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
It's Hug Time with Poppy and co...or is it?! In their first-ever live tour, the cheerful and colorful Trolls are tasked with an important mission: They must save Hug Time before it's too late. Naturally, the best way to do so is to bust out the dance moves, glitter and LOL moments. If your littles had a ball exploring the interactive DreamWorks Trolls The Experience, then they'll certainly love seeing their favorite characters on stage. Don't miss this exciting adventure, and of course, excellent hairdos. All ages.
This YA Greeky mythology mashup is perfect for the whole family. The performance brings Rick Riordian’s popular novel to life in musical form as we follow 12-year-old Percy Jackson as he tracks down who stole the god Zeus’ lightning bolt. Along the way, the brave one must figure out how to control his new powers, solve an Oracle’s riddle, escape from monsters and restore peace between the Greek gods. Ages 8 and up.
Prepare for a lively celebration! Lola Star’s Dreamland Roller Rink will welcome the holiday season with its beloved roller disco events at City Point, and kids can get in the action! Lace up and enjoy. The schedule, which will run until Feb 15, 2020, is as follows: Learn to Skate for Kids: Thursdays 5–5:45pm (7+) Holiday Themed Dress-up Skate Party for Families: Fridays 3–5pm (7+) Toddler Skate: Saturdays 10–11am (6 and under) Learn to Skate for Kids: Saturdays 11–11:45am (7+) Santa Skate: Holiday Themed Dress-up Skate Party for Families: Saturdays noon–2pm (7+) Dazzle Disco Dress-up Skate Party for Families: Saturdays 2:30–5:30pm
Fans of Wow in the World know that the smart and silly science podcast is packed with solid information and completely ridiculous gags. Guy and Mindy host the show, inviting onstage the Pop Ups and other fun musical acts. Will Reggie the Pigeon make an appearance? Wowzers can only hope. All ages.
Kids are welcome at this staging of the Mozart classic. It’s the perfect starter opera: Performed in English, this abridged version clocks in at less than two hours and features delightful costumes and sets,but it’s still a Met production with some of the world’s finest performers. (“The Queen of the Night” aria will give you chills.) Ages 5 and up.
Who can resist a snow day? Looks like Widget and Twig found someone who would rather take a pass. In Yeti, Set, Snow!, an original play from City Parks Foundation, a dynamic duo stumbles upon a yeti, Pascetti, who would rather not deal with flurries and the cold. Time will tell if Pascetti’s new friends will have him singing “Let It Snow.” Ages 3–8. Note: There are no performances on: Nov 28, Dec 24, Dec 25, Jan 1, Jan 2 and Jan 3. Note that showtimes on Nov 29 are: 11am, 1pm and 3pm.
The 42nd season of the Big Apple Circus is officially underway! Brooklyn-born singer and Ringmaster Storm Marrero will lead the way as the show celebrates all-things NYC. There are plenty of acts that'll make your jaw drop, including the Dupla Mão na Roda hand-balancing duo, performances from International Juggling Association Gold Medalist Kyle Driggs, aerial acrobatics with Aliev Troupe and so much more. All ages.
Is there life out there? (The correct answer is "yes.") You'll be better prepared to answer that eternal question after exploring Discover Exoplanets: The Search for Alien Worlds, a traveling exhibition that lands at the Intrepid Air & Space Museum. The show looks at the pursuit of habitable worlds beyond our solar system, and how NASA scientists is a part of that search. Intrepid Air & Space Museum, Hell's Kitchen (intrepidmuseum.org), Free with museum entry. All ages.
Every year, Bryant Park transforms into a winter village complete with an outdoor ice skating rink right at the center. Shop from local vendors selling food and drinks and get an early start on those holiday wish lists. Wonderful pop-up shops for kids and families abound, as well as eateries with sweet and savory cusines from around the globe. Holiday festivities are scheduled from the opening day, as Oct 31 will welcome kiddos for Tricks and Treats from 4–6:30pm. Later in the season, little ones can visit Santa from Dec 14–22, so tell your crew to start brainstorming! All ages.
After a glowing reception in 2018, the NYC Winter Lantern Festival will return to Snug Harbor Cultural Center with eight acres of LED lights that manifest an Asian flair (thin kpandas, dragons and florals). But the gorgeous showcase is about more than just photo ops: Stick around for a taste of some international fare as well as juggling, Tibetan folk dancing, hoop tumbling and other live performances. All ages.
Tchaikovsky’s gorgeous score, Balanchine’s timeless choreography and an impressive set—yes, that Christmas tree really is growing—ensure that this New York City Ballet performance will never go out of style. Ages 5 and up.
Each winter, chef Jon Lovitch expertly crafts an adorable (and completely edible) gingerbread village at the New York Hall of Science. It takes the Queens food artist an entire year to whip up the charmingly detailed miniature homes and storefronts. In true New York fashion, Lovitch’s impressive handiwork has held the Guinness World Record title for the largest gingerbread village for four years in a row. On Jan 12 from 2 to 5pm, visitors can snag a piece of the tasty town on a first-come, first-served basis. If you want to construct a cookie city of your very own, you and your child (ages 4 and up) can attend the nifty $15 workshop on various days throughout the season. All ages.
