For at least a year and a half now, my five year old son has been asking to visit New York City. He knows about it from a.) Curious George lives there and b.) his daddy works there about once a week. Christmas 2012 I gave him a book for kids about visiting NYC, but we delayed going because it just seemed so overwhelming. Back in March, I had the chance to go to NYC with my husband for a fun night out to celebrate a friend's graduation and move at Café Boulud, near Central Park West. It was a fun night and I realized how easy it would be to get to the city via NJ Transit, as long as the kiddo was ok with taking a very long train ride.
Since being a train conductor is one of his life goals, we decided it was a great time to try a day trip to the big apple. Plus, the weather has been BEAUTIFUL for walking around a city. We surprised the little guy on Thursday night and told him that we would be getting up early the next day and heading to the train for our day in New York. He was so excited! (OK, he still says he really thought he'd get to ride on an Amtrak train, but I promised that will happen some day...)
After a quick taxi ride, we made our first stop at the Central Park Zoo, which despite the movie, does not have the same animals that appeared in the Madagascar movies! We brought a picnic lunch with us from home and enjoyed our lunch watching the Sea Lions kiss! The penguins put on quite a show, while the polar bear was snoozing in the shade. The zoo was really tiny and completely manageable. We saw every exhibit, including the children's zoo that was a block away, in about two hours.
We spent the rest of the day visiting toy stores. First up, the Apple Store on 5th Avenue. The store is that glass structure. There is a round elevator and a circular staircase that goes down to the actual store. It was mobbed. Then we headed to FAO Schwartz, which was in the building behind the Apple Store. In my memory it was much more amazing. I forgot that Toys R Us owns it. They did have a massive amount of toys for sale, along with some unique things, like live superheros available for photos. I let my kiddo pick out a toy as his souvenir. He chose an NYPD car set and a model Taxi car.
We walked many many many blocks that day. We visited M & M World, which was an overpriced candy store that played too loud music and was too crowded (I felt so old there...it was so annoying!) We had dinner at Bubba Gump's Shrimp in Time's Square, which was really good and had great views of the Good Morning America building. Time's Square itself was packed. It was about 4:30 on Friday afternoon and the area was filled with so many people and sights. It was overwhelming. The digital ad displays are amazing and overly abundant. We didn't know where to look first.
We concluded our trip with a ride on the ginormous, 60-foot high ferris wheel inside the Toys R Us in Times Square. That toy store was really impressive! Needless to say, the kiddo found even more NYPD cars that he wanted. (Other than train conductors, he loves police and firefighters!) The ferris wheel made be feel queasy, but I survived! We got to ride in a taxi made out of Megablocks. My favorite one was the Little Tikes Cozy Coupe gondola! Isn't it cute?
Someone also got to meet the "real" Geoffrey! The kid's favorite animal is the giraffe. The zoo didn't have any, but I think this one made him just as happy!
It was a great first trip to NYC for the kiddo. He can't wait until we go back! Next time we'll have to visit the Empire State Building.