City Vacations

3 Interactive Family-Friendly Attractions in New York City

Last updated 20th February 2019

New York City is awash with attractions for visitors of every age and every interest, from cultural immersions to historical deep-dives to science exploration. These 3 attractions, however, particularly cater to kids and their parents with interactive exhibitions and programs. Take a bite out of the Big Apple with a visit to one (or all!) of these destinations.

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Complex

Anchored on the west side of Manhattan is Intrepid, an aircraft carrier that was in use in the United States Navy from 1943 to 1974. A visit to the Intrepid Museum helps foster awareness and understanding of history, science and service through its exhibitions and programming in order to honor our heroes, educate the public and inspire kids. As educational as it is, it’s also completely thrilling for kids to step onto an aircraft carrier, explore a submarine and check out the very planes that took off and landed on the ship. Don’t miss The Exploreum, a fully interactive exhibit space in the Museum’s hangar deck, designed for families and kids of all ages. It is one of the most visited areas of the ship, encouraging visitors to climb in an actual Bell 47 helicopter, navigate through an interactive submarine and steer the wings of an airplane. Kids can even test out a narrow berth, or bunk bed, that sailors would sleep in. Grab lunch in the ship’s galley to eat like a sailor did when Intrepid was in service. With so many things to see, do and experience, you’ll never hear “I’m bored,” when you climb aboard Intrepid.

United Nations

The UN Kids Corridor offers an opportunity for 5 to 10-year-olds to learn about the UN in an engaging and enjoyable manner tailored to their age. The kids’ space, which mirrors the different stops on the regular tour route in a child-friendly way, features wall-sized world maps, mounted flags of the Security Council’s 15 members and a life-size refugee tent, among other displays. Interactive games with the tour guides, quizzes and role-playing help children understand the work of the UN and how it relates to their daily lives. Together with their parents, the young visitors hear about children from around the world who face challenges such as hunger, natural disasters or diseases, all while learning how the UN is helping them. This tour allows children to consider a world bigger than themselves and how they can be involved and engaged global citizens.

Central Park Zoo

Did you know there are grizzlies living in the heart of New York City? Make the Central Park Zoo a stop on your family visit to see these giant bears (and many more animals) face to face. Central Park Zoo offers families a chance to discover the wonders of wildlife together. In addition to seeing a variety of animals and their habitats, families can take part in various programs for kids. Zoo Play is for toddlers to discover the natural world through play, animal encounters and guided Zoo visits. For children 3–6, opt for breakfast at the zoo! Following a light breakfast and animal-themed activities, children and parents discover who wakes up the animals and what they eat in the morning when guides take families around the exhibits to watch as animals receive their breakfast. And kids ages 6–10 can participate in Exploring the Wild, where families discover animal adaptations and survival strategies through fun activities and live animal encounters. Children get up close to many animals in the Zoo, help prepare animal treats and understand how keepers care for them each day.

Find more family-friendly experiences in New York City.