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6 Unique New York Experiences To Try On Your Next Visit

Category Broadway

|by Mark Robinson |

Brush shoulders with celeb, experience a black hole and more

There is so much to do in Manhattan that it is easy to become overwhelmed by the possibilities. Once you have visited all the “must-see” tourist destinations such as the Statue of Liberty, The Empire State Building and Central Park, there are other experiences to be had that are uniquely out-of-the-box. Here are six immersive and interactive experiences that are bound to delight the family and that you should consider on your next sojourn to the Big Apple.

Don’t miss out on these unique experiences in the Big Apple this season (Photo: iStock)

Don’t miss out on these unique experiences in the Big Apple this season (Photo: iStock)

Madame Tussauds
Wax museums have been around for centuries, but the truly amazing figures to be found at Madame Tussauds take the art form of waxworks to a whole new level. Wander through galleries where stunning recreations of over 250 famous figures have been assembled, a chance to grab a selfie with the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Justin Timberlake, Jimmy Fallon, Serena Williams, The Kardashians, Albert Einstein and The Queen of England. Of particular interest for theatergoing fans is the exhibit “Madame Tussauds New York Presents Broadway,” an immersive experience that places visitors amid the magic of the Great White Way and some of Broadway’s most-iconic talents and shows. Also in house are the “Marvel 4-D Film Experience” and “The Ghostbusters Experience.” Madame Tussauds is conveniently located in the heart of Times Square at 234 W. 42nd Street.

New York Historical Society Museum
Now here is a museum that really gets at the heart of what New York City is all about. The New York Historical Society Museum at 170 Central Park West (next to the Museum of Natural History), takes visitors on a journey into the past and back to the present as it guides them through the history of the Big Apple. From the stories of the Native Americans who lived there for centuries, through NYC’s settlement by the Dutch and English and its emergence as a port city for trade and a chief destination for immigrants the world over, the New York Historical Society Museum brings history to life. The museum’s mission is “to promote research and present history and art that show the impact that the history of New York has on its present.”

Ripley’s Believe It or Not – Times Square
Are you enthralled by the odd, unique, extraordinary, and unbelievable? If so, a trip to Ripley’s Believe It or Not – Times Square will leave your eyes wide-open, your mouth agape, and your mind stirring over the interactive exhibits, artifacts and mind-boggling historical stories to be found there. You’ll see such fascinating things as shrunken heads and sword swallowing, and experience such standout experiences at Ripley’s including The Black Hole and The Impossible LaseRace. You can enjoy Ripley’s Believe It or Not – Times Square at your own leisure pace, and you will most-likely step out the door changed for the experience. You will be awed, believe it or not! Located at 234 West 42nd Street.

The Empire State Building Sunrise Experience
What could be more breathtaking than to stand on the 86th floor of The Empire State Building at dawn and watch as the sun comes up in the east, casting its glow over the NYC skyline and the surrounding waters? With The Empire State Building Sunrise Experience, offers startling vistas of such locales as Central Park, The Hudson River, The Statue of Liberty and Central Park. It is also the perfect way to get your day in the city off to a memorable start, on top of the world and enjoying the city while it is quiet and at its most magical. The experience also comes with access to the Official Observatory App that teaches you about the glorious sites you are drinking in.

NYC Slavery and Underground Railroad Tour
With the recent film Harriet, about the runaway slave-turned-abolitionist Harriet Tubman, playing in theatres all over America, why not take some additional time to learn about slavery escape routes and the people who used them in NYC and its surrounding areas? The NYC Slavery and Underground Railroad Tour will give you a rich and informative experience in understanding slavery in the north, the history behind it, and the bold but secretive efforts put in place to help slaves find their freedom. You’ll visit homes of abolitionists and the safe houses of refuge that were part of the network known as “The Underground Railroad” and learn the stories behind the brave individuals who would stop at nothing to ensure freedom for all. The NYC Slavery and Underground Railroad Tour commences at One Bowling Green.

National Geographic Encounter – Ocean Odyssey
We cannot stop extolling the wonders and magic to be found at National Geographic Encounter – Ocean Odyssey.  A step-above visiting an aquarium, this attraction will have you feeling as though you are walking directly through the Pacific Ocean. Found at 226 West 44th Street, you will leave behind the crowds and cacophony of Times Square and be transported to a hypnotic world as you come in contact with sharks, whales, squids and sea lions. The National Geographic Encounter – Ocean Odyssey features 60,000 square feet of space with projection screens, holograms, photo-real animation, and interactive games, giving visitors an opportunity to explore the ocean bottom in a way never before achieved. It’s a perfect way for the family to learn and have fun at the same time. 

Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. His latest book, Sitcommentary: The Television Comedies That Changed America, released on October 15. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at

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