It's finally sunny, the flowers are blooming, and our April events calendar includes so many amazing things to do in spring! Get ready for cherry blossoms and plenty of exciting outdoor activities for kids to enjoy together. If it's warm enough, we also support you dining al fresco at our favorite kid-friendly outdoor restaurants.
RECOMMENDED: Full NYC events calendar
See below for some fantastic kids' events coming soon (and check back as we continue to add more). We'll see you there!
April events for kids in 2020
Too soon to daydream about warm afternoons on the Coney Island Boardwalk? Never! Undoubtedly intending to cure our winter blues, Luna Park revealed on Instagram that it will kickstart its new season on Apr 4, 2020—an announcement that typically doesn't come until later in the year. Regardless, we gladly welcome this exciting news about one of our favorite kids' amusement parks, even if we're still bundled up in winter garb. Even better news? This year marks Luna Park's 10th anniversary, and the family attraction promises a ton of surprises are in store for its visitors. The exciting, albeit cryptic, remark definitely has us looking forward to the spring.
It's cold outside, but the greenhouses at the New York Botanical Garden are kept at a tropical temperature that's perfect for the thousands of orchids in bloom as a part of the annual Orchid Show. This year's stunning display comes from the mind of Jeff Leatham, the artistic director of the George V—that's the tony Paris hotel where Presidents and Prime Ministers stay when visiting the City of Lights. In Leatham's display, each gallery has a different color and effect: It's like walking through a Kaleidoscope. You can read more about the show here. All ages.
What is color? How does it work? Why do diamonds look they way they do? Do some colors really make us sad? These and other heavy questions are addressed by "The Nature of Color," a new exhibition opening at the American Museum of Natural History. The family-friendly show features interactive exhibits that invite kids to play and experiment with the science of colors by way of an immersive color-changing room that responds to movement, a light lab, an interactive game show and more. All ages.
Ahead of its move in 2021, the Children's Museum of Manhattan will premiere a Gotham-inspired interactive exhibit this Valentine's Day. "Superpowered Metropolis" introduces patrons to Zip, Zap and Zoom, our urban pigeon mascots who are here to help little ones with brain-boosting activities. As children wander through a scaled-down version of the city, they'll tackle missions that ask them to solve problems, think before they act and examine things from fresh points of view. Ages 6 and under.
What would you do if faced with an emergency? This fascinating interactive exhibit explains the tactics needed to overcome real-life situations, from staying hydrated in the desert to withstanding extreme cold. After learning CPR, discerning the difference between edible and non-edible plants, to name a few scenarios, exhibit visitors can end their experience with a visit to the Adventure Zone Ropes Course and Zip Line. Ages 5 and up.
After the successful run of "Survival of the Slowest,"—a traveling exhibit that explored evolutionary science from the perspective of nature's slowest creatures—the popular family attraction has decided to provide a glimpse into the rainforest, right from NYC. "Under the Canopy," takes a look at the ecosystem as a whole, as well the critters who populate it. In other words, get ready for more animal meet and greets (think snakes, lizards and other cool creatures)! The new exhibit in partnership with Little Ray's Nature Centres is guaranteed to be a hit because of a familiar face: Roger, The super-cute sloth from "Survival of the Fittest." All ages.
Take a step back in time to the start of NYC's transit system with photos from Pierre P. and Granville W. Pullis. This new exhibit provides a glimpse of the turn of the 20th century, when construction just began for the subway system. All ages.
Prepare to dig deep like a true paleontologist thanks to "T. Rex: The Ultimate Predator." The Museum of Natural History's new exhibit will give visitors a peek into how the massive creatures came to be. Patrons will get a good look at the new findings about the tyrannosaurs genus, with a special focus on our main man, the T. rex. Unlike what people may think—and what movies led us to believe—T. rex is simply one part of the species' 100-million-year evolution. Who knew that tyrannosaurs species actually include small, agile creatures? For real!
We can't wait to see "Worlds Beyond Earth," the new show that will premiere at the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History on Jan 21. It celebrates the Age of Exploration we're living in right now—humans have only made it as far as the moon, but we have sent out probes and spacecraft to collect data and send it back to Earth. Think about it: Robotic explorers have been to the surface of the moon, and documented the icy and volcanically active surface of Jupiter's moon Io, and observed the showers of liquid methane on Saturn’s moon Titan. "Worlds Beyond Earth" transports you to the far corners of our solar system and beyond with detailed scenes drawn from scientific data. Plus, it's narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Lupita Nyong’o—the cosmos never sounded so good. This is the first new show to run at the Hayden Planetarium since Dark Universe," narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson, premiered in 2013. "Dark Universe" is familiar to many NYC kids—and parents. After all, a visit to the AMNH is one of the best winter activities for kids around, and one of the best indoor activities for kids you can do in NYC.
