Long before Gulliver’s Gate landed in Times Square, the Panorama of the City of New York made visitors feel like giants hovering over the miniature replica of NYC. Created over the course of three years for the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens, the massive scale model covers an area of 9,335 square feet. The model grew to include every building, park, bridge and landmark created before 1992 with updates and additions since then. The panorama also included a lighting cycle that cast light and darkness over the city along with 3,172 colored lights highlighting different structures and painted windows that glowed green during the “night” hours. And much like Gulliver’s Gate, airplanes took off and landed in LaGuardia Airport. Queens Museum, New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park (718-592-9700, queensmuseum.org); $8, children free.
If you’re looking to stray from the beaten path for lesser-known-but-still-cool attractions in NYC, then we’ve got you covered. We’ve rounded up some of the exhibits and spots that are more than worthy of a visit with the family. You’ll find calmer green spaces, cultural centers and day trips perfect for a quick escape from the busy parts of town. Once you’ve given these awesome spots a visit, browse through our list of the best free activities for kids in New York, family attractions in NYC and our giant guide of 101 things to do with kids in NYC.