There are so many fun things to do with kids in New York City, and never enough time to do it all. Even though I lived in Manhattan for over a decade, I’m still finding new and exciting things to do (and I’m sure that will be true as long as I live.) But it’s also amazing what can be done in a short time.
On one day trip into the city, we traveled the world – from the United Nations to Chinatown, with stops at Nintendo World and NBC Studios in between!
United Nations Tour
Growing up in the world of plenty, many American adolescents don’t realize just how fortunate they are. They take food, shelter, and clean water for granted and rarely consider the true diversity of our world.
In a day trip through New York City, our suburban tweens had a chance to think about what it’s like to grow up in a less privileged environment.
The 45 minute tours of the United Nations are led by a lively, knowledgeable guide. But I was concerned that the kids might be bored since they had never heard of this global organization, or its work.
After the tour, I asked my 11-year-old daughter for her opinion. Apparently, she really enjoyed the tour because the guide explained how the UN addresses the dire needs of children around the world. She was struck by the idea that every week as many people die from hunger as were lost in the 2004 tsunami disaster.
I suspect that another exhibit – on child soldiers – may haunt us. It’s hard to comprehend a world where children are kidnapped and forced to fight.
NBC Studio Tour
We went from learning about self-determination and human rights, to learning about the history of TV broadcasting in an NBC studio tour. This was just pure fun.
After a short movie highlighting some of the funniest moments in TV history, we went on to visit the Saturday Night Live studio where we kept hoping to see Carrie Underwood (as she is this week’s musical guest and Thursday is reserved for musical guest rehearsals.) We didn’t spot any celebrities, but we enjoyed learning about the fast-paced elements of the show’s production.
We couldn’t leave the Rockefeller Center area without a stop at an international store that is the must-see place for video game lovers of all ages – Nintendo World. While they couldn’t afford to actually buy anything, these kids loved trying out the games on the plethora of DS Lites and Wiis.
Personally, I found the historical display of Game Boys interesting. In one of the cases there is a Game Boy that survived a Gulf War bombing, and still works. So why is it that my son’s DS Lite died after just one fall on a concrete floor? The rest of the display included increasingly smaller, and jazzier, Game Boys. The girls were impressed by the display of the wide variety of DS Lites that are only available to purchase in Japan.
Dinner in Chinatown
Meal times were an opportunity to explore international flavors. For lunch, the kids insisted on the All-American hot dog and Coca-Cola at one of the sidewalk stands. Hey, at least I picked up a Middle Eastern shish-kabob on pita sandwich from the neighboring vendor.
Dinner; however, was in Chinatown. After some light
shopping, we settled in for a family-style meal at Amazing 66. What a delight!
All around us the tables were filled with Asian families. We were fortunate to be seated before the line of eager patrons formed. I guess that at 6:30 PM we were a little early for dinner.
As always, we over-ordered: a pot of green tea; dumplings; spring rolls; seafood soup with noodles; beef lo mein; sesame chicken; orange beef; and garlic greens.
Of course, we left a little room for dessert in Little Italy. Just a short walk away from Chinatown, we visited Ferrara Bakery & Cafe for cappuccino, hot cocoa, and pastries. It was a sweet ending to an enlightening day
Go See It!
For the most of the day, I parked my car near the United Nations and we walked to the sights. After Nintendo World, we returned to the car and drove down to China Town where we parked at another garage while we ate. I don’t usually recommend parking at more than one garage on one day in NYC, but this was easier and less costly than other alternatives for our group (and given that I was the only adult.)
Caution: Please note that this is a lot to do in one day. I wouldn’t recommend this itinerary for young children, or anyone who is not a strong walker. Also, note that some of these tours discourage young children.
Parking: Check for best rates on NYC.bestparking.com.
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Sandra Foyt | Sandra Foyt is a storyteller, photographer, and road trip junkie. A veteran of six cross-country road trips, she drove Route 66, the Lincoln Highway, the fossil freeway, the extraterrestrial highway, and even “the loneliest road in America.” Find her on GetawayMavens.com, an award-winning destination guide to extraordinary travel in and from Northeast USA, on her portfolio site at SandraFoyt.com, and in freelance gigs on Family Travel 411, Minitime, Huffington Post, and Matador Network. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter @SandraFoyt.