Best scavenger hunts for families in NYC

Family scavenger hunts let kids experience the city in a whole new way.

 (Photograph: AMNH/Roderick MIckens)
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Photograph: AMNH/Roderick MIckensMystery at the Museum
 (Photograph: AMNH/Roderick MIckens)
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Photograph: AMNH/Roderick MIckensMystery at the Museum
 (Photograph: AMNH/Roderick MIckens)
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Photograph: AMNH/Roderick MIckensMystery at the Museum
 (Photograph: AMNH/Roderick MIckens)
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Photograph: AMNH/Roderick MIckensMystery at the Museum
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The Great Subway Search at the NYC Transit Museum
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The Great Subway Search at the NYC Transit Museum
 (Photograph: Courtesy Watson Adventures)
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Photograph: Courtesy Watson AdventuresWatson Adventures

The Great Subway Search at the Transit Museum
Children explore the underground Brooklyn spot's historic subway cars—including a 1949 prototype for the Second Avenue Subway and classic IND cars from the 1930s—in search of specific clues like an antique map or an ad for the 1963 World's Fair. Each find teaches them about a different time period in the city's history. Dec 27--30 2:30--3:45pm. New York Transit Museum, Boerum Pl at Schermerhorn St, Downtown Brooklyn (718-694-1600, mta.info/mta/museum). Free with museum admission. All ages.

Mystery at the Museum
Your tween's mission is to track down a wealthy man's treasure by collecting clues hidden around the iconic American Museum of Natural History. The immersive odyssey—equal parts game, walking tour and theater—whisks aspiring gumshoes through some of the institution's best-known exhibits (think the Milstein Hall of Ocean, Hall of North American Mammals and the Fossil Hall). Sat, Sun 11, 11:30am, noon, 12:30, 1:30, 2, 2:30, 3pm. American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th St (212-769-5200, amnh.org). $40. Advance registration required. Ages 10 and up.

Watson Adventures
At the Ho-Ho-Holiday Midtown Holiday Scavenger Hunt (Dec 10 at 11am; ages 10 and up), families make their way to seasonal landmarks like the Rockefeller Center tree and Fifth Avenue's window displays. Young sleuths can bone up on the history of our city's most beautiful train station with the Grand Central Scramble Family Scavenger Hunt (Dec 31 at 10:30am; ages 7 and up). Kids learn about the Whispering Gallery and the constellation-strewn ceiling in the Main Concourse. The Wizard School Scavenger Hunt (Dec 28 at 2pm; ages 10 and up) uses J.K. Rowling's books as inspiration for a quest to track down creatures with a resemblance to those found in Harry's world—such as unicorns and sorcerers—in the Met's extensive collection. Various city locations (877-946-4868, watsonadventures.com). $18--$38.50.

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