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New York City Sightseeing with Kids
Trip to New York City during family vacation might sound like an expensive trip. From one hand it is a big city with a lot of attractions for adults but it comes with big spending for whole family. But if to plan in advance, there are many children friendly activities in NYC with options of little expenses. To make family trip to New York less expensive, check out things to do for free or with little expenses for children. Sightseeing of New York City Attractions can be less expensive if using special combo offers or sightseeing passes. But if to think of fun from children point of view, often they like the things that have no big value for adults.
While visiting NY, one of the days I had to take care of 4 years old child. Not to destroy my plans for city sightseeing (I had already activated the New York Pass) we decided to keep on with New York attractions, just added some children friendly activities. Main things I had to consider, is that there has to be less walking distances and kid needs time to rest from all the activities. To make it easier to pick activities for one day, I used my New York Pass guide book with children friendly attractions already listed in one page and included map of Manhattan.
Our first stop was New York Aquarium. With sea lion show, fish feeding and simply watching different wildlife species, we spend there around two hours. Afterwards we headed to Manhattan. To make walking distances less, I decided to go to Top of the Rocks, because it’s right next to metro station in midtown.
Though it’s quite along trip on metro, for a kid who is used to traveling in the car, metro was nice change (actually I thing that metro ride is the one he liked a lot). When sightseeing, we were having different perspective of fun - I was enjoying views of New York City, boy was more found of dark light, stars and sounds of elevator itself as a view from Observation Deck of Rockefeller Center. Afterwards I would go to NBC studio Tour in same building, but they allow visits for children older than 6 years. But we had some time for snacks in front of Rockefellers Center – nice place to enjoy the sights of city.
So we passed Time Square on the way to Madame Tussauds wax museum. As one of the attractions for children, could be a visit to Toys R Us store. That way you can visit Time Square but child will have fun from ferris wheel in store. What comes to wax museum, kid was not very found of it, but was patient because in half an hour there was a Sponge Bob’s movie (he wanted that one). As result both of as got what we wanted – an exhibit and movie. And the movie time was good to relax a bit from all the walking. I would suggest that visit to Madame Tussauds is more suitable for teens – they were running around and taking pictures of people they have seen on TV.
From Madame Tussauds museum Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises are easy to reach. 75-minute cruise past landmarks of ‘city that never sleeps’ is fascinating for every age. What comes to the children, this sightseeing cruise is a good break from all the walking but offers breathtaking sights and most famous landmarks of NY to see. After the cruise there are busses that take back to Midtown.
Our sightseeing to New York ended with one more visit to observation deck. My sightseeing partner was already tired but we had some time before heading back home and we needed some activity in area of Penn Station. Visit to Empire State Building was kids’ idea. I don’t know what he was looking forward more – ride in elevators or sights of New York from 86th Floor ObservatoryJ. So I had chance to compare both observation decks. My choice is for Top of the Rocks. Though observation decks in Rockefellers Center are lower, all the visit to this attraction was more dynamic, with less line and waiting times.
During this visit I had few hours left for Hop-on, Hop-off sightseeing bus tour, so we used that one as well. And this is another thing that children might like a lot. Being on top of the buss is fun for kids. If you plan to travel long distances from Midtown to Downtown, NYC Sightseeing with Hop-on, Hop-off double decker bus is good option for children.
If you have some free time in area around Penn Station, I would suggest a visit to Madison Square Park playground. As one of the best playgrounds in city, it features a 15-foot tall water sprinkler, large wooden climbing area and swing sets. Besides, there is program for summertime shows art, music events held in park.
Before taking a family trip to New York check out online information about kid friendly activities. Combine them with your sightseeing wishes and whole family will be happy. Look for story times in bookstores, libraries, toy stores. Many NYC museums are offering family programs. Reservations aren’t required – just drop in. These activities are good on cold or rainy days. If the weather is nice, in summertime look for information about Weekend Walks or Summer Streets routes in NYC. Play, run, walk, bike events on streets of ‘Big Apple’ are fun for everyone.
From my experience, if you want to do same sightseeing, the most convenient, economical way to visit New York City with New York Pass
What comes to children passes, remember, many attractions are free for children under 5 - it could be cheaper to pay for separate admission tickets for them. If kids are older than that you can save big on New York Pass and Double-Decker Bus Tour combo offer because then there are more than 40 attractions to visit for one price. If book advance, often there are some special online sales for these passes. And you can collect it in New York at Empire State Building or at Time Square free of charge (no shipping).
Some more things to do for children in NYC:
American Museum of Natural History;
Children’s museum of Manhattan;
Jewish Children’s Museum;
Sony Wonder Technology Lab (free to visit);
Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island;
Central Park Zoo (visit Alice in Wonderland Sculpture or Ancient Playground for some climbing as well);
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