Adventures Beyond the Children’s Museums

Family fun activities to do around NYC that are beyond the Children’s Museums….


Is your child totally into trains but the thought of going to the Transit Museum one more time makes you want to stick needles into your eyes? (Is it just me or are the security guards there totally unhelpful when it comes to getting down the steps with a stroller?)  Or maybe your dear little one loves boats, but wants something more than just gazing at them from the shores of Pier 5 as they all go cruising by. Or perhaps going to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan one more time and risking bedbugs again is just not worth it.  Well, I’ve got the list for you. Here is a list of off-the-beaten-path of activities to do with your little one who is into trains, boats, museums, and much more…

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+ If your child likes airplanes, TRY…Tram to Roosevelt Island (link here) – And good news, if your little one is an early riser, the tram starts operating at 6AM. That means you don’t have to wait for a museum to open at 10AM. You can even bring breakfast aboard the tram and eat it while dangling over the East River. Here is a link to some tips to know before you go.

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+ If your child likes boats, TRY…Staten Island Ferry (link here) – Perhaps a late day trip across the harbor would be fun?! The ferry is free, always running, and has the best view of lower Manhattan. (And mom and dad can even enjoy an adult beverage from the cafe on board while crossing the waters). If your little kiddo is an enthusiast of railways, you can even take the Staten Island Railway to the end and back. Lots to see from the ferry and train.

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+ If your kid likes pets, TRY…the Cat Cafes – (Koneko Cafe on the LES and Brooklyn Cat Cafe on Atlantic and Henry) – Have you done the zoos and want more of a hands on experience? Or is your child begging for a pet but the idea of emptying a litter box and living with tumble-weed-like fur balls make you want to run for the hills? Then the cat cafe is the answer for you and your family. Check out each one and its requirements for visiting. (You might have to make a reservation at Koneko and the one in Brooklyn is closed on Wednesdays). Sit with cats, pet the cats, and then go home to your cat-free home with a happy child whose dream of playing with a cat has been fulfilled.

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+ If your kid enjoys eating out (or if you do and have a hard time doing it with kids), TRY…Dekalb Market Hall in DoBro (link here) – With a plethora of eateries to choose from everyone will be happy with her choice from this Market. And really you can’t go wrong here. So many amazing choices and lots of space for your littles to run around and get their energy out while you peacefully eat. Bonus: stop at the new Trader Joe’s there on your way out.

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+ If your kid likes Children’s Museums, TRY…IKEA – I  bet you did not even realize that IKEA is designed exactly like a children’s museum! Well it is. Head out to the IKEA in Red Hook to check out the kids furniture and let your kids ‘test’ out the beds and toys too! Just be sure to not make a mess (or at least clean it all up when you are done, so as not to annoy the people working in that section.) And after they have had their fill, grab an affordable lunch from their cafe. A fun way to spend a day! (And yes, IKEA can be fun when you go with the goal to play there and not shop — it’s a whole new experience!)

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+ If your kid like the Transit Museum, TRY…Oculus Train Station (link here) – Tour around the shops inside this (I hate to use this word but…) mall and even more so, enjoy the beautiful architecture of this light and airy train station. You can easily enjoy lunch here and check out the new and modern way a train station can function.


Looking for more things to do? Here are some indoor play spaces for those bad weather months. But before we get to that bad weather, perhaps trying out a different local playground is a fun way to spend time with your family…

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