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New York Holidays: Top 5 Family Days Out

Updated on March 28, 2012

Family Fun in New York City

New York welcomes almost 50 million visitors each year, many of whom are looking to take advantage of the city's plethora of shops, bars and delicious restaurants. Those with children in tow whilst exploring the concrete jungle however could find that their offspring quickly become bored and restless during such activities and as such, it is important to schedule in a few family days out that will keep them entertained during New York Holidays.

From my own experiences with my two children, the following (in no particular order) is what I consider to be the top 5 locations for a great family day out in NY:

#1: Great Escape Theme Park, Lake George

Great Escape (a Six Flags-owned theme park) comprises more than 30 different rides and attractions which cater to both thrill seeking adults and less gutsy children. Adrenaline junkies will definitely enjoy the one-of-a-kind sled-like rollercoaster Alpine Bobsled, the 200ft free drop of Sasquatch and the corkscrewing Steamin’ Demon (pictured above) whilst kids are sure to love the swing of Flying Trapeze, the walk-through Alice in Wonderland attraction and the bumper cars, as well as the giant ferris wheel.

Great Escape is also home to a water park (so remember to bring a swimsuit) and several eateries. The park is open between the months of May and October but not every single day so be sure to check the park’s website before setting off.

#2: Sony Wonder Technology Lab, Madison Avenue

This state-of-the-art facility - owned by leading electronics manufacturer Sony - more than succeeds in its mission to make learning fun through the combination of technology and guest creativity. Just some of the exhibits visitors will find within its walls include the Interactive Floor (pictured above) which comprises patterns of coloured light which merge as you interact with others on the floor, the touch-reactive Sensi-Tile wall and a Robot Zone which explores why and how robots respond to the commands they are given.

But what is the best thing about this four-story interactive complex? Admission is completely free! However, the attraction is extremely popular and as such it is recommended that advance bookings are made in order to avoid disappointment for those taking New York holidays.

I would say that this attraction is an essential stop for anyone taking USA tours.

#3: Central Park Zoo, Manhattan

Central Park Zoo is a great stop for animal-lovers since it comprises a rainforest habitat (home to tree snakes and poisonous amphibians), several Antarctic-like environments specially designed for the zoo’s polar bears and penguins (pictured above) and a children’s petting zoo containing sheep, alpacas and ducks. As if that was not enough already, the zoo is also home to sea lions, red pandas, monkeys, snow leopards and even more besides!

Those who are willing to shell out a little extra for Total Experience tickets will get to see two different films in the establishment’s 4-D sensory theatre. Seats vibrate, mist is dispersed and bubbles and scents let loose in accompaniment to said films. Great fun!

#4: Hayden Planetarium, Central Park West

The Hayden Planetarium operates from within the American Museum of Natural History’s Astrophysics department and comprises the largest VR simulator of the Milky Way in the whole world. Visitors can learn about the birth of the universe in the downstairs Big Bang Theatre (pictured above) whilst shows in Space Theatre on the first floor allows adults and kids alike to explore the entire breadth of the universes from the comfort of a chair.

Scaled models of the main planets (minus the now-considered too small Pluto), a “Cosmic Pathway” and endless information related to stars can also be found inside this educational and visually stunning attraction. The outside of the planetarium looks particularly stunning at night when it is lit in blue light.

#5: New York Aquarium, Coney Island

The NY Aquarium is home to more than 300 different marine species including sea otters, sea lions, walruses, penguins, octopuses, tiger sharks and sea turtles and so working out your favourite from your visit will be no simple task!

You might have seen dolphins performing tricks on the command of humans before but can the same be said for sea lions? At the Aquatheatre you can see these wonderful creatures back flip, bark, kiss and dive when instructed by their trainers (pictured). There is also a section dedicated to underwater stingers in which you can learn everything you could ever want to know about moon fish, flower hat jellies and red striped sea nettles. Kids will also love the aquarium's 4-D Happy Feet film experience.

If you are looking for great holiday packages to New York City, you should visit the American Sky website.

To learn more about NYC, visit the Wikipedia page.

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