions, monkeys, and those notorious polar bears, but don’t want to the excursion to take up their entire day.
Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises – The Beast
Pier 83, West 42nd Street and Twelfth Avenue
The fastest thing in New York Harbor is The Beast, a high-powered ocean racer that takes you on a 30-minute thrill ride, with music blaring, close enough for a good photo of the Statue of Liberty.
FDNY Fire Zone 34
West 51st Street
Check out the life of New York’s Bravest through a variety of hands-on exhibits, including a recreated firehouse.
NY Skyride at the Empire State Building
West 33rd Street at Fifth Avenue
Located on the 2nd floor of the Empire State Building, NY Skyride uses flight simulation to take viewers on a speedy virtual tour of New York City. It’s a fast and fun way to see more than 30 of the city’s amazing sights, and you can save both time and money by buying your Skyride ticket in combination with your Empire State Building Observation Deck ticket.
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not
234 West 42nd Street
You may have read about these oddities in the Ripley’s books, but many of them you have to see it believe – and you can see them right in Times Square at the “Odditorium”. Grown-ups might be a little grossed out, but kids will love the bizarro exhibits and the photo-ops with creepy torture devices.
Dining For Kids
Jekyll & Hyde
91 7th Ave S, New York, NY 10014
Get thrills, chills, and your stomach filled at this theme restaurant which is a bit like a culinary version of Disney’s Haunted Mansion, full of spooky ambiance, real-life monsters, and ghoulish surprises.
Max Brenner, Chocolate By The Bald Man
At this wonderland for lovers of cocoa, sweets, and pastry, you can dig into a meal made entirely of chocolate. Have a chocolate pizza accompanied by a “choctail”, followed by a little fudge cake for dessert. The possibilities are endless! (They also have some “regular” food, if you’re into that kind of thing.)
Peanut Butter & Co.
240 Sullivan Street
(between Bleecker and W. 3rd)
Peanut butter fans rejoice! Choose from 25 different peanut butter sandwiches and desserts. Founded by Lee Zalben, this Greenwich Village store has all the combinations of peanut butter you can ever imagine.
Museums for Kids
American Museum of Natural History / Hayden Planetarium Central Park West
Dinosaur skeletons, cavemen, meteorites, a blue whale suspended from the ceiling, and an awesome space show in the planetarium all conspire to actually make learning fun for the little ones.
Children’s Museum of Manhattan
212 West 83rd Street
The CMoM makes the museum experience an interactive one, complete with intellectually stimulating exhibits, workshops, and activities that encourage children to learn about subjects like language, history, and technology through creative play.
Stores For Kids
30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10111
Made famous by the scene in the movie Big where Tom Hanks plays on a giant keyboard, the upscale FAO Schwarz is packed with similarly larger-than-life goodies, including gargantuan stuffed animals, eerily lifelike dolls, and all kinds of unique toys that will send your imagination into overdrive.
(btwn 48th and 49th Streets)
Choose from a rainbow of M&M colors that you never knew existed to create your own special mix of the beloved candies that melt in your mouth, not in your hand.