Magic is in the air! As a child, I loved to observe – in awe and wonder – all things that seemed magical: shooting stars, sunsets, fireflies, and rainbows. Even though I felt small, I felt connected to a bigger world that I wanted to explore fully. So I was absolutely thrilled to see several exhibits which I could take my kids to experience magic and wonder this Fall!

“The sense of wonder is the ability to be present to the world and be touched by that world.” – Karin Arndt, Ph.D.

For those who have children or an inner child that seeks magic and wonder, here are 6 magical experiences to explore in NYC:

1/ Harry Potter: A History of Magic

What: Visitors enter the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and get a look at old manuscripts and a variety of wonder-full objects (think magical rings, a “unicorn’s” horn, and good luck charms & jewels) from the British Library and New-York Historical Society. For younger children, there are some interactive games, including a cauldron where they can make their own potions, a magical crystal ball, and a tarot card table to read their past, present, and future! If they are very observant, they may even see a unicorn pass by one of the windows.

When: Exhibit currently open October 5, 2018 – January 27, 2019

Where: Upper West Side, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024

Buy Tickets: Adults $21, kids 5-13 years old $6, children 4 and under FREE

Tips: Book tickets online (it’s a timed entry!) for a weekday afternoon, except Mondays. Mondays & Weekends until December seem to be blocked/sold out/limited.

Both Arjun, 5 years old, and Aarav, 3, had a blast making a potion against bad dreams. Can you guess what’s in it?

We learned that magical rings have inscriptions that read the same from either direction (left to right AND right to left)… just like the words, “mom” and “dad”. We also saw that the oldest atlas of the night sky, a paper scroll made in China, almost three thousand years old, showed that the movement of stars reflected the actions of the emperor and his court; a solar eclipse eg could be a sign of a forthcoming coup.

As we were about to leave, Aarav gently placed his head on my shoulder about to fall asleep, then something caught his eye: a unicorn ? passing by one of the “windows”. Now you see it…

2/ Trolls, the Experience

What: You are invited to Poppy’s Best Day Ever celebration! You follow the rainbow path to experience all the fun, including getting your troll hair & face makeover, making music, playing an interactive high five-game, dancing with the trolls in 3D!

When: Exhibit currently open

Where: Midtown West, 218 West 57th st, 10019

Buy Tickets: $25, adults & kids 2-12 years old

Tips: Buy tickets online (it’s a timed entry!), foldable strollers are ok!

3/ Museum of Illusions

What: A fun, very interactive exhibit filled with rooms of optical illusions, an anti-gravity room, mirages, and more! This exhibit is great for kids to run around and explore

When: Exhibit currently open

Where: Meatpacking, 77 Eight Avenue, New York, NY, 10014

Buy Tickets: $19, kids 6-13 years old $15, kids under 6 are FREE

Tips: It’s better to leave the stroller at home, for you have to walk up steps to get in and there’s no stroller parking. Walk-ins are fine; exploration & curiosity are highly encouraged!

4/ New York Magic Lab

What: This place is fun for taking photos! For kids, there’s a ball pit, a slide and dance floor. For grownups, there are magic shows on weekends at 8 pm.

When: September 28 – October 28, 2018

Where: Meatpacking, 344 West 14th Street, 10014

Buy Tickets: $26 adults, $21 kids under 3 years old

Tips: It’s better to leave the stroller at home; again, there’s no stroller parking. Walk-ins are fine. Bring your playfulness!

5/ Color Factory

What: Color Factory is a collaborative interactive exhibit in celebration of color and creativity that connects you to the colorful moments around New York and in your own daily life.

When: August 20 – November 30

Where: SOHO, 251 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013

Buy Tickets: $38, kids 2 years old & under are FREE

Tips: Buy tickets online, leave the stroller at home.

6/ Mickey The True Original Exhibition

What: Mickey’s exhibition is a celebration and exploration of his influence on art and pop culture.

When: November 8, 2018 – February 10, 2019

Where: Meatpacking District, 60 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10014

Buy Tickets: $38, children 3 years old and under are FREE

Tips: Again, book tickets online (it’s a timed entry!) for any day except Monday; Mondays are closed.

Rachel Carson writes: “A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last through life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantment later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength.”

Enjoy your pursuit of magic and you may find that it is, indeed, a wonder-full world.