Our spring break mini-break series continues! Today, we’re headed to the Big Apple with Carla Sullivan, mother of two and Founder/Mommy Muncher of www.MiniMunchers.com. Carla has some unique suggestions to keep both the adults and kids (of all ages) happy and full while visiting New York City!

Thanks to Carla for guest posting!

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SIGHTS

The New York City Police Museum
The NYC Police Museum features an interactive Junior Officers Discovery Zone for children 3-10 to learn about Police. The exhibit is divided into 4 areas: Police Academy, The Park and Precinct, Emergency Services Unit and a Multi-Purpose Area. Activities for children include driving and taking care of a Police Car, `The Sounds of New York’, a magnet board with Police Officers in uniforms and a climbing structure. Older kids can participate in the crime scene observation activity and face challenges similar to those of the Police Academy.

New York City Fire Museum
The NYC Fire Museum is a little more educational and less hands-on but still worth a visit! The museum houses one of the nation’s most prominent collections of fire related art and artifacts from the late 18th Century to the present. Among its holdings are painted leather buckets, helmets, parade hats and belts, lanterns and tools, Volunteer-era hand pumped fire engines, horse drawn vehicles and early motorized apparatus. Very impressive for the older tots!

Subway Art
The subway system houses some of the most interesting art installations in the city. I found two in particular that both you and your children will be sure to enjoy:

  • Tom Otterness’ “Life Underground” at 14th Street and 8th Avenue: Thesebronze sculptures, located throughout the floors and along the railings and ceilings, are such fun to explore with your kids. From the little people sitting on the benches to the lizard like creatures crawling on the pillars – children of all ages will delight in spotting and exploring this “touchable” display.

  • Toby Buonagurio’s “35 Times” at Times Square/42nd Street transfer corridor between the 1/2/3 and the Shuttle: These brightly colored ceramic panels (35 in total) depict different NYC scenes. From jazz musicians to Broadway actors and subway riders – your children will love relating the characters they see to the people they interact with every day in NYC.

For more information on these art installations or to explore other subway art visit www.nycsubway.org.

The Highline
Take a stroll in NYCs newest park, The Highline. Stretching from Gansevoort Street to West 20th, this elevated park has beautiful plantings and great open spaces for you and your kids to explore. The Highline has varied day and evening programming from yoga and walking tours to astronomy. The dog-free park even has monthly family programs. You can access the park at Gansevoort Street, 14th Street, 16th Street (elevator access), 18th Street and 20th Street.

Scribble Press
Created by two moms as a place for children to write, illustrate and publish their own books, Scribble Press (two locations) will keep children of all ages occupied for HOURS. There are three types of books to choose from; Cueprints (a 6-page fill-in-the-blanks story to finish and illustrate), Author/Illustrator Kit (cover and 14 pages – assembled and bound when your child is finished) and Customized Books. My favorite part is the child photo they take to include in the “author information” section on the back of each book!

RESTAURANTS

Moomah
Moomah is a great spot to bring your tot in TriBeCa. Not only is the extensive menu local, seasonal AND organic (with dairy-free and gluten-free choices) but kids are encouraged to play while they eat with incredibly beautiful and engrossing art projects! What’s more, if you visit on a Saturday or Sunday, the back room, usually reserved for private classes, is transformed into a “funky forest” for children to explore and use their imaginations. Oh – they just got their liquor license so it can be a great way to unwind after a visit to Ground Zero or Nearby Century 21.

Blue Smoke
Tots love digging into the RIBS at this Murray Hill “Urban Barbeque” joint – and the Wikki sticks and cool communal bathroom sink are fun kid features. A great addition – the server brings your child a cookie to decorate, which is baked during your meal – and presented in a “to go” bag with the check. Most weekends it is difficult to find a table without kids – must be the varied children’s menu that includes dessert (the cookie is a bonus!) and uber-friendly staff.

Ruby Foos
When headed to a show or to check out the scene in Times Square, do not get sucked into a touristy restaurant with sub-par food and over-the-top prices. Ruby Foos is a great restaurant to visit with children, yes they have grilled cheese and hot dogs but more adventurous eaters might want to try the spare ribs or the steamin’ shrimp dumplings (they even have a gluten-free menu!). Kids will also get a kick out of the free Oragami lessons every Sunday from 11:30-4pm, not to mention the “Dirt `n Worms” dessert, a chocolate pudding topped with Oreo cookies and gummy worms inside.

Smorgas Chef
This cafe, located in the Scandinavian House in Murray Hill, is simply a wonderful find. Stroller-friendly, with highchairs, this upscale spot challenges children to try some unique Scandinavian dishes (i.e. Swedish Meatballs & Smoked Salmon), but don’t worry old faithfuls’ such as chicken fingers and a kid’s burger are on their $9 menu. 
Each children’s meal comes with a drink and vanilla waffle for dessert & my kids were enthralled by the LIVE tree in the center of the restaurant. The restroom is large, with a changing table, but you do have to take an elevator to the basement to get there. 
The BONUS of Smorgas Chef is that it they have very cool art installations and on Saturday’s the Scandinavian House opens their Children’s Learning Space to the public (for only $5 per child, ALL DAY!)

American Girl Café
No list of kid’s restaurants in NYC is complete without AG! The store, very close to Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall, has a café that can’t be beat! The food is surprisingly good (for both adults and kids!) and who can resist teeny highchairs for your tot’s doll! This mom loves the questions that are on each table to keep the conversation flowing (i.e. what do you want to be when you grow up? What celebrity do you like the most and why?)

HAPPY MUNCHING!

Visit www.MiniMunchers.com for the complete children’s menus of over 225 great restaurants in NYC! MiniMunchers also offers great weekly discounts on children’s products and classes in our “Goodie Bag” as well as advice from experts on making your eating experiences with kids enjoyable – from celebrities to restaurateurs to Moms-in- the-know!