In order to know who we are in life, it's important to know where we're from. The New York Historical Society is a wonderful place to be transported to the past and the history of Manhattan.

Frequented not only by older folk, but also tourists, history buffs, and my boys and me, the museum is for those thirsty to learn about the relatively young city many call home.

I love history. I love seeing pieces of the remnants of things that others used and left behind. I want my children to appreciate the sentiments of the past in a time when most of us live for ourselves today. I want to expose them to everything that I can in order for them to grow up knowing more than the things they learn in school.

We visited the historical society mostly to see the work of Ludwig Bemelmans, author and illustrator of the Madeline series. The special exhibition featured colorful artwork that came to life on the walls for the boys to admire. I was enchanted as pieces of my favorite children's book, which represents the beginnings of my love affair with Paris, surrounded us at the museum.

Downstairs from the society is the DiMenna Children's History Museum. It presents 350 years of New York history and is geared toward children ages 8-13. The museum also offers family learning programs for toddlers, children, and preteens. Within this exciting space, Daniel and John were happy to simply have a safe (and carpeted) place to push buttons, pull levers, and listen to the evolution of music on recordings. They equally enjoyed the sights of an antique carriage and toy trains on display.

During our trip, I began to realize that no matter the years that pass and how toys change, joy is often found in the simplest of objects.

After our museum adventures, hunger set in, and we ended our journey around the block at Shake Shack with a perfectly delicious lunch.

Go for the DiMenna Children's Museum, stay for the history of New York found just above it, and always think outside of the box in your adventures in life with your children.