This brand-new exhibit is bound to keep your children entertained for hours on end. Its name is quite literal, as little ones can crawl and climb life-size installations and sculptures. Ten renowned artists came together to make the impressive pieces, including a massive tabletop mystery puzzle, a “groundhog burrow” for humans and a spandex wall of tropical patterns to stretch and climb through. Ages 3–10.
It's a balmy 80 degrees in the museum's 1,200-square-foot vivarium, which houses up to 500 butterflies living among tropical flowers. The free-flying butterflies often land on the shoulders of visitors, allowing tykes to come into direct contact with monarchs, zebra longwings, paper kites other species as they emerge from their chrysalises. Outside the vivarium, youngsters can watch a short film and read displays on the life cycle of butterflies, how to protect their habitats and what kinds of adaptations certain species have. All ages.
NYC's most popular Instagram landmark underwent a renovation that is practically as breathtaking as its views of Manhattan. The $165 million reimagined Observatory Experience at the Empire State Building allows visitors to learn about all aspects of the iconic building: from the moment it was built to its place in pop culture today. Galleries focus on the construction, opening day and everything in between. Catch 70+ screens depicting the building's place in the NYC skyline, see if your favorite celebrity has made a visit and, of course, get a taste of King Kong! Giant ape fingers pierce the wall of a 1930s-themed office. Yikes! All ages.
Reign of the Redbirds looks at the iconic subway cars that came to be known as Redbirds that first appeared in New York in 1959, and that were in kept in service until 2003. These workhorses evoke an era of great transformation in New York, and many of them met a poetic ending: decommissioned red cars were scuttled off the coast and helped anchor an artificial reef. Reign of the Redbirds is in the museum's atmospheric home in a decommissioned subway station under the streets of Downtown Brooklyn. Note: Museum is closed major holidays. $10, $5 ages 2-17, free 2 and under.
Forget observing! Kids get a taste of what it's like to work at the zoo with Jr. Keepers, an epic offering that just might inspire a new dream. Your little one gets to tag along with the zookeepers and get to go behind the scenes. Upcoming dates include Feb 18 with the World of Reptiles, and March 28 with the Otters. For third–fifth graders.
On the second Saturday of every month, the Swiss Institute holds Family Hours from 10am-11:30am and becomes a families-only scene. Never mind that it's really Family Ninety Minutes: you and yours have the run of the place during this time. Children are invited to take part in hands-on activities led by an artist, and you're free to wander the galleries of the recently-opened modernist jewel box of a building—the midcentury structure was renovated by Seldorf Architects. How nice to chat about art without the worry of disturbing your more grownup neighbors. Free. Ages 4-12.
If you go to the Museum of the Moving Image be sure to make time for the drop-in Moving Image Studio, a maker space with hands-on activities: Your little visual artist can make stop-animation films, play around with a green screen or make a flip-book, to name a few. Ages 4 and up.
Your littlest ones love making tasty treats at Tot's Cook, the weekly cooking, crafts and storytime at the Staten Island Children's Museum. The theme of the February 19 session will be the letter V (veggie fries!), and February 26 will be N (as in noodles). Ages 2-4
Catch a glimpse inside the cockpit of the fastest commercial aircraft to ever fly across the Atlantic (at an impressive 2 hours, 52 minutes and 59 seconds). At the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, visitors are able to participate a new 20-minute experience of the British Airways Concorde, which provides insight into the plane's amazing technology. Please note visitors are required to climb stairs to board the Concorde. Ages 5 and up.
The amazing life-saving dogs in this immersive 3D movie are like real-life PAW Patrol pups. Find out the remarkable stories of canines and their human companions who work hard everyday to rescue people in snowy avalanches and off the coasts of warm beaches. There's even a pair of Bloodhound brothers who are helping save endangered species in Africa. 45 minutes. All ages
NYC's museum dedicated to all-things espionage will soon shed some light on 007. The first James Bond exhibit in New York examines the creativity that went into bringing the movies to life. Car aficionados: You'll be pleased to know that Bond's Aston Martin DB5 will on display. There are also many interactive components to the exhibit: You can check out gadgets and gizmos in the Q's lab, get a behind-the-scenes look at how the Skyfall finale came to be and so much more. All ages.
