Spring is now well underway, and people around the country are taking well-deserved spring break vacations. After the freezing cold and snow of winter, many of us like to visit warmer climates and dip our toes in the ocean. However, tropical vacations can be very expensive, particularly if you’re bringing the whole family.
In recent years, it’s become increasingly popular for families to take staycations — that is, having your vacation right at home. Staycations are much cheaper than a traditional vacation, and in most cases it’s just as easy to get your R&R at home. Many are finding there is plenty to do in their hometown, and nowhere is this truer than in New York City. Here are some tips for taking a staycation in the Big Apple.
New Yorkers are lucky because they have their own beach and boardwalk right in the city. If you’re craving a little sun and sand, a trip to Coney Island may be just what the doctor ordered. There’s plenty to do at the south Brooklyn attraction for both you and your kids. Of course you can walk the boardwalk, splash in the water or catch some rays on the beach. You might want to check that it’s warm enough for the typical beach experience first. You can also visit the New York Aquarium, snack on a hotdog from Nathan’s or ride the attractions at Luna Park.
When you’re exploring outdoor attractions, remember to protect your skin. A sunburn is no fun and can increase your chance of skin cancer. You should reapply sunblock every few hours if you’re going to be in the water. If you’re going to be out in the evening or around stagnant water, be sure to use mosquito protection. Bugs aren’t just annoying — they can also carry harmful diseases like the West Nile Virus.
Museum of Natural History
New York’s museums are world-famous, and the best part is many of them are donation only. The American Museum of Natural History has a suggested donation of $22 for adults and $12.50 for children, but you can pay what you wish. There are additional rates for special exhibits and shows.
The Museum of Natural History is a great place for kids and adults alike. The dinosaur exhibit on the top floor is one of the main attractions, but there’s so much to this museum. You can browse hundreds of animal and wildlife dioramas, view relics of ancient cultures and see how humans evolved over the past hundred thousand years. If it’s a nice day, you might consider taking a stroll in the western part of Central Park after your visit. It’s only a few hundred feet away.
The Bronx Zoo is consistently ranked as one of the world’s best zoos, and if you’ve been there before, you know why. Located in the northeast part of the Bronx, the zoo is 265 acres large and has hundreds of animal exhibits. Whether your kids are interested in polar bears, birds or tigers, there’s something for everything at New York’s biggest zoo! The Bronx zoo is open from 10 to 5 daily, and admission is $16 for adults and $12 for children. Kids under three get in for free, though.
Circle Line Cruises or Staten Island Ferry
If you’re looking for a new take on the city, there are few better ways than to see it from the water. Circle Line sightseeing cruises offer amazing views of the city skyline, and there are plenty of options available to you and your family. The most popular cruise is the called the Full Island Cruise, which lasts around 2.5 hours and takes you all the way around Manhattan. The cost is $40 for adults and $26 for children from 3 to 12, but the cost is worth it as you’ll see 101 tourist attractions along the way.
If you’re strapped for cash but still want to see New York’s sites from the water, you can always take the Staten Island Ferry. You’ll see lower Manhattan, western Brooklyn and the top of Staten Island from the world-famous ferry. Best of all, it won’t cost you a dime.
Stay in and Scrapbook
At the end of your staycation, you’ll hopefully have accumulated a lot of photos. If you and your kids like arts and crafts, this is a great opportunity to do some scrapbooking. Let your kids choose colored paper, stickers, glitter, etc., and have them design pages to remember their week. You can either let each kid have his or her own scrapbook or combine them all for a family book.
Whether your kids love museums, the beach or animals, pick one of the destinations above for a great staycation in New York City!