Granddaughter visiting NYC
August 15, 2005 12:35 PM   Subscribe

Will be visiting New York City for three days in September. I'll be working but am bringing along my wife and five year old granddaughter. What would be good (fun) activities to keep them (esp the granddaughter) occupied. Will be staying near central park area.
posted by jjcurtis to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There was a lot of good advice about New York and kids in this thread. You might want to try doing a search of the archives, as there have been a lot of New York travel questions in the past. If you can't find the information you need there, then it might be useful to follow up with a more specific question.
posted by handful of rain at 12:50 PM on August 15, 2005

Without fail, visit the American Museum of Natural History, at 81st and Central Park West. Dinosaurs! A blue whale hanging from the ceiling! Dioramas!
posted by scratch at 12:54 PM on August 15, 2005

The American Girl Place is the perfect joint for a 5 year old girl. You may also want to visit (of course) FAO Schwartz on the south-east corner of the park. It's the famous one, known for Tom Hanks' scene in Big.

Additionally, there's a gawd awful Toys R Us (with a ferris wheel in the middle of the store) down on 5th. There used to be a WB Store with a cool theater in it, but I think it's closed down. I'm not sure if the Disney store is still open on 5th either. Been a while.

Unfortunately, my wife will never be able to live out her dream of taking her daughter for tea at the Plaza hotel (home of Eloise), as they've closed it forever to make room for a new condo development. Who needs history and tradition when you can have more condos, eh?
posted by thanotopsis at 1:23 PM on August 15, 2005

N.B.: The above-mentioned gawd-awful Toys R Us with the Ferris Wheel is actually in Times Square, on Broadway at 7th and W. 44th.
posted by Vidiot at 2:26 PM on August 15, 2005

Central Park has its own dairy, and zoo; with the Metropolitan Museum of Art literally next door, your day will be pretty much full.
posted by Smart Dalek at 2:53 PM on August 15, 2005

Sorry. Weekend. Central Park's playground is also a hit with kids.
posted by Smart Dalek at 2:55 PM on August 15, 2005

Carousel, too.
posted by Vidiot at 3:46 PM on August 15, 2005

The above-mentioned gawd-awful Toys R Us with the Ferris Wheel

Coincidentally, I was there with a five year old today. It is god-awful, and kids love it. On a day that's too rainy or muggy to do something else, grit your teeth and wait 20 minutes in line for the ferris wheel. Kids are different than you and I. They like that shit. Otherwise, I wouldn't miss the Natural History Museum (try to get tickets, in advance on the web, for their current dinosaur exhibit which has some cool interactive stuff. It's packed on weekends especially, so you need to plan that and book tix a week or more ahead of time to be safe. Also, if you do go to the Central Park Zoo, which I highly recommend, the sea lions get fed at 11 AM and that's always a great show, and you can skimp a little on the main zoo with a 5 year old (rain forest and penguin exhibits are the must-sees) and go quickly on to the children's petting zoo (remember to keep your receipts when you buy tickets because you need them to get into the petting zoo). It is dead-on perfect for a 5 year old, with interesting birds running around underfoot, a hollow log in which to sit and watch rabbits through a hole, and friendly goats who will eat out of her hand. (There is also a handwashing station . . .) For cheap thrills, a ride on the Staten Island Ferry (which can be combined with a visit to the South Ferry area, including the amazing Museum of the American Indian) is hard to beat for a kid's idea of fun (the ferry, not the museum). For more high seas adventure, Circle Line runs about an hour-long loop to the statue of liberty, which is within the tolerance of a 5 year old at sea. If you're up for a longish subway ride, the aquarium is fabulous and right there when you get off the F train at the last stop. It's 45 mins from midtown, though, so hard with a 5 year old.

Here's some other NYC kid-savvy advice. If you take subways, keep a hand on her at all times, don't step off the curb until the light changes, ask the driver of any taxi you travel in with her to drive slowly and carefully and tip him accordingly for doing so (and don't be shy about reminding him if he starts to gun through red lights). You can (or people do) travel with kids in taxis without car seats (still put on the lap belt). Look for the minivan cabs, which are both easier to get in and out of with kids and also often driven by owner-operators, who tend to be better drivers.

Bear in mind that if one of your days is Monday, many museums will be closed. It's on rainy Mondays like today that Toys R Us comes in handy. God awful or not.
posted by realcountrymusic at 8:06 PM on August 15, 2005

My bad. The sea lions (including April, my charge's favorite) get fed at 11:30 AM at the CP Zoo. It's darn sunny out there, so bring a hat for the kid.
posted by realcountrymusic at 8:16 PM on August 15, 2005

Also ... consider:
Carnegie Hall's CarnegieKids concerts (although, I'm not sure if the season starts in September, or October).

Children's Museum of Manhattan

Manhattan Children’s Theatre

New York Hall of Science
And by all means, treat your granddaughter at Serendipity (be sure someone gets the Frozen Hot Chocolate) and Dylan's Candy Bar.

A child's visit to NYC should include a visit to the venerable FAO Schwarz and FAO Schweetz Candy Shop.

There's also Hershey's Times Square and the huge Times Square Toy's "R" Us.
posted by ericb at 8:42 PM on August 15, 2005

Also ... consider the Sony Wonder Technology Lab.
posted by ericb at 8:45 PM on August 15, 2005

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