The Upper West Side is one of the most family-friendly neighborhoods in New York City, filled to the brim with all of the apartments, schools, and activities that parents are looking for in a great neighborhood. If you’re new to the area and you’re trying to find great places for your little sprouts to plant roots, consider some of these tot-approved hot spots.
Apple Seeds Upper West Side
If you’ve been, you already understand why the Apple Seeds is such a big deal. This members-only kiddie wonderland is the perfect place to take your kiddoes (from newborns to five years old) to hang out with their buddies. Classes with names like “Build It! Break It! Fix It!” and “Scribble and Dribble” are sure to entice even the most seen-it-all toddlers. “Dinner & a Show” and “COOKing Monsters” are perfect for all the future Daniel Bouluds and Gabrielle Hamiltons in your house. Plus, there’s a 2,000-square-foot indoor playground. You can sign up for memberships that offer you access to either one or both NYC Apple Seeds locations. (Oh yeah, and adults are welcome, too.)
West Side Community Garden
Just because they live in a fast-paced urban environement doesn’t mean that your kids can’t learn about the beauty and peace that comes from growing their own flowers, plants, and vegetables. Take them to the West Side Community Garden. The Flower Park is open to the public, so your kids can see what their local community members are doing to bring more green to NYC. The vegetable beds are open for viewing to the public if a garden member is on site, but if you really want to give your kids a more hands-on gardening experience, you can sign up to get on the waiting list.
Willy Wonka has set up shop on West 91st Street — or at least that’s what you’ll think when you and the tots head over to cocoa confectionery kingdom Chocolate Works. Like the Jacques Torres Chocolate SoHo or DUMBO locations that allow you to press your face against the window and watch the chocolate-making process in action, Chocolate Works offers you the chance to see master chocolate-making in action. To top it all off, the place also offers the most awesome workshops ever, where tiny chocolatiers have the chance to get their hands deliciously dirty as they mold, shape, and create their very own chocolate delights and treats. Or you can really blow your kids’ minds and give them their very own Chocolate Works birthday party — drop-off parties that include a tour of the chocolate factory, plus pizza. You can tailor it to add all the extras that would make Veruca Salt and Violet Beauregarde proud.
Children’s Museum of Manhattan
One of the best things about the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is that in addition to all of the amazing interactive exhibits for kids, this Upper West Side mainstay also offers plenty of awesome and informative chats for parents. Their “EatSleepPlay” initiative is an immensely popular ongoing attraction that shows kids and parents how they can develop healthier and more active lifestyles. Kids can make their way through a massive digestive system, following the path that nutrients make as they enter — and leave — our bodies. Vegetable superheroes and an amazing play center are perfect examples of how the museum mixes learning and playing so perfectly.
Image Source: Flickr/Sarah Ackerman
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