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When one thinks of New York, kid-friendly activities are not typically what come to mind. However, the city is full of family fun, offering everything from museums and theaters to parks, stores, restaurants and more. Whether you’re seeking something educational, entertaining, active or just plain delicious, you can find it all in New York. On our visit, our family did a little bit of everything, making for a trip that all ages could enjoy.
Morning: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
We woke up hungry so we went straight to Alice’s Tea Cup on the Upper West Side. A homage to Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” the cozy space is filled with whimsical décor that delighted our 6-year-old. Along with more than 100 varieties of tea, the spot serves tiered stands of scones, eggs and Greek yogurt for adults, and indulgent dishes like pumpkin pancakes for kids.
All fueled up, we walked north along Central Park to the American Museum of Natural History. One of the largest museums in the world, it comprises 25 interconnected buildings with 45 permanent exhibition halls, a planetarium and a library. We spent some time in the grand entrance hall, where three massive dinosaur skeletons loom over visitors, then went up to the fourth floor to see the 19-foot-high Titanosaur, which the museum acquired in 2016. Next, we visited the enormous blue whale in the Hall of Ocean Life, and the life-size African elephants in the Hall of African Mammals. We also managed to fit in a fascinating IMAX film about humpback whales.
When the movie was over, we headed into Central Park for a quick ride on the carousel. More than 100 years old, it’s one of the nation’s largest merry-go-rounds, complete with 57 hand-carved horses and two decorative chariots.
Afternoon: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.
After our ride, we were once again famished so we took a cab down to Times Square, where Ellen’s Stardust Diner has been serving American classics since 1987. The 1950s-themed spot offers everything from corn beef and pastrami sandwiches to a kid’s menu of hot dogs, chicken nuggets and mac ‘n’ cheese, all of which arrive at your table courtesy of singing servers.
When we’d had enough of the show, we headed out into the bright lights of Times Square. One of the world’s busiest pedestrian areas, it’s often referred to as “the crossroads of the world.” Keeping the kids close, we walked down to the TKTS booth, which features a set of bleacher-like stairs for a roof. Seated there, you can take in the entire scene, from the billboards and Broadway theaters to the site of the annual New Year’s Eve ball drop. After snapping a few photos, we popped into the 25,000-square-foot M&M’s World to sample all the different flavors, and the Disney Store to pick up some souvenir toys.
Next, we continued south to Madame Tussauds, a famous wax museum with renditions of celebrities, athletes, political figures and more. While there, we posed for paparazzi with Jennifer Aniston, danced on stage with Michael Jackson, played ball with Carmelo Anthony and addressed the world alongside President Barack Obama.
Evening: 5 p.m. – 12 a.m.
Tired from our busy day, we decided to do a casual dinner at Famous Amadeus Pizza in Hell’s Kitchen. Family-owned and –operated, the classic slice joint serves everything from cheese pizza to chicken heros, eggplant Parmesan and baked ziti, ensuring something for the entire family.
Completely stuffed, we took a cab over to Radio City Music Hall, where the annual “Christmas Spectacular” is playing until January 1, 2018. Seated in the second mezzanine, we still had a perfect view of the famous Rockettes, who thrilled us with their high kicks and legendary fallen solider trick. Transformed into a winter wonderland, Radio City was full of holiday spirit, making for a magical end to our New York trip.
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