Central Park Zoo
The Central Park Zoo is another favorite. It is the perfect size for a child such as mine. You can feed some animals or just watch others do so, and the sea lion show always holds my son's attention. Bathrooms are easy to find, and there are plenty of benches around for breaks.
Barnes and Noble
Most of us walk past them all the time, but you may not realize how much there is to do in a Barnes and Noble. We love spending time there, especially on a rainy day. It is particularly great that kids do not need to be quiet like in a library. My son spends time looking through books and DVDs or putting on a show with the stuffed animals. If he needs to take a break we head to the store’s cafe for a snack and a drink.
Walking the Brooklyn Bridge
We recently discovered that we love to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. It is a great, free, physical activity to do. The bridge can get crowded, but there are benches along the way if anyone needs a break. Once you get to the other side, you can walk back, take a subway, or ride a ferry back across the river.
The East River Ferry
We recently took a ride on the East Side Ferry from Brooklyn to Manhattan, and it was a big hit. The ride took about 40 minutes and was reasonably priced at $6.00 per person on a Sunday. My son boarded without hesitation, took a seat next to a window, put his headphones on, and enjoyed the trip. I would recommend checking the schedule in advance if long waits can be a problem for your child.
The East River Esplanade
Another great outdoor space we love is the East River Esplanade, which runs along Manhattan’s east side. There are a variety of entrances for easy access. It can be a very entertaining place for my son. He can watch helicopters take off and land or watch boats of all sizes go by. We often bring his scooter for him to ride. There are plenty of benches along the way, so I can bring a snack and we can rest if he needs a break.
These are some of my favorite things to do with my son. Having autism makes it a challenge to find things that he can handle and enjoy. I will continue to search for options and opportunities for him. He deserves to enjoy experiences while living in this city just as much as every other kid!
Photo above: Sea lions at the Central Park Zoo.