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Guests react to the finale of National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey in New York. The immersive experience transports audiences on a breathtaking undersea journey.Diane Bondareff

Remember when New York was a place you'd only head to with your adult friends? I do.

Like Las Vegas or Los Angeles, New York was a spot for of-age getaways and late-night adventures that shouldn't be mentioned again once you'd made your way home. New York was drinks on rooftop bars, lazy brunches in luxurious hotels and parties with strangers who were friends for 24 hours. You can still find those opportunities, but chances are that if you're travelling with kids, you're not looking for them.

The good news is that just because you've traded whisky shots for energy smoothies, doesn't mean you can't still enjoy a weekend in New York.

Over the years, the city has done a great job of showing its softer side. A weekend in New York has become as synonymous with young lovers as it has with families rushing children through dinners to get to a Broadway show (been there) and stocking up on chocolates at Dylan's Candy Bar (done that).

There may be no greater proof of New York's family appeal than the fact that the city now has Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle mascots. Yup, move over, hipsters, and forget the Muppets – families have taken over Manhattan. The city that never sleeps has become the perfect spot for the parents who long to.

The newest slate of offerings is poised to lure even more families to the Big Apple. Planning your visit with the under-18 set in tow? Here are a few new classics to add to your reasons to visit.


The world's newest and largest interactive spy museum opened this month for families looking to discover their inner James Bond. Wind your way through exhibits that highlight real code breakers, Cold War spies and teen hackers who almost brought down the CIA. Then try your hand at spy challenges based on the real deal or take the authentic British profiling test that will determine whether you've got what it takes to go undercover. Tickets are based on timed entry, so be sure to reserve yours in advance.

National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey

Imagine your family enjoying an ocean voyage in the middle of Times Square. This new exhibit delivers an immersive experience by employing cutting-edge technology to situate visitors right into the heart of the ocean. There are opportunities to play with sea lions, stand in a school of feeding fish and wind your way through a kelp forest, among other attractions. The shared stories of National Geographic adventurers who've experienced the real thing will make life-long fans out of budding environmentalists.

Gulliver's Gate

The problem with world exploration is that it takes time – a lot of time. Or you can enter Gulliver's Gate – a new 50,000-square-foot attraction in Times Square that features 3-D miniature replicas of global must-sees. The replicas are exact in detail and all built to scale – 87 times smaller than the real thing– allowing families to hop from the pyramids of Egypt to the Great Wall of China in a matter of minutes. There are also full-body scanners and 3-D printers on site that allow you to create a miniaturized version of yourself, which can either head with you or live on in Gulliver's Gate.

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

Although the museum itself isn't new, the current renovations expected to be completed in 2019 already offer new reasons to visit the MoMA all over again. The first phase of the US$450-million expansion is now complete and the organized tours for kids are focused and impressive. "Tours for Fours" offers families, with at least one child age four, a special hands-on themed tour in the museum. "A Closer Look" is geared to kids ages five to 10 and "Tours for Teens" covers the 11-14 year olds. Each tour allows for at least two adults to accompany the participating kids and tickets are free (on a first-come, first-serve basis.)

NFL Experience Times Square

Got football fans in the family? The new NFL Experience includes a 4-D "stadium" theatre and interactive displays that lets users try on the uniforms of their favourite teams or even design game plays. There's also a display that gives armchair athletes the chance to challenge a real NFL quarterback and a virtual-reality setup that allows visitors to pose alongside Super Bowl winners as they celebrate. Go, team!

For more information on all there is to do in New York visit