Fun things for kids in NY?
December 1, 2005 6:23 PM   Subscribe

Tourism with children in New York - where shall I take my 10 year old daughter?

i_am_joe's_spleenette and I will be visiting family in Cedarhurst, NY for a couple of weeks in January. I expect to do some rubbernecking (I'm a New Zealander) while we're there. Said family are themselves recently relocated and not yet au fait with the area. Assume you have an adventurous 10 year old girl who is a good walker, that you can't drive (legally), and that you can use either a hotel near Times Square or your sister's place in Cedarhurst as a base. What would be fun expeditions to make? (Buying warm clothes is item one on the list...)
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (28 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The Museum of Natural History, hands down. Plus it's just a short jump from Times Square.
posted by hermitosis at 6:31 PM on December 1, 2005

The American Girl Doll store on Fifth Avenue.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:43 PM on December 1, 2005 [1 favorite]

See if you can get a reservation for the show and/or dinner and/or tea.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:43 PM on December 1, 2005 [1 favorite]

It's a little girl paradise. I wish I was 10 years old, so I could go. I'd probably look out of place if I went now.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:46 PM on December 1, 2005 [1 favorite]

FAO Schwarz
posted by meerkatty at 6:49 PM on December 1, 2005

Response by poster: reservation for the show

Which show? I am confused...
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 6:51 PM on December 1, 2005

There's an awesome Hello Kitty store in Times Square, if she's into that.
posted by Jeanne at 6:55 PM on December 1, 2005

I do not know if you enjoy shopping but if I were you I would avoid going to toy stores, specially the insanely huge ones such as FAO Scwarz. I have lived here for many years but I still cannot get used to the shopping energy that consumes some of this country's population.

There are plenty of wonderful things to do in NY. Specially if your kid is 10 or older...

A few places I reccomend are:

The Brooklyn Children's Museum. They have a great program and they have loads of stuff going on, on a daily basis, check their website:

The Folk Arts Museum is also very beautiful :

on Byrant Park, behind the main public library on 42 and 5 Ave there is a beautfiul Ice ring where you can go Ice skating...

I will post a few other links you should check out... i would also try to get my hands on Time Out kids, specially if you are travelling during the holidays... there is bound to be loads of interesting stuff for kids in NY at X-mas - we always leave to visit folks back home....

anyway... good luck, I hope you have a great time.
posted by libelula at 7:09 PM on December 1, 2005

There is a show and restaurant at the American Girl store in NY.
posted by obeetaybee at 7:10 PM on December 1, 2005

Here's the website for the American Girl Place.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:13 PM on December 1, 2005 [1 favorite]

The Sony Wonder Technology Lab is fun (and free) kid oriented hands on museum. The Sony propaganda is not as bad as one might imagine.
posted by Staggering Jack at 7:15 PM on December 1, 2005

Response by poster: Wow, that American Girl thing - I am terrified and awestruck. I never imagined such a thing. I was going to note that libelula is right, and I would prefer Americana to mere shopping, but maybe that is Americana after all...
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:23 PM on December 1, 2005

I'm serious, every 10 year girl I see walking around Manhattan has a bag from that place. It's 10 year old girl Mecca.

Please take me with you!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:26 PM on December 1, 2005

Response by poster: ok, but just because you see something you like doesn't mean we're going to buy it. and if you break something, it's coming out of your pocket money.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:31 PM on December 1, 2005

Rockefeller Plaza. And I double (triple?) FAO Schwarz.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 7:48 PM on December 1, 2005

The New Victory Theater is in Times Square and has really great creative shows that I have been to, though I am child-free.

Also the Big Apple Circus is really fun. Love the performing dogs (see video).
posted by xo at 8:01 PM on December 1, 2005

Check out this previous thread.
posted by ericb at 8:04 PM on December 1, 2005

If nothing else -- visit Serendipity (be sure someone gets the Frozen Hot Chocolate) and Dylan's Candy Bar.
posted by ericb at 8:05 PM on December 1, 2005

Oooo, agreed on the New Victory Theatre, xo! I saw a really great dance production there a few weeks ago.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:07 PM on December 1, 2005 [1 favorite]

Of course, Central Park is just plain fun, not to mention great people-watching, whatever the season. The park's grandly named Wildlife Center (formerly Children's Zoo) is fun for, as they used to say, "children of all ages." Since you're related to spleen, you might be interested in touring the UN, then having lunch at the Delegates' Dining Room (which even many natives don't know about). And get out on the harbor: Visit Ellis Island and/or the Statue of Liberty. If that's not your thing, just take a FREE ride to Staten Island and back on the Ferry, but bundle up!
posted by rob511 at 8:57 PM on December 1, 2005

Second the Museum of Natural History. Something (indeed, many things) for everyone.

With a couple of weeks and a good walker, go for some good walks. For example, start at Lincoln Center and walk down to Greenwich Village, seeing mucho city along the way. (Weather permitting.)

Very important Feel free to ask New Yorkers for directions / help. But when you do, do not preface your question with "Excuse me, I wonder if I could ask you a question, blah blah blah". As we say in New York, just ask your fucking question. As long as you follow this simple rule, you'll find New Yorkers very happy to help.

(Search AskMe for a long thread in 2005 about adapting to NYC ways; lots more similar advice there.)
posted by Aknaton at 9:02 PM on December 1, 2005

If she was a Winnie the Pooh fan, you could go see the original stuffed animals at the New York Public Library.

