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Things to do with Toddlers in New York City

Updated on September 2, 2010

New York is a thrilling city with no shortage of things to do and is a fabulous destination for a family vacation. While some of the sights are geared towards adults and older children, parents can find plenty of engaging indoor and outdoor activities for toddlers in New York City.

Central Park Zoo

 Head to 64th Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan to visit the snow leopards, polar bears and other animals housed at the Central Park Zoo. Kids might recognize the zoo from the popular family movie “Madagascar.” Be sure to visit the Tisch Children’s Zoo, which is located just outside the main zoo and is included in the admission price to the Central Park Zoo. The Tisch Children’s Zoo is particularly appropriate for toddlers, with animals they can pet and play structures to climb on.

Playing in Tisch Children's Zoo

Children's Museum of Manhattan

Children can spend hours exploring the fun and educational displays at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, many of which were designed with toddlers in mind. Exhibits include Playworks, where kids can have so much fun that they might not realize they’re improving their math and science skills, Adventures with Dora and Diego, City Splash, full of water wonders to investigate, and much more. The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is found at 212 West 83rd Street.

American Museum of Natural History

 Take the little ones to the American Museum of Natural History, located on Central Park West and 79th street. The dinosaur bones alone are worth the visit, but families will also be treated to the huge whale model in the Hall of Ocean Life, myriad habitat dioramas featuring creatures from all over the globe, films, special programs and traveling exhibits.

New York Aquarium

Families can learn about sea creatures at the New York Aquarium, located right by Coney Island at Surf Avenue and West 8th Street in Brooklyn. In addition to seeing many examples of fish and other marine life in the aquariums tanks, toddlers can experience the touch pool, where they can feel horse crabs, sea stars and more, watch penguin, shark and walrus feedings, enjoy a 4-D film and see a sea lion show.


 Hours spent in a hotel room and stroller can make for an energetic toddler, and many parents like to let the little ones run off some steam at one of New York’s many playgrounds. While there are public parks and playgrounds all over the city, a couple of standouts are located in Central Park. Central Park boasts over 20 playgrounds, each with a unique theme and design. For example, the Ancient Playground, located by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, takes the museum’s ancient Egyptian Temple of Dendor as its theme.


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