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Places to Celebrate a Two-Year-Old's Birthday in New York

by Julie De Savia Dunlop, studioD

New York is known as the city that never sleeps. That notion is all too familiar since the birth of your toddler almost two years ago. Channel that lack of sleep into planning the best birthday celebration a two year-old could wish for in or around New York City. Forgo those outrageously extravagant parties and tired pizza palace parties. Take advantage of the simple things that children this age love--animals, art and running around--and get this party planning started.

Bronx Equestrian Center

Choose one pony or several, depending on your guest list.

Make your child's dream of having a pony come true for a day with a pony party at this picturesque equestrian center located in Pelham Bay Park (www.bronxequestriancenter.com). A red barn serves as the festive party room. You provide the horse-themed food, such as carrot sticks, sugar cubes and a saddle cake. Little guests take supervised pony rides for an hour. You can even add carriages and wagons to this party. This facility is open year round. Guest list cannot exceed 15 children.

Children's Museum of Manhattan

The Children's Museum of Manhattan (cmom.org) is the place for music, art and educational fun for your well-rounded birthday toddler. Choose from several themed packages that include an educator who shares age-appropriate knowledge about the museum, a musician who serenades the dancing children with guitar music and an artist who guides the little art enthusiasts through an art project. Pizza for the children is included or you can opt for catering. All party packages include a cake from the famous Magnolia Bakery (magnoliabakery.com). Invitations, decorations and party favors are provided. Guests can roam the museum and visit all exhibits for free post-party. Past exhibits include The Paintings of Andy Warhol and Oh, Seuss! Off to Great Places.

Queens County Farm

Queens County's 47-acre retreat (queensfarm.org), the only working farm in town, has everything a city toddler only dreams of, from hayrides to dairy cows and baby chicks. This picturesque farm in an urban setting can host your little farmer's hoedown from April through October. City toddlers can experience country life while they tour the farmhouse and farmyard, enjoy the petting zoo and feed the animals. City parents will find the natural surroundings interesting with its historic farmhouse and barns, greenhouse, vineyard and orchards. Invitations, food, drink and favors are included. Your guests can stop at the farm stand upon departure for some farm fresh eggs, herbs, produce and honey. You may also enjoy the craft fair, corn maze, pumpkin patch, Apple Festival or Indian Pow Wow depending on the date of your party.

New York Aquarium

Aquariums often have a calming effect on children.

Your tot's party will run swimmingly smooth at the New York Aquarium (nyaquarium.com), open year round, where little guests will be infatuated with the underwater world they discover. You will get an age-appropriate guided tour from zookeepers, learn how they care for the fish and check out a feeding demonstration. Guests will enjoy the hands-on experience with sea life and create a fishy craft to take home.

Central Park Zoo

Your budding zookeeper will cherish his spectacular Central Park Zoo (centralparkzoo.com) party with all the animals he has grown to love. It includes a special encounter with a penguin, sea lion or barnyard animal, a performance and a special tour with a zookeeper. Partygoers even make special treats for the zoo animals and then watch the animals enjoy their treats. Your guests will go wild over this memorable party. You will go wild over the fact that every detail is included, from invitations and decorations to food, cake and party favors.

About the Author

Julie De Savia Dunlop has been writing in the fields of parenting, food, travel and education since 1997. Her work has appeared in print for Hilton Garden Inn and Hillshire Farms and online at Braveheart Greetings and Livestrong. She holds a BA from San Diego State University and a MFA from Loyola Marymount University.

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