How to tour a museum with your child

Hudson Valley Parent's Guide to New York City

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Overall Rating: 5.0

Every year, since my kids were out of diapers, we ventured into New York City to visit the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). It was like an indoor playground with plenty of bathrooms, kid-friendly eateries, and just amazing displays of all the things that fascinate kids from large animals to bugs; birds to boats and dinosaurs to meteorites...the list goes on and on.  Did I mention there's an entire floor devoted to dinosaurs?  It's kid-heaven! 

(Visit the AMNH kids' website for fun at-home activities, and info on current and upcoming exhibitions).  

Have a blast

You truly can't take it all in during one day's trip, but it's something to enjoy for a lifetime..each visit can focus on a different section of the place, even one whole floor can take most of the day.

So, when the book, Family Guide to New York City (Eyewitness Travel, DK Books) came across my desk, I was immediately smitten.  This book is the greatest thing for families who also enjoy taking in all that New York City has to offer, from its museums to the shopping, the parks, taking a taxi, a ferry, and what's going on in the outer boroughs (Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and the Bronx) which make up the City

Here is just a little bit of good info on my favorite place, the AMNH, if you happen to be visiting over this upcoming school holiday, or anytime.

Soul food!

The key features for kids include: (4th floor): vertebrate origins, dinosaurs and primitive mammals; (3rd floor): reptiles, amphibians; (2nd floor): birds of the world, African peoples, natural science center; (1st floor): human origins, hall of ocean life -- the big WHALE, hall of planet earth. 

Also, don't miss the Rose Center for Earth and Space with its recreation of the first moments of the universe, and the Hayden Planetarium

Highlights include: 

  • Akeley Hall of  African Animals: life-size dioramas of animals in the rain forest.
  • Arthur Ross Hall of Meteorites: the largest meteorite in the world on display
  • Butterfly Conservatory: open from Oct-Apr, over 500 live butterflies in their natural (and humid) habitat.

The book includes questions you may ask your kids, like find the largest animal that ever lived?  or which dinosaur was the scariest

Tips for travelling with kids:

  • Hours of operation: 10am to 5:45pm daily (get there early)
  • Purchase tickets online, consider the combo tix if interested in the IMAX movie
  • Activities include watching space shows, particiating in science activities, and playing with the interactive displays
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Food Court on the lower level
  • Bathrooms on every floor

When the kids need a break, and a breath of fresh air, right next door is the Theodore Roosevelt Park with sprinklers in summer.  The Diana Ross playground is the nearest playground within Central Park at 81st Street.

Available in March of 2012, this book is a really terrific book to have in your "travel"