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6 Family-Friendly Interactive Experiences for Summer in NYC

There’s no better time than summer to spend an afternoon with kids in a new, inspiring world. These immersive environments will enliven your child’s imagination, teach them about the world, and (most important) get out some excess energy as they dance, sing, climb, and play. Here are 6 interactive experiences to enjoy with kids this summer, Pip's Island, Color Factory, Intrepid Museum, and others.

Pip’s Island

Pips Island

The new Pip’s Island on 42nd Street takes the word “immersive” to a new level. This kid-focused experience invites them to join Pip on a magical adventure with the help of digital projections, intricate sets, puppets, and live actors. In the inaugural experience called The Lighthouse Rescue, kids wear special protective vests and move throughout the large space on a series of missions that utilize their incredible imaginations. Your kids will be empowered to help Pip conquer bad guy Joules Volter with creative problem-solving, teamwork, and joy. This 60-minute experience will fly by, and chances are they’ll want to do it all over again. Luckily, another chapter in the Pip’s Island story will begin in several months! Recommended for kids 5-11. 400 W. 42nd St., 212-609-1372, pipsisland.com

Trolls The Experience

Kids can interact with the trolls—and even become one themselves—at DreamWorks Trolls the Experience in Midtown. Kids will start off by selecting a signature troll hairdo and getting their faces painted to look like their favorite characters from the animated films. Then the real fun begins, with a scrapbook craft, a confetti-filled wind tunnel called the Caterbus, and a dance party with 3D trolls! Your kids will enter a world of magic and fun with this unique interactive experience, and parents are sure to get excellent pics. On site you’ll also find a gift shop and cafe with treats from City Bakery. Available now through September 2. 218 W. 57th St., 855-316-8306, trollstheexperience.com

Broadway at Madame Tussauds

Madame Tussauds Broadway

Bring your Broadway babies to Madame Tussauds this summer for some musical fun! The Times Square attraction's Madame Tussauds New York Presents Broadway lets you and your family stage a musical inspired by the work of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Your kids can compose a score on the floor piano, try on wigs in the dressing room, sing “Memories” with Grizabella from Cats, and join the Phantom of the Opera onstage. There’s also a pre-show Broadway Bar available for grown-ups. Other interactive experiences at Madame Tussauds include the Marvel 4D experience, a Ghostbusters experience, Mission: Undead in 7D, and more. Come join the fun at Madame Tussauds, and see some celebs while you’re around! 234 W 42nd St., 212-512-9600, madametussauds.com

Discovery Room at American Museum of Natural History

Kids 5-12 can explore the dazzling world of the American Museum of Natural History on the first floor at the Discovery Room. This free feature of the museum (offering 40-minute sessions at no cost) gives children hands-on access to many areas of the natural world. They can climb inside a baobab tree and look for animals, handle artifacts beneath the Kwakiutl totem pole, monitor actual earthquakes around the world, and put together a Triassic-era reptile skeleton. This permanent exhibition is a highlight of this massive museum, which is also offering a T.rex-themed VR feature at the T.rex: The Ultimate Predator exhibition this year. Central Park W. at 79th St., 212-769-5100, amnh.org

Color Factory

Color Factory

All ages are welcome at Color Factory, a massive interactive art space in Soho. This San Francisco import utilizes the power of color in a series of highly Instagrammable rooms (there are even cameras posted in each that can send photos to your device!). Kids can learn their secret color, customize the color of an ice cream scoop, play in a mint-colored ball pit, and boogie on the light-up dance floor. Available now through August 31. 251 Spring St., support@colorfactory.co, colorfactory.co

Defying Gravity at The Intrepid

Meet an astronaut hologram (yes, really) at The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Defying Gravity explores the indelible impact of women in the U.S. space program. You and your family will wear VR headsets at this exhibit and let Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space, lead you through the story of groundbreaking women like herself. While you’re around, see new exhibits like Apollo 11: Media, the Moon and Beyond in honor of the moon landing’s 50th anniversary. Pier 86: W 46 St. and 12th Ave., 877-957-SHIP, intrepidmuseum.org 

About the Author

Merrill Lee Girardeau grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. The recipient of a BA in English and an MFA in Writing, Merrill Lee teaches English to college students and lives in Brooklyn.

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