Winter has arrived in NYC, and that means chilly air, rain and occasionally snow that puts the “white” in the “Great White Way.” Now, the city is lovely in winter—you can get a different perspective on Central Park or the New York Botanical Garden, or go ice skating in Rockefeller Center, at Bryant Park, or in Central Park’s rinks. However, many of us want to stay warm, and there are myriad indoor things to do when the temperature drops too low.
Not an art museum, not a science museum, and not a circus sideshow, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Times Square showcases the oddities in life and delivers the ultimate in shockingly odd, true stories. The exhibits include Ripley’s collection of 24 shrunken heads that were the spoils of war for the Jivaro Indians of Ecuador; a 3,197-lb. meteorite that fell to earth in China during the Ming Dynasty in 1529; a collection of Olympic torches; and human and animal oddities. Discover the embodiment of one man’s endless fascination with our world and his belief that fact is stranger than fiction. And be sure to visit their shop, which features t-shirts, bizarre collectibles, unique jewelry, crazy candy and toys that will engage your imagination. 234 W. 42nd St. btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves., 212-398-3133; ripleysnewyork.com
Discovery Times Square has quickly become home to some of NYC’s most engaging exhibits, and this winter is no exception. Through January 5th, there's Shipwreck! Pirates & Treasure and The Art of the Brick, while Body Worlds: Pulse has taken up permanent residence. Save 20% on tickets to BODY WORLDS: PULSE with code CG20BWP. 226 W. 44th St., 866-987-9692; discoverytsx.com
Another way to escape any winter blues you might have is to visit the American Museum of Natural History and their exhibit, The Butterfly Conservatory: Tropical Butterflies Alive in Winter. This highly popular winter attraction transforms the iciest day into a magical summer escape, inviting you to mingle with up to 500 fluttering, iridescent butterflies among blooming tropical flowers and lush green vegetation in 80-degree temperatures. Stand outside the vivarium and watch through translucent walls as monarchs, zebra longwings, paper kites, and other butterfly species flutter among people and plants, and transport yourself to a tropical setting.
Another must see, especially for lovers of all things related to space, is the brand new half-hour sky show at The Hayden Planetarium, Dark Universe, narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson. Produced by an innovative team that includes astrophysicists and science visualization experts, Dark Universe, starts at the edge of our solar system. After flying through our planetary neighborhood, visualized using the latest scientific data, viewers arrive at California’s Mount Wilson Observatory, where Edwin Hubble’s discovery that the universe is expanding gave the first hint of the Big Bang. But these revelations have also uncovered intriguing new mysteries. But what is the mysterious dark energy accelerating cosmic expansion? What is the invisible dark matter underlying galaxies that, together with dark energy, account for at least 95 percent of the universe’s total energy and mass? In stunningly detailed scenes based on authentic scientific data—including a NASA probe’s breathtaking plunge into Jupiter’s atmosphere and novel visualizations of unobservable dark matter—Dark Universe explores this new age of cosmic discovery and reveals the mysteries that have been brought to light so far.
Central Park West at 79th St., 212-769-5100; amnh.org
Starting Jan. 24 at The Guggenheim Museum is the new exhibit, Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography. Weems is a socially conscious artist, whose works invite contemplation on race, gender, and class. Comprehensive in scope, this retrospective primarily features photographs, including the groundbreaking Kitchen Table Series (1990), but also presents written texts, audio recordings, and videos.
For a special night out on the town, perhaps you'd like to take in a Broadway show. The longrunning hit, Chicago, welcomes star Bebe Neuwirth, returning to the production for a third time, this time in the role as Matron "Mama" Morton, from Jan. 14-March 9.
Who do you want to meet? At Madame Tussauds New York you can gaze into the eyes of your favorite film, music, and sports stars and feel like they’re staring right back. Because each wax figure is an exact duplicate of the iconic figure they represent, you can see how you measure up to your favorite stars. Members of the Madame T pantheon include Taylor Lautner, Jennifer Aniston, Carmelo Anthony, Robert Pattinson, President Barack Obama, and many others. Spirit of New York is an interactive exhibit celebrating New York’s greatest icons and unforgettable moments. You can immerse yourself in everything that is “New York” with a vibrant walk through the city’s history along with iconic wax figures of yesterday and today. Stand alongside Marilyn Monroe in a classic movie scene, ring the bell at the Stock Exchange, and reflect on the past at the 9/11 Memorial. 234 W. 42nd St., 866-841-3505; nycwax.com
The interactive Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is a floating museum complex that includes the 900-foot-long aircraft carrier Intrepid with seven full decks and four theme halls; the guided missile submarine Growler; and an extensive aircraft collection including the A-12 Blackbird, the fastest plane in the world, the British Airways Concorde, and space shuttle Enterprise, the original NASA orbiter that paved the way for America’s successful space shuttle program. Pier 86, W. 46th St. & Twelfth Ave., 212-245-0072; intrepidmuseum.org