May events calendar for kids in NYC

Enjoy our May events calendar for kids! Your littles will dig these fun festivals, exhibits and events.

Photograph: Courtesy Filip Wolak
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See our May events calendar for kids to make the most of your summer in 2019! With warmer temperatures come exciting outdoor activities for kids, fairs, festivals and other great stuff to explore in your neighborhood. It's also just about time to enjoy local water parks and splash parks, so start scoping out your favorite spots nearby.

RECOMMENDED: See our full NYC events calendar for kids

Looking for fun ideas for indoor activities for kids? You'll want to explore our favorite underrated museums and children's museums!

May events for kids

Photo courtesy Randall's Island Park Alliance
Movies, Family and kids

Summer Outdoor Movie Nights

icon-location-pin Randalls Island Park, Randall's Island
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Grab a blanket and some snacks and enjoy family-friendly films under the stars. Every summer New Yorkers flock to their favorite parks for free screenings and fresh air. The season at Randall's Island kicks off with everyone's favorite Pixar superheroes with Incredibles 2 on May 24. Other highlights include Mary Poppins Returns (June 8) and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (July 14). All ages, listed movies rated PG. 

Photograph: Courtesy Books Are Magic
Kids

Story Time at Books Are Magic

icon-location-pin Books Are Magic, Carroll Gardens
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Each Saturday and Sunday, this enchanting independant kids bookstore in Cobble Hill hosts a story time. Authors read from their dazzling picture books, that can be incredibly funny, heart-warming, educational or all of the above. Be sure to check out all of the store's unique special events for children and young adult readers, too. Check out the lineup here. All ages.

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Photograph courtesy Andrew Kelly
Museums

Science Playground

icon-location-pin New York Hall of Science Playground, Queens
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At the nation's largest science playground, tots learn about technology as they slide and seesaw, climb a giant spiderweb, romp in sand pits and wind their way around big trees. Be sure to bring shoes that can get wet—the water play area is a real highlight of any visit. Note that this feature is weather-permitting. The playground closes at 4pm in November. Ages 6 and up.

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Photograph: Melissa Sinclair
Things to do

Smorgasburg

icon-location-pin Multiple venues
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The venerable epicurean extravaganza spends Saturdays in Williamsburg and Sundays in Prospect Park. No matter your preference, there's a little something for everyone. While kids can delight in sweets like fried cookie dough, those with a more expansive palate can opt for offerings such as seafood from Lobsterdamus, Boutros' pork shawarma tacos or PopdUp brewed teas, among seemingly hundreds of other dishes. This year, the new Pizza Cupcake and Fluffies Soufflé Pancakes (available Saturdays and Sundays) will be on hand to wow visitors! Note that admission to the food fest is free, but each vendor charges various prices. All ages. 

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

“T. rex: The Ultimate Predator”

icon-location-pin American Museum of Natural History, Upper West Side
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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! All ages. 

Rendering of a green dinosaur
Photograph: Courtesy Wildlife Conservation Society
Things to do, Quirky events

Bronx Zoo Dinosaur Safari

icon-location-pin Bronx Zoo Wildlife Conservation Society | Bronx, NY, The Bronx
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Advertised as the "biggest, most realistic dinosaur ride in America," the new attraction shuttles families (with narration) through a wooded area packed with 40 ultra-realistic (read: gigantic) animatronic dinosaurs. One of the most notable features will certainly be the two towering Tyrannosaurus rex—as well as the vegetarian Omeisaurus that stretches an impressive 60 feet long. And to make things as realistic as possible, the Bronx Zoo teamed up with a paleontologist from the American Museum of Natural History—Don Lessem even served as an advisor on the original Jurassic Park! The experience is topped off with an ADA-accessible fossil dig area for kids to play in, plus some additional dino-themed activities around the zoo. All ages. 

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Triton Submersible Photo-Op Station
Photograph: Denis Finnin, © AMNH
Museums, Natural history

Unseen Oceans

icon-location-pin American Museum of Natural History, Upper West Side
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Travel deep beneath the Ocean's surface to discover what lurks in the dark, cold depths of the sea with this special exhibit. Visitors learn about the new, cutting edge technologies like robotics, satellite monitoring, miniaturization, and high-definition imaging that scientists use to explore the ocean's vast realm. They can also see some of the new discoveries, like a new island forming near Hawaii and the behaviors of deep sea animals. The exhibit features mesmerizing displays, like a floor-to-ceiling array of biofluorescent species (animals that absorb and re-emit light) and a virtual ride in a submersible. All ages. 

Photograph courtesy Filip Wolak
Things to do

Family Sundays

icon-location-pin The Rubin Museum of Art, Chelsea
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The museum opens up its doors every Sunday for family-friendly activities revolving around various themes (which switch each month). Not only do little ones get to explore their creativity and learn a bit more about particular topics, but they also can revel in the fact that they can take home their art after a day of working on a masterpiece. In May, the events are focused around the museum's The Power of Intention. After checking out the exhibition, the kiddos can experiment with oils and color to make an expressive original piece. Ages 3 and up.

