15+ Things to Do with Tweens in NYC

Adolescents are hard to please and everything seems forever boring to them. However, when we add the Big Apple to the mix, things might get a bit more exciting, right?

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Among the things to do with tweens in NYC, you’ll actually discover a lot that will keep them and you occupied and engaged for hours on end. Let’s dive in and see what New York has in store for the fussy youth.

1. Get (Them) Spooked on a Ghost Tour

Ghost tours of New York are extremely exciting for tweens

Ghost Tours of New York might not be your cup of tea but tweens will surely be delighted. Not only is it one of the quirkiest things you can do in NYC but it’s also one of the most exciting ones – we all know how tweens love doing things out of the ordinary.

Experienced guides, historians, and story-tellers will take you on a quest across the lesser-known New York – the one that hides many secrets of the bygone times. Along the way, you will hear the stories of intrigues and mysteries which are guaranteed to send shivers down your spine. In all probability, the youngsters will be delighted!

2. Meet Their Idols’ Replicas in Madame Tussauds

Madame Tussaud in NYC

Madame Tussauds in New York is one of the city’s biggest attractions. Teens and adolescents are usually thrilled to come face to face with so many celebrity replicas they hardly ever get to meet in person.

From world leaders like Barack Obama, film stars like Bruce Willis and Marilyn Monroe, all the way to sports stars like Serena Williams and Carmelo Anthony to musicians like Rihanna or Alicia Keys, NYC’s Madame Tussauds is really a unique place to visit with the tweens. On top of that, there is a 4D immersive experience featuring their favorite Marvel characters and a special Ghostbusters exhibition. Entrance fees vary depending on what’s included in the visit and they range from $29.95 to $69. Discounts are available for online purchases.

Read more: Amazing 1-Day Train Trips from NYC

3. Walk with Dinosaurs in the American Museum of Natural History

Dinosaur skeletons in NYC Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History in New York offers a remarkable experience as you get the chance to meet the fearsome giants that once roamed the earth. This is the largest museum of its kind in the world, featuring 46 exhibition halls and an astounding 32 million specimens.

Tyrannosaurus Rex, a 122-foot long Titanosaur skeleton, 34-ton meteorite, and a 94-foot blue whale are only some of the Museum’s highlights you shouldn’t miss. This is an amazing venue guaranteed to spark the curiosity of the youngsters but rest assured you won’t be indifferent either. The Museum is open 7 days a week, from 10 am to 5:45 pm. Depending on the exhibition you want to include in your visit, the entrance fees vary between $23 to $33 for adults and $13 to $16.50 for children age 2 – 12.

4. Visit the Rose Center for Earth and Space

Hyden Planetarium is a spectacular NYC attraction

The Rose Center for Earth and Space actually belongs to the Museum of Natural History and it’s located on its northern side. The reason it deserves its own spot on the list is the fact that it holds the spectacular Hayden Sphere – a magnificent 87-foot wide planetarium appearing to be floating inside a glass cube.

This planetarium offers a hyper-realistic view of the universe, including the stars, the planets, meteorites, you name it! With the help of a custom made Zeiss Mark IX Star Projector and a 3D map (a.k.a the Digital Universe Atlas), it is one of the most astounding stargazing locations on the planet.

5. Take a Ride at Coney Island

Cyclone roller coaster on Coney Island

New York’s Coney Island is its pride and joy when it comes to entertainment. It has been one of the top fun spots for New Yorkers, ever since the first roller coaster was set in 1884. Today, it is home to a massive luna park, providing visitors with every possible thrill ride you can think of.

The Cyclone is the crowning moment of the large entertainment complex, featuring 2,640-feet long track that will rumble, toss, and tumble you across the 12 drops and 27 elevations. There is also the Atlantic Aviator, mimicking an acrobatic airplane flight, the Astro Tower, the 137’4-foot free-fall tower, and many other mind-boggling attractions. Fixed Date Luna Passes are $29 to $41 depending on your height while Any Day Luna Pass costs $42 or $69.

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Read more: Top Fun Things to Do in the Big Apple

6. Admire the View from the Empire State Building

Panoramic view of New York from the Empire State Building

Surely tweens are not impressed that easily but just wait until you take them on top of the once-tallest building in the world. The observatory is situated on the 86th floor of the Empire State, offering unforgettable 360° views of NYC and even beyond.

The observation deck is wrapped around the building’s spire so you will be able to see some of New York’s most prominent landmarks, including Central Park, Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge,  and so much more. You can climb the Empire State from 8 am to 2 am. Depending on the floor you want to reach (the building actually has 102 floors) or the specific tour you choose, the entrance tickets vary greatly.

7. Venture under the Sea at New York Aquarium

Divers entertain children at NYC aquarium

The aquarium in New York is one of the greatest aquariums around the globe and it will provide you and the youngsters with an unforgettable underwater experience. The colorful marine life, sea cliffs, and coral reefs accompanied by a 4D theater, aquarium quests, and sea otter feedings will truly provide everyone with an amazing aquatic experience.

Being operated by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), one of the aquarium’s most important missions is to put additional efforts into wildlife conservation and ecological monitoring, thus raising the visitors’ awareness of the importance of preserving the animal habitats. Any day admission fee for adults is $23.95 and $19.95 for children 3-12.

8. Embark on the Ocean Odyssey

All-immersive experience in Ocean Odyssey by National Geographic

Ocean Odyssey is National Geographic’s project, also known as National Geographic Encounter. This heart-pounding simulated adventure will take you under the water to the deepest depths of the ocean, where you can swim with the great white, get up close with the strangest ocean dwellers, and frolic with majestic dolphins.

