New York City…with Kids

My Little Bee had been asking for about 3 years to visit NYC.  So, Finally last May I planned the BEST first timers trip to the Big Apple for this gregarious 9 year old I have on my hands.  Being from New York by way of birth, but a California at heart – we moved to California when I was 4, I was excited to take this trip with her so I too could play the tourist!

For being only 9 she’s a great traveler.  We have family in Hawaii we visit often so she’s a pretty well versed travel buddy.  We tend to try to travel light, which with a child is sometimes hard but we’ve learned over the years.

NYC for a 9 year old can be overwhelming and daunting.  When I began the planning I made sure to ask her what she wanted to see. Stature of Liberty, The Empire State Building and the Natural History Museum to see The DumDum who had a staring role  in the movie Night at the Museum, where her top 3.

I’d like to make it easier for all you moms trying to plan a NYC trip with the little ones with sharing our itinerary and where/how we got tickets on the cheap.

Empire State Building


First stop, ESB!   I’m lucky enough to work for a tech company with offices in the ESB, which allows us a self guided pass to the 86th and 102nd Observation Decks -with my  offices’ VIP access card we were in line at 8am.   We were able to bypass the normal tourist line and went right up to the 82nd Observation Deck – my kid was quite impressed with our VIP status.  Win for Mom!

Since our pass also allows us access to the 102nd floor observation deck, we were early enough to be the first visitors up there.  The elevator attendant was amazing and allowed my little bee to turn the wheel of the manually operated Otis elevator.  AMAZING!

Here’s a photo of her at the wheel of the Otis elevator.  Isn’t she lucky?!?

I suggest ensuring you get there before 8am as a line begins to form.  Another suggestion is go at night – you can get a brilliant view of the NYC Lights.  We had purchased a CityPass Booklet (post on our CityPass experience coming soon…) that had a ticket that we used to return to the ESB to see the NYC view later that night.

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Marionette Puppet Show at The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre

NYC City Parks

As I was researching for Broadway shows that might be age appropriate for my 9 year old I came upon The Swedish Cottage and their fabulous Marionettes’.  A total NYC hidden Gem!

We caught the show titled, Little Red’s Hood, about a Little girl who is always on her cell phone and missing what’s going on around her.  A little bit of a re-imaging of the classic, Little Red Riding Hood.  The story line was perfect for my 9 year old who seems to be reminding us to get off our phones on the daily.

Ticket pricing is between $8 – $12 – can’t beat that.  With 2 daily shows at 10:30am and 12pm – you can catch a show in between breakfast and lunch.  It’s a great treat for all!

For over 40 years, the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre has been bringing enjoyment to legions of people through its contemporary and innovative marionette productions based on children’s classics.

The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre is located inside Central Park at 79th Street and West Drive. When visiting, enter from West 81st Street.  The only suggestion I have, don’t use your Apple phone for walking directions.  It had as walking in circles.

You can purchase tickets at Ticketfly   Ticketfly

Family Photo Shoot in Central Park   


We were well overdue for some family portraits and I thought it would be great idea to hire a photographer to meet us out in Central Park.  I started my search on and I was lucky to find

Ed and Karl made it so easy to setup!  I contacted them via Yelp, they were extremely responsive and answered all my questions quickly.  The afternoon before we arrived in NYC, we setup a place and time to meet with Karl, our photographer near Columbus Circle.  It was a very hot and humid day but Karl was great and dealt with our whiny California attitudes and got some great shots!!  He even had my daughter thrilled to run through the sprinklers to catch her in action.

Had the proofs within a few hours the same day, chose 4 shots and they delivered printed portraits to our hotel.  Couldn’t have made it any easier!

If you area headed to NYC and want to get some family portraits in while there – use Snapped. You won’t be sorry.  Best part – prices start at $149 for the entire package.

1. You can book a photographer for any event, even at short notice.
2. Your photographer will arrive on time.
3. They will take as many photographs as you want during 45 minutes.
4. Within a few hours you will have the photographs available to share online.
5. Select your 4 favorites and we will Photoshop them for you.
6. Within 24 hours we will deliver prints of those 4 favorites to your home or office.

Yankee Game


We ended our first day in the Big Apple with a visit to Yankee Stadium to see the Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays baseball game.  I’d recommend using the Subway to get to the Stadium, it’s great fun for kids and good place to people watch.  Tends to get crowded during game days but it’s about the experience, right?

For $25 bleacher seats we spent a fun afternoon at the ballpark.  We left at the end of the 6th inning to avoid the crowds on the subway back into Manhattan.

We crammed a lot into one day but we loved every minute of it.   Stay tuned for our Day 2 adventures…

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Day two of our NYC trip started off with a quick breakfast as we were headed off to Battery Park to catch our ferry over to see lovely lady Liberty.

city pass

I did a bit of research on the entrance fees to some NYC attractions and thought the most cost effective way to see a majority of the sites would be to purchase CityPasses for both of us.  The adult pass cost about $122 and the Youth pass was $98.

We ended up using the Empire State Building tickets when we went back in the evening to see the city lights.  So that worked out great!

The pass also included the Ferry/Cruise over to the Stature of Liberty and Ellis Island but it did not include tickets to tour the lovely lady.  Anyhoo, I’ve included a shot of what the NYC CityPass includes. I think overall I saved about $50 – $75  bucks going this route.




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