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Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend for kids in NYC

We've got the scoop on tons of fun happenings (some are even free!) for kids over Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend

Photograph: DiMenna Children's History Museum

We may be on the heels of the holiday break, but we're still grateful for the three-day Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend. There are plenty of events and activities for NYC families over the long weekend, so don't worry about keeping the kids busy on their day off from school. Visit one of the best ice-skating rinks in New York City for families, watch one of our 50 favorite kids movies, check out our favorite indoor activities for kids and learn about Martin Luther King, Jr.'s groundbreaking civil rights work. 


  1. Saturday
  2. Sunday
  3. Monday

Saturday

Civil Rights Weekend Scavenger Hunt

In celebration of Martin Luther King Day, families can participate in an educational scavenger hunt through the museum. Kids will set out to sleuth around the exhibit "Freedom Journey 1965: Photographs of the Selma to Montgomery March by Stephen Somerstein," matching faces to the names of famous Civil Rights activists. Ages 8 and up.

  1. New York Historical Society New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, at Richard Gilder Way (77h Street), 10024
  2. Until Sat Jan 17
More info

"Nature's Fury: The Science of Natural Disasters"

  • Price band: 2/4

If Hurricane Sandy has taught New Yorkers anything, it's that no one is safe from the forces of nature. Though we often hear news of earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, tornadoes and tsunamis obliterating areas around the world, many were shocked that a place like NYC could be hit by such a massive storm. Now families can learn more about these natural disasters through an interactive exhibit that lets kids bone up on the geological causes, the risks to humans, coping in the aftermath and how to predict future destruction. Hands-on activities invite visitors to monitor earthquakes around the world in real time, manipulate an earthquake fault, generate a virtual volcano, stand at the center of a roaring tornado and check out an interactive map of NYC during the hurricane in 2012. All ages.

  1. American Museum of Natural History Central Park West, at 79th St, 10024
  2. Mon Jul 6 - Sun Aug 9
More info

Cut, Fold, Tear: Paper Animation

  • Free

Show little gallery-goers that art doesn't have to be still and on a canvas through special screenings of live-action and animated films at MoMA. In January, families can watch two-dimensional paper come to life in unique shorts that tell stories about the magic of snow, a bathtub that's swept out to sea, and beyond. Simple materials like torn scraps, watercolor paintings and even Avery labels animate the tales with help from stop-motion and other techniques. Afterward, the youngsters will have a chance to discuss what they've seen with a MoMA educator. Grab tickets at the reception desk in the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building (4 W 54th St) from 10–10:30am and from 11:30am–noon. Ages 5 and up.

  1. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) 11 W 53rd St, between Fifth and Sixth Aves, 10019
  2. Until Sat Mar 14
More info

"Somebody Come and Play: 45 Years of Sesame Street Helping Kids Grow Smarter, Stronger and Kinder"

Go behind the scenes with Elmo, Grover, Big Bird and other furry friends at the New York Public Library's Sesame Street exhibit. Somebody Come and Play: 45 Years of Learning on Sesame Street features a children's area full of books and games for young fans and scripts, scores and photos for older ones. There will also be film screenings and special family programming. All ages.

  1. New York Public Library for the Performing Arts 40 Lincoln Center Plaza, at 65th St
  2. Until Sat Jan 31
More info

Scandinavian Sing-Along

  • Price band: 1/4

Danish musician Vibe Normann gives kids an introduction to Scandinavian music using English interpretations. Kids will play games, perform tunes and dance to the beat as they explore a new culture. Ages 1 to 7.

  1. Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America 58 Park Ave, between 37th and 38th Sts
  2. Until Sat Apr 18
More info

IMpossible IZZpossible

  • Price band: 1/4

Prepare to have your mind blown by Illstyle & Peace Productions' incredible show IMpossible IZZpossible, kicking off BAMkids winter/spring season. This high-energy show features hip hop–inspired dance with elements of step, tap and modern. The Philly-based group prides itself on not only their moves, but their message of "peace, love, and respect for everyone" through their high-energy shows. Ages 6–11.

  1. BAM Fisher 321 Ashland Pl, between Hanson Pl and Lafayette Ave, 11217
  2. Until Sat Jan 17
More info

"The Paris of Toulouse-Lautrec: Prints and Posters"

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

MoMA takes viewers back to La Belle Époque in this survey of the graphic art of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864–1901), surely one of the best-known and beloved names in art history. All of his iconic images are here, along with the landmarks of late-19th-century Parisian nightlife referenced therein. Bring the whole family and get transported to Paris. All ages.

