Big Apple and No-neck monsters
September 24, 2009 10:40 AM   Subscribe

What are some cool things to do in New York City with a toddler? She will have her third birthday in a few weeks and loves animals, arts & crafts and other kids.

We are temporarily looking after our city-smart niece while her parents go on a one week vacation. She lives in Chelsea. Like many NYC kids, she has a busy schedule of play dates and classes, but we hope to do some special activities to spoil her. We took her to the Carousel and the Children's Zoo last time we had her and she loved that. The other big hit we've found is the Children's Museum near Chinatown. Her parents mostly don't feed her candy or sugar (but are OK with the idea that we don't have no stinking rules), so a cool mega-candy store would be fun too. We usually take her to Billy's Bakery for a mega-cupcake, but a little variety would be cool.

I was thinking about the Bronx Zoo, but wasn't sure if that would be too much (and if I'd get lost!) From answers to past questions, I'm looking in Tmie Out New York Kids. We have her starting next Wednesday, if there are date specific ideas.
posted by Lame_username to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Sugar Sweet Sunshine (on Rivington St.) has EXCELLENT cupcakes and other awesome baked goods and is right down the street from Economy Candy, which is pretty ridiculous. Also, Dylan's Candy Bar (on the UES) is great.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:46 AM on September 24, 2009

Best answer: Take her to FAO to see all the wonderful plush toys. I still love going there. A couple months back they had a make your own Muppet station and a paint your own pottery room too. They have a fairly sizable candy section too.

Another great toy place is the Toys R Us in Times Square. There's a ferris wheel and roaring dinosaurs.

Dylan's Candy Bar is a neat candy store too.

I think the Bronx Zoo is doable. If you're going in the middle of the week it won't be as crowded. And one day during the week it's pay what you can.
posted by mrsshotglass at 10:48 AM on September 24, 2009

Best answer: I just went to the Bronx Zoo with my friend's 18 month old daughter and she loved it, Bug Carousel FTW.

Brooklyn Children's Museum, also.
posted by The Straightener at 10:54 AM on September 24, 2009

American Girl Place is geared towards girls a bit older, but I'll throw it out there because I know my 2yo would love it. 2nd FAO.
posted by kmennie at 10:57 AM on September 24, 2009

Take her for a ride on the Staten Island Ferry.
posted by blast at 11:29 AM on September 24, 2009

Best answer: Seconding:

Sugar Sweet Sunshine (I used to work at Magnolia, feel pretty well-versed in the NYC cupcake scene, and I think SSS is the best one...)

Economy Candy RULES. Impossible to beat, and close to Sugar Sweet. Dylan's is cool too...but a completely different sort of thing.

Brooklyn Children's Museum - it's was the first children's museum in the country, and remains one of the best.


The Bronx zoo is great - you won't get lost.

Ride the carousel in Bryant Park - it's the old school french kind. Super neat.

Take her to see some children's theatre!
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:17 PM on September 24, 2009

Are you allowed out of the city? Liberty Science Center is just across the river and could be fun for a 3yo.

I'll second FAO too. I went there with my friend's 2yo daughter and she loved it. I wasn't sure she would, but she did. She also loved the subway.
posted by bDiddy at 12:21 PM on September 24, 2009

Take her to Governor's Island and rent one of those pedal quadcycles. She would love it. So will you. Bonus is the Ferry ride over.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 12:27 PM on September 24, 2009

Response by poster: Wow! Pretty much all awesome suggestions thus far. The cupcake suggestions are well received by this big kid. Billy's is the best I've tried and super-convenient to our Chelsea hub, but I'm always willing to conduct experiments in the name of science. I've never been to Sugar Sweet Sunshine, but it just got added to my must-do list (with or without cover from my niece). Both of her parents are pretty hard-core cyclists, so she gets to do that plenty and at higher speed than I'm going to manage, so I probably won't do that one but it is a fine idea.
posted by Lame_username at 1:21 PM on September 24, 2009

Best answer: SSS cupcakes are good, but I think Billy's are better. You should of course do a formal taste test though!

The New York Hall of Science in Queens is pretty cool, I used to go there as a kid and loved it.

nthing the Brooklyn Children's Museum.

Another place I loved as a kid. I'm not sure if she's too young for this, but I also loved both the American Museum of Natural History and Rose Center/Hayden Planetarium when I was a kid.

Ok, I still love those places :)
posted by jacquilinala at 1:58 PM on September 24, 2009

Brooklyn Children's Museum is hard to get to, but speaking of Brooklyn, the Prospect Park Zoo (and Prospect Park playgrounds), Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Museum, and Brooklyn Central Library (with a great children's department) are all in easy walking distance of each other. Just don't try to do them all in one day!
posted by rikschell at 2:17 PM on September 24, 2009

Just chiming in to second Economy Candy in the Lower East Side. Completely crowded and hectic on the weekends, but oh-so-colorful and fun and full of every kind of candy imaginable. You'll probably be more excited than your niece, because you'll find some long-forgotten candy from your own childhood...okay maybe I'm projecting but it's awesome!
posted by Jemstar at 7:38 PM on September 24, 2009

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