Indoor Activities

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New 53rd Street Library Opens with Children's Room, Teen Zone

The New York Public Library opened its brand-new 53rd Street branch in late June, offering some great features for families in a busy NYC corridor, including a spacious Children’s Room, Teen Zone, laptop bank, and programming and events for kids of all ages in a modern, subterranean setting. The 53rd Street Library replaces the longstanding Donnell Library that was razed in 2008. A series of setbacks, including the financial crisis of 2008 caused a lengthy delay in the construction of the new library, which sits below a luxury hotel and condo, but we think it might have been worth the wait.

Free, educational, and engaging library activities were indispensable during the early days with my son, so I was excited to check out the new library in Midtown West and learn more about its many offerings. Read on for a little preview of this gorgeous library, and don't forget to check out the trove of book suggestions, for babies to teens, for summer reading from the NYPL before you head in. Our Summer Slide Busters guide has even more library and STEAM-related fun activity ideas for NYC kids.

5 Brooklyn Cafes with Dedicated Kid Play Areas

If you're looking for a new spot to grab your morning coffee or merely want to enjoy brunch in peace, these five kid-friendly restaurants can't be beat. At these Brooklyn cafes you will find a welcoming environment, great food, and a caffeine jolt, as well as dedicated and safe play areas for your kids. Turn your meal into a play date with a friend or just sit back and take some well-deserved breathing space. Either way, both you and your kids are sure to have a good time.

Check out our NYC Restaurant Guide for more great eateries, including these 10 Brooklyn spots with ample outdoor seating.

Five Children's Museums Outside of Busy Boston

Sure, the Boston Children's Museum is lots of fun. It can also be crowded and hectic, and parking is a challenge. The good news is that there are a handful of other great children's museums in eastern New England – all within a reasonable drive – for those days when you're looking for something a little more relaxed.

Here's a rundown of five kid-centric museums outside of Boston. If you're a member of the Boston Children's Museum, it's worth checking whether your membership offers free entry into any of these other museums. Local libraries may also make free or discounted passes available.

A Visit to the Connecticut Historical Society

Whether you’re looking to give your child a head start on local history studies, or refresh lessons already learned, a visit to the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford is an informative and enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours immersed in our state's legacy. Because the museum is located only 1 mile from the gorgeous Elizabeth Park (where you can dine at Pond House Cafe), and less than 4 miles from Westmoor Park, an outing to CHS can easily turn into a great day spent in the West Hartford area. 

Captive with Clues: Family-Friendly Escape Rooms in NJ

Sometimes 15 minutes alone in the car with kids can seem like an hour, especially when they’re in the back seat fighting or asking “are we there yet?” So why would a parent choose to lock themselves in a tiny room with their children? Well, to figure out how to escape, of course.

Escape rooms are the latest entertainment craze for those brave enough, clever enough, and not too claustrophobic to take on the challenge. Up to 10 participants get “locked” in a thematic room with a compelling story line such as finding your way off an island, out of a mysterious location, or escaping before falling victim to a terrible curse. The group has up to an hour to find and solve clues hidden literally anywhere in the room and free themselves. Clues can be as simple as a color or a number; they can be in code; they can be subtly hidden in a picture or painting, on a piece of paper, in a decorative item in the room. A Game Master monitors all the action on video screen and is available to offer help upon request.

Read on for our our list of family-friendly escape rooms in NJ!

The Coop: Toddler-Friendly Cafe Opens in Bay Ridge

The Coop in Bay Ridge goes beyond high chairs and French fries to deliver a truly kid-friendly cafe that families adore. This cozy cafe has a bar-like vibe and friendly staff, delectable food and drinks, and plenty of space to sit back and relax. What really sets it apart from other cafes, though, is the kid-friendly play area in the back. The Coop welcomes parents to relax and dine while their children play in a safe and fun space—all within arm's reach. Peace for the parents, fun and games for the kids.


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