Craft beer, the Vessel, hang with T-Rex: Options for spring excursions in NYC

Craft beer, the Vessel, hang with T-Rex: Options for spring excursions in NYCCraft beer, the Vessel, hang with T-Rex: Options for spring excursions in NYC.

A climbable sculpture made of interlocking staircases called Vessel opens to the public Friday. (March 11)

If you’re looking for something fun to do this spring, New York City is the perfect place to start. Whether it’s exploring history, stopping to smell the flowers or Instagramming at the new Hudson Yards, there’s plenty to put on your spring must-do list, with options for everyone in the family and those out-of-town visitors stopping by on spring break.

New at the Intrepid.

First commissioned in 1943 and decommissioned in 1974, the USS Intrepid is filled with history. The aircraft carrier was used during three wars and survived a torpedo, among other attacks. Now it resides at New York City’s Pier 86.

Go where only the USS Intrepid’s crew has gone before in the all new “Below Deck & Behind the Scenes: The Intrepid Hard Hat Experience” tour. (Photo: The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum)

A National Historic Landmark, the Intrepid is offering a brand new behind-the-scenes tour aptly titled “Below Deck & Behind the Scenes: The Intrepid Hard Hat Experience.” Take a trip into the past and walk where only the Intrepid’s crew has walked before.

Visitors will be taken on a two- to three-hour trek through the emergency diesel generator room and the sickbay, among other notable spots, while two of the museum’s senior tour guides recount the stories from the ship’s vast history. For non-members of the museum, the tour costs $150 which includes a general admission tour of the museum as well as refreshments. Please be aware that only people ages 16 and older may go on this tour.

Go: Pier 86, West 46th St. Hours: Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday and holidays, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. “Below Deck & Behind the Scenes: The Intrepid Hard Hat Experience” admission: $150 adults and seniors; $125 retired/active U.S. Military and U.S. Veterans. General admission: $33 adults (13-64); $31 seniors (65+); $24 children (5-12). For more information call 646-381-5065, intrepidmuseum.org.

American Museum of Natural History vistiors can experience “T. Rex: The Ultimate Predator” until August 2020. (Photo: Denis Finnin (AMNH Courtesy photo))

Hang with T. rex.

Celebrating its 150th anniversary, the American Museum of Natural History’s latest exhibit is a dinosaur: “T. Rex: The Ultimate Predator.”

Opened on March 11, visitors can learn all there is to know about Tyrannosaurus rex. The dinosaur holds a special place in the museum’s heart as it is home to “the first T. rex on display anywhere,” according to a release.

Through the use of interactive virtual reality, a first for the museum, visitors can put together a T. rex skeleton and watch it come to life in “T. rex: Skeleton Crew.” The experience is for those ages 12 and up, but for those younger kiddos, there’s the 32-foot-long projection where a life-size computer animated T. rex roams with its young as it interacts with visitors.

Go: Central Park West & 79th St. Hours: 10 a.m. – 5:45 p.m. daily. General admission with one special exhibit: $28 Adults, $22.50 seniors and students, $16.50 children (2-12). amnh.org.

Guests with Interactive Floor (Photo: (Photo Credit – National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey))

Celebrate Earth Day under the sea.

Earth Day, April 22, is the yearly celebration of the Earth and everything humans can do to protect it.

Why not spend it in the ocean?

Visitors can do just that in Times Square at the “National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey.” This interactive exhibit is an educational experience that takes guests on a deep dive into the ocean environment to meet squid, a humpback whale, other sea dwellers as well as play with some sea lions, all without getting wet. At the same time, guests can learn more about the ocean environment and find ways to protect the species that live and thrive there.

The encounter is fully immersive, accomplished with special technology used in theme parks and video games, so expect fish to swim away from you when you step too close, or for the sea lions to play along with certain movements.

Go: 226 W 44th St. Hours: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Admission: $39.50 adults; $32.50 children (3-12); $36.50 seniors and U.S. Veterans. natgeoencounter.com.

Guests can enjoy craft beer from all over the world at the NYC Craft Beer Festival. (Photo: Courtesy of NYC Craft Beer Festival)

Craft beer festival.

If you’re a fan of beer and food, then the New York City Craft Beer Festival is a must-do for you this spring.

The festival, April 5-6, features beer from all over the world, including Germany, Iceland and Sri Lanka. Some stateside breweries include Harpoon Brewery, Coney Island Brewery and Mill House Brewing Company.

For $55 a person, taste beer and cider from about 75 breweries, shop and get a souvenir tasting glass. For $75 per person, you can access tastings an hour early, enjoy select VIP brews and enjoy “Oyster Hour” where oysters are $1 each. The event is in a new venue, in Union Square, this year.

Go: 535 West 28th St. Tickets: $55 for general admittance; $75 for VIP experience, nyccraftbeerfest.com.

