The month of May is speckled with dramatic changes which spark creativity and invigorates the mind to take on those harder tasks. It is close to the top to being a favourite month. The task of packing away those ultra-warm layers of clothes is met with relief. The replacement with lighter layers feels like a whole new wardrobe. The glory of the flowering trees and plants creates a shift in how I go about my day. The firsts of the season are excitedly added to my weekly cooking (asparagus, mostly). Walks home with my girls now take twice as long as we look for flowers to collect and bring back home. That is to say, we routinely take the long way home based on the promise of discovery.
May is a month of beauty, celebration and great distractions. It is choosing to spend more time outdoors knowing that this season of exceptional blooms is fleeting. It is celebrating and recognizing all the wonderful mothers out there. It is a shift in schedules and perhaps a chance to travel outside the city.
My family travelled to New York City for Mother’s Day in early May. It was a trip that my husband and eldest daughter planned so that we could Mother’s Day at the New York Botanical Gardens. We have fond memories of spending time there years ago now.
We drove from a grey and leafless Ontario, through New York state with our three children buckled three in a row. A seven-hour drive in which we made only one, hour-long stop at a giant playground nestled in a charming neighbourhood. An hour outside of New York City everything turned green and we saw the first cherry and apple tree blossoms.
New York, New York, the city that never sleeps has rightfully earned that name. It can be quite a shock to the senses upon arrival. But, it is not all about the exhausting, pavement pounding day followed by an evening theatre and dinner scene. Once a visitor gets past all of the shiny extractions and extensive lineups, there are little places where peacefulness resides. It is a city that can be welcoming to families and travel can be done at a slower pace. I recommend travelling to the city in spring or autumn for the best experience.
All days with young children start early. Travelling, though tiring, sometimes makes children sleep less. To manage, parents can opt for visiting one or two of the many amazing coffee shops. From then on, most days can be enjoyed by choosing one place that is appealing to the children and one geared for adults. A visit to a playground is a must on most days which can be some nice downtown for adults.
Here are some child friendly ideas that you can pair with things that you want to see:
- Central Park (obviously!!): hit up any playground or splash-pad, walk down the mall, visit Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, walk around Conservatory Gardens. Before you go, geek-out on the Tree Guide.
- Bryant Park + New York Public Library: visit for story time, explore the building together, have quiet time reading a book inside or outside, have your child ride on the charming Le Carrousel
- Central Park Zoo (located at the southeast corner of the park): visit the petting zoo, see the seals, see the penguins and puffins
- Brooklyn Children’s Museum: (on a rainy day) and then go out fonr pizza and doughnuts
- New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx: kids love the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden but there are so many things to do! Eat lunch at the café there and take the train from Grand Central Station. Also, the park is licensed so grab a drink!
- Ballet Class: New York City Ballet Family Days offers a class to children 5 years of age or older. My daughter loved this class when we visited!
- Local Playgrounds: know where these are located so that you can pop out for a quick visit on the way to an attraction or avoid walking down that street if you’re on a schedule.