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New York for Kids: Animals, Museums, and Toys

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With a palpable energy and dynamic vibe, New York City enchants visitors of all ages. Whether you're exploring Central Park or one of the city's many museums, or hitting the streets in search of delicious treats and exciting toy stores, your kids will love feeling like they're part of the action.

Central Park


A sweeping bucolic expanse in the middle of New York, Central Park offers a plethora of family-friendly options that your kids will love. You can stop by nearby Zabar's and pick up fresh fixings for a picnic, or you can visit the penguins and snow leopards at the Central Park Zoo - don't forget admission includes a visit to the Tisch Children's Zoo, where kids can feed and pet animals like llamas, goats, and sheep. There's also Wollman and Lasker skating rinks, which open in October; Heckscher Playground, with its refreshing water feature; and the famous Central Park Carousel.


Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre


The Swedish Cottage was built in Sweden and donated to the U.S. in 1877, and today houses the Marionette Theatre. Shows are based on children's classics like "Jack and the Beanstalk."


West 79th St. entrance, New York, 10023. Tel: +1 212 988 9093


Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre website

New York's aquarium and zoos


Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx all have zoos, while Brooklyn is also home to the New York Aquarium. Your kids will love the added activities offered at these venues, including 4-D theaters, animal feedings, interactive petting sections, and day camps.


Bronx Zoo


One of the largest city zoos in the world, the Bronx Zoo offers a huge array of animals in natural settings. Fun-filled kid activities include camel rides, sea lion and penguin feedings, and a monorail ride through the Asian wilderness.


2300 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, 10460. Tel: +1 718 220 5100


Bronx Zoo website


Shows, science, and sports


Why not take your kids to a Broadway show? If they can sit through an entire movie, they'll definitely want to sit through the dazzling productions that Disney puts on in New York. Whether it's "Aladdin," "The Lion King," or "Mary Poppins," they'll be enthralled from beginning to end. Your mini sports fan would love to catch a game at Yankee Stadium, and tech-minded kids won't want to miss the Sony Wonder Technology Lab.


Sony Wonder Technology Lab


Geared for all ages, this is a free interactive technology and entertainment venue. Highlights include the Robot Zone, the Animation Studio, and the Music Mixer.


550 Madison Ave., New York, 10022. Tel: +1 212 833 8100


Sony Wonder Technology Lab website




With important works of art housed in some of the city's most renowned institutions, from Claude Monet's "Water Lilies" to Jackson Pollock's "Autumn Rhythm (Number 30)," it's no surprise that exposing children to art is top-of-mind in New York's museums. Young Picassos-in-training can flex their painting muscles at various workshops offered around the city, while future explorers and anthropologists are encouraged to discover the origins of the earth and human beings through different exhibitions across all boroughs.


Children's Museum of the Arts


With a permanent collection of more than 2,000 works of art created by children all over the world, the CMA takes its mission of inspiring young artists seriously. In addition to rotating exhibitions, there are daily workshops.


103 Charlton St., New York, 10014. Tel: +1 212 274 0986


Children's Museum of the Arts website


American Museum of Natural History


Let your kids wander through eons of natural history, from prehistoric dinosaur skeletons to space exploration at the Hayden Planetarium.


Central Park West at 79th St., New York, 10024. Tel: +1 212 769 5100


American Museum of Natural History website