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Top things to do with kids in New York City

Lion Cubs at the Bronx Zoo

Triplet African lion cubs, born on January 27, play in the Bronx Zoo's African Plains habitat in New York in April.AP Photo/WCS, Julie Larsen Maher

New York City is a giant playground for children and adults alike. From art museums to zoos, you can discover a wonderful spot around every corner, but some sites are just better suited for kids. Here is a guide to the top three places where children can learn, play and make lifelong memories. 

American Museum of Natural History
At one of New York's coolest museum for kids, gargantuan dinosaur fossils and life-size elephant models tower over visitors. If you prefer more delicate (and living) critters, you can visit the Butterfly Conservatory and admire 500 types of tropical butterflies in the dead of winter. The museum also boasts Imax and space shows, where you can watch a tornado being born or take a virtual journey deep into space. With 46 exhibition halls to explore, kids can learn about everything from natural wonders to the human brain to the art of ancient civilizations. The massive building sits right at the edge of Central Park, another fantastic place for kids.The museum is open daily, but shows and exhibitions change over time. To find the most recent updates and hear about the latest events, visit www.amnh.org.

Central Park Conservatory Water
On a warm and sunny day, this man-made pond is a quaint spot to relax in Central Park. The conservatory was first inspired by 19th-century Parisian model boat ponds, and after 135 years of racing, model boats continue to grace the conservatory waters today. Elegant sailboats glide along water, easily controlled by children and experts. Blossoming cherry trees make a charming backdrop. From around April to October, you can bring your own model boat or rent one from Central Park Model Sailboat Rentals. On Friday and Saturday nights in the summer, illuminated model boats create a light show. The pond transforms into an ice skating rink during the winter months. For more information, including a map of the park, visit Central Park's official website.

Bronx Zoo
As the world's largest urban zoo, the Bronx Zoo houses over 6,000 animals including snow leopards, gorillas and anacondas. Visitors can witness a sea lion feeding in the morning and a penguin feeding in the afternoon. You and your little ones can tour the jungle, watching gibbons swinging through trees right over your head. Look down and you'll spot giant turtles wading through a waterfall. A ride on the famous Wild Asia Monorail will take you through 40 acres of natural habitats, to a realm of tigers, elephants and rhinos. Just remember to bring your binoculars. Other special exhibitions like the Congo Gorilla House, the Butterfly Conservatory and Madagascar offer great escapes into the most wild of worlds. If you want one-on-one contact with the animals, you can take a short camel ride or stop by the children's zoo and pet your heart away. The zoo's hours and exhibitions vary depending on the season, so plan your trip ahead of time. To find out if your favorite animals are out and about, visit http://www.bronxzoo.com/.