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New York Life

The Best of New York City for Kids: Children’s Museum of the Arts

The Children's Museum of the Arts, NYC via

Little artists will love New York’s Children’s Museum of the Arts, a hands-on art museum dedicated to engaging kids aged 10 months-15 years. While the museum runs many hands-on programs throughout the year, we just love to drop by for a creative day out whenever we are in town.

The Children's Museum of the Arts, NYC via

So what’s there to do?

The Children's Museum of the Arts, NYC via

Explore the current exhibition in the Gallery and join in exhibit-themed workshops.

In the Media Lab, learn how to animate or watch a short film made by CMA students.

The Children's Museum of the Arts, NYC via

Mould a scene from your imagination at the very popular Clay Bar (ages 5 and over).

Upon request, record a song, speech, or score a soundtrack in the Sound Booth (only available on Thursday, Saturday, or Sunday).

The Children's Museum of the Arts, NYC via

Kids under five can get messy with art materials in the WEE Arts early childhood studio.

The Children's Museum of the Arts, NYC via

Head to the Fine Arts Studio is to paint, draw, sculpt, or sew an original masterpiece.

The Children's Museum of the Arts, NYC via

What you need to know before you go:

The Children's Museum of the Arts, NYC via

The Clay Bar is one of the most popular stations so sign up for a 35 minutes session as soon as you arrive then check out the other areas of the museum while you wait for your time slot.

The Children's Museum of the Arts, NYC via

The WEE Arts Studio for kids under five is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 12-3:30pm Thursday, 12-6pm, and weekends from 10am-5pm. The studio is also open for WEE Arts Drop in sessions when the museum is closed to the public every Monday through Friday from 10:45 AM – 12 PM and Wednesday from 1:45-3 PM.

The Children's Museum of the Arts, NYC via

Prepare to get messy! While there are smocks provided, dress your child in clothes that they can get paint on.

The Children's Museum of the Arts, NYC via The Children's Museum of the Arts, NYC via The Children's Museum of the Arts, NYC via The Children's Museum of the Arts, NYC via

Children’s Museum of the Arts
103 Charlton St, New York, NY 10014
Hours: Mondays: 12-5 PM
Tuesdays & Wednesdays: WEE Arts Drop In Classes* ONLY ( for ages 5 & under, see below)
Thursdays & Fridays: 12-6 PM
Saturdays & Sundays: 10 AM-5 PM
Prices: $12 per person
Get Directions

Jane’s Carousel, Brooklyn: The Best of New York for Kids

Jane's Carousel, Brooklyn: The Best of New York for Families via

This stunning carousel on the Brooklyn foreshore was such a favourite place of ours to visit that it’s become a constant to measure Cheese’s childhood against. When we lived in Brooklyn, the carousel was an easy 30 minute walk from our apartment so we would stroll on down at least once a week.

Jane's Carousel, Brooklyn: The Best of New York for Families via

Now we no longer live in the city, we still make sure to visit every year (pictured above is our most recent visit). The carousel is so very special to us, and to many Brooklyn families whose children are similarly growing up with this carousel in their backyard as a regular play space to hang out and while away an afternoon.

Jane's Carousel, Brooklyn: The Best of New York for Families via

Jane’s Carousel is actually the same age as Cheese, opening in the Brooklyn Bridge park on the East River in Brooklyn on September 16, 2011 – only a few weeks after Cheese was born. See above for her first ride on the carousel when she was 9 months old.

Of course the bones of the carousel are a lot older than that. The carousel used to be called the Idora Park Merry-Go-Round, and was built in 1922 for the Idora Park amusement park in Youngstown, Ohio by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company.

In 1984 Idora Park closed to the public, The carousel was bought at auction by Jane and David Walentas and moved to Brooklyn, New York for restoration.

Jane's Carousel, Brooklyn: The Best of New York for Families via

Since the carousel opened in its current incarnation it’s been an incredibly popular addition to the Brooklyn foreshore for locals and tourists alike.

Jane's Carousel, Brooklyn: The Best of New York for Families via

It was such an important part of Cheese’s childhood that we held her first birthday party at the carousel (above!).

