Family vacations in New York City can be rewarding experiences or absolute disasters — it all depends on pretrip homework. To make planning easier, we've done all the preparation. As part of a Huffington Post Travel series on traveling with children, here are recommended attractions for those planning New York City family vacations.
New York Skyride at the Empire State Building
See the Empire State Building in a whole new way — fly high on a helicopter ride over New York City without ever leaving the safety of your chair. This 30-minute high-definition movie is narrated by actor Kevin Bacon. After you watch the movie, ascend to the 86th floor of the Empire State Building and see the whole city at your feet.
Address: 350 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10118
Hours: Open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Price: Adults, $42; children, $27; seniors (62+), $35
Rockaway Beach & Boardwalk
With more than 1,700 acres of coastal playgrounds, Rockaway Beach is a treasured summer destination. The beach boasts activities like skating, fishing and volleyball. The Sunset Concert Series entertains visitors during warm summer nights. When the sea is choppier, get your surfboard and wetsuit ready — Rockaway is New York City's only surfing beach.
Address: From Beach 9th Street to Beach 149th Street in Queens, NY
Hours: The beach is open all hours, daily. The boardwalk is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Price: Free admission
New York Hall of Science
The New York Hall of Science invites the whole family to experience science in a variety of ways. With more than 450 interactive exhibits, families explore concepts through the Realm of the Atom and Science Playground. The learning continues after the visit with Try Science, a kid-friendly gaming website.
Address: 47-01 111th St., Queens, NY 11368-2950
Hours: July and August: Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekends from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; September to March: Tuesday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekends from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; April to June, Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m to 2 p.m., Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekends from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Price: Adults, $11; children 2 to 17, students with a college ID and seniors (62+), $8
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a wide range of programs for children and families in New York City. Art Trek explores stories through Renaissance art. Drop-In Drawing gives children the chance to copy their own masterpiece. The program is led by an art teacher, and a new session meets every 30 minutes.
Address: 1000 Fifth Ave. at 82nd St., New York, NY 10028
Hours: Sunday, Tuesday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:50 p.m.; Friday and Saturday form 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; closed Mondays, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
Price: Adults, $25; seniors (65+), $17; students, $12
Central Park Zoo
Located in the middle of one of the biggest city parks on the planet, Central Park Zoo brings the animals of the world to the big city. See polar bears, red pandas and more than 150 other species in the midst of New York City. Just a train ride away, the Bronx Zoo is another family favorite.
Address: 830 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10065-7095
Hours: April through early November, 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily; late November through late March from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.
Price: Adults, $12; seniors (65+), $9; children 3 to 12, $7; children under 3, free
The world-famous FAO Schwarz has been featured in movies such as "Big" and "Home Alone 2." This historic toy store has sold stuffed animals and candy, among other things, to children and families for more than 150 years. Today, families can explore the wide range of toys, make thier own Muppet or visit the Middleton Doll Nursery.
Address: 767 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10153
Hours: Open Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Price: Free admission
The Brooklyn Children's Museum
The first museum designed for kids, the Brooklyn Children's Museum opened its doors in 1899. Today, this New York City museum is a safe place for children to explore their world and beyond. The museum has a permanent collection of more than 30,000 items, from animal bones to ancient sculptures.
Address: 145 Brooklyn Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11213
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday and weekends from 10 a.m to 5 p.m.; Monday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for museum members only; Friday from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Have you been to New York City? What are your favorite spots?
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