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17 ways to spend Father's Day 2011 in NYC

Give Dad his due---and entertain the brood---at these family-friendly events.

  • Photograph: Antony Morales

    Liberty Science Center Touch Tunnel

  • Father's Day Sing-A-Long

  • NYC Bhangra Dance Contest

  • Photograph: Stephanie Berger

    Bang on a Can Marathon

  • Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

    Lego penguin at NY Aquarium

  • Kayaking on the Hudson

  • Photograph: Renee Elias-Reyes

    PLG Arts "Daydream"

  • Brooklyn Cyclones

  • Photograph: Julie Larsen Maher WCS

    Animal Tales Extravaganza

  • Justin the Magician at CMOM

Photograph: Antony Morales

Liberty Science Center Touch Tunnel

Let's face it: Sometimes it's tough to figure out how to honor dear old Dad on his big day. Brunch and flowers? We don't think so. But there are plenty of ways for families to party with the man in their lives on June 19. Our eclectic events guide features plenty of pop- and tot-friendly happenings, many free and all under 15 bucks. Now that's reason to celebrate!

RECOMMENDED: What to do on Father's Day weekend 2012

Get moving

FREE Kayaking on the Hudson
Sun Jun 19 10am--5pm.
* Riverside Park at 72nd St. Subway: 1, 2, 3 to 72nd St (downtownboathouse.org).
* Pier 96, Twelfth Ave at 56th St (downtownboathouse.org). Subway: A, C, D, 1 to 59th St--Columbus Circle.
* Pier 40, West St at Houston St (downtownboathouse.org). Subway: 1 to Houston St.

It's no fun being taken for a ride...unless, of course, it's a free family boat trip on Father's Day. The New York City Downtown Boathouse offers complimentary kayaking every weekend through October at three Hudson River docks. No need to make a reservation; just walk right up and wait in (a bit of a) line. Never kayaked before? Don't worry: The nautical experts provide the equipment and the know-how—although they do ask that you sign a liability waiver, and wear a bathing suit, or shorts and T-shirt. Now's a good time to review your swimming skills. Kids under 16 must be accompanied in the boat by an adult. Ages 2 and up.

FREE Harlem Skyscraper Cycling Classic
Sun Jun 19 noon--6pm. Marcus Garvey Park, 121st St at Fifth Ave (skyscraperclassic.com). Subway: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 to 125th St.
Whether your tots are supercyclists, two-wheelin' first-timers or simply spectators, they'll find lots to keep them occupied at this extravaganza. The jam-packed day features pro, amateur and kid races, as well as BMX stunt performances throughout the day. In addition, the New York City Bike Bonanza teaches biking newbies the tools of the trade and offers up free helmets and the chance to swap for a better ride. The race registration form is available online. All ages.

Staten Island Yankees at Brooklyn Cyclones
Sun Jun 19 at 5pm. MCU Park, 1904 Surf Ave at W 17th St, Coney Island, Brooklyn (718-449-8497, brooklyncyclones.com). Subway: D, F, N, Q to Coney Island--Stillwell Ave. $8--$16.
Bond with Dad over some classic entertainment. Head to the ballpark early for a family game of catch on the field. Then, grab a couple hot dogs and a box of Cracker Jacks and root for your favorite team. After the game, little spectators are invited to run the bases. All ages

Touch Tunnel at Liberty Science Center
Sun Jun 19 10am--4pm. Liberty Science Center, 222 Jersey City Blvd between Philip and Wilson Sts, Jersey City, NJ (201-200-1000, lsc.org). Travel: PATH to Exchange Pl or Pavonia/Newport, then transfer to the Hudson-Bergen light rail to Liberty State Park. Free with museum admission: $15.75, ages 12 and under $11.50. 
It's a child's world at Liberty Science Center, but grown-ups can get in on the fun too. Spend Father's Day across the Hudson and let Dad be a leader as you crawl through this pitch-black pathway. Children under seven must be accompanied by an adult. All ages.

Father and Son Competitions at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum
Sun Jun 19 12pm--1pm. Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, Pier 86 between 46th St and 12th Ave (212-245-0072, intrepidmuseum.org). Subway: A, C, E to 42nd St--Port Authority; N, Q, R to 42nd St; S, 1, 2, 3, 7 to 42nd St--Times Sq. Free with museum admission: $24, ages 7--17 $19, ages 3--6 $12, children under 3 free.
Team up with dad for some friendly competition and test your athletic skills with traditional games like a balloon toss, potato sack races and egg-in-spoon relays. Winners get bragging rights and a price from the museum. All ages.

Get crafty

Magic Father's Day: World's Largest Tie
Sun Jun 19 at 12:30, 2, 3, 4pm. Children's Museum of Manhattan, 212 W 83rd St between Amsterdam Ave and Broadway (212-721-1223, cmom.org). Subway: B, C to 81st St—Museum of Natural History; 1 to 86th St. Free with museum admission: $11.
Dads will be looking dapper—or, in many cases, a little goofy—when they sport the neckwear made by their tots in this workshop. All ages.

Lego Displays and Crafts Station
Sun Jun 19 11am--2pm. New York Aquarium, Surf Ave at 8th St, Coney Island, Brooklyn (718-265-3474, nyaquarium.com). Subway: F, Q to W 8th St--NY Aquarium. Free with museum admission: $15, children $11.