Jane's Carousel, Brooklyn: The Best of New York for Families via

If you’re visiting Brooklyn for the day there is plenty to see and do apart from the carousel. Check out my guide to DUMBO Brooklyn for ideas on where to eat and play nearby.

Jane’s Carousel
Dock St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Hours: Wed-Mon 11am-7pm. Closed Tues.
Prices: $2 (parents can ride with their child for free if the child is not able to ride by themselves)
Get Directions
Image from Cheese’s first birthday party and horse’s face in opening image by Raquel Frechette

SeaGlass Carousel At the Battery Conservancy, New York City

Seaglass Carousel At the Battery Conservancy, New York City via

New York has no shortage of carousels, but its newest is pretty special. The SeaGlass Carousel opened in Lower Manhattan in August 2015, a stunning underwater garden filled with a pastel sea of fish.

Seaglass Carousel At the Battery Conservancy, New York City via

The Battery was the first home of the New York Aquarium, which opened in 1896 in what is now Castle Clinton. The aquarium closed in 1941 and is now located at Coney Island, gone from Battery Park but not forgotten. The brand new carousel pays homage to the original home of the aquarium with a mystical display of light, colour and music. Put simply, a ride on the carousel is like swimming in an acid dream.

Seaglass Carousel At the Battery Conservancy, New York City via

SeaGlass came to life through the genius design by wxy architecture. The 2.575 square foot spiraling pavilion, inspired by the chambered nautilus, rises out of The Battery’s gardens like a glowing beacon, a siren song to children and adults alike.

Seaglass Carousel At the Battery Conservancy, New York City via

The George Tsypin Opera Factory created the unique underwater experience where a rider sits inside one of 30 massive fibreglass, iridescent fish, and glides in patterns on a 360° aquatic adventure.

Seaglass Carousel At the Battery Conservancy, New York City via

SeaGlass is unlike most carousels in that it doesn’t have a centre pole. Instead, the fish sit on four turntables that are driven by electric motors under the floor.

Seaglass Carousel At the Battery Conservancy, New York City via

The underwater atmosphere is a result of the combination of LED colour-changing lighting in the fish, and light projectors that hang from the ceiling to create a “water effect”.

Seaglass Carousel At the Battery Conservancy, New York City via

Of course, the kids we took on the carousel noticed none of these details. They saw only the sum of its parts – a magical underwater ride on glowing fish.

“Can we go again? And again, and again?” Yes kids, you certainly can.

More info:

All children under 42 inches tall must ride on an adult’s lap, with only one child per lap. Both children and accompanying parents must have a ticket. Children under 12 months old may ride for free.

Dogs must be leashed in the park, and are not allowed in the pavilion or on the ride.

Strollers must be left outside the pavilion.

To enter the pavilion where the carousel is housed, you must buy a ticket, even if you don’t intend to ride.

Seaglass Carousel At the Battery Conservancy, New York City via

Seaglass Carousel
State St & Water St, New York
Hours: 7 days a week 10 AM-10 PM, Weather permitting
Prices: $5 a ride per person
Get Directions

A Few Observations From An Australian On Living in New York

Observations on living in New York

I called New York home for three-and-a-half wonderful years. As we’d visited many times over the years as tourists, I hadn’t thought our countries were that dissimilar until our immersion in daily life as New Yorkers began. It’s the little things that you really notice as time goes on – the small details that are head-tiltingly perplexing at times, and Earth-shatteringly good at others (BAGELS where have you been all my life?). A few notes I’ve finally written down that have been running around my head for the past few years on life in New York.

