We all know that New York is the city that never sleeps, but what does it have to offer besides nightlife? Sometimes we feel the need to spend some time with the family in a place that’s just as entertaining for adults as it is for the kids. Well, New York has no shortage of these places, and many of them are just a quick train ride away!
American Museum of Natural History
Natural History Museum, Park, Building
A staple in NYC, the American Museum of Natural History offers a lot of great information and exhibits for every interest. One of the best family-friendly exhibitions being featured right now is the visually stunning and breathtaking Secret Ocean by Jean-Michel Cousteau. It gives visitors a glimpse into the unknown species of the ocean with creatures most of us have never seen or heard of. The behaviors of these animals are filmed 3D and ultra-HD 5k, resulting in an awesome viewing experience for adults and kids alike.
Not only can you see plants from all types of climate regions, you can also stroll through over ten gardens, including the Shakespeare Garden. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden also has fun educational activities for families, including the Discovery Garden where kids can explore different habitats and learn about plant wildlife in a hands-on experience. For great Halloween fun, check out Ghouls and Gourds on October 24, a day of workshops, awesome shows, and the opportunity to meet illustrators and writers.
The newly revitalized Coney Island is a great place to go before it gets too cold out. In addition to the rides in Luna Park and Nathan’s hot dogs, visitors can check out a circus sideshow. In honor of Halloween, there will be an array of festivities throughout October, you and your family can attend the Monster Mash Bash and check out the cool pumpkin carvings. Or, get the family dog in on the action and enter him or her in the Dog and Costume Parade.
If you’re interested in a more calm experience in Coney Island, you can always visit the beautiful sea animals at The New York Aquarium. There’s the Aquatheater where the family can see sea lions do amazing tricks with their trainers, and the conservation hall where you can get an up close and personal view of marine life. They also have feedings for some of the animals, and for Halloween, there will be musical and theater performances, plus plenty of other kid-friendly activities.
Brooklyn Bridge Park has become the ultimate go-to for parents and singles alike. Parents love it because of the fun features of Pier 6, including Sandbox Village and Slide Mountain. There’s also swimming, boating, roller skating, biking—the list goes on and on. It’s also the home of Jane’s Carousel. If you’re kid-free, there are plenty of activities available for adults, whether it’s watching/playing sports or picnicking and barbecuing on the premises. And it’s all accommodated by a wonderful view of the East River. It’s impossible to be bored here!
Discovery Times Square is the home of extraordinary exhibits right now including the Hunger Games exhibition and Body Worlds: Pulse by Gunther von Hagens. The most exciting aspect of the Hunger Games exhibition is the authentic props and costumes and the interactive digital experiences that allow visitors to lose themselves in the world of the movie/books. Body Worlds: Pulse is an intriguing look at how the human body works, its potential, and the challenges it faces in the 21st century. What’s fascinating about Bodies is that the exhibit uses real bodies that were donated to science for educational purposes.
Just 800 yards from Lower Manhattan and even closer to Brooklyn, Governor’s Island is a quick getaway that allows you to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. You can visit the Teaching Garden, with 30 vegetable and fruit beds, and learn about composting in the Compost Learning Center. Visitors can also rent bikes and enjoy the sights or play a relaxing game of mini golf.
This section of Hudson River Park is the longest with treats for all ages. In addition to a children’s playground, the pier has an 18-hole mini golf course, beach volleyball courts, and a skate park, for starters. This pier can also be a great option for a date night—there’s sailing and a lawn in case you want to enjoy a fall picnic. Want to try something new? You can go fishing every Sunday at 1 P.M.
If you’re into movies and games, this is the museum for you! The Museum of the Moving Image is dedicated to all aspects involved with creating the moving image, including its art, history, techniques, and the technology used to create motion. The main attraction here is the Behind the Screen exhibition which features historical film and television cameras, sketches, makeup, and more. And if you are a gamer, you can indulge in playing classic arcade and console games collected by the museum!
Just in time for the winter season, Wollman Rink will be opening in October for anyone who loves to ice skate. You can skate just for fun, or if you want to kick it up a notch, you can enroll in figure skating or hockey classes. There’s also a carousel picnic area that is perfect for hosting events. If you’re not into cold weather park activities, you can always visit when Wollman Rink becomes Victorian Gardens. In the warm weather, visitors can see interactive shows with various entertainers.