Introduce your kids to the joys of jazz at the Jazz Standard's weekly Sunday brunch program. The Jazz Standard Youth Orchestra, made up of talented youngsters between the ages of 11 and 18, provides the music including big band classics like “Cherokee” and “Billie’s Bounce." While your family taps their toes, chow down on a barbecue brunch from Blue Smoke. Doors open at 1pm. All ages.
This is one event parents might enjoy just as much as the kids...maybe even more so. Rock & Roll Playhouse is a family-friendly concert series that introduces littles to the greats—The Beatles, Queen, U2, to name a few—as the house band plays some of the most popular tunes. The weekend happening adds a few kid-friendly elements such as stories and crafts to make the program extra epic. All events in Industry City (Saturdays at 12:30pm) are free, but tickets are required. Shows at Brooklyn Bowl (Sundays at noon) are $12. Head to the event's website for a full lineup. Ages 10 and under.
Prepare to shed a few tears...of joy! Teen jokesters from Kids 'N Comedy perform family-friendly acts on a monthly basis with new themes for each show. Come experience laugh-out-loud moments and rid the Sunday scaries with a few giggles. The 2019–2020 schedule is as follows. Ages 9 and up. Nov 24: "The Pre-Turkey Show?" Dec 15: "Christmaskwanzukah" Jan 19: "New Beginnings" Feb 23: "Post Love and Heartbreak" Mar 29: "Weird Facts" Apr 26: "Springtime in New York" May 17: "Moms & Dads"
Get the scoop on all-things sweet. Sugartooth Tours, a local dessert tour company, explores different neighborhoods to uncover the tastiest treats throughout NYC, so bring your appetite. You'll want to explore the newest offering, Village to Village Cupcake and Cookie Crawl (Fridays, Saturdays at 3pm) but don't miss out on favorites like Bright Lights & Broadway Bites Dessert Tour (Saturdays at 11am, Sundays at noon), Sweeter Than Sugar Chelsea & West Village Dessert Tour (Saturdays and Sundays at 4pm) and more. Learn more online. All ages.
Ready to hang 10 on the halfpipe? Vans just opened a new indoor skate park in Brooklyn, and it's the perfect place for wannabe Tony Hawks to work on their moves. Bushwick's coolest new attraction, Space 198 (198 Randolph St), allows athletes of all ages and skill levels to test out ramps, ledges and other skate-worthy concrete features. Plus, it makes for a great winter activity for kids. Photograph: Courtesy Vans OH: Did we mention it's free?! All that's required is to RSVP online. The sessions are as follows: Thursdays: 2–4pm, 4:30–6:30pm, 7–9pm Fridays: 2–4pm, 4:30–6:30pm, 7–9pm Weekends: Noon–2pm (Kids session ages 6–12), 2:30–4:30pm, 5–7pm, 7:30–9:30pm.
Start your Sunday mornings at Time Out Market New York! Not only will you have a chance to indulge in delicious brunch dishes (hello Clinton St. Baking Co.) but you can keep little ones preoccupied while you munch. Join the Puppetsburg crew on our fifth floor stage as the marionette entertainment kickstarts the day on a high note. With a new theme each week—such as "Farm to Table with Old McDonald," "The BEYONCE Show" and "Clementine Goes to Burning Man!"—we have a feeling you'll be as equally entertained as the kiddos. Bonus? Your youngsters will receive complimentary juice! Have a look at the lineup below! Ages 6 and under. Jan 26: Treasure Map Feb 2: Phoenix Rising Feb 9: Technodrone Feb 16: Clem joins the CIRCUS
Expose your tots to the NYC theater scene one show at a time. The perfect intro for the younger set, Taste The Clouds is a 30-minute interactive performance from Hit the Lights! Theater Co. that uses puppetry and live music to tell the story of a little girl who puts her imagination into overdrive. If your kiddos are fan of the picture book Taste the Clouds by Rita Marshall, this theatrical adaptation is a must-see! Ages 2–5.
Every weekend, Wave Hill hosts an art workshop class catered to toddlers and families. Using the seasons, holidays and—of course— Riverdale's gorgeous grounds as a muse, the morning workshop tackles a variety of DIY projects. From painting and planting to coloring and sculpting, this offering is perfect for the creative kiddos in your crew. On Saturdays, arrive before noon to score free access to the venue. All ages.