1. Pizza is served by the slice in tiny holes in the wall all over the city, and is an acceptable lunch or after school snack.
2. Bagels taste like heaven. Just don’t ask for one toasted, particularly from Murray’s.
3. Corn syrup is in everything, even Tomato Sauce (which is also oddly named “Ketchup”).
4. The daily average temperature is below 10dC for six entire months of the year. That is very very cold.
5. Capsicum are called “peppers” even though they’re not spicy.
6. You need to tip literally everyone. At Christmas, you can expect to tip your USP delivery guy, building manager, cleaners, building concierge, your child’s teachers, your hairdresser and basically anyone you’ve had contact with over the year.
7. Even if you get shitty service you have to tip. A tip of 10% is considered too low. 15% average and 20% desirable.
8. There is no such thing as a flat white unless you find an Aussie-run cafe.
9. The Jewish holidays are just as important as Christian ones and kids have days off school for them.
10. Cold weather removes the importance of looking good. Embrace a marshmallow man coat that goes below the knees and pull up the hood to prevent frost bite.
11. Brunch is anywhere from 11am-2pm and alcohol, like bellinis, is served from midday.
12. No one gets up before 10am unless they’ve got a newborn baby.
13. There’s nary an avocado let alone haloumi at brunch. If you ask for tomato with your dish it will arrive cold and sliced.
14. Chemists are called drug stores, and the big pharmacies are like supermarkets that sell pretty much everything from milk to photo frames and toilet paper.
15. Trader Joe has the best bargain groceries, as well as original creations like “Cookie Butter”.
16. Kids go to see a pediatrician from birth, not your local GP. They also see a pediatric dentist.
17. There is garbage piled up high on every street but no one seems to ever talk about it.
18. You know it’s summer when the pavement smells like dog (or possibly human!) wee.
19. Central Park and Prospect park more than make up for not having a back yard.
20. You can’t call yourself a New Yorker Until you see your first flasher, groper, masterbator or person doing a poop on the subway.
21. Paying 15% of your yearly rent to a broker is called the “New York tax”. You painfully shell it out when you rent your first apartment, then do whatever you can to avoid every paying it again for subsequent homes.
22. You’ll pretty much never get a quiet subway ride without buskers or beggars, so forget about trying to finish your novel.
23. Speaking of buskers, you’re always at high risk of getting kicked in the head when the street dancers start swinging around the poles on the subway.
24. Everything is sooooo cheap – until you take into account the falling Aussie dollar. Unless you’re earning US dollars, in which case, everything is INCREDIBLY cheap and you wonder how you could ever adjust to paying rip off Australian prices ever again.
25. You think you’re prepared for winter, but by January 1 you’d give your right arm for a day over 10 degrees.
26. Spring flowers start blooming well before the weather actually warms up. Don’t get excited too far in advance.
27. The only way to survive New York winters is to not be there for them. Leave the country, do it now.
28. Waiting an hour for brunch is a New York institution. If you don’t have to wait, it’s probably going to be crap.
29. A third floor walk up in a traditional brownstone is going to seem a lot less charming after you have to carry your groceries, stroller and child up and down the stairs 20 times a day.
30. Heating in brownstones is antiquated. Your choice of heating settings is on (heat level “furnace”) or off (heat level “arctic”). Expect to spend winter with the heater on and your windows open.
31. Walk fast so you don’t make New Yorkers angry.
32. If you see a TV show filming, the correct response is to sigh about how inconvenient it is, and pretend not to notice the famous actor waiting for his cue. Even if it’s Ben Stiller, it’s so uncool to stare or, God forbid, whip out your iPhone to take a photo.
33. Kale is disgusting and yet is served everywhere. Everyone pretends to like it.
34. Times Square is for tourists.
35. Layer cakes taste like heaven.
36. Every corner seems familiar because it’s featured in a movie or TV show at some stage. The city feels instantly like you’ve already been there before, even if it’s your first time.
37. Supermarket bread tastes terrible and goes off within days.
38. American chocolate tastes disgusting, particularly Hersheys, which is made from sour milk.
39. When faced with bureaucracy you’ll think it was designed to make you return to the country from which you came. It takes serious stamina to get anything done.
40. If you don’t have private health insurance, do not get sick. If you go to a doctor without insurance expect to shell out several hundred dollars for a 10 minute GP visit.
41. Expect to be treated like a second class citizen by officials in any formal capacity if you’re not an American.
42. When on the subway you’ll frequently hear announcements but won’t be able to understand a word of them.
43. Milk comes in fat-free, lowfat 1%, reduced fat 2% and whole milk. That’s a lot of choice for milk.
44. The pressure to buy organic food will drive you to shop in Whole Foods and then regret your over-priced fruit and vege for the next week.
45. The nursery schools admissions process will turn you into a lunatic.
46. If you drop something on the floor of the subway, leave it there. There’s no coming back.
47. There are so many rules. “Ma’am, you’d can’t put that stroller there”, “Sir, you can’t carry your child on your shoulders (at the American Museum of History)”.
48. There is ice cream everywhere but very little gelato.
49. Kinder Surprise Eggs are banned.
50. People are helpful. Ask one person on what station you should get off at on the subway and the whole carriage will pipe up with their opinion.
51. People are warm and welcoming. New friends who barely knew me invited us into their homes.

