New York City is a great place for kids. Before my nieces and nephews got to the age when they didn’t want to hang out with me anymore, I’d plan a range of activities and let them choose which ones they wanted to do. Here are the ones that never failed to amuse, educate or surprise them, and entertain their somewhat slightly jaded auntie.
Sony Wonder Technology Lab: Hands down, Sony Wonder is one of my favorite places to take kids. This gem of a museum might seem a bit out of place among the ritzy shops and office buildings that line Madison Avenue but inside there are treats for kids and adults alike. Highly immersive, you log in when you arrive and a profile is created for you. At the end of the visit, you get a certificate listing all the exhibits you interacted with. You get to see how communications technology developed, feel what it’s like to perform open-heart surgery, mix music, build computer games, and other activities. There’s also a high definition theater that shows feature films on Saturdays.
Admission to Sony Wonder museum and high definition theater is FREE however, reservations are recommended. Sony Wonder Technology Lab is located at Sony Plaza, 555 Madison Avenue at 56th Street. Hours: 9:30 – 5:30 pm, Tuesday to Saturday. Closed Sundays, Mondays and major holidays. 212-833-8100.
Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum If your little ones are interested in planes, helicopters or space ships, the Intrepid is the museum to visit. The Intrepid offers an array of interactive exhibits from aircraft carriers to space ships, to supersonic jet simulations, that will keep your kids entertained and educated at the same time. Two days ago, on July 19th, the new Space Pavilion featuring the Enterprise, NASA’s first space shuttle, opened at the Intrepid. (I saw the Enterprise in 1983, I can’t wait to see it again up close.) The day I took my nephew to the Intrepid, we also saw the Aurora 7. I was shocked how small the interior was. The highlight of the visit for me was riding in the jet simulator. What a cool experience! Also at the Interpid is the Concorde.
Intrepid Air, Sea and Space Museum, 700 W 46th Street at 12th Avenue, 212-245-0072. Hours (Spring/Summer): Monday-Friday, 10-5; Weekends and Holidays 10-6. Winter Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10-5; Closed some Mondays, Thanksgiving and Christmas Days. Admission: Adults $24; Children (3-6) $12 and (7-17) $19. With admission to the newly opened Space Pavilion, tickets are $30, $16, and $23 respectively. Check the website for ticket prices for seniors, the military, veterans, and students with IDs. You’ll save $2 if you purchase online. Or buy a New York Pass, which will grant you free entry to several museums and landmarks.
Toys R Us Times Square: If you love your kids, you’ll want to take them to Toys R Us; if you love your kids, you’ll not take them to Toys R Us because they’re going to want everything they see. When you pass through the revolving door to this cavernous 110,000 square foot store, you’ll spot toys and games and the 60-foot Ferris wheel even before the photographer snaps your photo (you can decline). It’s as if you’ve just landed on the red carpet! Head to the escalator or take the elevator to the 4,000 square foot Barbie house, or the life-sized T-Rex at their Jurassic Park or take a ride on the Ferris wheel. Toys R Us Times Square is ginormous and your kids will have a whale of a time. Wear comfortable shoes, pack your patience, be prepared to pull out the plastic often. Just don’t get carried away.
Toys R US, 1514 Broadway at 44th Street. Hours: Monday-Thursday 10 a.m to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturdays until 11 p.m., Sundays 11 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. 646-366-8800.
Have fun in New York City!