School Trip Attractions in New York

By Dom Bewley

Teachers, assemble! Are you looking to take your kids on a trip to New York? Are you hoping they'll learn more than a textbook will ever teach them? Do you simply need to get out of the classroom before you have a nervous breakdown? Never fear; we're here with our recommendations for the best school trip attractions in New York! Read on, and get inspired; the children are our future, after all.

Including:

  • Empire State Building
  • 9/11 Memorial and Museum
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
  • The Museum of Modern Art
  • and more!

Higher State of Learning

The Empire State Building is one of New York's most famous landmarks, and that alone may be enough to take your class there. The views from the 86th floor are breathtaking, and let you look down on the entire city. But there's learning to be had there too, thanks to the building's new interactive museum.

Over 12 galleries, your kids will learn all about the building's history - when it was conceived, how it was built, and the work that has gone into it over the years to keep it updated. You can even take them to the observation deck on the 102nd floor, but that will set you back extra. And really, are they worth it? That's for you to decide.

Never Forget

Sometimes, learning can be fun, and other times, not so much. However, that doesn't mean the latter isn't any less important. In the wake of the tragedies in 1993 and 2001, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum was erected, ensuring that future generations never forget. It might not be fun, but it's an important turning point in the history of not just America, but the world as well.

The memorial commemorates the nearly 3000 victims who lost their lives during the attacks, as well as the first responders who put their lives on the line to save many more. Then, once your class has paid their respects, you can explore the museum, where they'll experience the entire story of 9/11 through multimedia displays, archives, narratives, and a collection of monumental and authentic artifacts.

Awe-inspiring History

Nothing fascinates kids quite like the ancient behemoths that used to walk our planet. So why not tickle their curiosity with a trip to the American Museum of Natural History? Over 5 million history fanatics visit every year, so do yourself a favor and let your kids join them!

They'll gawp at the 94-foot whale, the 563-carat Star of India sapphire, and the 2000-year-old giant Sequoia tree. But there's plenty more to see too. In the Earth and Space halls, they'll get up close and personal with meteorites while they learn about space exploration. Or head to the Human and Culture halls to help them learn about humankind's origins, and how we spread out across multiple continents way back when. Easily one of the best school trip attractions in New York, as it covers such a massive length of history and species!

Lady Liberty

Another of New York's most prominent landmarks, and arguably its most famous, is the Statue of Liberty. So why not take your learning clan across to Ellis Island by ferry and explore the beauty up close?

Stoll around the Statue of Liberty National Monument and let them take some quick social snaps from ground level. Then, enter the statue itself and learn all about its history - from its construction to its meaning, and where it came from. There are a wealth of interactive exhibits and artifacts for them to enjoy up close, such as a copper model of the lady's face. Then, if you have time, take them to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum to learn about how immigrants helped make New York the city is today. After all that, hop on the ferry back to the mainland and pat yourself on the back for an amazing day out they won't soon forget!

MoMA Lisa

The art teachers out there might want to show your students how contemporary artists get it done. If so, take your class to the Museum of Modern Art, or MoMA. It houses one of the best collections of modern art on the planet, including some instantly recognizable pieces.

Van Gogh's Starry Night and Warhol's Campbell Soup Cans are arguably the highlights, but there are many more pieces by world-renowned modern artists too. Monet, Gauguin, Seurat, and Cézanne are just some of the many artists celebrated at this magnificent museum. If you're taking your art class on a school trip to New York, this is one of the attractions that should be on top of your list!

Image courtesy of Ark Neyman/Shutterstock

City History

Of course, with all the learning and history available in New York, you may want your class to learn more about the city itself. If so, head to the New York Historical Society Museum & Library, and learn more about this crazy city we call the Big Apple.

They'll explore artifacts from throughout the city's history, from 16th-century arrows to 3000-year-old-toys. It's a quirky and disparate collection, for sure, but that's just what New York deserves!

Besides all the older historical items, they'll find exhibits dedicated to pop culture, NYC's links to celebrity and cinema, and in the Center for Women's History, how important a role women played in the New York we know and love today. New York has a fascinating history, and you'll find it all here and more!

War on the Water

And finally, we'll end our list of the best school trip attractions in New York with a floating paradise of information. That's because our final recommendation, the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum and Space Shuttle, is uniquely housed on an old aircraft carrier!

The Intrepid was a WWII vessel that survived torpedo strikes and kamikaze attacks, and now, you can explore the history of America's maritime warfare over its massive 150,000 square feet. Your kids will get up close with 28 aircraft and helicopters from throughout the 20th century, the space shuttle Enterprise, and a submarine called a Growler. Don't ask.

And those are our recommendations for school trip attractions in New York! Wherever you take them, we hope they have fun.