12 Ways To Entertain Kids In Central Park: Best of NYC for Kids

A Guide To Central Park For Kids via

Central Park is one of the best places for families to enjoy in NYC. In every season, the park is endlessly entertaining for kids of all ages, from itty bitty babies who are content to sit in their strollers and look at leaves, to busy preschoolers who can’t sit still, and tweens and teens who are beginning to take an interest in history.

Tips on making the most of your day in Central Park:

  • Bring a picnic lunch or lots of snacks. There aren’t many places to buy food in the park apart from hot dog vendors. If you’re entering from the south end of the park, you can pick up a delicious picnic lunch from Whole Foods at Columbus Circle. For reasonably priced food within the park, Pain de Quotidien on 69th street has light lunch and snacks. If you’re after a bit of a nicer meal, drop by Tavern On The Green at 67th street or the Loeb Boathouse.
  • Pack plenty of water for the same reason.
  • Pick up a physical map or download one to your phone. Even if you have internet on your phone, it’s hard to get in the park, making it easy to get lost.
  • Note bathroom locations before entering the park – they are also few and far between.
  • In summer, pack water shoes and swim suits as many of the playgrounds have water features.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and pack sunscreen and a hat.
  • Don’t take a carriage ride around the park without reading up on the animal welfare concerns surrounding these horses.
  • Bring a picnic blanket – like one of these Skip Hop blankets that zip all the way around.
  • Remember small and light toys like a ball or frisbee.

Central Park for Families via

What to see and do
Wander the bridges.

Central Park for Families via
Spot wildlife (go looking for turtles at Bethesda Terrace and Belvedere Castle).

Central Park for Families via
! There are 16 to discover.

Central Park for Families via
Climb rocks. This alone can keep your child busy most of a day.

Central Park for Families via
Visit Alice and climb her like many generations of New York kids.

Central Park for Families via
Ride the carousel. It’s super fast, so hold on!

Central Park Zoo via
Pat animals at the Tisch Children’s Zoo.

Central Park for Families via
Listen to buskers at the Bethesda Terrace.

Central Park for Families via
Row a boat around the lake.

Central Park for Families via
Throw a frisbee in the Sheep Meadow.

Central Park for Families via
Visit the angel on the Bethesda Fountain that has featured in too many movies to mention.

Central Park for Families via

Snap selfies with cherry blossoms around the Obelisk and the Reservoir.

Central Park for Families via Central Park for Families via Central Park for Families via

Central Park for Families via

Central Park for Families via Central Park for Families via Central Park for Families via Central Park for Families via Central Park for Families via
Central Park for Families via

Looking for more things to do in NYC with kids?

A New York City Guide For Families

NYC Guide for Families via

Not long ago, a friend of mine was visiting New York with her two young kids and asked for advice on where they should go on their trip. I quickly wrote what ended up being a bit of an epic email about my favourite places in New York City for young families.

#NewYorkCity For Families via

After more friends started asking for the same advice, I thought it was time I turned into into a more useful blog post, which is what you’ll find below: my top tips on places to take young kids for an awesome time in New York City. Note: this is not an exhaustive list, it’s just the things our family enjoyed the most during our time in New York City.

Winter Hibernation Guide: Children's Museum of Manhattan via

Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Located on the Upper West Side, the Children’s Museum has several levels of interactive exhibits for kids of all ages. Cafe Lalo, right across the street, was in the movie You’ve Got Mail and does an amazing frozen yoghurt with fresh berries.

Central Park for Families via

Central Park Carousel
It’s a bit pricier than the other carousels at $3 a ride for kids and adults accompanying them, but all horses go up and down and super fast.