Every day at the Children's Museum of Manhattan is filled with activities that will entertain, delight and educate your youngest ones—it's like the best playdate ever, again and again. There are more than a dozen activities every day, from puppet shows to storytime to mural painting to Fantastic Fort Building. Check the calendar for the day's offerings, and look for special events like Drag Queen Story Hour. All ages.
This introduction to the New York Botanical Garden takes toddlers and their caregivers through guided explorations of this incredible complex of greenhouses and plant habitats. Each hour-long session in the six-week Nature Explorers Program includes songs, stories and projects you can take home. (Note that the spring session starts April 22.) Ages 2-3.
The Everett Children’s Adventure Garden offers guided activities every day. Your little horticulturist can climb boulders for a better view of the landscape, navigate Beth’s Maze and see the lily pads at the Habitat Hub. Come back each season to the 12-acre garden and check out new programs featuring hands-on activities and take-home projects. All ages.
A sea of toilet paper, neon paint splashes and three blue men have kept audiences laughing and amazed in this long-running Off-Broadway hit. Stand by as these other-worldly fellows learn about the environment around them...and make a bit of noise in the process (largely thanks to the large tubs of paint). You'll laugh, you'll catch one of the group members in the audience and you'll love the wonky happenings throughout the performance. If you catch a show in the first row, wear the poncho—chances are you're going to get splattered with something! Ages 5 and up.
Theater review by Adam Feldman The world of Harry Potter has arrived on Broadway, Hogwarts and all, and it is a triumph of theatrical magic. Set two decades after the final chapters of J.K. Rowling’s world-shaking kid-lit heptalogy, the two-part epic Harry Potter and the Cursed Child combines grand storytelling with stagecraft on a scale heretofore unimagined. Richly elaborated by director John Tiffany, the show looks like a million bucks (or, in this case, a reported $68 million); the Lyric Theatre has been transfigured from top to bottom to immerse us in the narrative. It works: The experience is transporting. Jack Thorne’s play, based on a story he wrote with Rowling and Tiffany, extends the Potter narrative while remaining true to its core concerns. Love and friendship and kindness are its central values, but they don’t come easily: They are bound up in guilt, loneliness and fear. Harry (Jamie Parker) is weighted with trauma dating back to his childhood, which hinders his ability to communicate with his troubled middle son, Albus (Sam Clemmett); it doesn’t help that Albus’s only friend is the bookish outcast Scorpius Malfoy (the exceptional Anthony Boyle), son of Harry’s erstwhile enemy, Draco (Alex Price). Despite the best intentions of Harry’s solid wife, Ginny (Poppy Miller), and his friends Hermione (Noma Dumezweni) and Ron (Paul Thornley), things turn dark very fast. Set designer Christine Jones and lighting designer Neil Austin keep much of the stage shroude
Husband and wife duo Fan and Ana Yang have traveled world-wide to dazzle their audiences with their self-titled masterpiece, "bubble artistry." As lights flicker and music plays, prepare to catch some of the wonkiest looking bubbles you've ever encountered. Kids and parents alike will love how these soapy spectacles create a can't-miss experience. Ages 5 and up.
This shrewd garbage heap of clog dancing, prop comedy and chest-thumping percussion spins out impressive (if numbing) variations on vaudeville by way of English punk.
One of the more unlikely musicals on Broadway this season, Come from Away is the tense but humane story of an airport in Gander, Newfoundland, where 38 planes and more than 6,000 passengers were forced to land on September 11, 2001. The book, music and lyrics are by the Canadian team Irene Sankoff and David Hein. Read the full review.
