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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.

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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

Critics' pick

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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Manhattan Wednesday November 25 2015

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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Grand Central Terminal, Vanderbilt Hall , Midtown West Monday November 16 2015 - Thursday December 24 2015

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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Grand Central Terminal, Main Concourse , Midtown East Saturday November 14 2015 - Sunday February 21 2016

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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Damrosch Park (at Lincoln Center) , Upper West Side Wednesday October 21 2015 - Sunday January 10 2016

“Superheroes in Gotham”

Since their introduction in the 1930s, superheroes have inspired kids through comic books, games, television and movie screens—even the Broadway stage. This exhibition tells the story of superheroes in NYC, ranging from the birth of comic book superheroes to their transition to radio, TV, film and more, including New York Comic Con.

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New-York Historical Society , Upper West Side Until Tuesday December 29 2015

"Swedish Wooden Toys"

The durable, plastic toys on most toy store shelves today are great and all, but we still adore the detail and craftsmanship that went into making wooden toys back in the day. Luckily, Sweden still upholds the tradition of making these special playthings, and the Bard Graduate Center is putting many of them on display this fall. Check out handmade rattles, rocking horses, dollhouses, building blocks and more, plus learn about the educational value of the toys. Tours are offered Tuesday through Friday, 11am–4pm and Thursdays until 7pm. Tour reservations required. Ages 4 and up.

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Bard Graduate Center Gallery , Upper West Side Until Sunday January 17 2016

"Connected Worlds"

With so many people bustling around NYC at all times, it's easy to forget that our city is just a small piece in a larger environment. This high-tech exhibition in the Great Hall lets families better understand our impact on Earth's delicate systems, teaching kids how to keep things balanced through individual and collective actions. Hands-on activities let visitors interact with animated creatures, plants, trees and other objects on seven giant screens. Each displays a different environment—desert, mountain valley, plains, reservoir, jungle wetlands and a digital waterfall, towering above at 38 feet tall. As families move from one environment to the next they'll explore how the spaces are connected by shared resources and weather patterns and how their actions impact the larger environment. All ages.

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New York Hall of Science , Queens Until Saturday December 31 2016

Finding Neverland

Kids who've dreamt of heading out on an adventure with the Lost Boys will love witnessing the backstory of Peter Pan in this musical based on the 2004 Miramax film. Glee's Matthew Morrison leads as British playwright J.M. Barrie, whose growing affection for four fun-loving boys—as well as their mother Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (Laura Michelle Kelly)—inspires his vision for the magical world of Neverland. All ages.

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Lunt-Fontanne Theatre , Midtown West Until Saturday December 31 2016

"Dora & Diego: Let's Explore!"

At this exhibit, visitors can play with beloved Nickelodeon characters Dora and Diego in games that encourage animal conservation and environmental awareness. Kids can explore different interactive play areas including Isa’s Flowery Garden, Journey to the Purple Planet, Tico’s Nutty Forest, the Animal Rescue Center, a Rainforest Maze and the Pirate Piggies’ Ship. Ages 3 to 10.

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Liberty Science Center Until Sunday January 24 2016