Seaglass Carousel At the Battery Conservancy, New York City via

SeaGlass Carousel
Take a magical underwater spin on the SeaGlass Carousel – a fish-themed carousel in Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan Island in New York City that opened in August 2015. More info here.

New York Public Library via

New York Public Library
It’s free to enter this iconic library – with nearly 53 million items, the New York Public Library is the second largest public library in the United States, and fourth largest in the world. It has a great children’s section downstairs. Get more info here.

Central Park for Families via

Central Park Conservatory Water
This is the pond where you can rent little remote control sailboats boats that you’ve seen in movies, and then climb all over the nearby Alice In Wonderland statue.

Central Park Zoo via

Central Park Zoo
In the main part of the zoo, kids love watching the seals and penguins. The attached Tisch Children’s Zoo is where you can feed animals. There’s also an Imax theatre if it’s a hot/cold day. Kids will also love the Delacorte Music Clock, near the children’s zoo, which plays music every half hour from 8am until 5pm daily. It plays a total of 44 songs that change with the season.

NYC Splash Park via

Splash Parks
There are splash parks all over the city in summer, so if you’re visiting then, bring lots of sunscreen as there are very few playgrounds with shade. Also pack shoes that the kids can run in the water in (like crocs).

#Little Muenster + #Jane's Carousel: #kid-friendly #DUMBO, New York

Brooklyn Day Trip
I used to live in Brooklyn and absolutely loved it. I recommend walking across the Brooklyn Bridge into DUMBO and Jane’s Carousel on the other side. There is also nearby: Jacques Torres chocolates, One Girl Cookie (they make amazing layer cake and cupcakes), Almondine (famous for croissants and fruit tarts), pizza! (Juliana’s is the best of them all), Superfine (a bar that is super kid-friendly, has a pool table and also makes amazing cocktails). Also the playgrounds: there is a huge one right under the Manhattan Bridge with a pirate ship in it. On the other side of the carousel is a toddler-sized playground, as well as lots of parklands for playing and kicking around a ball.

American Museum of Natural History

American Museum Of Natural History
Dinosaurs, dinosaurs and more dinosaurs. It’s also a great place for hot/cold days to let kids run free.

Twinkle play space - via

Indoor Play Spaces
If it’s too hot or cold to play outside, you’ll need to check out one of these indoor play spaces.

Disney Store NYC via

Toy Stores
New York has some of the best toy stores possibly in the world. While it has some gorgeous boutiques scattered all over the city (I particularly love Piccolini in SoHo), the biggies you’ll want to visit include: the Disney Store (which has a great little area upstairs for colouring in and watching Disney film shorts) and American Girl Place (girls can dine with their dolls in the cafe or take their doll to the hair salon).


If you have a Lego lover, there’s a big new Lego flagship store in the Flatiron district to see, or you can visit the famous one at the Rockefeller Center.

Governor's Island Survival Guide via

Governor’s Island
A fun day trip during summer: catch the ferry and spend the day. Get food from the food trucks, bring a ball to kick around, lounge in the giant hammocks. They have a lot of events so look on their site for anything fun happening.

High Line via

Chelsea High Line
Little kids can run wild up on the elevated platform while you admire the view below. Grab lunch from Chelsea Market nearby, and take toddlers to the nearby Chelsea Piers if you need an indoor play space on a bad weather day.

Sarabeth's UWS

Bubby’s restaurant is really kid-friendly but my fave is Sarabeth’s. There is the fantastic Washington Market Park playground almost exactly across the road, or you can walk a little further to the great playground at Pier 25, right on the Hudson River.

Dominique Ansel bakery NYC via

Take a break from shopping to let kids stretch their legs at Vesuvio playground, right behind Dominique Ansel‘s bakery.

Children's Museum of the Arts NYC via

Children’s Museum Of The Arts
This gorgeous SoHo facility has an all-ages drop in for their art studio, full of materials for kids to just explore and create messy masterpieces. They also have a ball room to jump in with BIG balls and story and music times. Get more tips info on spending a day here.

Bagels in NYC via

New York does bagels like no other city. It’s something to do with the water. My favourite place for bagels is Murray’s. Just don’t ask for it toasted.

