Kids have their own must-sees when it comes to New York City, and the dinosaurs at the American Museum of Natural History are at the top of the list. More than 600 specimens are on display here, including a Tyrannosaurus rex, a lineup of Protoceratops skulls and a leaping Notharctus. In the museum’s Discovery Room, learn to read a Kwakiutl totem pole, spot birds in an African baobab tree — and don’t leave the Planet Earth Hall without testing how your jumps rate on the seismometer.
Then there are the masterpieces at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Many galleries shudder at the thought of kids running amok, but the Met sends them out on treasure hunts to spot feathers on a Greek sphinx or locate Egyptian necklaces as found in the popular book From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.
On the other end of the culture spectrum: FAO Schwarz on Fifth Avenue and the ultimate Toys“R”Us in Times Square. A giant piano, a life-sized dollhouse, a Lego skyscraper — we know the kids already have too many toys, but who can resist the spectacle? And let your offspring check Broadway off their bucket list: The Lion King, Mary Poppins, Spider-Man — bring on the family vote. As for those essentials of sleeping and eating? Consider apartment-hotels, such as Affinia Gardens and Affinia 50, which boast space, central locations and kitchens. To keep the clan nourished, try Katz’s Delicatessen with its hand-carved pastrami sandwiches, or pick up Italian delights at Eataly for a hotel picnic.
Snapshot moment: Head for the elevators of the Rockefeller Center. The building’s three-level Top of the Rock experience offers stunning skyscraper and Central Park views. ~K.S.