We have great recommendations for fun winter activities with kids in New York City.
As we all know trying to find something to do with a toddler during the winter can be a challenge. Luckily, there are a lots to do here in NY.
We decided to visit the New York Botanical Gardens Train Show. We live about 15 minutes from the Botanical Gardens, but had never been there. We were graciously hosted by the garden to see the Holiday Train Show and see the rest of the garden. “The Train show is in its 22nd year and the exhibition showcases replicas of New York landmarks, artistically crafted of natural materials such as bark, twigs, stems, fruits, seeds, and pine cones by designer Paul Busse’s team at Applied Imagination.”, as per the New York Botanical Gardens. The train exhibit is indoors and runs until January 26, 2014. There are many different types of trains showcased as they run throughout the incredible miniature replicas of historical sites in New York. They even have a Thomas The Train that travels through the tracks. Its really an incredible site to see.
There is a separate Artist’s studio that displays amazing trains that are made of plant materials. It’s something that I would recommend to visit during the holiday’s season. You have to purchase separate tickets for this event and the lines can be very long. We went first thing in the morning. My son really enjoyed it, but having to move though the exhibit single file may be difficult for young children as the line moves slowly because there’s so much to see.
We also visited the children’s garden, which was really a treat. This is a separate area in the gardens that is geared towards children. They had a maze, arts center, play areas inside and out for the children. Check the website http://www.nybg.org/ for the calendar of events and what activities are going on the day you want to visit. The staff is very helpful in guiding you through the gardens and finding things that your family are interested in and there are maps throughout the garden grounds. We really enjoyed our visit and are considering a membership. We will revisit in the summer when we are able to be outside more.
During the holiday season a trip to Manhattan is a must. It’s so beautiful and festive. Visiting the Rockefeller Tree and looking at the amazing store windows, Saks, Bloomingdales and Lord and Taylor to name a few were spectacular. Bryant Park has a winter festival including Ice Skating, shopping and places to eat. Bryant Park really is a must-see and if you’re up for a trip around the rink, its less crowded than Rockefeller Plaza. These are activities that can be done year round, but they are especially festive during the holiday season.
We also made an exciting trip to the M & M store in Times Square. My son is obsessed with them and really enjoyed the M & M characters and being able to choose a bag of his own M & M’s. Again, this is an anytime of year activity, so whenever you feel like indulging in M &M’s make this a top visit on your list.
Indoor Bouncy Houses
There are lots of great indoor bounce houses to check out. We were looking for something that would be fun indoors where my son could run around. We went to a place called Bouncers and Slydos and Bounce U both of these are in Farmingdale, NY are both really fun. These places do a lot of birthday parties so there is limited open jump time for the kids on the weekends, but you can take a look at their sites for the calendars to see when they are having open jump time. We really liked both places and they were both extremely clean and well staffed. Bounce U worked best for us because they have open jump time for 6 and under. Bouncers and Slydos has open jump for 10 and under. With my son being 2 ½ there were times the older kids made me a little nervous, so having a grouping of younger kids was great for my son. Bounce U also has two separate rooms so you start in one room and then move to the second which has all new things for them to enjoy. There is also Pump It Up in Great Neck, NY. We have not gone to this one yet, but plan on trying it very soon. My son loves these places and it’s a great way for them to burn some energy.
Child Friendly Museums
There are quite a few great child-friendly museums in the city and on Long Island. The Long Island Children’s Museum, Cradle of Aviation, Children’s Museum of Manhattan, Brooklyn Children’s Museum and the NY Science Museum are some of the best. Check each museum’s website for special exhibits and their calendar of events. We have a museum pass so it allows for reciprocal use at other museums, so if you are looking to join, you can join at a museum of your choice and just ask if they are part of the reciprocal list. The museums are for a variety of ages, which is great.
I hope these are some helpful hints on things to do in NYC and Long Island with your children to keep busy during the winter months. I will keep posting as we experience new things.
Photo Source: Google Commons, Alisha Rappaport