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16 ways to celebrate Earth Day 2013 for NYC families

Celebrate Earth Day 2013 with free and cheap fairs, festivals and performances designed to help kids get in touch with their eco-friendly side.

Family Art Project: Flags and Kites for Earth Day

Family Art Project: Flags and Kites for Earth Day Photograph: Joshua Bright

Move over, Easter Bunny: It's Mother Earth's time to shine. Earth Day 2013 gives us plenty of chances to show the environment some love in April, from daylong festivals in Fort Greene, Staten Island and the Rockaways to performances by Bash the Trash and Rolie Polie Guacamole. Check out our guide to the top 16 city happenings in honor of Earth Day 2013, then see how many ways your family can lend a hand in making the world a greener place.

See trash turned into a musical treasure

  • Free

Taking place on the Brooklyn College campus, the sixth annual National Grid Earth Day Celebration educates families on energy conservation through Earth-themed arts and crafts, recycling-themed games, live music and the show Tales of Anansi by Bash the Trash, a performance group that upcycles garbage into musical instruments. The show, based on West African and Caribbean folklore, incorporates music and science in an effort to spread environmental awareness. Ages 5 and up.

  1. Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts (at Brooklyn College) 2900 Campus Rd, at Hillel Pl, 11210
  2. Until Sun Apr 6
More info

Munch on Cuban-Mexican food

  • Free

Habana Outpost—the Fort Greene eatery known for its Mexican-style corn and Cuban sandwiches—opens its doors for the first time this year with its Earth Day Expo, an afternoon of family fun that includes a market of green vendors and environmental workshops, demonstrations and crafts. All ages.

  1. Habana Outpost 757 Fulton St, at South Portland Ave
  2. Until Sat Apr 13
More info

Rock out with Rolie Polie Guacamole

  • Price band: 2/4

Celebrate Earth Day with Brooklyn-based kindie rock band Rolie Polie Guacamole, who will be performing their signature mix of funk, rock and folk with some tips on healthy eating and staying active at the Hip Tot Music Fest. Ages newborn to 8.

  1. Littlefield 622 DeGraw St, between Third and Fourth Aves
  2. Until Sun Apr 14
More info

Help rebuild Highland Park

  • Free

Families can help rebuild Highland Park, which was struck by Hurricane Sandy, by planting 2,400 new trees at One Thing That's Green, a day of service organized by JetBlue and the New York Restoration Project. Breakfast, lunch and T-shirts will be provided, and other family-friendly outdoor activities will add to the fun. Plus, all volunteers will be entered into a sweepstakes to win a pair of JetBlue travel certificates. Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult, and all volunteers must preregister online. All ages.

  1. Highland Park Highland Blvd, between Bulwed Pl and Cypress HIlls St
  2. Sat Apr 20
More info

Exercise your green thumb in Central Park

  • Free

At Family Volunteer Day, little green thumbs help out around the park while working on Earth Day horticultural projects. Tools will be provided; families are advised to show up in closed-toe shoes. Ages 4 and up.

  1. Central Park East Meadow enter from Fifth Ave, at 96th St
  2. Until Sat Apr 20
More info

Meet a 30-foot-long "dragon"

  • Free

Now in its seventh year, the St. George Day affair fetes the arts and diversity of the local community with music and dance performances, a puppet show, crafts for kids and an art show in the park. A particular highlight is the dragon parade, which will feature one 30-foot long spectacle and another made out of repurposed materials. In honor of Earth Day, kids can also take part in green activities, like making "green-aids" or seed bombs. All ages.

  1. Tompkinsville Park Bay St, at Victory Blvd
  2. Until Sat Apr 26
More info

Fly a kite

  • Price band: 1/4

At the Flags and Kites for Earth Day workshop (part of the garden's weekly Family Art Project series), kids fashion colorful gliders and banners out of plastic bags with help from visiting artist Miwa Koizumi, whose own work incorporates found objects like plastic bottles. Ages 5 and up.

  1. Wave Hill W 249th St, at Independence Ave, 10471
  2. Sat Apr 20 - Sun Apr 21
More info

Explore an urban oasis

  • Free

Celebrate Earth Day at Prospect Park with an eco-friendly festival of workshops and talks on topics that range from responsible fishing to lakeshore clean-up. Kids can also make instruments out of recycled materials and watch a performance by Bash the Trash. All ages.

  1. Prospect Park Audubon Center enter at Ocean Ave, and Lincoln Rd
  2. Sun Apr 21
More info

See Grand Central become an eco hub

  • Free

For three days, Grand Central Terminal will transform into an educational Earth Day festival, complete with live performances, interactive displays, and kid-friendly crafts and games designed to foster learning. All ages.

  1. Grand Central Terminal, Vanderbilt Hall 42nd St, between Vanderbilt and Lexington Aves
  2. Until Thu Apr 24
More info

Learn about water conservation

  • Free

At the nature-focused Earth Day Festival for Families, kids will learn about water conservation from Long Island Baymen, practice gardening techniques, explore the ins and outs of beekeeping, and make jewelry and art using recycled materials. All ages.

  1. Flushing Town Hall 137-35 Northern Blvd, at Main St
  2. Until Sun Apr 21
More info

Make recycled crafts

  • Free

At Harlem's Global Earth Day, kids can make a bottle-cap picture frame, build an eco-friendly robot with RoboFun, get their faces painted, groove with Sundae Sermon, and learn about recycling, nutrition and more. All ages.

  1. Marcus Garvey Park Madison Ave, between 120th and 124th Sts
  2. Sun Apr 21
More info

Delve into Earth's history

  • Price band: 1/4

Little paleontologists can learn about the history of planet Earth by digging into its crust and learning about its many layers at CMOM's Celebrate Earth Day: Fossil Creations workshop. Science educator Cynthia Toledo will help tots create a mini model of the earth, then make a fossil to hide beneath its shell. Ages 5 and up.

  1. Children's Museum of Manhattan 212 W 83rd St, between Amsterdam Ave and Broadway, 10024
  2. Until Sun Apr 21
More info

Check out eco-friendly vehicles

  • Free

At Earth Day in Union Square, tots can watch live performances, watch eco-friendly vehicles tear up the runway, and check out displays and demonstrations by local environmentally conscious businesses. All ages.

  1. Union Square 14th St to 17th St, between Broadway and Park Ave South
  2. Until Tue Apr 22
More info

Plant a tree

  • Price band: 1/4

Eco-enthusiasts can do more than just hug a tree at the garden's Arbor Festival: They'll get the chance to plant one as well. Nature specialists and seasoned gardeners will be on hand to guide kids through the grounds, plus families can check out craft vendors, participate in workshops and go on a birdwalk. All ages.

  1. Queens Botanical Garden 43-50 Main St, at Dahlia Ave
  2. Until Sun Apr 27
More info

Celebrate the Rockaways' comeback

  • Free

Surf's up (well, cleaned up, anyway) at the briny seventh annual Earth Day Rockaway celebration. Head to the beach for environmental programs, kite making, live music, crafts, face painting and even a mock dolphin rescue. All ages.

  1. Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk Boardwalk, between Beach 9th and 149th Sts
  2. Until Sat May 4
More info

Preview the Brooklyn Science & Art Museum

  • Free

At the sixth annual Go Green! Greenpoint, families will find gardening demos, a Greencycle swap station, eco-friendly goods for sale, plus an array of children's activities and arts-and-crafts projects. Plus, don't miss a pop-up preview of the Brooklyn Science & Art Museum. All ages.

  1. McCarren Park Bayard St to Nassau Ave, between Leonard and North 12 Sts
  2. Sat May 18
More info


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