Twelve acres of radiant art will take over Randalls Island with three fairy-tale themes: Winter Fantasy, Wild Adventure and Sweet Dream. You can wander through the colorful LED arches of the Donut Tunnel and get lost in the snow-covered trees of the Frosted Forest for an electrifying experience that is the epitome of merry and bright. Be sure to explore the children’s printmaking workshop (various dates, walk-ins available; $29) and other activities,then refuel with snacks from Nathan’s Famous, Baked in Color and other eateries.
They say Christmas is an enchanting time of year, and the Illusionists certainly prove it. Prepare for playful tricks and plenty of see-it-to-believe-it moments as the team tackles mind reading, disappearances and levitation. Ages 6 and up.
For a creative take on holiday decorations, look no further than the American Museum of Natural History. To celebrate this year’s theme—“T.rex and Friends: History in the Making”— the museum decks a 13-foot tree with origami ornaments made by artists from around the world. If you’re curious about how to fold a piece of paper into a mini masterpiece, the institution’s experts will be on hand throughout the season to give you tips! All ages.
This year, the Bronx Zoo has decided to reinstate its beloved holiday light show, and the grand spectacle promises to be bigger—and greener—than ever. The celebration of Christmastime and conservationism will feature animated lights, Chinese lanterns and LED displays that depict species from around the globe—lions and elephants from Africa and pandas from Asia and more. All ages.
The holiday model-train show at the New-York Historical Society is always a stunner, and this year celebrates Richard Scarry’s Busytown to honor the 100th anniversary of the author and illustrator’s birth. You’ll see Huckle Cat, Lowly Worm and other favorite characters, plus trains, trains and more trains. 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.
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
Kickstart the day with a lesson on your favorite creatures! Bronx Zoo Mornings is a program that includes cool activities, an animal guest and discussions with a zookeeper, all with a special focus on a particular creature. See below for the 2019-2020 schedule. All ages. Bronx Zoo Mornings: Bears (Dec 21) Bronx Zoo Mornings: Jungle World (Jan 18)
On the third Sunday of every month, the Queen Zoo will host the FREE Nature Play Club, which brings kids back in touch with the environment around them. Youngsters can enjoy free play and "unstructured" exploration. Ages 0–8.
Budding engineers and artists will be equally enthralled by the masterpieces Nathan Sawaya has intricately crafted with over 1,000,000 toy blocks. (No, that number is not a typo.) Visitors who love dinosaur activities will gawk at the artist's 20-foot t. rex, which is comprised of over 80,000 pieces alone. Creative youngsters who participate in fun art classes for kids will enjoy Sawaya's recreation of Van Gogh’s Starry Night and Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Additionally, photographer Dean West partnered with Sawaya to produce a multimedia collection of LEGO brick-infused photos. Make sure to participate in the exhibit's interactive elements as well! 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!
The armor of Emperor Maximilian I, who ruled the Holy Roman Empire until 1519, was made for battle, and for showing off—just look at that lacy metalwork and exquisite details. There are over 180 items are in the exhibit, including the childhood armor of Maximilian's son, the future Philip I, King of Castile: This knight at the museum is sure to get the imaginations of your young ones racing. Mark your calendar for a special family afternoon on Nov 10 from 1pm–4pm that will include story time, a shadow puppet performance by Caroline Borderies and a chance for your young knights to embellish their custom armor. All Ages.
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.
Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing with a screening of this 20 minute movie. The whole family will be amazed by the Apollo 11's story, as the filmmakers reconstruct the vessel's preparation, launch and return using never-before-seen footage. After the film, take your future astronauts to check out the museum's Search for Life Beyond Earth exhibition. All ages.
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 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.
Paul Revere was more than the country's most famous patriot, he was a master silversmith, engraver and printmaker who was one of the premier artisans of his age. This show includes more than 150 objects from his life and times—including some of the tea that Revere and others tossed into Boston Harbor. Be sure to check the New York Historical Society website for special events. $22, $6 ages 5-13, free ages 4 and under.
This is planet Earth like you've never seen her before. NYC's latest immersive installation—located at 718 Broadway—is photo-worthy for a cause: While venturing through 15 rooms of underwater realms and fictional landscapes, "Arcadia Earth" visitors will be able to participate in virtual and augmented reality offerings while learning how our lifestyle choices will impact the future of our planet. Proceeds from all ticket sales will also directly support Arcadia’s educational and charity partner, Oceanic Global. All ages.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas on the Great White Way: After a run at London’s Old Vic, Charles Dickens’s famed tale will come to life on the Lyceum Theatre stage. Playwright Jack Thorne (the mastermind behind Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and Tony Award–winning actors Andrea Martin and LaChanze will join forces to put crowds in a holiday state of mind— even if Scrooge is not. Ages 8 and up.
Give back this season by participating in the 37th annual Daily New Food Drive. Non-perishable food donations are needed to keep NYC food pantries and programs across the city well stocked. Drop off goods from Oct 31–Jan 17 at City Harvest’s Manhattan office (6 E 32nd St, fifth floor), any FDNY or NYPD station and Apple Bank locations throughout the five boroughs. Learn more about donations and how to participate on the City Harvest website. All ages.