Mark your events calendar with these upcoming family- and children-friendly New York City activities, performances, festivals and more.
- Price band: 2/4
- Critics choice
For the 35th year in a row, families can take in the sights and sounds of African and African-American arts and culture at this afternoon fest honoring the holiday's seven principles. Make sure to catch performances by the Restoration Dance Theater Company and Impact Repertory Theatre, a youth group from Harlem, then visit the international marketplace filled with vendors. All ages.
Howl!'s annual summer festival gets a Christmassy counterpart for the first time ever—at this two-day extravaganza, expect performers from Rosie's Theater Kids, shadow puppeteers and local dance troupes, as well as activites like caroling, carnival games with a holiday twist, a visit with Santa and even a 40-horse carousel. All ages.
- Price band: 2/4
Expect to see a whole lot more than just a symphonic rendition of the Charlie Brown classic, "Christmastime Is Here"—at this holiday extravaganza, families will be treated to a Peanuts-themed performance by the New York Theatre Ballet and children from TADA! Youth Theater, narrated by Tony-award nominee John Tartaglia. The New York Pops alongside Essential Voices USA provide the score (Vince Guaraldi's original, of course). Those who purchase tickets to the after-party ($200, children 4 and up $100, children under 4 $75) will receive crafts, food, cookie-decorating and Charlie Brown–themed activities, plus prime seating at the concert. Ages 4 and up.
Visiting the Bronx Zoo over the winter-holiday break may not have crossed your mind, but it turns out you could hardly pick a better time for making the trip. Families will embrace winter head on, taking in ice-sculpting demonstrations, frolicking in a marine-themed play space with a 25-foot-long ice slide and having their photo taken on a walrus-themed ice throne. Those at the zoo on Sat Dec 28 will be treated to the Wildlife Ice Carving Competition and get to vote for their favorite animal sculpture. While there, kids can also sing along with a trio of holiday carolers, catch a 4-D screening of Ice Age and explore an igloo. All ages.
- Price band: 1/4
The Super Bowl is coming to MetLife Stadium, the home of the New York Giants and the New York Jets, in 2014, and to celebrate, the NFL is partnering with CMOM to bring kids up to speed on the art of officiating football games. Young visitors can try out a facsimile of the NFL's instant replay system and learn the various signs and signals officials use to communicate their calls. There's also an NFL Play 60 video kiosk; a peek into the Manhattan control room where all NFL games are monitored and, to teach kids how important fitness is to the job of officiating, an obstacle course. All ages.
- Critics choice
Amid all the flight delays and messy streets, we may sometimes forget that winter in New York is supposed to be awesome. (Seriously.) The parks look beautiful under a blanket of snow, and think about it: When is the air ever cleaner than on a crisp winter day? The Parks Department reminds us why we should love the colder months with Winter Jam 2014, its annual winter sports festival in Central Park. Families can expect to learn or take part in snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snowboarding; do animal tracking with the Urban Park Rangers; explore the Pride of New York Winter Market—or just sip hot chocolate and enjoy the outdoors. If you've got a dog, bring her along: The fest features a new Doggie Snow Zone. All ages.
In true winter spirit, the Central Park Conservancy is hosting a festival celebrating all things icy. Tots can watch Okamoto Studio carve ice sculptures of famous Central Park landmarks, learn about the park's original design and restoration efforts, and warm up with hot chocolate. All ages.
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