Younger kids have great choices too (such as the Natural History Museum, and Central Park), and can also look forward to some Amazing Toy Stores that provide fun as well as shopping ops. And don't rule out the art museums: most have handouts -- like scavenger hunts-- designed for kids, and Audio Guides often have special commentaries for kids.
Meanwhile, outside the City, 90 minutes driving gets you to resorts in the Catskills: such as Rocking Horse Ranch Resort, with mind-boggling array of outdoors and indoors activities, plus nursery and kids programs -- and all-inclusive pricing. Or Mohonk Mountain House, a Victorian castle perched on a lake, with 1200 acres and year-round outdoors activities.
Cooperstown NY is another destination: billed as "America's most perfect village", Cooperstown has the Baseball Hall of Fame, and historic and family-friendly Otesaga Resort Hotel.
And then there's Lake George, a prime recreation area in summer, three to four hours drive from NYC, with watersports, minigolf, and other man-made attractions including the Great Escape Amusement Park -- a Six Flags theme park plus water park -- and its Six Flags Great Escape Lodge with indoor water park. Nature-lovers, meanwhile, can find miles of hiking trails in giant Adirondack Park. Lake George also has history, museums, and a grand vintage hotel.
- See these and more ideas for New York State Vacations