From Central Park's playgrounds and zoo to boat trips on the Hudson River, the Big Apple is ripe for family adventure

New York, New York – the city 'So good they named it twice' – hardly needs an introduction and is a place you can revisit multiple times, for it always delivers. And with so much entertainment on offer, it makes an ideal family destination.

Mandarin Oriental, New York's kids' amenities including MiniMo the Panda

Mandarin Oriental, New York's kids' amenities including MiniMo the Panda

Mandarin Oriental, New York is the perfect base for families, as the vast expanse of Central Park is only across the road and filled with an array of activities to keep kids of all ages amused. They can work off their energy at the Heckscher Playground, which has slides, swings and climbing walls spread over almost two acres. At Central Park Zoo, there are snow leopards, red pandas and penguins, while the neighbouring Tisch Children's Zoo allows kids to observe farm animals, from goats to pigs, and a cute Patagonian cavy at closer quarters.

Central Park's Alice in Wonderland statue

Central Park's Alice in Wonderland statue

Elsewhere in the park, Alice in Wonderland, the White Rabbit and the Mad Hatter need no introduction to kids. The large bronze sculpture of the three, installed in the park in 1959 near 75th Street, almost begs to be climbed on, as the White Rabbit looks on holding his pocket watch.

Younger fans of Mandarin Oriental can also get to know the city through Pocket Panda, a paper cutout character from the hotel's MO Panda Club. Given to children upon check-in, it is designed to take those aged from 4 to 16 on a sightseeing and photography quest around town. Kids also receive Panda Club-themed treats such as a MiniMO the Panda cuddly toy and a New York City guidebook, while mini robes and slippers are provided in-room along with bathtub toys.

See the Statue of Liberty from a Classic Harbor Line yacht

See the Statue of Liberty from a Classic Harbor Line yacht

Sightseeing boat trips on the river are a surefire way to keep both adults and children happy. Avoid the crowds at the tip of Manhattan by joining a Classic Harbor Line tour. Aboard an elegant 1920s-inspired motor yacht, you will cruise past the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge as you enjoy a complimentary glass of champagne.  

Afterwards, create your own version of Night at the Museum, snapping a photo with the 26th president and conservationist Theodore Roosevelt at the American Museum of Natural History. A world-class attraction guaranteed to keep kids enthralled, it's only a short stroll from Mandarin Oriental, New York.

A gallery in the American Museum of Natural History

A gallery in the American Museum of Natural History

If all that sightseeing takes its toll, the whole family can rejuvenate with an afternoon dip in the hotel's 36th-floor lap pool that looks out to the Hudson River (family-friendly swimming sessions are daily from 2 to 4pm). What better way to relax before an evening of pizzas, hot dogs or burgers with shakes in one of the city's fun restaurants.

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Chris Dwyer

Chris Dwyer is a Hong Kong-based food and travel writer. He has written for CNN and publications across the world, and has a food review website at www.finefooddude.com

Hotel Contact

Mandarin Oriental, New York

80 Columbus Circle at 60th Street,
New York, New York 10023, USA

monyc-concierge@mohg.com

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