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Photograph: Courtesy NASA
Museums, Special interest

"Personal Space"

icon-location-pin Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Hell's Kitchen
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If you have trouble packing your suitcase before a trip, wait until you find out what astronauts have to bring when they head to outer space! During this year’s annual Space & Science Festival, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum will host an exhibit, "Personal Space," dedicated to all of the personal items that astronauts bring along for the trip. Astronauts who will be featured in this exhibit include Mike Massimino, Dr. Ellen Baker and more. All ages. 

Photograph: Courtesy Scott Frances for SPYSCAPE
Museums, Special interest

SPYSCAPE Spy School

icon-location-pin Spyscape, Midtown West
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Think your kid has what it takes to crack the code? Thanks to SPYSCAPE's newly opened Spy School, you'll have a budding FBI agent on your hands. Students in middle school through college are invited to the afternoon program that allows them to make and break WWII codes in themed Encryption mission, detect lies in Deception booths and much more. “We’re thrilled by the success of SPYSCAPE in New York City, and delighted to be able to offer this experience for free to students,” Ian Oldaker, COO of SPYSCAPE New York said in a statement. “We have had a lot of requests for this kind of program and we’re excited about creating new educational offerings as we continue to grow.” Spy School is free with a valid student ID, but attendees t must be accompanied by a paid ticket holder. We'll catch you there...or will we? Middle school–college.   

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Photograph: Courtesy Bronx Museum of the Arts + Shyu Ruey-Shiann, Dreambox, 2012.
Museums, Art and design

"Useless: Machines for Dreaming, Thinking, and Seeing"

icon-location-pin Bronx Museum of the Arts, The Bronx
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In an age where we rely on some type of device to fulfill a task, a group of international contemporary artists take a step back. "Useless: Machines for Dreaming, Thinking, and Seeing," is an exhibit that will feature a variety of unique pieces that ultimately puts utility in question. All ages.  

Photograph: Courtesy Museum of the City of New York/The LOOK Collection/Gift of Cowles Magazines Inc./Kenneth Edie
Museums, Sport

“In the Dugout with Jackie Robinson”

icon-location-pin Museum of the City of New York, East Harlem
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Batter up! NYC will mark the centennial of Jackie Robinson’s birth with a grand-slam exhibit. The collection of never-before-seen images, Look magazine spreads and personal memorabilia such as home movies will provide a glimpse into the life of the Brooklyn Dodgers MVP, all while exploring the media’s portrayal of the iconic figure. All ages. 

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Spyscape
Photograph: Courtesy Scott Frances
Museums, Special interest

“DRIVEN: 007 x SPYSCAPE”

icon-location-pin Spyscape, Midtown West
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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. 

Photograph: Courtesy Maria Baranova
Theater, Broadway

Be More Chill

icon-location-pin Lyceum Theatre, Midtown West
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It isn't always smooth sailing in high school, but what if you had the power to change those cringe-worthy moments? Jeremy takes the chance in Be More Chill...with some less-than-satisfying results. Ned Vizzini’s YA bestseller (which had a previous Off-Broadway run) will graduate to the Great White Way and dazzle audiences with upbeat music, neon-colored sets and feel-good moments. Get ready for a coming-of-age tale with an epic sci-fi flair. Ages 12 and up. 

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Museums, Childhood

“Justin Favela: Recuérdame”

icon-location-pin Sugar Hill Children's Museum of Art and Storytelling, Washington Heights
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Visitors will gain a deeper understanding of Mexican history and culture through a new perspective thanks to arist Justin Favela. His piece, "Recuérdame," recreates popular landscapes with a unique touch courtesy of piñata-cut tissue paper. There will be a variety of additional family programming in conjunction with "Recuérdame." To learn more, click here. All ages. 

Photograph courtesy of MacGillivrary Freeman Films.
Movies, Documentary

Apollo 11: First Steps

icon-location-pin New York Hall of Science | Queens, NY, Queens
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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.

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Photograph: Courtesy; Lance Cpl. Martin Egnash/US Marine Corps
Things to do

Memorial Day for kids in New York City

Need a guide to Memorial Day for kids in NYC? Check out weekend happenings that honor those who have served our country. There are plenty of things to do—parades, barbecues, outdoor activities and trips to the best beaches for kids and water playgrounds for kids. We'll help ensure that your three days off are busy and meaningful with our go-to picks for Memorial Day activities. Don't forget to check out our guide to the Memorial Day parade in NYC, too.  What is Memorial Day? Memorial Day, which takes place on the final Monday in May, is a federal holiday honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. armed forces. It originated after the Civil War and is often marked with parades and memorials.  When is Memorial Day? Celebrate Memorial Day 2019 on Monday, May 27.

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Theater, Musicals

Stomp

icon-location-pin Orpheum Theater, East Village
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Stomp takes percussion to a whole new level. A small cast of characters makes use of atypical objects—wooden polls, push brooms—to create a unique musical experience. A catchy rhythm, impressive dance moves and laugh-out-loud moments prove why this Off-Broadway show is such a crowd pleaser, even if there isn't any dialogue. Your kiddos might be inspired to take household items and start a jam session of their own! Ages 4 and up.

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Theater, Puppet shows

Puss in Boots

icon-location-pin Multiple venues
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Fergus Mundingle and his furry companion Puss are making their way to the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre for a performance of Puss In Boots. In this delightful puppet show, the feline snags a pair of shoes that takes him and his other half on a magical journey. Visit the City Parks Foundation page for any scheduling changes. 

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