This summer we were lucky enough to take the kids back to New York City. To say NYC is a favorite of mine would be a big understatement. It’s more of an addiction. Thankfully our kids love it too. Sharing some of our favorite stops with you today.
One of our first stops was the Intrepid Museum. We have spent many days in art museums in the city, but never the air, sea, and space complex on the Intrepid. What a great museum. Lots of hands-on exhibits and up close real life views of helicopters, fighter planes, and even a space shuttle. We happened to be there on a weekend when they were having a big outdoor event with tons of activities for the kids. My son, who loves legos, thought the exhibit where you could build a square of legos that fits into a huge mural they were making for the museum was pretty cool.
After lunch, we crossed the park to catch the James Turrel exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum. This is quite possibly one of my favorite museums to take kids. The rotunda itself if a feast for the eyes. But unlike other museums where the crowds take over and you can barely see the art, the Guggenheim Museum never seems as crowded because you follow spiral up and around the rotunda which never seems to get clogged up. They also hand out fantastic art bags with tips about the artwork and a sketch books with colored pencils. Your kids will love sketching they way through the museum. This trip the highlight was the lightinstallation by James Turrel. No, our kids are not in a drug induced environment, though it sure looks like it. People were encouraged to lie down and take in this incredible changing light exhibit as it created shapes and illusions as the colors changed throughout the rotunda. *side note, I know the photo has my husband’s finger in it. The museum security were so strict and insistent that no photography be taken at any time in the museum. So what does he do, sneak a pic.
We do so much walking in NYC, which can be especially hard on kids. In order to help keep them moving and minimize that whining, we stop for treats from one of the always present street vendors. A fro-yo truck was right outside the museum. We hit it immediately! As we ate and walked down 5th Avenue we stopped at the playground next door to The Met for some running around time.
When we left the playground, my youngest (3) wanted to be held. I picked her up and before I knew it she was sound asleep on my shoulder. That hasn’t happened for at least 2 years. I was relishing in the moment until I realized that she is freaking heavy! We were meandering our way through Central Park by now (another huge favorite!) when we came up the Conservatory Water where you can sail model boats. While I walked around trying to find a open bench, remember I still have a sleeping 3 and a half year old in my arms, the big kids took to sailing their boat. I took most of these iphone shots one handed while the other hand held the sweaty sleeper. Not the best photography as the light was fading into the evening, but the moment was so beautiful with this little family I had to document it before it disappeared.
I did end up finding a bench to sit on. Serendipity had meant for me to find that one open bench. Check out the plaque on it, just waiting for me! I was kinda feeling like the Best Mom right about then.
I am so grateful my kids not only tolerate spending tons of time in art museums, but they truly enjoy doing so. My oldest loves to draw and learn about art. On this particular day we spent the morning at the MoMA. Modern Art is most accessible to kids. It typically use mixed media, or vibrant color, shapes, and lines that kids can respond to easily. Lucas took photos of his favorite pieces throughout the museum. This kept him completely engaged and the last to leave!
I could live in this garden right in the middle of NYC. Once again, mom was trying to document while my subjects wanted nothing to do with it. I may have threatened to cry to get the final shot.
When it comes to NYC, I can get my heart set on something and not let up until I make it happen. This was one of those things. I read about the Rain Room at the MoMA back in May when it first opened and had hoped every day since that I’d have the chance to see it myself. Of course living in California presented a teeny problem, but I persisted. When we booked our family’s trip and it coincided with this exhibit, I was thrilled. Unfortunately, so was everyone else. It was the last weekend Random International’s unique exhibit would be open for viewing. Visitors could walk through the Rain Room and experience what it would be like to control the rain. In a dark room with one bright light at the end, you walk, dance, move while the rain stops when sensing a person and you stay completely dry. The lines the weekend we were there were 8-10 hours long! We opted for the view only 15 minute line, which was pretty close to amazing itself. The irony being that we stood in the rain outside getting wet while waiting to enter the Rain Room where we’d stay dry in the rain. Hmmm.
One another day, we took the train downtown and walked those little people across the Brooklyn Bridge. The kid sure surprised and impressed us as they walked the length of the bridge on a pretty hot day. We stopped for mangos and pineapples from a vendor on the bridge, don’t you? We ended up at the fabulous new Brooklyn Bridge Park. If you have kids, you should definitely check out what they are doing to the Brooklyn waterfront. From carousels, to pop-up pools, to restaurants, soccer fields, kayaks, music, yoga, movies and a really cool for kids water play area. This space is going to be a destination in itself when it’s completed.
My husband had work just outside of the city for 2 of our days in NYC. The kids and I were on our own which was fulfilling my fantasy of moving my family to NYC. First stop was the American Museum of Natural History. They remember it well from our last first and couldn’t wait to get back. They were really engaged with every the most mundane items as they remember them all from the movie A Night at the Museum. Having that reference encouraged them to stop and learn about what they saw on film. An unexpected highlight was the Gems and Mineral rooms. My little miss took a nap in the planetarium show. I was thinking about it myself actually. Up next was a favorite of the trip for me, a long stroll through Central Park with no where to go and no where to be.
In Central Park, we crossed bridges, skipped rocks, ate hot dogs, watched performers, climbed boulders and stopped on this grassy knoll to relax and read a new book from the museum. The interaction between biggest and littlest here was so sweet. She was collecting “treasures” and wanted to show them all to big brother. It’s the little things that get to me. If you are in NYC with kids, you need to allow a couple of hours to just stroll through Central Park with no agenda. You will come across so many wonderful things to see and do. Last trip the kids and I ended up getting lost, literally. With all the paths and bridges, creeks, and lakes it’s easy to do and those are the stories they will tell for years to come, “remember when mom got us lost in Central Park!”
The tree tunnel in Central Park, (help me out new yorkers, is there a real name for this famous spot?) is one of those places that make my heart skip a beat each time I come upon it. The perfect place for an ice cream treat as we continue to make our way through Central Park. I could do this every day.
After hours rambling our way through Central Park, we made it to 5th Avenue. They are lookin’ like city kids, right? Olivia had saved up allowance and birthday money for months for a grand total of $97. She was diligent about saving for her newest American Girl Doll and had her heart set on Molly. I forwarded her August and September’s allowance to help make it happen. She was on cloud 9. The braids were a total coincidence!
If anyone ever tells you that New York City isn’t for kids, you now know differently. It’s one of our family’s favorite places to travel. Thank you New York City for another memorable visit. We can’t wait to come back.