It is best to buy tickets online and in advance when visiting the Intrepid Museum. It makes getting through the entrance faster.
Good to know
It can be very hot on top of the aircraft carrier, so hats are a good idea. On the other end of the spectrum, the submarine museum is a tour of an actual submarine. The entire tour takes place in a tight enclosed space.
There is a lot of walking at the Intrepid Museum, so the best time of day would be when you and your family have the most energy.
Recommended time of the year
The museum wasn't too crowded in August, arguably at the height of tourist season in New York, so it seems like anytime would be good to visit.
There is enough to do and see at the museum, you don't need to spend the extra money on additional activities such as the G-force simulator or the 4D experience.
About This Day
If your family is interested in things that fly, sail on the sea or dive below it, then the Intrepid Museum with kids is a must see. It boasts many different, amazing things in just one location. Begin by learning about the inner workings of an aircraft carrier. Then, check out the variety of planes, from across the decades, up close. Afterward, squeeze your way through the tight quarters of a submarine. After a fun, but long day, head to Riverside Park and enjoy dining al fresco at Ellington in the Park. Here you can relax and grab a drink while the kids play in the park. All in all, a wonderful day in New York with kids.
The Intrepid is a floating museum with many different exhibits relating to air, space and water. The majority of the time will be spent on the aircraft carrier. Each level of the ship has something interesting to explore. Don't miss the very top, the Flight Deck. It has an impressive display of military aircraft through the ages including planes from WWII, a stealth plane, a variety of helicopters and a space shuttle. Even though you can't touch or get into any of the aircraft, kids of all ages still are in awe of the exhibit and are thrilled to see the planes up close. You can also take a guided tour of the USS Growler, a guided missile submarine. You can see how the submarine looked when it was in operation, see how the crew lived, the control centre and the torpedo room. The staff that run the tours are often former naval personnel that served on a submarine. They offer fantastic insight on the tour.
DIRECTIONS The museum is accessible by all modes of public transportation. We took a taxi.
TIP The submarine tour can sometimes have a long line. If you see a short line, head to the sub tour and then go back to the other displays because they don't have lines. The aircraft carrier is big and it is easy to miss something. Use the map available and check in with the guest desk for directions if you can't find an exhibit you are interested in.
Riverside Park and Ellington in the Park both have a very local feel and might be missed by tourists. It is a relaxing place to wind down after a long day. The restaurant has yummy pub-like food and a good kid's menu. Parents can sit, order drinks and watch the kids run around the park. This part of Riverside Park is sand with two sets of traveling rings, which is a unique experience for the entire family. The rings are challenging, which is good because it keeps the kids occupied while waiting for dinner. The downside is if your kids are smaller, you might have to help them with the rings. There is also plenty of space to simply play in the sand. If your children are are older, there is a soccer field just down from the restaurant.
DIRECTIONS Riverside Park stretches along the Hudson River up near the 100s. We walked to dinner. The park and the restaurant are steps away from each other.
TIP Both the restaurant and the park are outside, so this outing is best enjoyed in fairly warm weather. Since we travelled in August, it was a wonderful experience to relax in a casual and quiet outdoor restaurant without having to entertain the children.