The Perfect Family Travel Destination on a Spring Day

Who doesn’t love spring? Bring it on.  It is cheerful…and a great time to travel – with one caveat: stay away from spring break crowds. During this shoulder season before summer you can generally find better airfare and hotel rates, and the weather is on the up and up.

Central Park

Take New York, for example – In the mid 70s this week… and Central Park is calling my name.

Of course, one of the best things to do is go to your favorite gourmet deli, pack a nice picnic lunch and bottle of wine, and watch life unfold from a peaceful plot of grass, in the most vibrant city in the world.

I did that recently, and I have to recommend the restaurant where I picked up my lunch: Mangia on West 57th and Ave of the Americas -  right near the entrance to the park.

Mangia specializes in hearty Mediterranean – think panini on artisan bread, and fresh salads. Mangia has other locations in the city – the one on 39th St strives for all organic dishes. The cafe claims to be able to deliver anywhere in the metro area. It’s not cheap – but what in New York is?

Once at the park, there is always something entertaining going on… we ate near a puppeteer who had a large group of  kids, including mine,  enthralled for a good half hour.

Another attraction that the kids (and adults!) will love is the Central Park Zoo. I might have to say it could be my very favorite zoo. Set in the park, the animals appear to be living on an Ivy League campus with vine covered brick buildings. Not only is it charming, it is intimate, and doesn’t have an amusement park sort of environment.

Sometimes it can feel a bit crowded, especially at the sea lion show which runs about three times a day. TIP : Note the time of the sea lion shows while you are there, get your spot early, before the show starts… and if you can bring an umbrella to shade yourself and your kids, that would be helpful. On a sunny day, you are fully exposed for the duration of the show.It is a cute program, with the sea lions constantly performing – impressing both children and adults.

Don’t miss the polar bear that swims right up to the glass wall that separates you… the penguins…

and the bird aviary  -

Who knew there were so many different kinds of birds? It is so interesting.

There is also the ever too-darn-cute children’s zoo within the zoo itself. This part is more petting zoo-interactive… with opportunities to buy food to feed the goats, and sheep.

Starting March 31, the zoo will be open 10-5:30 daily. Admission is $12 for adults, and $7 for those 12 and under.

Enjoy the new season….

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