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Memorial Day 2012: The best events for NYC kids during the holiday weekend

Plan a perfect long weekend for your family with our list of fun events and activities.

Children's Museum of the Arts at Governors Island

Memorial Day weekend is here, and there's no shortage of ways to celebrate the unofficial start of summer with your family. We found fun events for every day of the long weekend: Families can attend a festival on Governors Island, take a spin on a new carousel in Queens, see a life-size T. rex at Field Station: Dinosaurs, make cards for troops fighting overseas, kayak on the Hudson River and much more.

Saturday, May 26

FREE Attend a cultural street fair jam-packed with vendors, food and entertainers, as well as a cavalcade of youth performers, inside the Theater for the New City at the 17th Annual Lower East Side Festival family day.

Budding architects can tour the exhibit "News Paper Spires" (inspired by the Broadway musical Newsies), and build a newsie tower of their own at the Skyscraper Museum's Paper Towers workshop. $5.

FREE Check out musical performances by Astrograss, the Maybelles and Arm of the Sea Theater at the Family Fun Festival on Governors Island.

FREE Cheer on visiting members of the Armed Forces as they compete in a tug-of-war tournament, then take your little ones to see Sesame Street muppets Elmo and Rosita performing "What I Am" at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

Discover recent advances in alternative energy sources like wind and solar energy and ways to conserve home energy use in the Liberty Science Center's new "Got Power?" exhibit. Free with museum admission.

Go back in time 90 million years to see a gaggle of life-size dinosaurs at Field Station: Dinosaurs, New Jersey's new prehistoric theme park. Also on Sunday and Monday. $20, kids ages 3--12 $17.50, kids under 2 free.

Give kids the chance to learn about the responsibilities of being an animal caretaker while also getting hands-on experience in feeding, brushing and cleaning at Alley Pond Environmental Center's Animal Trainee program. $20.

FREE Kayak on the Hudson independently, or take lessons from the nautical experts in Riverside Park's Kayaking on the Hudson program.

Kids ages ten and up can climb through a spaceship-like structure composed of interlinked, modular spaces in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's latest exhibit, "Toms Saraceno on the Roof: Cloud City." Free with museum admission.

FREE Kids till soil, plant potatoes, churn butter and bake cornbread over an open flame at the Lefferts Historic House's Potato Planting Days workshop.

FREE Kids get to work designing a small billboard with architect Alla Kazovsky at workshops at the Cooper Hewitt Design Center.

Learn all about dark ecosystems (forests, caves, the bottom of the ocean) and the animals that inhabit them in the Liberty Science Center's "In the Dark" exhibit. Also on Sunday and Monday. Free with museum admission.

FREE Little ones can climb through an obstacle course, jump in a bouncy house and be pampered at a just-for-kids nail salon at the Memorial Day Fair in Sunnyside Gardens Park.

FREE Take a public tour of historic tall ships from Colombia and Ecuador in honor of Fleet Week at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

Take in performances of Avenue Zoo (a riff on Avenue Q), arts and crafts, author readings, costumed-character visits and more at the Bronx Zoo's Animal Tales Extravaganza. Free with zoo admission.

Take the family for a spin on the historic Forest Park Carousel, opening for the first time since 2009 this weekend in Queens. $1 per ticket, (three tickets per ride), six tickets $5, 20 tickets $15.

Tour the South Street Seaport Museum's latest exhibit, then get to work casting a plaster model of a mollusk in their  "Mannahatta's Natural Resources: Mollusks" workshop. $15, accompanying adults free.

Watch (or participate in) a grilled cheese cook-off and a Slow Food--sponsored taco challenge or cool off with some Van Leeuwen ice cream at the 5 Boro PicNYC on Governors Island. $35, kid with accompanying adult free.

Sunday, May 27

Create a collage of a balanced meal and learn about serving sizes using food cutouts, yarn and glue at the Children's Museum of Manhattan's EatSleepPlay Festival. Free with museum admission.

Discover recent advances in alternative energy sources like wind and solar energy and ways to conserve home energy use in the Liberty Science Center's new "Got Power?" exhibit. Free with museum admission.

Go back in time 90 million years to see a gaggle of life-size dinosaurs at Field Station: Dinosaurs, New Jersey's new prehistoric theme park. $20, kids ages 3--12 $17.50, kids under 2 free.

FREE Kayak on the Hudson independently, or take lessons from the nautical experts in Riverside Park's Kayaking on the Hudson program.

FREE Kids learn from experts how to ride a two wheeler at Bike New York events in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Kids ages ten and up can climb through a spaceship-like structure composed of interlinked, modular spaces in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's latest exhibit, "Tomas Saraceno on the Roof: Cloud City." Free with museum admission.

FREE Kids till soil, plant potatoes, churn butter and bake cornbread over an open flame at the Lefferts Historic House's Potato Planting Days workshop.

FREE Take a public tour of historic tall ships from Colombia and Ecuador in honor of Fleet Week at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

Take in performances of Avenue Zoo (a riff on Avenue Q), arts and crafts, author readings, costumed-character visits and more at the Bronx Zoo's Animal Tales Extravaganza. Free with zoo admission.

Take the family for a spin on the historic Forest Park Carousel, opening for the first time since 2009 this weekend in Queens. $1 per ticket, (three tickets per ride), six tickets $5, 20 tickets $15.

Watch (or participate in) a grilled cheese cook-off and a Slow Food--sponsored taco challenge or cool off with some Van Leeuwen ice cream at the 5 Boro PicNYC on Governors Island. $35, kid with accompanying adult free.

Monday, May 28

Discover recent advances in alternative energy sources like wind and solar energy and ways to conserve home energy use in the Liberty Science Center's new "Got Power?" exhibit. Free with museum admission.

Go back in time 90 million years to see a gaggle of life-size dinosaurs at Field Station: Dinosaurs, New Jersey's new prehistoric theme park. $20, kids ages 3--12 $17.50, kids under 2 free.

Kids can find out what it takes to be an American soldier by jogging, practicing push-ups and learning the proper way to salute, among other skills, at CMOM's Mini Book Camp with Active Military. Free with museum admission.

Kids ages ten and up can climb through a spaceship-like structure composed of interlinked, modular spaces in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's latest exhibit, "Toms Saraceno on the Roof: Cloud City." Free with museum admission.

Say thank you to those fighting overseas with this workshop, part of Memorial Day at the Children's Museum of Manhattan. Free with museum admission.

FREE Take a public tour of historic tall ships from Colombia and Ecuador in honor of Fleet Week at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

Take the family for a spin on the historic Forest Park Carousel, opening for the first time since 2009 this weekend in Queens. Also on Sunday and Monday. $1 per ticket, (three tickets per ride), six tickets $5, 20 tickets $15.

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