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Clipper City Tall Ship Returns

[caption id="attachment_1286" align="aligncenter" width="568"] Clipper City Tall Ship | Photo by @manhattanbysail[/caption] The weather has finally lightened up in New York City and it appears to be at just the right time. Now that we can finally hang up our coats and enjoy the sunshine, many people will be looking for a nice cruise to relax and view what NYC has to offer. Luckily, today marks the return of Manhattan By Sail's famous Clipper City Tall Ship and Shearwater Classic Schooner. Clipper City Tall Ship Although the original ship was decommissioned in 1890, the Clipper City Tall Ship was rebuilt just 4 years later by architects DeJong and LeBet. Some of the best views of lower Manhattan can be captured on the ship's 90 minute ride from the south end of Battery Park. The ship departs twice daily at 2:15 pm and 4:30 pm from now until October 9th and there's plenty of room as each cruise holds approximately 130 people on its 158-foot frame. Some of the great sights captured on the cruise include the Brooklyn Bridge, Governor's Island and also Ellis Island so make sure to keep a camera handy. [caption id="attachment_1288" align="aligncenter" width="542"] Shearwater Classic Schooner | Photo via @manhattanbysail[/caption] Shearwater Classic Schooner Another historic ship making it's return today is the Shearwater Classic Schooner. First launched in May of 1929, the Schooner has quite a long rap sheet. Aside from ushering a leisurely cruise, The ship has also served as a member of the United States Coast Guard's Coastal Picket Patrol during World War II and has been honored as a National Landmark in 2009. The Schooner sails everyday of the week, offering 90 minute cruises, similar to the Clipper City Tall Ship. Below is the schedule for the Shearwater Classic: Monday - Friday: 12:30 pm and 2:45 pm Saturday: 12 pm and 2 pm Sunday: 2 pm Be one of the first people to ride the Clipper City Tall Ship and Shearwater Classic Schooner this season using your New York Pass. Also, visit our website for more cruises being offered during this time of year.
Go City Expert
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Things to do in New York during COVID

It’s still summer out there but creeping into fall, and with most of us having spent the best part of the year indoors, you’re wondering how to make the most of all the sunlight and slightly cooler temperature. This 'things to do in New York during COVID' list has been designed to take in your key considerations during this time including: Be safe. Get active! On Location Tours: Central Park Filming Location Walking Tour Did you know that Central Park’s 18,000 trees play a critical role in fighting climate change by cooling the urban heat of Manhattan? Team your appreciation for stunning outdoor spaces (and everything they do for us) with your love of entertainment, while getting your step count up. Join an On Location Central Park TV & Movie Sites Walking Tour to visit the places your favorite movies were shot. Step into the shoes of Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone 2 and feed the pigeons. Visit the Boathouse Café used in When Harry Met Sally. Your expert guide will point out key locations from iconic movies to ensure that you swap passing by for being part of the action! There are also some points to consider on the timing of your visit here so read is New York Safe for further tips. Availability: Daily Ages: All ages Duration: 2 hours Great for: Entertainment and nature lovers, outdoor types, sightseers, local explorers Booking Type: Pre-book or join free with The New York Pass Virtual TCS Marathon The great thing about a crisis is that creative minds among us think of inventive ways to the things they love uninterrupted. So while most conventional marathons are cancelled, for now, New York Road Runners virtual marathon is allowing runners to race five boroughs virtually, from around the globe. To learn more about and sign up for the Run for Guaranteed Entry or Run for the Medal tiers, visit the Virtual TCS New York City Marathon guide. And if you need a bit of a training boost, enjoy 10% off NYRR Coaching Lab Essentials 26.2 and a 30-day Strava subscription. This is definitely one of the more challenging things to do in New York during COVID, so if you're entering, good luck! Availability: October 17 - November 1 Ages: All ages Great for: Fitness enthusiasts, locals Booking Type: Pre-book Brooklyn Bridge Tours & Rentals by Unlimited Biking Twenty-one elephants walked across the Brooklyn Bridge in 1884. Why not trace their footsteps on your bike in the present day? This Brooklyn Bridge Bike Tours & Rentals brought to you by Unlimited Biking, allows you to see some of the best parts of Brooklyn from the saddle. Opt for an all-day self-guided bike ride or be part of a 2-hour guided bike tour. Spot the Statue of Liberty. See Ellis Island and Staten Island. Coast past New York Harbor. All while soaking in views of the famous New York City skyline. Availability: Daily Ages: All ages Duration: 2 hours Great for: Outdoor types, fitness enthusiasts, sightseers, local explorers Booking Type: Pre-book or join free with The New York Pass Get excited for Halloween Pumpkin picking at Decker Farm If you’re worried about the pandemic affecting your Halloween, it's time to get back into the spirit of the season. Set in Historic Richmond Town, Decker’s Farm is NYC’s oldest working family farm. Impressively, it was also designated a New York landmark in 1967. Visiting the attraction not only supports the farm itself, but bolsters the work they do. They're a key part of the Staten Historical Society, who preserve and present centuries of American life. Have a great day searching the patch for the perfect pumpkin. Learn about the farm. And have some delicious autumnal food, all while making a little slice of history. Availability: Saturdays and Sundays in October Ages: All ages Great for: Families, outdoor enthusiasts, food lovers, history enthusiasts Booking Type: Pre-book Re-embrace culture The Guggenheim Museum The Guggenheim is an NYC architectural masterpiece. It's also home to one of the finest modern art collections in the world. If you haven’t been before, why not go during this quieter period? The museum opens its doors again on October 3, giving adoring art enthusiasts the opportunity to safely experience the art housed within. Ascend the landmark's grand spiral and experience the Guggenheim’s special exhibitions and permanent collections.Availability: Daily from October 3 Ages: All ages Great for: Art & culture lovers, families, sightseers, local explorers Booking Type: Pre-book or enjoy free entry with The New York Pass The Whitney Museum of American Art As a thank you to the local community, The Whitney is asking visitors to donate what they want to enter. Just remember to pre-book. The affordability and general experience of The Whitney make it one of the best things to do in New York during COVID. Explore one of New York City's most prominent art museums, specializing in art from the 20th and 21st centuries. And surprisingly so. It features works from artists like Georgia O'Keeffe, Edward Hopper, Jasper Johns and Jackson Pollock. But the museum has also made a reputation for purchasing art from upcoming artists within the same year the pieces were created. Expect dynamism that captures your attention and imagination from this great museum. Availability: Closed on Tues & Weds Ages: All ages Great for: Art & culture lovers, families, sightseers, local explorers Booking Type: Pre-book or enjoy free entry with The New York Pass The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MoMA) With limited tickets available, it’s worth mentioning from the offset that art lovers need to pre-book early to avoid disappointment. With over 5,000 years of art, more than 2 million works and more than 30 annual exhibits behind its doors, it’s no wonder the Met is one of the most famous museums in the world. Discover the art centre of the city (and one of the best things to do in New York during COVID). Availability: Daily - check the official site for updates Ages: All ages Great for: Art & culture lovers, families, sightseers, local explorers Booking Type: Pre-book or enjoy free entry with The New York Pass Be a part of nature The Brooklyn Botanic Garden The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is New York’s beloved oasis. From the 500-year-old Shogun lantern from Japan to its Fragrance Garden for the visually impaired, the attraction is an amazing piece of American horticultural history. And it's home to secrets that make every visit unique. Creating a paradox between the city’s urban landscape, every garden on display showcases a rich and diverse mix of botany in every color and size. It’s a great day out for the entire family. Kids will love the Children's Garden, which also features award-winning raised fruit and vegetable beds. The project was designed to teach children the importance of a sustainable environment for growing food. Availability: Daily - check the official site for updates Ages: All ages Great for: Families, sightseers, local explorers, nature lovers Booking Type: Pre-book or enjoy free entry with The New York Pass There's still so many things to do in New York during COVID, make sure you check them out. And keep an eye on our attractions page for a reactive list of open and closed attractions.
Suz Pathmanathan
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Attraction of the Week - The Whitney

