American Museum of Natural History
Lovers of dinosaurs, sea creatures, outer space and more can get their animal & nature fix at this giant (45 fascinating halls) treasure trove of wonders. It can get quite crowded on weekends and holidays, but there is always a quiet nook to explore.
🦖 The famous dinosaur bones fill most of the fourth floor. Don’t miss the Central Park view from the Astor Turret.
Learn about moon rocks and meteorites in the stunning Rose Center for Earth and Space.
🐋 A 94-foot-long blue whale hangs over an assortment of sea creatures in the Hall of Ocean Life.
🐘 Zebras, giraffes and other jungle animals surround a family of elephants in the Hall of African Mammals on the second floor.
💎 Be dazzled at the sparkly Halls of Gems and Minerals. Learn about the vast diversity of mineral species through more than 5,000 specimens from 98 countries, including giant amethyst geodes and the legendary 563-carat Star of India sapphire.
🦈 Timed tickets can be purchased in advance for special exhibits ($3.50-$5); shows sometimes sell out. Go inside the jaw of an megalodon, see fossils, touch models of teeth and hunt like a hammerhead interactive Sharks. Experience the most advanced planetarium projection system in the world in Lupita Nyong’o-narrated, Worlds Beyond Earth. See one of nature’s most spectacular events—the annual migration in the Serengeti—on a 40-foot-high, 60-foot-wide IMAX screen.
❓Whatever your kid’s into, you can probably find it here. We’ve hunted for everything from turtles to musical instruments to ‘Dora’s house’ (Mexican architecture) and aways found what we were looking for and so much more.
🛗 This place is huge, so be prepared for lots of walking. Strollers are welcome everywhere (except some special exhibits where they can be left at the entrance). Elevators are very slow, so take the stairs if you can.
🚪 Enter at Central Park West (stairs at 79th Street) or 81st Street (between Columbus & Central Park West – stroller friendly). The Discovery Room is currently closed.
⛲️ In warm weather, frolic in large fountains on the second floor terrace outside the planetarium – don’t forget a bathing suit & towel.
🛍 Find gift shops throughout the book with cool STEM toys, books, apparel and more fun souveniers.
🍽 The Food Court is open 10:30 am–5:30 pm Wednesday-Sunday, plus snacks available in vending machines and gift shops. Pick up burgers and shakes from Shake Shack across Columbus and eat on the benches surrounding the museum.
📘 Discover what dinosaurs do after dark in charming picture book The Night at the Museum (inspiration for the Ben Stiller film). In Brian Selznick’s novels in words and pictures, Wonderstruck, kids search for something at the museum in two independent stories fifty years apart, woven together with mesmerizing symmetry.
🎟 Admission is pay-what-you-wish for NY, NJ, and CT residents (ID required on arrival). But really you should become a member ($150+/year); it takes dozens of visits to see everything, plus you get lots of perks. Online advance timed ticket purchase required; time slots can sell out.
Solve puzzles, perform experiments, play state-of-the-art computer simulations and find out how corn is like a dog in this interactive, family-friendly space. Explore scientific principles behind Native innovations and technologies that are so ingenious, many remain a part of our daily lives.
Get hot, fresh addictively delicious doughnuts 24/7 at Krispy Kreme’s Times Square Flagship store. The 4,500 square-foot shop features a doughnut-making theater, a Glazed Waterfall with digital projection, a giant conveyor belt that runs throughout the store and and a doughnut themed seating area. Choose from a variety of flavors, including an exclusive Big Apple Doughnut, filled with a Red Delicious flavored cream and dipped in a sweet, shiny red shimmer mirror glaze.
The 40,000 square feet outpost of Italian marketplace Eataly is focused on bread, but you can also find delizioso pizza, fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, pasta, rotisserie chicken, chocolate, gelato and (post-pandemic) weekend kids cooking classes.
Choose from five restaurants, nine take-away counters (including gelato), two caffès, and one wine bar. Shop more than 10,000 high-quality imported Italian and local seasonal products spread over the f , including salt, extra virgin olive oil, dried pasta, fresh truffles, aged balsamic vinegar and a mix-and-math Venchi chocolate bar.
Watch fresh pasta shapes, gooey mozzarella cheese and other products being made.
Look for more than 500 signs that tell the story of different products, from ancient tradition to modern place in Italian cuisine, plus a cool pasta shape map of Italy. Shop for kid-friendly kitchenware and books.
Enter the magnificent 1894 Vanderbilt Gate to Central Park’s only formal garden, a six-acre oasis within an oasis with European charm.