#Eloise Rawther Fancy High Tea at the #Plaza via

The Plaza Hotel
Little girls love having a rawther fancy tea party at the Plaza in the special Eloise room.

Madison Square
This little park has a great playground and the original Shake Shack (under renovation at time of writing), and is right across the road from Eataly (delicious kid-friendly place to grab lunch, coffee or gelato).

ABK Kitchen #kidfriendly #restaurants #unionsquare #nyc via

Union Square
ABC Kitchen is nearby (kid-friendly and delicious food) and it has a great playground.

14 St – Union Square Station
Oddly, the station is actually fun for kids. There are lots of the quirky Tom Otterness sculptures to spot everywhere and there are always street performers, usually musicians or dancers, performing.

Bronx Zoo via

Bronx Zoo
It’s not as far to get to as you’d think – a fast train trip and a good option if the kids are going a bit crazy in the city. They have a fun monorail type thing where you watch all the animals around the park, a revamped kids’ zoo with a bug carousel, and a lot of space for kids to run free.

Bronx Botanical Gardens via

Bronx Botanical Gardens
A great trip out of the city for the day. It’s particularly beautiful in spring when all the flowers and cherry trees are blooming. Check what’s on as they always have great exhibitions. The food is pretty average so I’d pack my own and have a picnic lunch.

Big Gay Ice Cream: #kidfriendly #icecream #NYC

Big Gay Ice Cream
Delicious soft serve (honestly!). The shop in the West Village is particularly fun, kids love it. My fave ice cream is the Salty Pimp.

The Counter
Midtown has a dearth of decent places to eat. I love The Counter, a build-your-own burger joint that has great fries and milkshakes too, right in the middle of Times Square.

ample hills-14

Ample Hills Creamery
Possibly the best ice cream of all time. Crazy flavours and reasonable prices, this Brooklyn ice creamery is worth the trip to Gowanus.

#Georgetown Cupcakes + #The Scholastic Store: #Kid-Friendly Activities, #SoHo, #New York, via

There are so. many. cupcakes. My favourites are Georgetown, Magnolia, Two Little Red Hens, Butter Lane.

Buttermilk Channel: #kidfriendly #restaurants #carrollgardens #brooklyn #NYC via

Eating Out With Kids
Again. Way too many places to list. My top choices for eating out with kids are Buttermilk Channel, Bareburger, Brooklyn Farmacy, Table 87, Sarabeth’s and Balthazar. You can find my reviews on more kid-friendly restaurants here.

Getting around
Use the subway! Get a weekly pass and take kids in either an umbrella stroller or baby carrier. Find accessible subway stations here. If you need to get a car, call Uber and request a car seat.

Tip a minimum of 15% for service in restaurants. You’ll also need to tip in bars, hotel staff, cabs, nail salons etc.

Looking for more ideas on things to do in NYC?

After some cheap holiday ideas around the USA? Check out this list.

7AM Enfant Le Sac igloo & WarMMuffs Giveaway

7AM Enfant #Giveaway via

A special giveaway for US readers this week from the wonderful peeps at 7AM Enfant.

One lucky reader will win a Le Sac igloo and matching set of WarmMuffs in the colour of their choice, just in time for the next polar vortex.

The Le Sac igloo is designed to keep babies warm in strollers and carseats. It features a five-point harness opening, a soft, faux fur hood that zips down to lie flat on a stroller or car-seat, and a water-repellent shell to protect children from snow, rain, and wind. For warmer outdoor temperatures, the snapped fleece blanket can be removed and the lightweight cotton lining can be used independently. The 7AM Enfant Le Sac igloo retails for $115 USD.

And for your strolling pleasure, we are also offering a matching set of WarMMuffs. These cozy hand-warmers attach to any bar or handles, keeping your hands toasty while making it easy to hand out snacks and retrieve thrown toys. The WarMMuffs’ hook and loop fasteners allow for easy attachment to strollers, shopping carts and more. The 7AM Enfant WarMMuffs retail for $38 USD.

Enter The Giveaway!

