Photograph: Courtesy Justina Wong

January events calendar for kids

Kick off the new year with our 2020 January events calendar! We promise these picks are worth the trip out in the cold.

By Danielle Valente and Allie Early
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Welcome to the New Year! There's so much to get excited about, especially our January events calendar: A guide to the best kid's events happening in January. You'll find new family exhibitions at our favorite kids' museums, plays and performances, workshops and other great indoor activities for kids to keep your crew busy.

RECOMMENDED: NYC events calendar for kids

Personally, we're resolving to eat all the good food this year—and if you're on the same level, we suggest visiting our newly-updated list of the best family restaurants in NYC.

 

January events for kids

One World Trade Center Marley White/NYC and Company
Photograph: Courtesy Marley White/NYC and Company

1. Must-See Week

News City Life

When does a "week" last 20 days? When it's NYC Must-See Week, the you-don't-want-to-miss-it promotion from NYC Go that lets you get two-for-one admission to some of the best family attractions in town. Here's how it works: Go to nycgo.com/must-see-week to browse the selections, then follow the prompts or copy and paste the discount codes. NYC Must-See Week events will take place Jan 20-Feb 9—it pays to plan ahead. Go online to see the full lineup! 

Photograph: Courtesy Angelito Jusay

2. FrostFest 2020

News City Life

When the holidays come to a close, it can be difficult to accept that we still have months of cold to endure.  The city might've lost a little bit of its seasonal magic—and we might not be quite as inclined to put up with snow and frigid temps—but there's no reason to sulk. One of our favorite winter activities for kids is underway. Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park is scheduled to host FrostFest 2020 from Jan 24–Feb 2, and it is filled to the brim with wintry goodness.  During the 10-day celebration, one of NYC's most beloved family attractions welcomes visitors to enjoy cold weather-exclusive activities, from bumper cars on ice to igloo visits. Read on for the full lineup! 

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Museum of Ice Cream
Photograph: Time Out/Ali Garber

3. Museum of Ice Cream

News Weird & Wonderful

Ready your camera roll and prepare for a sugar rush: The Museum of Ice Cream is returning to NYC! The Soho flagship will open its pastel pink doors to sugary goodness on Saturday, Dec 14.  Read on for the scoop on the immersive experience (part playground, social media backdrop and sweet shop).

Image: Courtesy Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History
Image: Courtesy Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History

4. "Worlds Beyond Earth"

News City Life

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.

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Photograph: Courtesy Aviator Sports + Dillon Clancy

5. Ice bumper cars at Aviator Sports

News Sports & Fitness

An amusement park staple is getting a wintry makeover.  If your little ones can't find their balance while ice skating in NYC, why not give ice bumper cars a try? They're making a Kings County debut, and deserve prime-time real estate on your winter bucket list.  Venture to Aviator Sports, the gracious host of Big Bounce America, for the super-cool experience. Taking a cue from the Winter Village at Bryant Park, one of Brooklyn's most popular family attractions will offer families (with kids ages 7 and up) a chance to enjoy a 15-minute session for $13 on a first-come, first-serve basis. Time to channel those Coney Island summer days, but with a few cold-weather modifications!  Before your bumper-car outing, here are a few things to note:  Sessions run on Fridays from 7:30–10:30pm, Saturdays from 2–5pm and 7:30–10:30pm and Sundays from 1–5pm. Aviator Sports states that there are 3 sessions per hour. Riders must be at least 7 years old, 36 inches tall and under 300 pounds.  Flat-toed shoes are required (no ice skates).  A parent or guardian's signature is required for riders who are under 18.  

Photogrpah: Courtsy of the WIlliam Vale
Photogrpah: Courtesy of the William Vale Hotel

6. New rooftop ice rink at the William Vale

News City Life

The William Vale hotel in Williamsburg just debuted a rooftop skating rink with million-dollar views of the Manhattan skyline.  The Vale Rink sits on the 23rd floor of the hotel, and could be considered one of the best spots for ice skating NYC kids and families love. Admission to the rink (including skate and locker rentals) costs $20 for adults, $12 for children 12 and under—another upside to the new spot.  But take note: This isn't an ice rink. The Vale Rink is a Glice rink with an ice-like synthetic surface developed in Switzerland. Glice has an icy shine that looks wintery, but the plastic doesn't melt—there's no puddling in the midday sun. More importantly, there won't be any wet pants or sopping socks on your little skaters. The William Vale Hotel set up tent lounge next to the rink where parents can relax with a grown-up drink, and where kids can go for an aprés-skate hot chocolate. It is open from 2–10pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays; 2pm–midnight on Fridays; noon–midnight on Saturdays; and noon–10pm on Sundays. Note that children 6 and under must have accompaniment on the ice and those 13 and under must have a guardian present; the smallest skate size 11 girls/9 boys. 

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Photograph: Courtesy Matteo Prandoni/BFA.com

7. Sloomoo Institute

News Weird & Wonderful

New Yorkers take their immersive experiences quite seriously, and this fall promises a slew of sensory-filled adventures.  After indulging in creamy goodness at the Museum of Ice Cream's new Soho flagship, head over for a creative afternoon at Sloomoo Institute. This 8,000 square-foot entertainment hub, also in Soho, guarantees a slimy encounter like no other.  "We are all excited to bring the wonder and happiness of slime to the world in a large way,” says Karen Robinovitz, one of the three co-founders of the installation, alongside Sara Schiller and Toni Ko. “Our hope is that people of all ages will come to Sloomoo Institute and delight and evoke their inner child.” Sloomoo acts as an art exhibit and art class for kids, too. Visitors big and lil' will enter a black light cove with glow in the dark slime, let an EEG machine provide a sneak peek of your brain on slime and much more. For creative youngsters who love STEM project, this is one of the coolest fall activities for kids taking place this year.  Tickets are on sale ($38) and include an 8-ounce custom slime and other fun trinkets. For those who take their sliming super seriously, visitors can participate in a Sloomoo photoshoot (for an additional $30) where slime pours down on eager participants a la 90's Nickelodeon days.

Photograph: Courtesy Pixabay + LAWJR

8. Sugartooth Tours

Things to do Walks and tours Various locations, Hell's Kitchen

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.  

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Photograph: Courtesy NYC GO and Off Broadway Week

9. Gazillion Bubble Show

4 out of 5 stars
Theater New World Stages, Hell's Kitchen

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.

Frozen
Photo: Courtesy Deen van Meer

10. Frozen: The Broadway Musical

Theater Broadway St. James Theatre, Midtown West

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.

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Photograph: Courtesy Children's Museum of the Arts

11. "Inside Art"

Museums Childhood Children's Museum of Manhattan, Upper West Side

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. 

Photograph: Courtesy Joshua Bright

12. Wave Hill's Family Art Project

Things to do Classes and workshops Wave Hill, The Bronx

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. 

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Tyrannosaurus Rex, 4th floor halls
Photograph: Courtesy Craig Chesek

13. “T. rex: The Ultimate Predator”

Museums Natural history American Museum of Natural History, Upper West Side

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! 

Photograph: courtesy New York Transit Museum

14. Reign of the Redbirds at the New York Transit Museum

Museums Special interest New York Transit Museum, Boerum Hill

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.

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Photograph: Courtesy of the The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

15. British Airways Concorde at the Intrepid

Museums Military and maritime Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Hell's Kitchen

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. 

Photograph: Courtesy Evan Joseph Images

16. Empire State Building's Reimagined Observatory Experience

Things to do Empire State Building | Manhattan, NY, Midtown West

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. 

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