If I had to offer one tip for traveling parents casting about for something to do with kids in a place they’ve never been and about which they know little it would be…
Head for the library
At the library you’ll find books for your kids to read, toys for them to play with, posters telling you what is happening in the local community, art or history exhibits, story times, and even activities like art projects or scavenger hunts. In some places, the library is the most architecturally significant building and in others it is the center of cultural life.
Which is why, when I’m in midtown Manhattan, I try to always stop by the New York Public Library, to say hi to the big lions that grace its steps and see what’s up.
I had particularly spectacular success on this front in November 2013, when, with an hour or so to kill between lunch and our next activity, we wandered in the front door only to discover a fantastic, free exhibit titled “The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter”.
All our favorites were there.
Where the Wild Things Are
Harold and the Purple Crayon
There were some less familiar books as well, and lots of really interesting explanations of how children’s literature has changed throughout history. Although I think the boys’ favorite activity was the interactive Once Upon a Time story, which allowed them to fill in the blanks Mad Lib style.
Libraries: They never let you down.
I share this post as part of Friday Postcards from Walking On Travels. There are sure to be lots of fun and pretty posts there (since it’s all about the photos).
Looking for more family travel tips? Be sure to check out The Family Traveler’s Handbook. It makes a great Mother’s Day gift.