Barecelona Highlights with the Family
Zoo de Barcelona and L’Aquàrium for animal lovers. Places that are full of life where you can see all kinds of animal species in the own habitats.
El Tibidabo and Port Aventura, with spectacular rides and new attractions that will take you breath away… but where fun is always guaranteed.
For those who prefer an adrenaline-fuelled day out, there’s Illa Fantasía with its slides, mazes and swimming pools and Spheremania for a gravity-defying experience.
And for those who prefer a more relaxing pace, the El Poble Espanyol offers a peaceful stroll through some of Spain’s landmark architecture, and CosmoCaixa has a whole host of interactive activities, workshops and entertainments for all ages.
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New York Highlights
There’s no doubt that New York City is kid-friendly. After all, there are great parks, museums, restaurants and toy stores catering to youngsters’ every whim and whimsy all over the five boroughs. In fact, the City is one giant playground for kids—and their parents are sure to have fun right along with them.
There’s so much to see and do in the City that you’ll have to make many trips to NYC to get it all in, but we’ll get you started with a fun-filled three-day itinerary that’s jam-packed with activities.
Depending on your kids’ preferences, or where you’re staying, you can begin the day at either the Upper West Side’s American Museum of Natural History or the Upper East Side’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. At the American Museum of Natural History, kids will love visiting the dinosaur halls and their many real fossils and life-size models. And the museum’s Discovery Room offers plenty of hands-on fun and learning. At The Metropolitan Museum of Art, pick up a family guide at an information desk and inquire about that day’s activities, which often include kids’ tours and sketching or craft projects. At either museum, visit the gift shop first to buy some postcards of pictures or exhibitions you’d like to find—and then spend the morning on a scavenger hunt.
After this initial dose of culture, be sure to let the kids burn off some energy in one of the spectacular playgrounds in Central Park (both museums are adjacent to the green space). Afterward, start walking downtown through the park and stop by the Tisch Children’s Zoo—just north of the Central Park Zoo, at Fifth Avenue and West 64th Street—to feed some African pygmy goats, see the Vietnamese potbellied pigs and fall under the spell of the mini-Nubian goats. Then be sure to grab a bona fide New York City hot dog and salted pretzel from a park vendor.
When you exit the park at Fifth Avenue and West 59th Street, you’ll be right by the City’s most famous toy store, FAO Schwarz. With its life-size stuffed animals—not to mention its doll and toy collections—you can try to convince your kids into thinking that this destination is another museum…but they’re probably too smart for that.
Stroll down Fifth Avenue and do some window-shopping until you get to West 50th Street and Rockefeller Center. Make sure to visit the Top of the Rock Observation Deck, where you can see the entire City in all its skyscraping grandeur. From your high-altitude perch, you can point out the art deco Chrysler Building and Empire State Building to the kids. As you examine the now-miniaturized landscape of Central Park, see if you can pinpoint the places you’ve been.
After a good night’s rest, you’ll be ready to venture through town again. Start downtown in SoHo at the Children’s Museum of the Arts, where there are always fun crafts projects under way. After a morning of creativity, stroll through Chinatown to shop for bargains. If you’ve worked up an appetite, be sure to try the soup dumplings (deliciously addictive doughy pockets that have the soup broth on the inside) at Joe’s Shanghai, on Pell Street. If you have any room left, go north across Canal Street and indulge in some dessert in Little Italy, where you’ll find mouthwatering cannoli, zeppoles, tiramisu and, of course, gelato.
Then walk it all off with a stroll over the historic Brooklyn Bridge. When you get to the other side, meander along the majestic Brooklyn Heights Promenade and enjoy the Manhattan skyline. Take a pit stop for some delectably rich ice cream at the famed Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. Depending on the season, there is likely to be a line to get into this spot, but the indulgence is worth the wait.
Now that you’re fueled up, catch a taxi or the nearest subway line to Prospect Park, where you’ll find everything from boating and baseball to fishing and football. Check out one of the numerous playgrounds, roam through the borough’s only forest, take a pedal boat on the lake or ride the park’s 1912 carousel, with its beautifully carved horses and other creatures. The attraction is located in Prospect Park’s “Children’s Corner,” which also includes the Prospect Park Zoo.
If you still have energy left, head back to Manhattan to visit the South Street Seaport, where you can peruse the historic ships docked at the pier and then rest your feet during a relaxing waterside dinner.
Take advantage of Manhattan’s waterfront access by going for a (free) ride on the Staten Island Ferry and taking in the magnificent views of the City, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island on the trip across New York Harbor. Once you arrive at your destination, catch a bus to the Staten Island Children’s Museum, with its multitude of interactive exhibitions and hands-on activities. The museum is part of the Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden, 83 acres of historic gardens, museums, performing arts venues and more. Visit a gallery, view the flowers or just take in the natural beauty. Be sure to visit the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden for a relaxing and meditative reprieve.
Once you ferry back to Manhattan, saunter along Battery Park’s waterfront esplanade. Stop for a bite at one of the restaurants along the walking path or in the World Financial Center. Afterward, the kids can run around at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Park playground (near Vesey Street), where you’ll find climbing equipment, animal-shaped sprinklers and plenty of sand in which to cavort.