To be in the running to win your own matching set of 7AM Enfant Le Sac igloo and matching WarMMuffs, simply sign up to the Adventure, Baby! and 7AM Enfant mailing lists below, then leave a comment at the end of the post to let me know. If you’ve already signed up for both, just leave a comment saying you’re already receiving both newsletters to go in the running.

Giveaway is open Thursday November 20th 12am to Wednesday November 26, 11:59am. Entry open to US mailing addresses only. By entering the giveaway, you are agreeing to the terms and conditions listed here.

[wysija_form id=”2″]

Sign up for the 7AM Enfant mailing list HERE.

Leave a comment letting me know you’ve signed up for both mailing lists (if you’ve already signed up previously, that’s fine!).

Day trip: Taking the East River Ferry to the Imagination Playground

Imagination Playground, South Sea Port, via

With the temperature (finally!) rising, life with a kid is all about finding ways to cool down. There are only so many times you can go to your closest splash park before you literally go bananas from boredom (sorry, it’s the truth!). So why not venture out of your neighbourhood to try something new? You’re not the only one who will enjoy checking out a new playground – and getting there and back is just part of the adventure.

A great afternoon (and cheap!) outing we recently took was jumping on the East River Ferry to Wall st/Pier 11, and the Imagination Playground at the South Sea Port. It’s worth noting that the ferry trip alone made for a great adventure for the kids. They were insanely excited to sit in a big person seat next to the window, and see Manhattan quickly approaching. There is a cool breeze through the middle of the ferry while it’s on the water that will make you want to stay on the ferry and spend the entire day just going up and down the river…

Imagination Playground, South Sea Port, via

We decided to test drive the Imagination Playground because we really wanted to see how the toddlers enjoyed playing with the blue, foam blocks that the Imagination Playgrounds are famous for. Imagination Playground blocks are suitable for kids aged two and up to play with. They’re basically huge shapes made out of non-toxic lightweight foam. The blocks come in a variety of shapes (curved and sharp angles) and sizes, and encourage kids to use their imagination to transform their play space into anything they can dream up. A robot, a play house, an animal or rocket ship – the only limit to what can be built with these blocks is a child’s imagination.

Imagination Playground, South Sea Port, via

The blocks are only one feature of this great playground. At one end lies a huge sandpit, with a ramp running over the top and a twisty slide that ends up back in the sand. In the afternoons, this section is fully shaded, so gives a great respite from the heat if you can just get your kid to stay there.

Imagination Playground, South Sea Port, via

At the other end of the playground lies the sprinklers, and a whole host of kids of all ages trying to cool down. Tip: dress your kid in their swimwear and water shoes, so they can run around from one area to the next without dirtying their regular clothes. Don’t bother with a swim diaper (the kids won’t get THAT wet), but do remember a hat and the water shoes in particular.

Imagination Playground, South Sea Port, via

My toddler’s splash park outfit this summer consists of a long-sleeved swim top (better sun protection and less time spent trying to cover her in sunscreen while she wiggles and objects), a swim diaper (I put it over her regular diaper if we are somewhere that only has a basic sprinkler as she doesn’t get very wet, just so she has something to wear that’s water-friendly with her top) a hat and water shoes (we upgraded to the Natives shoes after taking these photos because the water come straight out, so your kid can wear the shoes in the water, and then all afternoon without getting wrinkly, soggy feet).

Imagination Playground, South Sea Port - via

One last feature of the playground is an array of pipes and turning wheels, that older kids enjoyed climbing and the toddlers enjoyed spinning the wheels. Like everything else at the playground, each item can be played with by kids of all ages and abilities.

Imagination Playground at Burling Slip
Cost: free
Hours: Daily, 9am-6pm
Front St., John St., and South St.

East River Ferry
Cost: $4 per trip, $12 for an all-day pass
Hours: Ferries run ever every 20 minutes on weekdays, and every 15 minute on weekends. Be sure to check the schedule and your closest terminal. The trip from Brooklyn Bridge Park/DUMBO to Pier 11/Wall St only takes five minutes.

A Star Twinkles in Williamsburg

There’s a saying that you don’t live in New York for the weather. The five months of this year so far have certainly proved this to be true, with a long, cold winter, snow and a ridiculous amount of rain.

