When I first heard about this series, I have to admit that I chuckled. I remember the harrowing adventures that my first wife and I undertook. We called them vacations, but with two small children in tow, they generally resulted in a form of torture that not even the interrogators at Guantanamo Bay could have invented! I think it would be fair to say that nobody had a good time, we did the Grand Canyon, and after two days no one was talking to anyone. We did Disneyland, we did Universal Studios, we did Sea World, inevitably by the end of the adventure we were all in a bad mood. Looking back, it was not the parents fault, neither was it the children’s fault. We had different expectations, and what we did was try to enforce our wills on each other.

The Travel With Kids series takes a different, and better approach than I did. They follow a family on a vacation adventure, but the adventure is designed to appeal to young and old (oops for old read adult).

New York is to say the least an interesting city, the hustle and bustle is world famous, but the concept of visiting this metropolis with two small children made my head spin. I would likely have suffered some horrible cardiac issue had I put the city on my vacation list.

However, Travel With Kids reveals a new tactic, even this busy and for the most part adult mecca has much that can be of interest to the young and inquiring mind. Our enterprising family, the Roberts, have a clear plan on how everyone can have a great, and memorable time. The important word in the last sentence is ‘plan’. By planning ahead the vacation will be fun for all involved. Another key element is attention span, while we as adults may happily spend 8 hours at an attraction, young children will get bored and cranky.

Travel With Kids – New York takes us on a fascinating journey of discovery. And while cost is mentioned for some of the activities, they have selected a good cross section of activities that will fit most peoples budgets.

The Natural History Museum is a wonderful place for young and old, but be warned, it is so big that even though the kids will have fun, you likely will have to limit the visit to a few hours.

Central Park is huge, how best to explore it? Horse drawn carriage. While the adults can enjoy the magnificence of the surroundings, the little ones can marvel at the horse pulling the carriage.

For dinner, well a trip to Mars! well at least a restaurant that is decked out as being on the Red planet.

Actually this DVD plays on a number of levels, it is just out and out a wonderful exploration of New York, and is peppered with little factoids about the city.  Sure it might be aimed at people traveling with kids, but I enjoyed it, just for what it is. A truly interesting exploration of a city.

I think the key to the success of this DVD is that the film makers have made New York approachable. The use of little pop up facts, and the running commentary certainly gained my interest.

I doubt that many visitors to New York understand the significance of the UN, nor Ellis Island. One is within our lifetime, the UN represents the first faltering steps to becoming a United Planet. The other, Ellis Island, a stark reminder of our past, and in this post 9/11 era, maybe our future.

These folks manage to squeeze a lot into a 45 minute video production. Even if you are not planning on visiting New York, the DVD is a great way of taking a vacation vicariously.

Although primarily aimed at families, this travel guide would be useful to anyone planning a vacation in New York. The DVD also includes all sorts of useful extras, including a trip planner, which gives additional information on the various attractions.

This DVD is actually one in the Travel With Kids series. And if this one is reflective of the others, I will recommend them sight unseen!

You can purchase your copy of Travel With Kids – New York from Amazon. Janson media are the distributors and their full catalog is available online.

Simon Barrett

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