One reason we live in New York City (and pay crazy rents, take packed subways and research early education options as if we're going for a Ph.D.) is to take advantage of all the cultural experiences it offers year-round.
If one of your New Year's resolutions is to do more fun things with your kids, why not kick off 2016 taking advantage of all the great places open on New Year's Day in this incredible city?
We came up with seven resolutions for families and then found activities to fulfill each one—all at places open on January 1, 2016, in NYC. You can find more seasonal fun, including kid-friendly ways to celebrate New Year's Eve, in our Holiday Guide. All of us at Mommy Poppins wish you and your families a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.
Resolution: Visit a museum you've never been to before
While many NYC families have heard of Queens' New York Hall of Science, many haven't been there. It's open on New Year's Day and is just a 40-minute subway ride from Midtown Manhattan. In addition to a host of permanent hands-on installations for all ages, check out its massive seasonal GingerBread Lane display before it comes down. New Year's Day is also a great time to check out the Museum of Mathematics and the New-York Historical Society, where kids can explore the DiMenna Children's History Museum. If you haven't done so, check out the revamped Cooper Hewitt Museum or new Whitney Museum of American Art, both of which debuted in 2015. Other off-the-beaten-path museums open on the holiday include Brooklyn's Jewish Children's Museum and the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.
Resolution: Find more ways to play together as a family
You're never to old to fill your day with play. On New Year's Day, you can make like a pinball wizard at Modern Pinball, play video games at Dave & Buster's or go bowling—and more—at Chelsea Bowlmor, which also houses a laser tag arena and ropes course. Of course, you don't need to leave home to play as a family. For inspiration, check out our posts about ways to play while doing chores, fun exercise games and easy science experiments to try with kids.
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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, check out its must-see exhibition The Secret World Inside You, as well as its gorgeous origami Christmas tree before it comes down. Other top options include Discovery Times Square's Star Wars and the Power of the Costume and the Museum of the Moving Image, where you can catch a Shaun the Sheep screening before participating in a Claymation Creatures workshop.
Resolution: Enjoy quirky, only-in-NYC fun
We rave about offbeat NYC experiences, and one of our favorites is the annual Polar Bear Club New Year's Day Swim in Coney Island. The members of this organization are a bit, well, enthusiastic, 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," raising money for Camp Sunshine, a retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses.
Resolution: Actually visit those tourists spots you've never been to
When is the last time you enjoyed the view at the top of the Empire State Building or went to the Top of the Rock? Don't forget to add the newly opened One World Observatory to the list, either. How about the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island, where you can sneak some education into the new year and help your kids earn Junior Ranger badges. Check out all 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!
RELATED: 23 Free Things for Kids on Winter Break in NYC
Resolution: See more kid-friendly theater
Many Broadway shows have performances today, including family favorites Matilda, Wicked, School of Rock and Finding Neverland. If your kids (or your wallet) aren't up for the Great White Way, you can catch Big Apple Circus: The Grand Tour at Lincoln Center and Pedal Punk at the New Victory Theater.
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, Van Cortlandt Park and the recently completed High Line. Or 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 all 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. You can also go ice skating —most outdoor rinks are open on the holiday (weather permitting), including those in Bryant Park, Central Park, Riverbank State Park, Brookfield Place and Prospect Park. If you don't mind spending as much time waiting as skating, the Rink at Rockefeller Center is also open.
Top photo: Enjoy the eye-catching and interactive exhibits at the remodeled Cooper Hewitt Museum. Photo by Mommy Poppins.