Climb onto the wisteria pergola in the Italianate Center Garden overlooking a yew hedges-bordered large lawn and 12-foot jet fountain. To the north, the French-style garden offers spectacular seasonal displays of tulips and Korean chrysanthemums and a fountain featuring the Three Dancing Maidens sculpture.
In intimate English-style South Garden, Mary and Dickon from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s beloved children’s book The Secret Garden stand at the end of a small waterlily pool, bordered by trees, shrubs, and perennial and annual flower beds.
Friendly gardeners are often planting and happy to chat with young nature lovers.
Travel to Belle Epoque France at an outpost of an iconic Parisian tea room and dessert café founded in 1903.
Get pastries, macarons, the iconic Angelina hot chocolate and the signature Mont-Blanc (meringue, light whipped cream, chestnut cream vermicelli) to go, or sit in the gorgeous dining room for brunch (served all day), afternoon tea, sweet treats and savory brasserie classics: Niçoise salad, Croque-Monsieur, onion soup, or the Angelina Croissant filled with scrambled eggs and cheese, ham, or smoked salmon. Light and modern seasonal dishes, from seasonal vegetable soup to a vegan quinoa salad, include gluten-free and vegetarian options, but the hot chocolate, served in a dramatic presentation, is worth the indulgence.
Keep the Parisian vibes going at Bryant Park across the street.
Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm
Saturday-Sunday 9 am – 7 pm
Kitchen closes thirty minutes before close
Enjoy scones in rotating flavors as magical as the decor, sandwiches, salads and treats with optional fairy wings and glitter at a whimsical tea house inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Choose from hundreds of teas served in charming mismatching pots and cups.
Gets crowded on weekends; reservations recommended. Go early to beat the crowds (or take the scones to go for a Central Park picnic).
Also in the East 60s.
Wednesday–Sunday 11 am – 6 pm
Get the famous Frrrozen Hot Chocolate, a creamy secret blend of 14 exotic cocoas, and other decadent, over-sized desserts at this legendary restaurant and store with whimsical antique-store-meets-ice-cream-parlor decor. Heraty burgers, foot long hot dogs, mac ‘n’ cheese variations, salads and sandwiches are also available. A favorite of actors, artists and tourists for the last 67-years.
Minimum food or drink purchase of $16.95 per person so bring an appetite – portions are huge.
Daily 11 am – 11 pm
Select from nine hot chocolates – Italian Thick, Oreo, Peanut Butter and more – at this huge cafe and store that feels like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, with tubes of liquid chocolate criss crossing the space. Choose from a variety of creative, high-quality chocolate concoctions to fo, gift or to eat on site.
Salads, paninis, pizza, cocoa spiced waffle fries etc. available on the extensive menu, but the real draw is the over-the-top desserts from marshmallow chocolate pizza to three types of chocolate fondue to a melting s’mores sundae to a syringe full of chocolate goodness. Lots of cocktails, including a chocolate peppermint martini, available for grown-ups.
Advance reservations recommended.
Mon-Fri 12 pm-11 pm
Thu-Sat 11 am – midnight
Sun 10 am–11 pm
Pick up chocolates & hot cocoa to go at the Times Square outpost (720 7th Ave at West 48th St).
Choose from than 100 kinds of delicious dumplings plus noodles & other Chinese dishes in a striking, modern interior with bold Chinese red across walls. Deep semiprivate booths have individual TV screen showing highlights of the extensive menu.
The myriad of details in this colorful 97 by 40-foot mural by famed street artist Tristan Eaton on the side of a residential building on Fifth Avenue in reference the rich history of the NoMad neighborhood from the Gilded Age onward. The woman’s face is based on early 20th-century model, chorus girl and catalyst for the “Trial of the Century” Evelyn Nesbit, with references to the Tenderloin District, the Gibson Girl, a notorious police inspector and more thorughout.
Explore Jim Henson’s groundbreaking work for film and television and his transformative impact on popular culture and learn how Henson and his team of builders, performers, and writers brought to life the enduringly popular worlds of The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal, and Labyrinth.
Among the nearly 300 objects on view are 47 puppets—including Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, The Swedish Chef, Big Bird, Elmo, Cantus Fraggle, and other popular favorites, character sketches, storyboards, scripts, photographs, and iconic costumes.
See film and television clips and behind-the-scenes footage and try interactive experiences like designing a puppet character.
Join 45-minute guided tours Saturdays at 1 pm ($5).