Happy New Year! New Year's is always a special time for Mommy Poppins because I started the site as a New Year's resolution five years ago (happy fifth birthday, MP!), and I wrote our popular list of 100 Things to Do in NYC with Kids the following New Year's. (Apparently I'm highly motivated by New Year's, who knew?). Unfortunately, I don't have anything that exciting up my sleeve today, but couldn't let January 1 go by without acknowledging some of the amazing new destinations we wrote about in 2011.
As we all know, NYC is constantly evolving with new attractions opening (and closing) all the time. While the pace of new kid biz openings seems to have slowed from its heyday a few years ago, there are still incredible places popping up in New York City. If you follow the site religiously, you will know about all of these, but for those of you who may have missed one or two of the approximately 500 posts we wrote this year, here's a rundown of our favorite new NYC attractions for families that opened in 2011.
Children's Museum of the Arts – Hudson Square
This art exploratorium was a longtime favorite, but its amazing new space takes the museum to another level. With high-tech media labs for older kids, and expanded (and separate) toddler areas, this hot spot offers fun and enriching artistic experiences for children of all ages.
Museum of the Moving Image – Astoria
Although this Queens mainstay didn't move, it underwent a huge renovation. Not only does the newly expanded museum offer more exhibit space, a cafe and a cool Apple-store-like design, its new theater screens films which are usually free with admission. The museum's Jim Henson's Muppets retrospective just extended through March, and includes free family films every weekend.
DiMenna Children's History Museum – Upper West Side
NYC is already the best classroom for any kid, but this smart museum within a museum gives us another great learning tool. The children's history museum lives within the New York Historical Society, and teaches American and New York City history through inspiring interactive exhibits. During the month of January, you can save $5 off adult admission by downloading a coupon at NYCgo.
Scandinavia House's Heimbold Family Children’s Playing and Learning Center – Murray Hill
The play space inside Scandinavia House has long been an awesome drop-in spot for families in the know. After undergoing a beautiful renovation, the center is now a true gem. With interactive stations, imaginative play areas and tot-sized climbing structures, the center is open to nonmembers on Saturdays for $15 per child. The big secret: A $125 annual membership plus a $200 annual play space pass gets families free access on weekdays, too.
Children's Library Discovery Center – Jamaica
Destination library? You bet. This enormous children's library in Queens offers much more than a great book collection. You'll also find hands-on science, technology and math installations, learning labs, a giant interactive map of Queens, and separate sections for preschoolers and older kids. And it's free!
Lincoln Center Film Center – Upper West Side
The brand-new Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center is cool for kids, and not just because it lives under a big-sloped lawn. The center of the Film Society of Lincoln Center now offers a family film series with an eclectic selection of screenings, all just $6 per person. Catch classics or expand your horizons with something new. There's even a cafe with a kid-friendly lunch box on offer—good to know in this hard-to-find-eats nabe.
Jane's Carousel – Dumbo
After several years of being sadistically on display but out of reach, this gorgeous carousel is finally open to the public in Brooklyn Bridge Park. And it's open year-round in an enclosed pavilion. Yippee!
High Line Section 2 – Chelsea
The High Line expanded all the way up to 30th Street, and added a ground level food truck court and exhibition area, which first housed Rainbow City and then a roller-skating rink. Are they trying to blow our minds with awesomeness?
New Parks and Playgrounds
Queens got a brand-new green space and playground in Elmhurst Park, complete with modern deluxe play equipment. Indian Road Playground in Inwood Hill Park debuted in very late 2010. And Pier 25 in Tribeca opened its inexpensive and awesome mini-golf course in its amazing playground.
Have other new New York City favorites? Let us know what they are in the comments.