  1. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) 11 W 53rd St, between Fifth and Sixth Aves, 10019
  2. Until Sun Mar 1
More info

Wild Kratts Live

  • Price band: 3/4

If your kids are fans of the Emmy-nominated PBS animated series Wild Kratts, they're sure to be blown away by this real-life theatrical show. Brother duo Martin and Chris Kratt step out of the screen and onto the stage to take audiences on an educational adventure through the animal kingdom. NYU Skirball Members can score exclusive Level 1 premium tickets ($60) and participate in a meet-and-greet with the stars. Ages 4 and up.

  1. Skirball Center for the Performing Arts 566 La Guardia Pl, at Washington Sq South, 10012
  2. Until Mon Jan 19
More info

"The Butterfly Conservatory: Tropical Butterflies Alive in Winter"

  • Critics choice

It's a balmy 80 degrees in the museum's 1,200-square-foot vivarium, which holds up to 500 tropical lepidoptera. The free-flying butterflies often land on the shoulders of visitors, allowing tykes to come into direct contact with the ethereal creatures. All ages.

  1. American Museum of Natural History Central Park West, at 79th St, 10024
  2. Mon May 25
More info

Tim Kubart and the Space Cadets

Kids and parents alike will be thrilled to see one of their favorite faces from TV in this live performance. Tim Kubart, Host of Sprout TV's Sunny Side Up, will sings tunes like "Superhero" from his album Anthems of Adventure as well as new songs from his upcoming album Tiny Treasures. If you're searching for the perfect first concert for you young ones, this isn't one to miss. Ages 2-7.

  1. Symphony Space 2537 Broadway, at 95th St, 10025
  2. Until Sun Jan 18
More info

All Aboard with Thomas & Friends

  • Price band: 1/4

On your way through the NYBG Holiday Train Show, catch a mini-performance by Thomas the Tank Engine and Driver Sam as they try to navigate their way to Brendam Docks with a little help from the audience. Bring your camera for a photo with Thomas. All ages.

  1. New York Botanical Garden Bronx River Pkwy, at Fordham Rd, 10458
  2. Until Sun Jan 25
More info

Disney on Ice Presents Princesses and Heroes

  • Price band: 1/4

Families will be transported to a magical place filled with everyone's favorite Disney characters. Follow Frozen's Elsa, Anna and Olaf (with help from Tinker Bell) on a journey through a winter wonderland where they will meet princesses like Ariel, Belle, Cinderella and Snow White as well as dashing heroes like Aladdin, Prince Eric and Prince Phillip. Complete with Disney's signature happy ending, this show will have families leaving skating on clouds. All ages.

  1. Prudential Center 165 Mulberry St, between Edison Pl and Lafayette St
  2. Until Mon Jan 19
More info

The Fresh Beat Band

  • Price band: 3/4

Your preschoolers will be thrilled to see Kiki, Marina, Twist and Shout live in concert. Stars of Nickelodeon's Fresh Beat Band are coming to The Theater at Madison Square Garden for two shows to sing hit songs with you like "Bananas" and "Here We Go". Kids who love learning about music and problem solving from the television show will now get a chance to see their favorite characters in person. Ages 2-7.

  1. Theater at Madison Square Garden 4 Pennsylvania Plaza (Seventh Ave), between 31st and 33rd Sts
  2. Sat Jan 17
More info

Greenlight Saturday Storytime 2014/15

  • Free

Kids' authors and illustrators (or staffers from Brooklyn's family-friendly Greenlight Bookstore) sit down with kids and their caregivers to read from their own picture books (or their favorites), be they classics or brand-new creations. Catch a staff reading of wintry tales including A Snowy Day and Dream Snow before crafting intricate snowflakes (1/3), then discover a new-age alphabet book called Alphabetabum with author Chris Raschka (1/10). Follow a bear who gets lost in the city in The Bear Ate Your Sandwich (1/17), meet a book who wants a child to discover him in The Jacket (1/24) and finally, delve into the imagination with a reading of The Night Parade and crafttime with author Lily Roscoe (1/31). Ages 3 to 8.

  1. Greenlight Bookstore 686 Fulton St, at South Portland Ave
  2. Until Sat Jun 27
More info

Robot Swarm

Kids will marvel at the Museum of Mathematics' futuristic new exhibit, featuring more than 20 small, light-up robots. The 'bots zoom across the floor, interacting with museum-goers and communicating with each other thanks to high-tech motion control and positioning systems. Families can learn all about the exciting field of swarm technology in robotics and explore the mathematical rules that make the robots work. All ages.

  1. Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) 11 E 26th St, between Fifth and Madison Aves, 10010
  2. Mon Jul 6 - Mon Dec 14
More info

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