So what’s a parent of a little kid to do, when it’s too wet, too cold (and now that the summer months are upon us—too hot) to play outside?

The answer? Catch the G (or L!) train to Williamsburg and check out the play space there, Twinkle.

Twinkle is a true family business, owned by sisters Vanessa Yee-Chan and Mieka John, and their father Victor John. The family has been part of the Williamsburg community for over 30 years, and decided, after noticing a lack of play spaces in their area for families to go to, to create the amazing world that is Twinkle.

Walking into Twinkle was literally like walking into a wonderland. Here is a breakdown of the many, many different areas of the playspace: Red Hot Fire House (a giant fire truck where kids can make the lights and siren flash), Stardust Tree Fort (a life-sized tree with a fort in its branches), How to Feed your Dragon (four 15-foot dragons that suck up scarves into their pipes and shoot them out the top), Pretty in Pink (a beauty parlour with crazy wigs), Brooklyn General Store (the most amazing kids store we’ve ever seen, stocked with play groceries and carts, and a moving conveyor belt on which to “buy” items after shopping), the Graffiti Studio (a dance room filled with balls and balloons), Gently Down the Stream (a water play station), The Hard Hat Zone (a sandpit with construction toys), Young MacDonald’s Barnyard (adorable pretend farm animals for kids 18 months and younger), and Twinkle Lounge (a place for parents to sit and relax, overlooking the playspace).

My toddler is 21 months old, and the perfect age to enjoy a lot of what Twinkle has to offer. The playspace is suitable for kids under the age of six, so they have a range of activities that children can enjoy depending on their age. My daughter in particular enjoyed the grocery store, the fire truck, the sand pit and the water play station. I enjoyed seeing her deliriously happy.

Twinkle is a membership-based play space, with a $25 first-time trial drop-in rate, which is exactly what we did to test drive the amazing space. You can also buy a six-visit pass for $130 if, like us, you’re not a local to the play space, but think you’ll be back a few times over a two-month period. The six visit pass is perfect for summer and winter in particular, if, also like us, you spend all of your time during these seasons trying to escape the excessive heat/cold.

Maybe we’ll see you there!

This article was originally posted on the MommyNearest Blog.  

A Day With Kids At The MoMA

Brunch Travel Guide - One Weekend with Baby in Midtown, via

It can seem like a big undertaking to take little ones to the MoMA. With its small rooms and quiet atmosphere, it can feel like a daunting prospect. However, the MoMA loves kids — just keep strollers and toddlers several feet from the art works and you’ll be fine. Use our guide below to enjoy showing your tiny tot or older child the beautiful of modern art.

Sculpture Garden
This is your best bet with a baby or toddler. Stroll them around the exhibits you want to see (I’d suggest choosing only one exhibit per visit), then release them in the sculpture garden to play.

Bonus tip: The sculpture garden is free to visit on its own every morning from 9-10:30am. After that time you’ll need to buy a ticket, so get in early if you want to do a test run with just a little bit of culture before taking on the entire museum.

Family Programs
The MoMA offers programs for children ages 4 – 14 and their parents and caregivers. All programs are free.

Family Gallery Talks
For ages four and up. These tours are a fun and creative way for children to interact with art.

Gallery Guides
Pick up a free art card or printed guide (you can download the guide here in advance) with activities, questions and ideas for looking at art in the MoMA.

MoMA Audio for Kids
The MoMA has special kid-friendly audio guides.

Hands-on Workshops
Kids ages 4 – 14 learn about ideas and techniques in modern and contemporary art in these free workshops.

Family Films
The MoMA hosts free screenings of family films every month. They tend to show unusual films you might otherwise never see (no Disney here!)

MoMA Art Labs
Adults and kids can experiment, play, and create art in this interactive space. Explore tools, techniques and ideas about art in a family-friendly environment.

MoMA Art Lab App
Live too far from the MoMA to make a visit in person? Download the MoMA Art Lab app (suitable for ages seven and up) and your kids can enjoy creating artworks such as a shape poem, sound composition or group drawing.

Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53rd St. btwn 5th & 6th Ave.

This article was first published on MommyNearest.