There are many great things to do in NYC with kids, and if your little ones love trains, the Big Apple is their oyster. The New York Botanical Gardens has several locomotive-themed displays and activities on tap, including a visit from Thomas & Friends.
Holiday Train Show
At the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, large-scale model trains buzz across almost a half-mile of tracks set amid tropical flowers, a waterfall, and crowd-wowing renditions of more than 150 New York landmarks. Going to the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, and Yankee Stadium may be common things to do in NYC with kids, but you’ve never seen them like this. Each creation here is intricately constructed out of twigs, bark, leaves, pinecones, vines, and other plant material to impressive effect. Many of the displays are low to the ground—well-positioned for younger viewers to get a good look.
Thomas & Friends
The chance for your children to meet one of their favorite cartoon characters doesn’t come along every day, but with tickets to All Aboard with Thomas & Friends, you can check that off your “things to do in NYC with kids” bucket list. The younger set is welcomed to the theater with coloring sheets and crayons. During the 20-minute song-filled program, the audience helps prepare the train station for a surprise party. After the show, children are invited on stage to meet Thomas and Driver Sam and have their picture snapped with the duo by a professional photographer.
The Evergreen Express
For some outdoor fun, head over to the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden, where kids can test their senses on the year-round nature trail, scramble up a rocky maze, and engineer the Evergreen Express play train in Discovery Center Plaza. Inside the railroad-inspired Discovery Center Depot, hands-on nature lessons, craft projects (like making sachets with evergreen needles), and puppet shows entertain the little ones. Young artists can also create train puppets in the Train Yard at the Dodge Activity Center.
In between each stop, keep an eye out for train- and winter-themed poems by Billy Collins. Sixteen large displays are dotted around the New York Botanical Garden grounds.