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The best Thanksgiving events for kids and families

Need Thanksgiving plans? We've got your back! These Thanksgiving events will keep you and the kids busy all weekend long.

Photograph: Shutterstock

RECOMMENDED: Thanksgiving for kids

These Thanksgiving events for kids are the best! You can trek to cool hiking trails, go apple picking, grab a hot meal at one of our 50 favorite family restaurants and certainly check out the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and Macy's Thanksgiving Balloon Inflation, plus other awesome things to do with kids in the fall.

Thanksgiving events for kids

Macy's Thanksgiving Parade Balloon Inflation


Head to the Upper West Side (beginning at 79th Street and Columbus Avenue near the Museum of Natural History) on Thanksgiving Eve to watch as the balloons for the Turkey Day parade transform from piles of wilted fabric into floating giants for their big trek through midtown. Kids are sure to gaze in amazement as their favorite balloons- like Hello Kitty, Sponge Bob and Spider-Man- come to life. All ages.

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Various locations Wednesday November 23 2016 - Thursday November 24 2016

Grand Central Terminal Annual Holiday Fair

For once, take a leisurely stroll through Grand Central instead of rushing for a train. The annual Holiday Fair will take over the majestic Vanderbilt Hall for six weeks this year, letting New Yorkers browse an array of holiday wares like jewelry, toys and bath products while staying warm and toasty. Many of the fair's 76 vendors offer handcrafted, American-made products from locally sourced materials. Twenty-two businesses will be making their holiday fair debut this year; pick up a playful print from Dotty Giraffe ($25 and up), a luxurious crocheted scarf from Spratters & Jayne ($124–$155) or a stack of colorful holiday greeting cards from mother-daughter team Verrier ($7 each). The market will close at 6PM on Christmas Eve, and is closed on Thanksgiving Day. All ages.

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Until Thu Dec 24

Grand Central Holiday Train Show

Feast your eyes on this train display featuring vintage Lionel Metro-North, New York Central and subway trains leaving a miniature Grand Central Terminal on a 34-foot-long two-level "O" gauge model train layout. Guests can check out model Lionel trains from the museum's collection as well as old-school Lionel advertisements from the 1930s. All ages.

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Until Sun Feb 21

Big Apple Circus: The Grand Tour

Gotham's favorite circus troupe kicks off its 38th season with a brand-new production, transporting families to the Roaring 20s when ships, planes, trains and automobiles transformed travel as we knew it. Under the direction of Ringmaster John Kennedy Kane, the professional performers will wow young circusgoers with acts inspired by far-flung places like Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and South America. Duck under the Big Top to witness fearless aerialists, gravity-defying acrobats, impressive jugglers and silly clowns perform alongside talented ponies and pups, accompanied by live tunes from the seven-piece Big Apple Circus Band. Families with special needs can attend autism-friendly shows (Oct 28–29, Nov 17). On select days, grab two-for-one tickets for a 75-minute show with no intermission. Ages 3 and up.

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Until Sun Mar 13

"The Hunger Games: The Exhibition"

The odds are definitely in your favor at this super–interactive, totally immersive exhibit insipired by The Hunger Games. Kids will learn about science, technology and problem–solving as they follow Katniss Everdeen's inspiring and action–packed journey through seven different galleries, including Tribute Train, District 12 and The Capitol. Super fans will flip for the authentic costumes and artifacts from the films on display, as well as the interactive map of Panem and stunt choreography feature. Tickets go on sale April 21; preregistration is recommended.

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Until Sun Jan 3

“Rebel, Jedi, Princess, Queen: Star Wars™ and the Power of Costume: The Exhibition”

Travel to a galaxy far, far away at this exhibition featuring over 70 costumes from the Star Wars movies. Get a firsthand look at C3PO’s gilded suit, Darth Vader’s creepy black mask, Queen Amidala’s royal gowns and Princess Leia’s bikini. The exhibition will feature short films, interviews with artists, designers and actors, and interactive flipbooks including sketches, photographs and notes from the movie-making process. Guests will even get to see if they can rock a Star Wars costume through a virtual experience. All ages.

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Until Sat Sep 3

Prospect Park Track Club Turkey Trot

Register early for this popular pre-feast race in Brooklyn's Prospect Park. Walkers are welcome on the five-mile course, which starts on Center Drive and winds up near the Lakeside Center. If the promise of a hearty Thanksgiving meal isn't motivation enough, the first three male and female finishers win holiday pies.

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26 Nov 2015