A performance at the Delcorte Theater in Central Park. (Photo: Tammy Shell/Courtesy of The Public Theater)

See Shakespeare in Central Park.

For the spring season, The Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare in the Park will be showcasing the bard’s classic “Much Ado About Nothing.”

A romantic comedy that follows a complicated love story fraught with misunderstanding, the modern telling featured in Central Park is directed by Tony Award winner Kenny Leon, who directed “A Raisin in the Sun.”

“Much Ado About Nothing” runs from May 21-June 23 and is free to attend. To score tickets, guests must wait in line at designated sites within the five boroughs or in Central Park, at an in-person lotto at The Public Theater office lobby, located at 425 Lafayette St., or via the online lottery at todaytix.com on the day of the performance they wish to attend. Go to publictheater.org for all the details.

The Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare in the Park will also have performances of “Coriolanus” (starting July 16) and “Hercules” (Aug. 31) during the summer season.

Go: Delacorte Theater in Central Park, 81 Central Park West. 8 p.m. Tickets are free. For more information, go to publictheater.org.

Enjoy a nice spring day on NYC’s High Line. (Photo: Iwan Baan/Courtesy of the High Line)

Spring is ephemeral on the High Line.

The High Line, an old freight train track turned public walkway, is full of flowers in the spring. Since many are ephemerals that bloom for a brief time, the walkway is always full of color. The ephemerals make way for the perennials which will keep the walkway lush for the rest of the year. The ephemerals season began in February but continues into May, according to the High Line’s site.

Other incentives to walk the line: sculptures, art and spectacular views of the city and the Hudson River. Chelsea Market is reachable from the 16th Street entrance or check out Hudson Yard, reachable from the 34th Street entrance; The Whitney Museum of American Art is on Gansevoort Street and Washington Street, one of the starting points of the High Line. You can jump off at a number of restaurants and bars along the walk, or pack a picnic for the 1.45-mile walk and take in the sights from a bench.

Go: Entrances to the High Line can be found at the corner of Gansevoort St. and Washington St., 14th St., 16th St., 17th St., 20th St., 23rd St., 26th St., 28th St., 30th St., the corner of 30th St. and 11th Ave., and the corner of 34th St. and 12th Ave. Some of the entrances have elevators as well as ramps. Hours: 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. from April 1 through May 31. highline.org.

The gift shop at the Museum of the Dog. (Photo: Courtesy of the AKC, Courtesy of the AKC)

Go to the dogs.

Sorry, no dogs are allowed at the newly opened The Museum of the Dog, but this is fun one for the fur-loving family. The museum houses paintings, drawings, watercolors, prints, sculptures, bronzes, porcelain figurines, decorative arts objects and interactive displays depicting dogs throughout the ages. There’s also an an interactive screen display that lets you have a go at training a virtual Labrador named Molly. By using vocal commands and gestures, you can teach Molly to stay or come, and you can even toss a toy for her to catch.

Go: American Kennel Club’s Museum of the Dog, 101 Park Ave., between 40th and 41st Streets. Open Tuesday-Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission: $15, $5 for children under 5, $10 for senior citizens, students, veterans and active members of the military. 212-696-8235; museumofthedog.org.

Visitors walk through The Vessel. (Photo: Drew Angerer, Getty Images)

Climb the (temporarily named) Vessel.

The Shops at Hudson Yards, the newly opened seven-floor shopping center on Manhattan’s far West Side at West 34th Street, is the city’s new big thing.

It’s filled with restaurants from celebrated chefs — Jose Andres, Thomas Keller and David Chang and Costas Spiliadis, among them — but there are also lots of equally celebrated retailers like Neiman Marcus, H&M, Tory Burch, and Lululemon. The highlight, however, is Vessel, the temporarily-named 16-story honeycomb-looking structure that consists of 154 flights of stairs and lots of landings perfect for Instagramming. Everyone you know has posted pictures of it on social media, but just be aware, Hudson Yards is planning to change the name.

Go: Hudson Yards is open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-7 p.m. It’s accessible via the #7 subway; shops and restaurants are located between 10th and 11th avenues, and 30th to 33rd streets. For info go to hudsonyardsnewyork.com.

Dancejapan at Brooklyn Botanic Garnden’s Sakura Matsuri Festival. (Photo: Julie Markes/Courtesy of Brooklyn Botanic Garden)

Walk among cherry blossoms.

Brooklyn might just rival Washington, D.C. when it comes to cherry blossoms. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden has 52 acres of flowers and trees, including a Cherry Esplanade.

A walkway bordered by cherry blossom trees and the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, the Cherry Esplanade is a wonderland of pink in the spring. There are free tours around the gardens daily.

These magnificent trees are part of the setting for the Sakura Matsuri Festival held on the last weekend of April. A celebration of Japanese culture, the annual festival will be held on Saturday, April 27 and Sunday, April 28. Tickets for this event are separate from regular admission tickets because there is a limited amount.

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