Museum of Illusions and Little Island in New York City

This weekend, we FINALLY made it back into New York City for the first time in 16 months! We’re lucky enough to be able to drive 65 minutes and end up in the heart of Manhattan, or, in this case, the Chelsea/ Meat Packing District west side of the island. We’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about some outdoor experiences, including Little Island which just opened last month, and wanted to check them out. When we saw that the Museum of Illusions was less than a half mile walk from Little Island, we had our morning set.

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10 Galleries Kids Will Love at the Cloisters in New York City

The term “cloister” refers to an open courtyard, usually found in the center of a religious monastery or convent. Located in Fort Tryon Park in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan, the Met Cloisters are an extension of the Metropolitan Museum of Art that showcases European medieval art and architecture. There are a dozen distinct areas that include 20 galleries and gardens spread throughout the four acre space. The museum was built by architect Charles Collens and opened in 1938. Many of the artifacts and structures, which date back to the 12th through 15th centuries, were saved from various churches, monasteries, and abbeys throughout Europe and recreated throughout the museum complex. There are several stone and wood sculptures, panel paintings and tapestries on display throughout galleries that are meant to recreate the feeling of being in a medieval European monastery. The four cloisters were originally created in France, bought by art dealer and sculpture George Barnard in the early 1900s, and later bought by John D. Rockefeller and donated to the museum.

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10 Behinds the Scenes Tours Kids Will Love

I’m “back” from all of our virtual tours from the past month- we figured it was safer to stay home and explore places online than in person. If you missed them, here are the links to our curated lists of virtual tours for National Parks; art museums; children’s museums, zoos, and aquariums; and Disney related activities.

While my family is still staying home as the country slowly starts to reopen, we’ve been reminiscing about past trips and many themes have emerged. We’re written themed posts before, like our posts on Indoor Fun in New England, East Coast Cities with Nearby Neighbors, Private Homes We’ve Toured, Sports Halls of Fame, and Free Things to Do in New England. Some new themes have recently emerged and today we’re sharing a post on “inside scoops” of famous locations and companies. We love learning about how a place works and seeing the behind the scenes stuff that most people don’t get a chance to see. It has recently become more popular for places to share behind the scenes access, even if guests cannot physically go inside the manufacturing plant or production studio.

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10 Art Museums With Virtual Activities for Kids

You might be surprised to learn that my family, children included, like visiting art museums. Art museums have come a long way from just “silently standing and looking at paintings some old guy or girl made a million years ago.” Today, so many art museums are finding new ways to engage children and welcome families into their galleries. We wrote about the many benefits of taking children to art museums last year in this post featuring the Guggenheim in New York City. A huge bonus? Most of these museums, and other art museums, offer FREE admission for children, usually ages 16 and under.

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Rockefeller Center Tour & Top of the Rock in New York City

Funded by namesake John D. Rockefeller Jr., son of the founder of Standard Oil and the world’s first billionaire, Rockefeller Center is comprised of 19 different buildings built during the 1930s during the height of the Great Depression. It’s known as a “City within a City” because of its size and encompassing buildings and businesses. The most well known and most recognizable building, 30 Rock, now known as the Comcast Building, was built in 1930 and became a National Historic Landmark in 1987. Seventy stories tall, NBC owns 27 floors and has programming including all four hours of the Today Show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live and several other popular NBC shows housed in the building. The building looks out over 8 million people and 29,000 acres of land. Guests can take tours of the complex and also explore the three highest floors of the complex (called Top of the Rock) through a separate, or combined, ticket.

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Radio City Music Hall Backstage Tour in New York City

Radio City Music Hall was the largest theater in the world at the time it opened in December of 1932. With a seating capacity of 5,931 guests (over 6,000 when they used the orchestra area for additional seating) and a stage that spans 130 feet across, it’s one of the largest, and most recognizable, entertainment venues in the world. Radio City Music Hall hosts hundreds of events each year and is home to the famous Rockettes (who were actually founded in St Louis Missouri in 1925, when Radio City Music Hall founder Roxy Rothafel brought them to New York City). Today, guests can see performances in music, theater, comedy, and sports 365 days a year, with over two million annual visitors. The Hall also offers daily Backstage tours with a behinds the scene look at how it all comes together.

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