I was lucky enough to visit New York City for the first time last year with my wife and two-year-old daughter. We had an amazing time and from brunch at the local diner to walking the Brooklyn Bridge, there wasn’t much that we didn’t cram into our whirlwind week away.
As a former teacher I’m always keen to visit cities that have educational worth and although almost everywhere I’ve been has some kind of museum or gallery, NYC was blessed with a vast array of sites that simply blew me away.
The short list below highlights areas of study that I think would benefit from visiting the Big Apple either as part of an organized school trip or just as time spent with mom and dad. Like I said, we had an awesome time and even though we were in charge of a stroller, diaper bag and hard to please toddler, we still found the city as forgiving as it was exciting.
Aside from a trip to Central Park Zoo and the awesome New York Aquarium, we found the American Museum of Natural History to be a superb center for science and nature. Located on 79th Street and Central Park West, the museum is the perfect place to spend a morning or afternoon combined with a walk around the park. Exhibitions included: space exploration, an IMAX movie about orphaned animals and some stunning images of the Inca Road in South America.
As a total sports freak I always try to take in a ball game no matter where we’re vacationing and in NYC I was spoiled for choice. From Citi Field to Madison Square Garden, just a visit to the homes of the Mets and the Knicks made the hairs on the back of my neck start to tremble. If you’re traveling with a school team or eager sports students, then try booking tickets for a stadium tour or, better still, to a live match. I can guarantee you won’t regret it.
Man, where do you start? The Statue of Liberty, Greenwich Village, Coney Island and Ground Zero all gave us goosebumps. There can’t be many students who won’t be moved by getting up close to some of the historic monuments and buildings that have helped to form the United States of America as we know it today. From the American Craft Museum on Fifth Avenue to the Museum of Jewish Heritage on Battery Place, there are plenty of options to help children learn more about their history.
Whatever your chosen area of study, you can’t fail to be inspired by the visual impact of a visit to one of New York’s world-famous art galleries or music centers. From gazing at the architectural swirls of the Guggenheim to watching a marching band show during parade season, there is so much to take in it’s difficult to fit it all into one trip. Also, if you get the chance (and you’re not visiting with a toddler), make sure you take in a show on Broadway because if you’re looking for the perfect evening then this has to be up there with the best of them.
Depending on the time of year you’re thinking of visiting, New York City presents a vast array of options for educational school trips and families traveling with young children. Although our own daughter wasn’t quite old enough to appreciate all of the sites just yet, I’m sure we’ll return when she’s older so we can do it all again and then some.
Guest writer Chris is a former English teacher