New Year's Day 2014 for New York City Kids: Things to Do Together as a Family
One of the main reasons we live in New York City is to take advantage of all the amazing cultural experiences it has to offer year-round. If one of your New Year's resolutions is to get out there and do even more fun things with your kids, kick off 2014 with an enriching New Year's Day in our incredible city.
We came up with seven resolutions for families and then found activities to fulfill each one—all at places that are open on January 1, 2014 in NYC.
You can find more seasonal fun, including kid-friendly ways to celebrate New Year's Eve, in our Holiday Guide. From all of us at Mommy Poppins, we wish you and your families a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!
Resolution: Visit a museum you've never been to before
Even though most NYC families have heard of Queens' New York Hall of Science, many folks have never been there. It's open on New Year's Day and is just a 40-minute subway ride from midtown Manhattan. In addition to lots of permanent hands-on installations for all ages, you can check out its massive seasonal display Gingerbread Lane before it closes on Sunday, January 12. The interactive Museum of Mathematics, Dimenna Children's History Museum at the New-York Historical Society and Brooklyn's Jewish Children's Museum are all also open, or you can step back in time at the historic Merchant's House Museum in the East Village. The Liberty Science Center in Jersey City is another not-as-far-away-as-you-think destination, and is easily accessible via public transportation. Over holiday break, families can enjoy its 12 Days of Science festival, which ends on New Year's Day with science-themed arts and crafts, insta-snow and liquid nitrogen ice cream demos.
Resolution: See more independent or classic films
Skip the Hollywood blockbusters and hit the IFC Center to see international animated films as part of the fest An Animated World: Celebrating Five Years of GKids Classics. New Year's Day screenings include Hayao Miyazaki's beloved My Neighbor Totoro, the Oscar-nominated The Secret of Kells and Michel Ocelot's Azur and Asmar. Or head to Film Forum for its Charlie Chaplin festival. Finally, the Film Society Lincoln Center is showing the new classic E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
Resolution: Explore more cool kid-friendly exhibits
The American Museum of Natural History is open on New Year's Day. In addition to its usual attractions, you can check out special exhibits like Whales: Giants of the Deep, Frogs: A Chorus of Color and the gorgeous origami Christmas tree before they all come down in early January. Also ending soon, a pair of family-friendly exhibitions at Discovery Times Square: Shipwreck! Pirates & Treasure and Nathan Sawaya's amazing Lego statues in The Art of the Brick.. Also open: Queens' Museum of the Moving Image, where you can play offbeat video games in the brand-new exhibit Indie Essentials, or catch Jim Henson's holiday classic Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas and try a hands-on puppetry workshop.
Resolution: Enjoy quirky only-in-NYC fun
We're always raving about various offbeat NYC experiences. On January 1, you can head to Coney Island to watch the annual Polar Bear Club's New Year's Day Swim at 1pm. In case you're wondering, the members of this organization may be a little nutty but they're not naked, and since the swim is open to the public, you're welcome to join them in the ocean! As always, these cold-water enthusiasts are "freezin' for a reason" and raising money for Camp Sunshine, a retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses.
Resolution: Actually visit those tourists spots you've never seen
When's the last time you enjoyed the view at the top of the Empire State Building? Or went to the Top of the Rock? You can check out these iconic New York City attractions on New Year's Day, along with Times Square tourist spots Madame Tussauds and Ripley's Believe it or Not! Odditorium.
Resolution: See more kid-friendly theater
Many Broadway shows have performances today, including family favorites Cinderella, Matilda, Newsies, and the soon-to-close Annie and Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. If your kids (or your wallet) aren't up for the Great White Way, you can also catch Big Apple Circus: Luminocity at Lincoln Center, Mother Africa at the New Victory Theater, or Vital Children's Theater's Angelina Ballerina the Very Merry Holiday Musical and Fancy Nancy the Musical on New Year's Day.
Resolution: Spend more time outside
While the rest of the city sleeps it off, take a quiet stroll through one of NYC's lovely green spaces. They're all open on New Year's Day, including Central Park, Prospect Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Flushing Meadows Corona Park and Van Cortlandt Park. Or you could stroll down Fifth Avenue to see the stunning department store holiday windows before they're gone. The Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, Central Park Zoo and the New York Aquarium are also open on January 1 (the Bronx and Staten Island Zoos are closed for the holiday). The Holiday Train Show continues at the New York Botanical Garden. Or you could go ice-skating in Bryant Park, Central Park, Van Cortlandt Park and Riverbank State Park as well as the new rinks at Brookfield Place, McCarren Park, Prospect Park and theSouth Street Seaport. If you're up for spending more time waiting than skating, the Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center is also open.