LIT­TLE WINS IN THE BIG AP­PLE

In the city that never sleeps, the only prob­lem keep­ing the kids en­ter­tained is fit­ting it all in

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - DESTINATION US - KELLI ARMSTRONG

If you’re a fam­ily with your sights set on the Big Ap­ple, you won’t be dis­ap­pointed with the end­less of­fer­ings to keep ev­ery­one in your brood en­ter­tained. In fact, the fam­i­lyfriendly ac­tiv­i­ties from one neigh­bour­hood to the next are al­most over­whelm­ing – mu­se­ums and water play­grounds, pizza tours and zoo sleep­overs. It’s al­most im­pos­si­ble for the kids (big and lit­tle) to get bored.

PITCH A TENT AT THE BRONX ZOO

It’s hard to beat the Fam­ily Overnight Sa­fari at the Bronx Zoo. The whole fam­ily can en­joy af­ter-hours ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing scav­enger hunts, story time and sin­ga­longs with your favourite furry (and not-so-furry) friends be­fore spend­ing an evening un­der the stars next to the sea li­ons. Dis­cover just what the an­i­mals get up to af­ter dark. BRONXZOO.COM/PRO­GRAMS/FAM­I­LIES

KAYAK ON THE HUDSON RIVER

Take ad­van­tage of the big body of water sur­round­ing Man­hat­tan with free kayak­ing with vol­un­teer or­gan­i­sa­tion Down­town Boathouse. Kids un­der 16 must be ac­com­pa­nied by an adult. If you’re not that con­fi­dent with a pad­dle, lessons are avail­able mid week. DOWNTOWNBOATHOUSE.ORG

CLIMB THE STATUE OF LIB­ERTY

The ferry ride from Bat­tery Park to Lib­erty Is­land gives a unique per­spec­tive on the Man­hat­tan sky­line. Once you ar­rive, the tour of Lady Lib­erty in­cludes a hike all the way to her crown and a his­tory les­son in which you’ll learn all about this tow­er­ing mon­u­ment that was pre­sented to the US by France in the 1800s. Tick­ets (that also in­clude a trip to El­lis Is­land to ex­plore the Im­mi­gra­tion Mu­seum) need to be bought in ad­vance and there are age and height re­stric­tions. NPS.GOV/STLI/PLANYOURVISIT/VISIT-THECROWN.HTM

VISIT THE AMER­I­CAN MU­SEUM OF NAT­U­RAL HIS­TORY

Hous­ing one of the largest di­nosaur fos­sil col­lec­tions in the world, in­clud­ing the 37m-long Ti­tanosaur, an im­pres­sive Tyran­nosaurus Rex and a di­nosaur mummy, a trip to the AMNH is not to be missed. There’s also a but­ter­fly con­ser­va­to­rium, an Earth and Space Tour, plus much more that’ll leave the kids wide-eyed. You could also skip a night at the ho­tel for A Night at the Mu­seum Sleep­over that in­cludes a scav­enger hunt by flash­light be­fore bed­ding down among the ex­hibits. AMNH.ORG

TOUR NBC STU­DIOS

Head to NBC Stu­dios at the fa­mous Rock­e­feller Cen­ter for a morn­ing tap­ing of the To­day Show. Dur­ing the sum­mer they host their Sum­mer Con­cert Se­ries in the fore­court fea­tur­ing Top 40 acts. Af­ter­wards, book a tour of NBC stu­dios and fin­ish with a stom­ach-drop­ping ride to the Top of the Rock where you’ll wit­ness 360-de­gree views of Man­hat­tan’s spec­tac­u­lar sky­scrapers and Cen­tral Park. THETOURATNBCSTUDIOS.COM

LEARN AT THE BROOK­LYN CHIL­DREN’S MU­SEUM

The world’s first chil­dren’s mu­seum was founded in 1899 to en­gage chil­dren of all ages. To this day it hosts award-win­ning ex­hi­bi­tions that al­low kids to get hands-on with in­no­va­tive sen­sory col­lec­tions that spark cu­rios­ity, cre­ativ­ity and a love of learn­ing. BROOKLYNKIDS.ORG

RIDE THE SUB­WAY TO CONEY IS­LAND

Take a trip to Brighton Beach board­walk , which is filled with non­stop ac­tiv­ity, food of­fer­ings and colour­ful char­ac­ters in the warmer months. The kids won’t want to miss a ride on Luna Park’s Thun­der­bolt roller- coaster or the Won­der Wheel. There is also the New York Aquar­ium to visit and Nathan’s Fa­mous hot dogs to eat. If your trip co­in­cides with the fourth Satur­day in June, the Mer­maid Pa­rade is an an­nual ex­trav­a­ganza full of vi­brant cos­tumes and sea­far­ing sights not to be missed. LUNAPARKNYC.COM

EAT UP ON A PIZZA TAST­ING TOUR

This culi­nary ad­ven­ture, aboard a big yel­low school bus, is a de­li­cious way to get your “slice of pie” fix – the un­of­fi­cial food of Gotham. You’ll visit the outer bor­oughs to ex­plore pizze­rias even the most avid foodie hasn’t heard of and taste a va­ri­ety of top­pings not on the menu at home. SCOTTSPIZZATOURS.COM

BIKE RIDE THE BROOK­LYN BRIDGE

Hire a bike from one of the many Citibike sta­tions through­out the city and set off on an ex­plo­ration of your own, or take a tour with Blaz­ing Sad­dles. A good place to start is by rid­ing over the Brook­lyn Bridge and ex­plor­ing the East River. You can re­cover with ice cream from the Brook­lyn Ice Cream fac­tory at the other end. BLAZINGSADDLES.COM CITIBIKENYC.COM

PAMPER AT A KID-FRIENDLY SPA

This Up­per East Side spa for all ages of­fers de­li­cious treats with ev­ery treat­ment like the Ba­nana Split Pack­age or the Vanilla Sprin­kle Pedi­cure. While girls will love, well, ev­ery­thing, they have a “Cool Dude” menu to en­tice the boys – in­clud­ing options such as a gooey foot soak com­plete with float­ing plas­tic bugs and fake tat­too ap­pli­ca­tion. MILKANDCOOKIESKIDSSPA.COM

SEE A BROADWAY SHOW

Broadway is teem­ing with options when it comes to kid-friendly pro­duc­tions. Wicked tells the un­told story of The Wizard of Oz’s wicked witch. Princesses, ge­nies and magic car­pets come to life in Aladdin but it’s the new Char­lie and the Choco­late Fac­tory ex­trav­a­ganza, filled with choco­late wa­ter­falls, that’s the golden ticket. BROADWAY.COM

CHELSEA WATERSIDE PLAY­GROUND

If it’s hu­mid, a visit to this colour­ful des­ti­na­tion play­ground is the per­fect way to keep the kids from get­ting too hot-headed. There are plenty of um­brel­las cast­ing shade for par­ents, so you can kick back and watch the kids ex­plore this unique play en­vi­ron­ment that spurts water over jun­gle gyms, slides, sand­boxes and more. It’s the per­fect pit stop af­ter walk­ing the High Line. HUDSONRIVERPARK.ORG/EX­PLORE-THE-PARK/ AC­TIV­I­TIES/CHELSEA-WATERSIDE-PLAY-AREA THEHIGHLINE.ORG

PIC­TURES: IS­TOCK, ALEX LOPEZ

A view of New York city from the Brook­lyn bridge (main); and Luna Park, Coney Is­land, Brook­lyn (be­low).

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