Timeout New York Kids

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Spring-break day trips for families

We found great day-trip ideas for spring break---all within two hours of the city.

  • Photograph: Courtesy Adventure Aquarium

    KidZone at Adventure Aquarium

  • Photograph: Courtesy Adventure Aquarium

    KidZone at Adventure Aquarium

  • Photograph: Courtesy Adventure Aquarium

    KidZone at Adventure Aquarium

  • Photograph: Courtesy Adventure Aquarium

    KidZone at Adventure Aquarium

  • Photograph: Courtesy the Maritime Aquarium

    Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, CT

  • Photograph: Courtesy the Maritime Aquarium

    Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, CT

  • Photograph: Courtesy the Maritime Aquarium

    Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, CT

  • Photograph: Courtesy Philadelphia Zoo

    Trail of the Lorax at the Philadelphia Zoo

  • Photograph: Courtesy Philadelphia Zoo

    Trail of the Lorax at the Philadelphia Zoo

  • Photograph: Courtesy Philadelphia Zoo

    Trail of the Lorax at the Philadelphia Zoo

Photograph: Courtesy Adventure Aquarium

KidZone at Adventure Aquarium

With the kids off from school for ten days, there's no better time to take a day trip to a nearby zoo or aquarium. Check out these three spots over spring break—each one is only a quick drive (or train ride) away from the city.

Philadelphia Zoo
With the opening of its new exhibit "The Trail of the Lorax," America's first zoo (it was founded in 1859!) offers a unique, kid-friendly look at wildlife conservation. The zoo partnered with Dr. Seuss Enterprises to create an engaging 3-D experience that focuses on the endangered orangutan's fight for survival. Equipped with 3-D glasses, visitors of all ages follow clues left by the Lorax around the zoo to learn about the fascinating animal and what they can do to help. The hunt ends at the Lorax Loft, a play area featuring the Oragnu-tangle (a collection of vines that kids can swing on). There's also a mini-movie featuring characters from Dr. Seuss's The Lorax. Through Oct 31. 3400 W Girard Ave, Philadelphia, PA (215-243-1100, philadelphiazoo.org). Daily 9:30am--5pm. $18, children ages 2--11 $15, children under 2 free.
Travel time 2 hours by car

Adventure Aquarium
In addition to viewing tropical fish, seahorses and shark rays, kids six and under can spend time in the aquarium's brand-new KidZone. Children make music with sea-inspired instruments, touch strange sea dwellers including sea stars, look a collection of frogs, play with a penguin puzzle and crawl through a beach-themed maze. Make sure to bring your camera: You'll want to snap a shot of your little one sitting inside a mock sea-turtle shell or posing with the characters, like Gill the Shark and Bobbi the Penguin, that accompany kids on their journey. 1 Riverside Dr, Camden, NJ (856-365-3300, adventureaquarium.com). Daily 10am--5pm. $23.95, children ages 2--12 $17.95, children under 2 free.
Travel time
2 hours by car

Maritime Aquarium
Make your first stop the newly opened "FINtastic RefurbFISHment." At the jumbo interactive map in the exhibit's main hall, kids learn about marine animals that live in the Long Island Sound; they can also watch seal feedings three times a day. Opening on Saturday, April 14, is the exhibit's newest area, the Sharks and Ray Gallery. Head to the touch pool; there visitors can touch the backs of nurse sharks. After, watch a screening of Search for the Great Sharks (through Apr 19). The IMAX film shows how the giant sea creatures—from great whites to whale sharks—really live. 10 North Water St, Norwalk, CT (203-852-0700, maritimeaquarium.org). Daily 10am--5pm. $19.45, children ages 2--12 $14.45, children under 2 free.
Travel time 1 hour by train

 

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