The “oh, wow” shouts start from the moment you step inside the door of the New York Aquarium, where a gigantic reef teeming with sea life greets you. Your kids will be thrilled with this family day out, as they rush to the tank glass to get better views of vibrant queen angelfish, stealthy moray eels, and ginormous hogfish. You’ll swoon right along with the little ones as you catch sight of cow-nose rays gliding by, looking like they’re flying above the coral. Deeper into the building, you’ll find a flooded Amazon forest, where you can see who has the nerve to press up close to the school of piranha.
Out back, in the Sea Cliffs, there’s a whole new set of creatures for your kids to befriend. A sea otter comes up to make eye contact with the little ones before flipping over to perform playful tricks. Penguins, walruses, and harbor seals are here, too, waiting to amaze little eyes. By now you’re ready to kick back and be entertained, and the sea lions are ready to oblige. Grab a seat in the bleachers of the Aquatheater and let the trained crew amaze your kids with barks, crawls, situps, and backbends that look ready for an Olympic gymnastics squad. After the show, the Coney Island boardwalk will be calling. The kids will be clamoring to make a return trip to the New York Aquarium soon, though, and the institution is only getting better as it evolves and expands.