9 More Experience Gifts for New York City Kids
This season, the theme of our Holiday Gift Guide is shopping local. And no gift is more local than a memorable NYC experience.
Last year, we shared 10 ideas for experience gifts for New York City kids, like enjoying high tea or going rock climbing at Brooklyn Boulders. These are our favorite kinds of presents: They don't need to be wrapped, they don't take up any precious space in our small apartments and they create special family memories.
The possibilities for experience gifts in NYC are endless, and span all interests and budgets. You can buy tickets and stuff them in stockings, or get creative and make your own coupon good for your child to "cash in" for one of these fun outings.
Go for a Horse or Pony Ride
You don't have to go to the country to ride a horse. City kids can saddle up at Brooklyn's Kensington Stables near Prospect Park or the Bronx Equestrian Center. Both spots offer lessons and rides for kids of all ages and skill levels, no experience required. Pony rides are $5, horse rides are $35 and up.
Visit the Animals at the Art Farm in the City
Your kids can help feed and care for the animals at this unique Upper East Side play spot. For $15 per child, $5 per adult, your family can drop in on a weekend Mornings on the Farm session, where you can snuggle with the rabbits, chicks and other creatures. Or if Junior's been begging for an animal, give him one you don't need to keep in your apartment by taking on a "part-time pet". For an annual fee, your child gets playtime with a bearded dragon, chinchilla, gecko or other critter.
Head to the Zoos
We're always writing about all of the awesome programs at NYC's zoos. Help support these budget-crunched institutions while getting your animal fix by buying a family membership to the Wildlife Conservation Society. Prices range from $99 to $159, depending on the size of your family, and you enjoy entry to five cool spots: the Bronx Zoo, the New York Aquarium, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo and Queens Zoo. (In case you're wondering, the Staten Island Zoo isn't part of the group, but offers its own membership packages.)
Catch Amateur Night at the Apollo
It's American Idol, right here in NYC. Tweens and teens will love this legendary talent competition at Harlem's Apollo Theater. The Wednesday night tradition starts off with young performers taking the stage to sing and dance, and at the end, the audience picks the winner with their cheers. Tickets are $19-$29.
Groove to Jazzy Tunes
Lincoln Center's Jazz for Young People concerts are a great way to turn your kids onto the genre. The interactive shows star big-name pros like Wynton Marsalis, have themes like "What is New Orleans Jazz?" and also feature art projects. Tickets are $12-$28.
Throw a Karaoke Party
Trade the hairbrush for a live microphone! A number of NYC karaoke clubs open their doors to young singers in the afternoon. Nemo NYC in the East Village offers two-hour kids' parties starting at $100, and the Upper East Side's Iggy's NYC also offers packages for tweens and teens.
Go for a Helicopter Ride
You'll probably find this as thrilling as your kid. Various tour companies offer flights over the city skyline. While it's a super-cool gift for adventurers, it's also pricey. Be prepared to pay $150 and up for a 15-minute ride. Tours are given by Gray Line, Liberty Helicopters and Helicopter New York City.
Work Your Green Thumb
Before you know it, spring will be here and the buds will be blooming. Buy your membership to the New York Botanical Garden now and you can catch the Holiday Train Show and then enjoy gardening classes in April. Of course there are also beautiful botanic in Brooklyn and Queens. For even more hands-on fun, consider joining a community garden. Putting in volunteer hours is often the only way to get insider access or a plot. You can find a garden near you on the Green Thumb website.
Go on a Special Sleepover
Lots of iconic NYC spots offer family sleepovers, including the Bronx Zoo, the American Museum of Natural History, the Rubin Museum and the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. Can you imagine sleeping under AMNH's big blue whale? Well you don't have to. Just do it.
Find other great gift ideas in our NYC Shopping Local Gift Guide and lots of other seasonal fun in our Holiday Guide.