Theater review by Adam Feldman Teenage girls rule in the tart but sweet new Broadway musical Mean Girls. But their system of high-school government is far from a democracy: It’s a reign of terror, angst and mall fashions, where popularity is arrogated and then ruthlessly enforced. Having spent her childhood being home-schooled in Kenya, nature and math enthusiast Cady (Erika Henningsen) is initially confused by the rigid caste system of her new school in Chicago. She tries to be nice, but the ruthlessness of American teenage culture brings out Cady’s predatory instincts. She reverts to the mean. A canny crossbreed of Heathers and Hairspray, the musical has been adapted by Tina Fey from her own 2004 cult movie, and updated to reflect the new realities of smartphones and social media. Fey is one of the sharpest comic writers in America, and the show remains, in some sense, her vehicle: an auto de Fey, burning with bookish anger at the limits young women place on each other and themselves. (Her film role as a pushy calculus teacher is amusingly evoked by Kerry Butler, who also plays the other adult women.) But this version of Mean Girls is not just a copy of the original. The most famous lines from the screenplay are here, but Casey Nicholaw’s energetic staging wisely breezes past them; the newer jokes get bigger laughs, while the score—by Jeff Richmond and Nell Benjamin—successfully builds on Fey’s knowingly corrective tone. (“This is modern feminism talkin’,” sings a high-
Director-designer Julie Taymor takes a reactionary Disney cartoon about the natural right of kings—in which the circle of life is putted against a queeny villain and his jive-talking ghetto pals—and transforms it into a gorgeous celebration of color and movement. The movie’s Elton John–Tim Rice score is expanded with African rhythm and music, and through elegant puppetry, Taymor populates the stage with an amazing menagerie of beasts; her audacious staging expands a simple cub into the pride of Broadway, not merely a fable of heredity but a celebration of heritage. Minskoff Theatre (Broadway). Music by Elton John. Lyrics by Tim Rice. Book by Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi. Directed by Julie Taymor. With ensemble cast. Running time: 2hrs 40mins. One intermission.
Aladdin. New Amsterdam Theatre (see Broadway). Music by Alan Menken. Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice. Book and additional lyrics by Chad Beguelin. Directed by Casey Nicholaw. With Adam Jacobs, James Monroe Iglehart, Courtney Reed. Running time: 2hrs 20mins. One intermission. Aladdin: In brief Disney unveils its latest cartoon-to-musical project: the tale of a boy, an uncorked spirit and an aerodynamic rug. Composer Alan Menken adds new tunes to the 1992 original soundtrack, and Chad Beguelin provides a fresh book. Reputed highlights include James Monroe Iglehart's bouncy Genie and the flying-carpet F/X. Aladdin: Theater review by Adam Feldman What do we wish for in a Disney musical? It is unrealistic to expect aesthetic triumph on par with The Lion King, but neither need we settle for blobs of empty action like Tarzan or The Little Mermaid. The latest in the toon-tuner line, Aladdin, falls between those poles; nearer in style (though inferior in stakes) to Disney’s first effort, Beauty and the Beast, the show is a tricked-out, tourist-family-friendly theme-park attraction, decorated this time in the billowing fabrics of orientalist Arabian fantasy. “It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home,” sings the genial Genie (a game, charismatic Iglehart) in the opening song, and that’s the tone of Aladdin as a whole: kid-Oriented. As in the 1992 film, the Genie steals the show from its eponymous “street rat” hero (Jacobs, white teeth and tan chest agleam). The musical’s high point i
For the first time in forever, Disney's "Snow Queen"-inspired movie about sisterly love and a talking snowman is coming to Broadway. Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and the whole gang will turn the St. James Theater into a winter wonderland full of songs from the original soundtrack. Expect phenomenal sets and stage-magic, plus a certain Oscar-winning song to get stuck in your head.
The NYC theater scene is gearing up for a kid-friendly lineup. During the 2019-2020 season at the New Victory Theater, families will be able to hang with their favorite picture-book fishes, listen to Aesop's fables and much more. The schedule, which is available on the theater's website, is as follows: The Pout-Pout Fish: Oct 12–20 for ages 4–7 Aesop's Fables: Nov 1–3 for ages 7 and up RE:PLAY: Nov 15–Dec 1 for ages 6 and up 42 FT–A Menagerie of Mechanical Marvels: Dec 6–Jan 5 for ages 5 and up CARTOGRAPHY: Jan 10–19 for ages 10 and up Riddle of the Trilobites: Feb 7–23 for ages 6 and up Drumfolk: Feb 28–Mar 15 for ages 7 and up Treasure Island: Mar 20–29 for ages 8 and up Magic Shadows: Apr 3–19 for ages 5 and up Snow White: Apr 24–May 3 for ages 7 and up Jabberbabble: May 9–17 for ages 4–7 Fierce 5: May 30–June 14 for ages 9 and up
Michael Sgouros and Brenda Bell bring the Disney classic to life Off-Broadway at the Players Theatre in the West Village. In this Literally Alive Family Theatre production, journey alongside our beloved mermaid, Ariel, as she learns about a whole new world—from falling in love with a prince to making sacrifices when she's no longer under the sea. Catch an arts workshop one hour before showtime on Sundays. Ages 5 and up.