Kids can show off their LEGO-building skills; Pop can even construct some plastic-block reef fish of his own. When you're done, marvel at life-size penguin and coral reef sculptures before the exhibit closes next weekend. All ages.

FREE Father's Day at the Audubon Center
Sun Jun 19 noon--5pm. Prospect Park Audubon Center, enter park at Ocean Ave and Lincoln Rd, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (718-287-3400, prospectpark.org). Subway: B, Q to Franklin Ave S to Prospect Park.
Start the afternoon searching for reptiles and amphibians during a discovery tour of the center. Then, kids can make gifts for their dads using recycled materials. All ages.

Kool Jazzy Dads
Jun 19 2:30pm. Brooklyn Children's Museum, 145 Brooklyn Ave at St. Marks Ave, Crown Heights, Brooklyn (718-735-4400, brooklynkids.org). Subway: 3 to Kingston Ave. Free with admission: $7.50.
While pops relaxes and listens to some jazz tunes, little ones can get to work decorating a new tie for his collection. Ages 1--5.

Get cultured

Animal Tales Extravaganza
Sun Jun 19 at 11:30am, 1:30, 3:30pm. Bronx Zoo, 2300 Southern Blvd at Fordham Rd, Bronx (718-220-5100, bronxzoo.org). Subway: 2, 5 to West Farms Sq--East Tremont Ave, then walk to the zoo's Asia Gate. Free with admission: $16, children 3 to 12 $12, children under 3 free.
Help dad feel like a kid again with an amusing take on classic tales like "Three Little Pigs," "The Ugly Duckling" and "The Three Bears." All ages.

FREE Daydream
Sun Jun 19 at 2pm. Prospect Park Imagination Playground, Ocean Ave between Lincoln Rd and Parkside Ave, Flatbush, Brooklyn (718-393-7733, plgarts.org). Subway: J, Z, 2, 3, 4, 5 to Fulton St (Nassau St).

Adapted from the Bard's A Midsummer Night's Dream, this staging from PLG Arts recounts the tale of a group of construction workers who come to Prospect Park to rehearse a play but stumble upon a battle between the King and Queen of the Fairies. Bring a swimsuit for a postshow cooldown in the playground's fountain. All ages.

The World's Largest Dinosaur
Sun Jun 19 10am--5:45pm. American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th St (212-769-5100, amnh.org). Subway: B, C to 81st St--Museum of Natural History; 1 to 79th St. Free with museum admission: $16, seniors and students $12, children ages 2--12 $9, children under 2 free.
Try to resist the jokes about Dad being "as old as a dinosaur" during this sauropod show at AMNH. Brush up on dino smarts together and learn how the most massive group of creatures lived. All ages.

Behind the Screens
Jun 19 10:30am--7pm. Museum of the Moving Image, 36--01 35th Ave at 37th St, Astoria, Queens (718-777-6888, movingimage.us). Subway: M, R to Steinway St; N, Q to 36th Ave. Free with museum admission: $10, seniors and students $7.50, children ages 3--18 $5, children under 3 free.
Shoot for the high score in classic arcade games like Ms. Pac--Man and Donkey Kong at this interactive exhibit. Dad will love sharing what video games were like in the "good old days"—before motion sensors and 3--D graphics. All ages.

Get grooving

FREE Father's Day Sing-Along
Sun Jun 19 at 3pm. Lefferts Historic House Museum, Prospect Park, Flatbush Ave at Empire Blvd, Brooklyn (718-789-2822, prospectpark.org). Subway: Q, Franklin Ave S to Prospect Park.
Warm up those vocal chords for this songfest dedicated to papas and their offspring, led by musician Rory Dineen. Even those without a silver throat can sweeten their singing with an afternoon snack of locally grown strawberries topped with fresh whipped cream. All ages.

FREE NYC Bhangra Dance Contest
Sun Jun 19 noon--5pm. Union Square, 14th to 17th St between Broadway and Park Ave South (212-372-8001, nycbhangra.com). Subway: L, N, Q, R, 4, 5, 6 to 14th St--Union Sq.
If you've got a dancing dad—or even a pop with two left feet—bring him to this performance spectacle. While the contest deadline has passed, you can still catch Bollywood performances from other families, chow down on Indian food and try your hand at moving to the beat—offstage, of course. All ages.

FREE Bang on a Can Marathon
Sun Jun 19 at noon. Winter Garden at the World Financial Center, 220 Vesey St at West St (718-852-7755, bangonacan.org). Subway: A, C, 1, 2, 3 to Chambers St; E to World Trade Center.
With more than 150 performers, the whole family can discover a sound that's music to their ears. Depending on the noise tolerance of your group, you can swing by for a few hours or make it an entire day of percussion. All ages.

FREE Moey's Music Party with Story Pirates
Sun Jun 19 1pm. Williamsburg Waterfront, 110 Kent Ave at North 8th St (moeysmusicparty.com). Subway: L to Bedford Ave.
Bring Dad to a free, pirate-themed outdoor performance by Off Broadway songwriter Melissa Levis, filled with high-energy, educational tunes. Plus, keep an eye out for songs from Moey's newest album, Happily Ever Moey! A Fairy Tale Lark in Central Park. Ages 8 and under.

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