There's also some Eloise stuff at the Plaza Hotel.
posted by amarynth at 9:39 PM on December 1, 2005

The Museum of the Moving Image! it's a quick train ride in Queens, and you can make flip books of yourselves jumping around and dub your voices into Jurrasic Park and Taxi Driver.
Also the Queens Art Museum has a scale model of New York City and that huge globe thing from Men In Black.
posted by Sara Anne at 10:24 PM on December 1, 2005

Some great suggestions above, especially the Natural History Museum (could be two trips, or more). The Museum of the Moving Image is fantastic, but it will be a bit of a trek from your start point. You might want to split it up, with a lunch and/or short excursion in Manhattan, followed by MMI. Definitely worth a trip, though.

A few more recommendations, based on what I would've loved when I was ten years old. (That was decades ago, I grew up in a farm town in Texas, I was bookworm-ridden, so discount as necessary.)

Ellis Island. Lots of first-person narratives illuminating the emigration/immigration experience, many displays of the must-have treasures people hauled with them. Also a searchable database of the immigration records. The ferry ride gives you a cartoonishly cinematic view of the skyline.

Liberty Science Center (in Jersey City). All the children I've taken there have emerged so joyfully wound-up that on the way home they either fell asleep or had to be suppressed, Alice in Wonderland guinea-pig-juror style.

• Chinese New Year in Chinatown. Lion dancers, stilt walkers, flappy flag teams, snappy firecracker dragons--and more! The 2006 (Year of the Dog) date is January 29, which may be too late but if you're interested, check the papers for preliminary events. Chinatown itself is pretty cool.

NYC is a great city for kids, and I strongly recommend you follow libelula's suggestion and consult Time Out New York Kids.

And, with apologies to thepinksuperhero et al., I'd avoid the American Girl store as the plague spot it is. I've visited many times and contributed my share to their sales, so I'm no purist. But since your daughter isn't an American Girl acolyte, the store isn't a sacred shrine and she'll never miss it. Why expose her?
posted by vetiver at 11:19 PM on December 1, 2005

The American Museum of the Moving Image... yes... Beautiful and loads of fun.. I believe the Liberty Science Center is closed for renovations, but if it is open… try going, if only for the amazing Imax theatre….

There is also an Imax theatre around 77 and Columbus… last year they were showing “The X-mas Express” or something, I bet you this year they might be showing “Narnia”, since they usually pick kid friendly movies…

Regarding shopping for clothes…. I guess it all depends on how much money you want to spend, but I would start my shopping in either Old Navy or H&M. They are very inexpensive and their kids section is huge, specially in the stores on 34 street, and they also have decent clothes for you, in case you need to add some layers to your attire. “The Children’s Place” is also cheap, but someone here might jump and say they have a horrible selection…. I do not think they have an amazing selection but I have bought lovely stuff for my daughter there in the past…….You could also try Century 21, although I hate going there myself because it attracts to many people and you can go crazy…… but they have really good stuff – specially for the parents… get there early though, they open at 7.30 and believe me, it’s the only time you will be able to shop in peace…..

If I were you I would also avoid staying in a Hotel In TS….I do not know if you have been here but Time Square is absolutely hectic….all the restaurants in the area cater to tourists and they are very $$$$, also, apart from the lights, the horns, the beeps, the insults, the stores and the mob, there is not much else happening there…. Just a thought…..

Oh, and yes… a show you might enjoy: Every year at the Lincoln Center has the “Nutcracker” ….. if your daughter has not seen the ballet before she might enjoy it…..

Anyway, if I think of something else I will let you know….
posted by libelula at 5:36 AM on December 2, 2005

Definitely the American Museum of Natural History. So cool! Ginormous stuffed animals and skeletons of things living and long extinct. Dinosaurs, lions, giant elk, rhinoceri, whales, and so much more. I heart that place.

For that kid wow factor, I would also recommend ascending the Empire State Building (expensive, but amazing views of the Manhattan, completely breathtaking) and taking the Staten Island Ferry (free! amazing views of Manhattan!). Ellis Island is a good thing too, way interesting even for kids, especially if you precede it with some movies about immigration (An American Tail? I'm sure there's a related American Girl somewhere too).

Finally, just wandering around Central Park is always fun. You can find so many neat things just sitting around behind a bush (well, not the crack addicts*, I meant statues and folies).

*Kidding! I've never seen a visible crack addict in Central Park. Just invisible ones.*

*Kidding again!

posted by The Michael The at 6:02 AM on December 2, 2005

Response by poster: Thank you everyone! I'm now worried about how to trim the list!
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 9:29 AM on December 2, 2005

I echo The Museum of Natural History. The new dinosaur exhibit is awesome. Of course the planetarium show. And you MUST see the whale.

I do enjoy FAO Schwartz and even Toys R Us Times Square. But they might be a little overwhelming for a kid, especially if it's crowded. Which it will be.

The IMAX is on 68th and Broadway. Highly recommended. Narnia will probably be still playing it in January. They usually have one kid-friendly, one normal movie playing for IMAX. But even their normal theatres are great if you're seeing a new release. It's a great New York experience to see the newest movie in a big, packed theatre. Just get there early.

Books of Wonder is an adorable children's bookstore on 18th Street. Great books, knowledgable friendly staff, and a cupcake cafe!

The Circle Line boat tour is a fun way to get a nice New York history lesson with some great views.
posted by lampoil at 10:13 AM on December 2, 2005

« Older I quit... hopefully!   |   Help me find this song. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.