Friday, February 28, 2014

Looking Back: New York City with kids - FAO Schwarz and Central Park

The kids were very aware of some of the sights they wanted to see during our trip to New York, namely FAO Schwarz and Central Park. We took the day to walk along 5th Avenue, a short walking distance from our hotel, The Marriott Marquis, which is conveniently located in Times Square.

Our first stop was FAO Schwarz, the iconic toy store, which holds the title of "oldest toy store in the United States". Upon entering, you are greeted with a huge selection of life-sized stuffed animals, which the kids liked checking out. When we visited in 2011, the Smurfs movie was the theme of the lower level so they had a good time looking at the recreations from the newly-released movie.

There is something for every child here for sure. My 10-year-old daughter, S, couldn't be happier when she spotted the Harry Potter section!

Of course everyone has to take a turn on the piano from the movie, Big.

The dress-up section is sure to win over the heart of any little girl.

And the Lego section has an endless selection, perfect for your little builder!

All in all our kids agreed FAO Schwarz was an absolute must-see!

Our next stop was Central Park. The south end of the park was a relatively short walk from FAO Schwarz on 5th Avenue. The transition from city sidewalks to peaceful park paths was welcome after a few days in the city. Central Park's lush green landscape set amidst the urban backdrop provides 35 million visitors an escape from the city each year.

There are numerous activities in the park no matter the season. In the summer, there are over 20 playgrounds to help your little one burn off energy, possibly before or after a trip to the Central Park Zoo. The plentiful walking paths are great for a leisurely stroll or a self-guided walking tour. You may want to make reservations in advance for the popular horse-drawn carriage rides otherwise you will have to pay the "walk up rate". The park also hosts many concerts and Shakespeare in the Park during the warm months. In the winter, it is transformed into a beautiful winter wonderland. Ice Skating at the Wollman or Lasker Rinks is a fun family activity with lockers, lessons, and skate rentals available at both locations. If indoor activities are more your thing, kids are sure to love the Swedish Marionette Theatre.

Our kids loved stopping off at one of the playgrounds and letting loose for a bit. Miss A, in particular, loved doing gymnastics.

The kids had a great time spinning on the carousel.

And we all enjoyed sitting on a shady bench, listening to a violinist play.

Our first family trip to New York City was one of our favorite trips ever. The kids are always asking when we will go back - still to this day! We got to cross some items off our travel bucket list for now and look forward to our return when we can explore even more of The Big Apple.

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