New York City had the Irwin family in awe when they visited in March. Bindi Irwin (15) and her mum, Terri, and brother Robert (10) had a little something special for everyone, even in the midst of an extreme cold snap. Bindi, daughter of legendary crocodile hunter Steve Irwin, spreads the news to suitcases&strollers about why New York makes for a great family holiday destination – and maybe even a family adventure holiday.
The Big Apple. Many people think of New York as the fashion capital of the world and a place where stage performances come to life but, for my little brother Robert, the excitement of this never sleeping city was in one place…Central Park.
Because we do distance education for school, we are able to take school with us everywhere we go. Distance education is school of correspondence and it is such a brilliant program for us, especially because we travel so much.
However, for Robert, after doing lots of school in a hotel room, he needs time to run off some of the built up energy. We found that Central Park was the way to go to do just that! Robert is a little bit like a puppy; he needs time to run and climb so that he doesn’t go crazy with energy. After visiting New York for a few days this March we realised just how much there is to do in Central Park because of Robert. There are so many exciting activities to keep a ten-year-old having fun in the middle of a city.
Because of the long-lasting cold snap in New York this year, there was ice skating in the park for people of all ages and enough snow to build a cute snowman or two. Plus, there’s a huge playground for a few epic tag games. Robert especially loved climbing the rocks in the park and throwing a snowball or two at me! I must admit snowball wars are some of the best fun, if you don’t mind a little bit of snow down your coat…
We enjoyed seeing the squirrels running around because we don’t have squirrels in Australia. So, being an extreme tourist, I ended up taking 5 million photos of squirrels just to show friends at home!
If you are travelling with hungry kids and need to find a snack, there are some lovely little cafes in Central Park and a few fun hot dog and pretzel stands if you feel like having the full New York experience.
As a family we decided that the best part of Central Park was going for a horse and carriage ride together. The horses are beautiful and it’s really special to clip clop through the park. And don’t worry, if you take a horse and carriage ride during the colder months, they even have blankets to throw over your lap and keep you warm.
We couldn’t visit New York without going to see a stage show though. One of my gorgeous friends lives in New York and Mum and I decided to catch up with her and see the fantastic show Chicago. We loved the show; however it wasn’t exactly something that Robert would’ve enjoyed. Robert visited the Natural History Museum with a friend travelling with us while we saw the show. He loves the Natural History Museum because it has one of the best dinosaur displays. I think he could probably live in there to tell you the truth. They spent hours and hours just looking at and photographing dinosaur fossils.
[For some ideas of kid-friendly shows around Broadway when in New York with kids, see the suitcases&strollers story here.]
Another super fun part of our visit was seeing the giant M&M store. It has more chocolate than I have ever seen in my entire life. The store is filled and overflowing with chocolate and open most of the night. I’m not sure who would need a chocolate fix at 1am, but you could find it in the M&M store.
I swear New York is awake 24 hours a day. At night I would leave my curtains open because we were staying at a hotel in Times Square. The flashing lights became my night light and they never stopped. My room would be flooded with light every evening and the sounds of a never-sleeping city floated through my room. For me, growing up in the middle of a zoo with the sounds of birds and tigers put me to sleep, the endless noise of sirens and car horns was a little hard to fall asleep to. It was certainly an experience though!
The Big Apple is a fun place to visit and it can be done easily with kids as well. We certainly had a great time as a family. It works best if you can take turns getting to see things that you love. There’s something for everyone and if you have the time why not see it all?!
For more things to do in New York with kids, see the suitcases&strollers story New York Insider.
By Bindi Irwin
Bindi Irwin is a regular contributor to suitcases&strollers. To read more of her thoughts on travel, type her name into the Search bar on the suitcases&strollers website.