Celebrate the Super Bowl with NYC Kids: 6 Cool Ways to Enjoy Family Football Fever
Although the big game is taking place across the river in New Jersey, NYC has full-on Super Bowl fever. And while watching the main event at a loud raucous bar may not be so great for kids, there's lots of local football-themed fun leading up to the game that's super-family-friendly.
From interactive NFL installations at the Children's Museum of Manhattan and the Liberty Science Center, to a star-studded tween-friendly party on the Hudson to a slew of FREE activities at Times Square's Super Bowl Boulevard, here are the top six ways to celebrate Super Bowl mania with kids in New York City.
Super Bowl Boulevard Engineered by GMC – Midtown West
Broadway between 34th and 47th Streets
Wednesday, January 29-Saturday, February 1 noon-10pm
Mostly FREE, $5 for the Toboggan Run; advance registration recommended
For four days, the Times Square area will be even more insane than usual as it hosts 13 blocks of Super Bowl-themed activities for all ages. Advance registration is recommended to access all Super Bowl Boulevard has to offer. Once you register online, you'll be able to pick up your badge onsite so you can experience all the attractions. Best bets for kids include:
- The Toboggan Run between 40th & 41st Streets is figuratively and literally the biggest attraction. It's 60-feet tall, 180-feet long and boasts eight lanes. Children must be at least 36 inches tall to ride, and those 42 inches tall and up must go alone. Tickets are $5 per person and can be purchased at ticket kiosks located at 3 Bryant Park Plaza or at the NFL Shop at Super Bowl in Macy's. All proceeds benefit MillionTreesNYC.
- The NFL Rush Zone & NFL Play 60 between 34th and 35th Streets, where children ages 6 to 13 can experience the animated world of the NFL, or get active inside a heated tent or outside on the street
- The Huddle Tour and Video Park between 35th and 36th Streets featuring interactive football activities and a multimedia tour of the stadium
- The Xbox One Tailgaming Zone between 36th and 37th Streets where you can try out new football video games
- The NFL Extra Points Kick between 45th and 46th Streets where visitors of all ages can attempt to kick the ball through the goal posts
In addition, Snickers and M&M's will be doling out FREE chocolate, Papa John's will be giving out FREE slices of pizza and McDonald's will hand out FREE coffee, all while supplies last. Expect constant crowds and rampant commercialism! Don't say we didn't warn you.
Madden NFL: 25 Years and Running – Astoria
36-01 35 Avenue at 37 Street
Through Sunday, February 23
Free with admission: $12 for adults, $9 for students, $6 for children ages 3-12
Is your kid more of a video gamer than an athlete? Then hit MoMI to learn all about the history of one of the biggest football video game franchises. Visitors even get to play five incarnations of the game, including the original John Madden Football (1988) on Apple II and the latest release Madden NFL 25 (2013) on Xbox One.
You Make the Call: Learn to be An NFL Official – Upper West Side
Children's Museum of Manhattan, 212 West 83rd Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue
Through Friday, February 28
Free with admission: $11
Ever wonder what goes through a referee's head as he makes that awful (or, depending on your point of view, fantastic) call? Find out at CMOM's hands-on exhibit where little football fans can make calls at the instant-replay station, take a peek inside the control room, work up a sweat on the obstacle course or do the funky Zebra Dance comprised of various football signals.
Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame – Jersey City
Liberty Science Center, 222 Jersey City Boulevard
Through Sunday, March 2
Free with admission: $19.75 adults, $14.75 for children ages 2-12
A short PATH trip under the river gives children another chance to make the call as they climb inside an NFL Instant Replay Booth to watch a historically controversial play and offer up their own opinions (without booing or calls to "Kill the ref!"). Kids can also see how they measure up in size and weight against pro players, slip on some vintage gear to understand just how heavy all that stuff is, and take part in a simulated training camp, where they'll receive expert tips on throwing, kicking, jumping and more.
DirecTV Celebrity Beach Bowl – Greenwich Village
Hudson River Park Pier 40, West Street and the Hudson River
Saturday, February 1 at 10am
Although this annual athletes versus actors flag football game isn't aimed at families, tweens and up should get a kick out of seeing Hall of Famers like Joe Montana and Deion Sanders, Jaimie Alexander from Thor and the young cast of The Vampire Diaries in the flesh and on the field. Doors to the heated SuperFan Stadium tents open at 10am for a tailgate party and a Z100 broadcast. The pre-game show kicks off at 1pm with the actors, swimsuit models, comedians and oh, yeah, football players hitting the sand at 2pm. There's a half-time show at 2:30pm and a post-game concert by Paramore at 3:20pm. Best for tweens and teens. Entry is first come, first served.
Gridiron Greats: Vintage Football Cards in the Collection of Jefferson R. Burdick – Upper East Side
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street
Friday, January 24-Sunday, February 10
Free with admission: $25 for adults, free for children under 12
For major football fanatics of any age, the vintage trading cards on display in the Met's Super Bowl-inspired exhibit are anything but child's play. Collectors should get a kick out of seeing the very first football trading cards issued in 1894(!), not to mention rare cards from gridiron greats like Knute Rockne and Jim Thorpe, and New Yorkers Frank Gifford and Tom Landry, among others. Can't make it to the Upper East Side because you're too busy with other Super Bowl events? The cards will be posted online as well.
And if you're thinking of hosting your own Super Bowl party at home, we came across a cute blog post with fun decorations, snacks, favors and other ways to get kids psyched about sitting through hours of game play.
Find out about other great things to do this season in our Winter Fun Guide.
Photo courtesy of the Children's Museum of Manhattan