The project uses the latest animation technologies to create an immersive experience so that you can feel as if you’re under the ocean without even getting wet. Without a shadow of a doubt, this is one of the best things to do in NYC with tweens. Adult entrance fee is $39.50 while children 3-12 pay $32.50. The management strongly encourages visitors to pre-book tickets online as you can get significant discounts or avoid a sell-out.

9. Get Artsy at Children’s Museum of the Arts

Hands-on exhibitions in Children's Museum of Arts in NYC

Children’s Museum of the Arts in NYC is a dream come true for any tweenager with a knack for creativity and artistry. The museum was designed with youngsters in mind and it offers amazingly engaging exhibits whose goal and mission is to strengthen the family bonds through artistic interaction as well as to awaken and encourage the creative process.

The museum strongly believes that art is one of the best ways to introduce children to the world around us and teach them how to be more responsible and compassionate individuals, excel at school, and become more self-reflective. Various workshops, hands-on activities, and multimedia provide a unique experience for children and adults alike, making this museum one of the best things to do in NYC with twins, no matter if you’re passing through the Big Apple or actually live there. Adults’ and children’s entrance fee is $13.

10. Marvel the Miniatures at Gulliver’s Gate

Gulliver Gate in New York City

Gulliver’s Gate in New York is the world’s most intricate and advanced miniature museum, featuring more than 25 mini-cities and landmarks from around the globe. You can see tiny Moscow and St. Petersburg, petite Wall of China and Beijing, or minuscule Mount Olympus and Norwegian fjords, among many other amazingly elaborate miniatures.

More than 200 professionals, craftsmen, and artists have joined forces to create this technologically advanced and interactive museum which doesn’t cease to amaze the curious visitors. In addition to this, you can model your own 3D miniature, unlock interactive experiences, or even find your favorite restaurant in New York somewhere among the realistic tiny renditions of its streets. Adult entry is $36 while children 4-12 pay $27. The museum is open daily from 10 am to 8 pm.

11. Take Time in Central Park

The statue of Alice in Wonderland in Central Park

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Central Park is one of the most visited parks in the United States and there is a good reason why this is the case. This 3.41 square-kilometer oasis is not only the lungs of NYC but it’s also a one-of-a-kind adventure venue for youngsters and adults alike.

Tweens will find many of the park’s attractions rather interesting and those include the Alice in Wonderland statue, a boat ride ($15 an hour), the old school carousel, and the new, state-of-the-art Zoo. Of course, the entrance to the park is free although individual attractions require a fee.

12. Enter the Animal Kingdom at Bronx Zoo

Entrance to the Bronx Zoo

Bronx Zoo in New York sprawls across 265 acres of land, making it one of the largest in the US. Stepping inside, you’ll realize it’s so much more than just a zoo – it’s a genuine animal kingdom where all 6 000 animals are well taken care of. The lions of African plains, snow leopards of Himalayan highlands, lemurs of Madagascar, and flamingos of the Caribbean are only some of the zoo’s permanent residents.

Seeing as some of the exhibitions are seasonal, including the Butterfly Garden and Children’s Zoo, it’s best to stay informed about what animals you can expect to meet and plan your visit accordingly. The zoo is open year-round from 10 am to 5 pm on weekdays and closes at 5:30 pm on weekends and holidays. Adult entrance fee is $39.95 while children age 3-12 pay $29.95.

Read more: Utah Adventure with Kids

13. Ride the SeaGlass Carousel at Battery Park

SeaGlass carousel at Battery Park

Sea Glass Carousel is located at New York’s Battery Park, a 25-acre public park overlooking the Hudson River and SeaGlass is one of its most distinctive features. Children will be amazed to take a ride inside this aquarium–themed carousel which comprises 30 gigantic fish they can climb in as they dance, twirl, and spiral in perfectly captivating movements, resembling a true underwater adventure. The carousel is open daily between 10 am and 10 pm while the entrance fee is $5 for both adults and children.

14. Fire up Your Inner Spy at Spyscape

Become a spy at Spyscape in NYC

Spyscape in New York is one of the city’s greatest attractions for people of all ages. This museum is dedicated to bringing you closer to the finest espionage techniques, gadgets, and resources – all wrapped in a cutting-edge setting and state-of-the-art equipment. Thus, you can take a peek behind the process of making 007 movies, investigate Bond’s gadgets, and gaze at concept art.

What’s more, you and your youngsters can become spies by going through a brief training where you’ll be taught how to break codes, write encrypted messages, be tested with lie-detector, take surveillance challenge, or even test your agility in the laser tunnel! Adult fee is $39 while kids pay $32. Spyscape is open daily, from 10 am to 9 pm Monday through Thursday, 10 am to 10 pm on Friday, and 9 am and 9 pm on weekends.

15. Cruise around New York

See New York from a ferry

Cruising around NYC will let you see the city from a whole new perspective and it will seem even more astounding. Although there are many tour operators, the majority of them take the same routes, so apart from the price, it really makes no difference which one you pick. Moving across the lower Hudson River New York Harbor, you can admire the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island while some may take you and the youngsters to the Staten Island

16. Tour the Yankee Stadium

Yankee Stadium is one of NYC's biggest attractions

The Yankee Stadium is probably one of the trademarks of New York, especially if baseball runs in your family. Truth be told, visiting the Yankee Stadium is great in its own right, no matter if you’re a fan of baseball or not.

The tour of the stadium will take you close to the sport’s most treasured artifacts which once belonged to some of the Yankees’ best players, walk you through Monument Park, and the stadium itself. On top of that, you may even get the chance to catch a Yankees home game.

With so many things to do with tweens in NYC, you’ll actually have a hard time deciding which ones to pick. One thing is certain, the Big Apple won’t disappoint when it comes to exciting and out-of-the-ordinary attractions, guaranteed to provide great fun for the whole family.