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Family and Budget Friendly New York City by Wendy Bailey

Although notorious as a city where costs are out of control, even families on a budget can visit New York City. If you have children and a tight budget, here are some tips for having fun without breaking the bank.
– Museums

• Brooklyn Children’s Museum
145 Brooklyn Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11213
What to do there: There are hands-on activities to keep your children occupied and engaged. Exhibits feature both art and science. The “Totally Tots” sections of the museum is geared to children under 5.
Hours: Open 10am – 5pm Tuesday – Sunday. Closed Monday.
Cost: $7.50 per person, free every third Thursday between 5:00pm and 7:30pm and the second and fourth full weekend of every month between 2:00pm and 5:00pm (excluding holiday weekends).

• American Museum of Natural History
200 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
What to do there: Specifically for kids, there’s the hands-on Discovery Room. The museum also features a variety of exhibits ranging from meteorites to dinosaur fossils.
Hours: 10:00am – 5:45pm daily
Cost: Suggested admission of $16 per adult or $9 per child. Patrons can purchase tickets for less at an admission desk, if they wish.

• The New York City Police Museum
100 Old Slip
New York, NY 10005
What to do there: The Junior Officers Discovery Zone is a part of the museum especially for kids, featuring a physical test, climbing structure, fingerprinting display and more.
Hours: Monday – Saturday 10am – 5pm; Sunday 12pm – 5pm
Cost: Adults – $8.00; children – $5.00; children under 2 – Free

Children’s Museum of the Arts
182 Lafayette St # A
New York, NY 10013
What to do there: Aside from art exhibitions, there are art workshops for various age groups, and materials are included in the price of admission.
Hours: Monday & Tuesday – closed; Wednesday – Sunday 12pm – 5pm; Thursday 12pm – 6pm
Cost: Adults & children over 1 – $10; children under 1 – Free; Pay what you wish Thursday night from 4pm – 6pm

– Parks

Visit to find events in NYC parks catered to children. The website can also help you find the 15 nature centers with free admission around the city, from the Dana Discovery Center in Manhattan’s Central Park to the Van Cortlandt Nature Center in the Bronx’s Van Cortlandt Park.

– Restaurants

• Peanut Butter & Co.
240 Sullivan St.
New York, NY 10012
Menu Features: With 20 different peanut butter sandwiches and 10 peanut butter based desserts, this Greenwich Village eatery is sure to delight any child.
Hours: Sunday – Thursday 11am – 9pm; Friday – Saturday 11am – 10pm
Price Range: Sandwiches range from $5.00 – $8.00

• Prime Burger
5 East 51st Street
New York, NY 10022
Menu Features: All-day breakfast, burgers, and kids’ meals.
Hours: Monday – Friday 6am – 7pm; Saturday 7am – 5pm; closed Sunday
Price Range: Most menu items are priced under $10, with kids’ meals (including fries and a small soda) costing $5.95

Hotel Accommodations

There is a an enormous variety of hotels, hostels, and temporary housing available in New York City for you and your family.  Selecting the right hotel is a personal choice that depends on the type of accommodations that are acceptable to you.  The only rule of thumb to remember is that you often get what you pay for.  If you are able to find cheap housing in New York City, then assume that it is cheap for a reason.

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