Gulliver’s Gate opened in May 2017 and is quickly becoming one of the top Trip Advisor-rated spots in New York City. It’s located right in Times Square, but you’ll feel like you’re in another world- a world where everything and everyone is miniature! The space is clean and airy, with plenty of room to move and explore. The exhibit takes up the entire second floor, the size of a full city block. We visited in the morning (the exhibit is open from 10am-8pm) when it was quiet and we had up-close-and-personal viewing spots for each display. By 11am, a crowd had started, and the staff mentioned afternoons are always busier than mornings. Plan on spending about 90 minutes to two hours to explore the entire exhibit.
Traveling with Kids:
- Strollers are allowed, but no large backpacks or food. They have a coat check ($1/item- SO worth it!)
- You’ll have to go up 5 steps to check in and take an escalator to the exhibit located on the second floor, but there is a lift at the entrance and elevator to the second floor.
- There is one set of bathrooms, which are easily accessible from each display, and a Mamava pod for nursing and pumping (bonus points for that!)
- You’ll exit through the gift shop, which has plenty of souvenirs and items for the miniature world-obsessed enthusiasts.
- There are (unobtrusive) railings around most of the displays, so parents don’t have to be overly concerned about little hands reaching to touch the figures, trains, or cars. The staff was very friendly and upbeat and I didn't feel pressured to hold my child's hand every moment. There are platforms throughout each display to help shorter kids see through each exhibit and take in all the details and to help reach the key kiosks. I noticed the occasional bench, as well, for wary feet.
- Gulliver’s Gate offers a family ticket at a discounted price, as well as a year membership equivalent to the cost of two, four person visits- well worth it if you're local. If we lived in the city, I would absolutely bring my kids on a regular basis because I can guarantee we’d discover new things with each visit. Plus it’s a safe, clean, fun place to escape weather related elements.
Why Kids will Love Gulliver’s Gate:
- The Keys: At check-in, each guest receives a key on a lanyard that unlocks magic throughout the exhibits. From making helicopters fly to starting a ski lift to marching in a street parade, it was super fun to watch the displays “come alive.” You can keep the key as a souvenir or recycle it on your way out.
- The Scavenger Hunt: Each child receives a scavenger hunt to find over two dozen items throughout the displays. Be warned: it’s hard. Remember, these are MINIature people and objects you’re looking for, and most figures are the size of a fingernail! We found about 15 items on the list, like Spiderman on a New York skyscraper or the Maid of the Mist floating in Niagara Falls. Hint: The “Navigators” (aka the super helpful staff) will offer clues if you ask nicely.
- The trains, planes, and automobiles: There are more than 1,000 trains and 10,000 cars throughout the exhibit, and many of them whiz right by you. Keys will occasional unlock a train or plane. You’ll want to linger in the plane room (the largest model plane display in the world), where one of seven planes “takes off” about every five minutes.
- The sound effects: Many times, a “key” will unlock farm noises, or the sound of water rushing, or (my daughter’s favorite) a marching band playing in a parade in Rio de Janeiro.
- The “Make a Rainbow” light display
- The train table located outside the restrooms and gift store: A simple train table with cars and trains, perfect for toddlers who might get overstimulated or need something familiar to take a break.
Why Kids at Heart Will Love Gulliver’s Gate:
- The replicas: Gulliver’s Gate included just about every iconic place in the world. From a complete New York City to Niagara Falls to the Eiffel Tower to a Russian ski resort to the Taj Mahal, there are literally dozens of places replicated from almost 30 cities and including almost 1,000 buildings. My husband was OBSESSED with the outdoor concert in London; he kept switching between “watching” Adele and the Beatles perform. (Yes, there's real music playing!)
- Holiday decor: We visited right in between the December holidays and Valentine’s Day but I was told many of the displays are embellished with seasonal decor.
- The lighting, water features, and sound effects: Lighting varies (and smoothly transitions) as you move to each display, but many displays had low light which has a calming effect. In some spot, actual water runs through a river or in a waterfall. The sounds were fun and upbeat without being overbearing or scary to children.
- Bonus Splurge: There’s a full body 3D scanner where you can make a miniature version of yourself to be placed INSIDE one of the exhibits. To date, there are over 4,000 people who have become “citizens” of Gulliver’s Gate.
One of the navigators told me that plans of other Gulliver’s Gates locations throughout the country are being discussed. I sure hope they add additional locations; my family really enjoyed our visit and we would definitely visit other locations.
Eating nearby: I immediately recognized the address of Gulliver’s Gate because it’s located two doors down from one of my family’s favorite spots for Italian food whenever we’re in the city: Carmine’s. Carmine's has super yummy food, served family style, is reasonably priced, and is very family friendly. Make sure you make a reservation so you don’t have to wait. The only thing in between Carmine’s and Gulliver’s Gate? A Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop. Done deal.
Full disclosure: My family was given a family ticket to check out Gulliver's Gate. However, all opinions expressed are my own.