[caption id="attachment_566" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] The Whitney by Timothy Schenck[/caption] Overlooking the Hudson River, there stands one of New York’s true gems in the artistic sense. Having only moved to its new location in 2015, the Whitney Museum is somewhat of the “New kid on the block”. However, the museum has been in existence since the 1930’s and has continued to expand over the years. It’s nestled right next to the Southern entrance of High Line Park in the West Village and beautifully occupies about 200,000 square feet. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney had become a very successful art space creator with her Whitney Studio Club in 1918. She collected art from many artists around the world with the help of her assistant Juliana R. Force and at one point was going to donate pieces to the Met. After those pieces were rejected by the Met, Whitney decided to start her own Museum where she would showcase contemporary American art. The museum would struggle with space as their collection grew over the years as they held a small building located at 945 Madison Avenue. This led to the Whitney adding multiple branch locations to show off pieces that they couldn’t fit inside of the museum. The first additional Whitney branch opened in 1973 at 55 Water Street showcasing similar pieces to the main location but offering a smaller selection size for viewers. Multiple expansions followed including a 1981 exhibition space in Stamford, Connecticut and a lobby exhibition installed in the Philip Morris Park Avenue headquarters. While it’s great to expand and reach new audiences, what the Whitney really wanted to accomplish was getting a space big enough to hold their extensive collection which now features over 21,000 pieces. (Some big names listed in the collection include Larry Poons, Mark Rothko and Andy Warhol). They finally decided enough was enough and left their old building on Madison Avenue which was then ironically leased by the Met (current). The Whitney settled into their new location at 99 Gansevoort street in 2015 and opened their doors on May 1st. The new location not only has far more room for the Whitney’s annual and biennial exhibitions but also has some amazing views of the city. Of course the museum is next door neighbors with High Line Park which offers an elevated view of NYC so not to be outdone, the museum offers several observation decks to their visitors. The Whitney is opened during the following hours: Monday: 10.30am - 6pm Tuesday: Closed Wednesday: 10.30am - 6pm Thursday: 10.30am - 10pm Friday: 10.30am - 10pm Saturday: 10.30am - 10pm Sunday: 10.30am - 6pm
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