Got kids? It might only feel like ten minutes have passed since they went back to school, but we're only a only a few weeks away from the half-term break. If you're taking the family to New York this autumn, here are some of our favourite ways to keep the kids occupied, amused and happy in the Big Apple...
Wollman Ice Rink, Central Park
Central Park's Wollman Ice Rink is one of New York's most quintessential experiences. Take your little ones for a spin (or let them take you) under a canopy of golden weeping willow trees and the most impressive backdrop in the world. The rink opens for the season in late October and skate rentals and lockers are available.
Wollman Ice Rink, Central Park: best entrance Central Park South (59th Street) and Sixth Ave. The rink is a two minute walk from here. Check the opening times.
American Museum of Natural History
New York's best indoor destination for kids, bar none. The American Museum of Natural History will easily keep you and your brood occupied for an entire day, and even then you'll still have to be selective about what you want to see. Dead certs for wide-eyed wonder are the dinosaur halls, the Millstein Hall of Ocean Life and the African Mammals Hall. If that's not enough, then head over to the connected Rose Center for Earth and Space for a virtual ride through the Milky Way in the Hayden Planetarium.
American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street. Take the B (weekdays only) or C subway to 81st St.
Widely regarded as one of the world's best zoos, more than 4,000 animals call Bronx Zoo home, from meerkats to snow leopards, red pandas to lemurs. Don't miss the Monkey House where various primates play with their toys, including old phones given to them by their keepers, or the World of Reptiles with its baby Galapagos tortoises. Various feeding sessions, notably penguins and sea-lions, take place throughout the day.
The best way to get to Bronx Zoo from Manhattan is on the BxM11 express bus, which makes stops along Madison Avenue, between 26th and 99th Streets, then travels directly to the Zoo’s Bronx River entrance.
Sony Wonder Technology Lab
The Sony Wonder Technology Lab in midtown Manhattan lets kids explore and interact with all types of high-tech toys, from touch-sensitive robots and create-your-own computer racing games to a haptic controller which allows them to 'feel' what it's like to perform open heart surgery. Seriously good fun.
Sony Wonder Technology Lab is located in the Sony Plaza at 56th Street and Madison Avenue. Subway: 4, 5, 6, N and R to 59th St and Lexington Ave.
Brooklyn Children's Museum
Founded in 1899, the Brooklyn Children's Museum was the first museum created expressly for children. With the stated aim of enriching the lives of children through inspiring them to learn about themselves, others, and the world around them, the BCM has an array of interactive hands-on exhibits with an emphasis on both technology and nature. Under-5s will love the colourful Totally Tots learning environment in the greenhouse and garden, and check out the just-opened Secrets of Circles exhibition, which encourages kids to ask questions about science in a fun and innovative way.
145 Brooklyn Avenue (at St. Marks Avenue), Brooklyn. Check for public transport options.
Header shot of Wollman Rink © Phartisan | Dreamstime.com, other shot © Lee Snider | Dreamstime.com. Natural History Museum photo © Jiawangkun | Dreamstime.com. Bronx Zoo © Gary718 | Dreamstime.com. Thanks also to Flickr photographers Spojeni and Dave Pinter.
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About the author: MaxineMaxine Sheppard
Maxine is the editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.