Travel with Kids in NYC


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Traveling with Kids to New York City
by Laurel Smith (Road Trip Mom)

Our family's experience in NYC 

My kids were 10, 8 and 5 when we took them with us for a weekend in New York City.  We currently live in Louisiana and they had never seen anything like a "big city" before.  It was a weekend filled with planes, trains and automobiles, and we loved it all.
 
A family reunion was the main purpose for our trip to New York last July.  Before the reunion in Yonkers, NY we had a couple of days to explore, so we headed into Manhattan. The kids and I all wore similar tie-dyed shirts that we made last summer and everyone knew we belonged together  -- a great idea that was admired by many!  I didn't care if we were goofy looking tourists - I just wanted to make it easy to keep up with our three energetic kids in the big city!

First thing we did was take a train into Grand Central Station, then we hiked over to the Empire State Building.  We wanted a view of the entire city to start their experience.  In order to get up, we had to go down to the basement to buy tickets to the observation deck.  The line to get upstairs was a rather long wait for kids, and it wound around much like the lines at Disney World. And, like Disney, was the unfortunately realization that just when you think you are up to the front of the line, you turn the corner only to discover that there is another long stretch of line that you couldn't see that is even longer than the line you just finished.  We finally made it to the top and enjoyed our view. The kids all agreed that it was worth the wait. 

Here's a tip I wish I'd had before we stood in those lines -- Purchase your tickets to the observatory online at the Empire State Building's offical website and print them before you get there. We did eventually figure out this tip before we went to the museums (see below).
 
 
Later that weekend, we took the Circle Line boat tour (Battery Park Harbor Cruise with our extended family and got this fantastic view of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Naturally I bought some Liberty foam hats for everyone (including our cousins)  just to make sure we pegged the needle on the goofy-tourist meter.

We took ourselves on a walking tour around the city and stopped in front of various famous places to take photos. Here we are in front of Trump Tower giving the "Your fired!" gesture that The Donald made famous on his tv show that year (The Apprentice).  Other buildings and sites the kids enjoyed included St. Patrick's Cathedral, The NY Public Library building (home of a scene from the movie Ghostbusters, to which the kids could totally relate), the World Trade Center site (Ground Zero). My son was especially excited to see Times Square which he'd read about in his Guiness Book of Records.

 

Just walking around window shopping was an adventure in eye candy. The kids were quite amused by some of the fashion displays in the windows. 

The subway its self was also a source of amusement. The thrill of riding along underground in a subway car was new and exciting. By the end of the weekend, we were quite skilled at hopping onto the subway to get anywhere in town.


 
The kids also enjoyed visiting Central Park, walking along some of the trails and climbing a few big rocks near a pond. It was a beautiful summer day and there were lots of people out enjoying the park.

 
On our last day, we had a couple of hours to kill before we had to leave for the airport (see my article on flying with kids for lots of tips!),  so we taxied over to the American Museum of Natural History.  It really wasn't enough time to properly enjoy the museum, but it was still two hours of fun that we wouldn't have had otherwise. Most of the museums around town sell tickets online that you can print from your computer. This saves a lot of time when you get there, and I highly recommend it. 

While no one especially likes to hear complaining from your kids, the complaint we got most was "Why can't we stay longer and see more?"  This is the exact reason you will need to come back. While we crammed a lot into a three day weekend, there is always so much more to see in New York. Traveling with kids is an opportunity to feel like a child yourself since you get to see it all through their eyes. Treasure the memories.
 
 

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      ((¸¸.·´  ..·´   Road Trip Mom -:¦:- 
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Laurel Smith is a former schoolteacher and mother of three who has logged thousands of road trip miles both as a kid and a mom.  Visit her website for more than 101 travel games and activities for kids at MomsMinivan.com

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