exploring new york

Fun places to explore with toddlers in New York

If you get the chance to visit the big apple then grab it says Nifa McLaughlin. Like you –  and the baby – it’s a city that never sleeps

All the baby guides say play it safe when it comes to holidaying with young children. But we say make the most of being able to explore a vibrant city before you’re tied down to only travelling during school holidays when prices rocket. My top choice is  New York – and it’s as baby-friendly as cities come. There are diners on every corner, parks and museums galore, plus tonnes of activities tailored especially for young children. And New York has plenty for active mums and dads too, from indulgent shopping, to dining out and generally feeling an intoxicating excitement every time you turn a corner And for babies? Well, what better way to view the magnificent skyscrapers than from the reclined comfort of a buggy! Check out the best things to see and do with small children while you’re there…

New York Botanical Garden

Model trains zip around mini versions of famous New York landmarks, while little ones enjoy hot chocolate and explore nature in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden – where youngsters are actively encouraged to play in the dirt! Check for seasonally changing activities or simply get lost in one of the two mazes. Adults $20-25, children (aged 2-12) $8-10. nybg.org

Children’s Museum of Manhattan

At this museum of creativity and discovery, there are plenty of fun workshops and activities for children as well as an entire exhibition called Playworks devoted to pre-schoolers. The philosophy of the museum is that children learn best when provided with a creative environment that supports play. We couldn’t agree more. cmom.org

Alice in Wonderland Statue

In 1959, philanthropist George Delacorte commissioned a bronze statue as a gift to the children of New York and also as a tribute to his late wife, who had read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to their children. Situated in Central Park, it is well worth visiting and letting your children climb over the toadstools for a tea party with the Mad Hatter! The famous piece in the park is located East Side at 75th Street.

Belvedere Castle

Throughout the year there are free family events that take place at this Victorian castle, renovated in 1983 for everyone to enjoy. And for mini pirates or princesses, it’s perfect for running round and letting off steam. Find it in mid Central Park.

Billy Johnson Playground

Constructed from natural materials, this is a great playground in Central Park to visit on warm days. Its highlight is a granite slide set into the rocks of a hill which you can whizz down with your children. Find it East Side at 67th Street.

Central Park Zoo

Minutes from 5th Avenue, and nestled in Central Park, is Central Park Zoo, including the Tisch Children’s Zoo where you can see polar bears, red pandas, snow leopards, monkeys, penguins and lots more. Tickets cost $18 for adults and $13 for children aged three to 12. Check the website for details including ticket offers and exhibitions that may take place during your visit.centralparkzoo.com

The Bronx Zoo

The Bronx Zoo is bigger than Central Park Zoo and is one of the largest metropolitan zoos in the world, with 4,000 species. Located at 2300 South Blvd, Bronx, it’s just a subway trip or cab ride away from Manhattan. bronxzoo.com

This is an extract from Nifa McLaughlin's guide to visiting New York City with kids. See the full article in the April/May 2013 edition of Gurgle magazine

Amazing discoveries in Central park like the Alice in Wonderland statue

alice in wonderland statue

Marvel at the model trains in the botanical gardens

model train central park

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