October events calendar for kids in NYC

Our October events calendar for kids will let you in on all of the spooky (and non-spooky) events taking place in NYC
Central Park Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Sail
Photograph: Filip Wolak Central Park Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Sail
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'Tis the season to be spooky, and there's no better way to celebrate all-things creepy and kooky than with our October events calendar for kids in 2018! There are plenty of Halloween happenings across the city, from Boo at the Zoo at the Bronx Zoo to weekend harvest festivals at Luna Park. The list goes on and on. 

RECOMMENDED: Full NYC events calendar for kids

There are also plenty of other non-Halloween related events, such as the opening of the New-York Historical Society's exhibit "Harry Potter: A History of Magic" and Spyscape's new Spy School. Your calendars are bound to be packed with great things to do with kids in NYC. 

If you're still in need of other cool family adventures, try pumpkin picking near NYC, have a marathon with these  scary movies for kids and enjoy a helping of the best apple cider donuts in NYC.  

October kids' events

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Fri Sept 30
Things to do

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze

icon-location-pin Van Cortlandt Manor,
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There's nothing else quite like the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze for experiencing the magic and wonder of Halloween with your family. The attraction is set along the beautiful 18th century riverside landscape of Van Cortlandt Manor, and you can stroll along the Pumpkin Promenade to take in over 7,000 Jack O' Lanterns (all of which are hand-carved)! This delightfully eerie walk is also set to cool sound effects, synchronized light displays and an original soundtrack. Expect to see spiders and snakes, animals of all kinds on this spooky stroll. Be sure to get your tickets early—they sell out fast and required to gain access to the event! Also note that the tickets you purchase are for specific times. All ages.

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Theater, Circuses & magic

Magic at Coney!!!

icon-location-pin Coney Island Museum, Brooklyn
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Calling all junior magicians! Illusionists, escape artists, mentalists, and close-up magicians from all over the world will descend on the Coney Island Museum for a full afternoon of mind-blowing tricks and feats. Expect to see plenty of card tricks, levitating objects and perhaps some stuff disappearing right before your eyes. Who knows—maybe someone from your family will have the chance to become to be part of the magic if they’re picked as an assistant for a particular trick. And then catch more magic on Monday nights when the Brooklyn Cyclones treat fans to a magic show during their home games this summer. Magic at Coney performances run noon to 2pm. All ages.

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Photograph: Courtesy Eric Lennartson
Art

“TapeScape” at BCM

icon-location-pin Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Crown Heights
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Let your imagination run wild as you climb through a massive playscape made from miles of TAPE! This interactive exhibit by Brooklyn Children’s Museum in collaboration with Eric Lennartson is custom-built for the museum and created from unexpected everyday materials, and it’ll be located in the Visiting Exhibit Gallery. The exhibit will span about 400 square feet (about the size of a studio apartment here in NYC), offering plenty of tunnels to crawl through, and it’s open for anyone to explore, even adults. “TapeScape” encourages creativity, curiosity and gross motor play. The artist, Eric Lennartson, weighed in with Time Out New York Kids: “Because the exhibit is so crazy, it attracts everyone to play in it. One of the reasons I love the exhibit is that I see adults playing with kids in the exhibit. I see older kids playing again like they did when they were younger and didn't have to act so cool. I tell people it lets you act half your age again.” Building the exhibit will take around two weeks: the first will be used to create the skeletal structure, and the second for adding around thirteen miles worth of tape—that’s enough to go back and forth across the Brooklyn Bridge a dozen times! Lennartson continues: "I love that tape is such a common thing that everyone has, but it can do extraordinary things. It is completely unexpected material to build with, right? Why would you think that that roll of tape in your desk drawer could make something as big as a three-dimension

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Courtesy Jim Kay/Bloomsbury Publishing
Museums, Special interest

A History of Magic

icon-location-pin New-York Historical Society | Manhattan, NY, Upper West Side
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Take a trip to Hogwarts—without leaving NYC! Potterheads can experience "Harry Potter: A History of Magic," a British Library exhibit that is coming to the New York Historical Society. Take a peek at what Hogwarts students study, see drafts from mastermind J.K. Rowling and of course, have a magical, whimsical time. All ages. 

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Courtesy Jim Kay/Bloomsbury Publishing
Museums, Special interest

Family Programs for "Harry Potter: A History of Magic"

icon-location-pin New-York Historical Society | Manhattan, NY, Upper West Side
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Ready your wands, young wizards: All-things magical and mystical are heading to the New-York Historical Society for the London transplant, "Harry Potter: A History of Magic," a can't-miss exhibit for history buffs and bibliophiles. Fans will be able to celebrate one of the most beloved characters in children's literature and explore a wide variety of artifacts, including work from J.K. Rowling's original manuscript, oracle bones dating back to the 1600s and even costumes from the Broadway play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. But a celebration of Harry and all that he means to us wouldn't be complete without a variety of family events. Here's a full lineup of what parents and kiddos can attend when the exhibit opens on Oct 5.  Hogwarts House Badges, Saturdays and Sundays from 1–4pm, free with museum admission, all ages.  Harry Potter Family Book Club, various dates from 4–6pm, $15, $12 members, ages 14 and under.  Writing Historical Fantasy with Writetopia Lab, Oct 21 2–6pm (ages 8–10) and Nov 3 2–6pm (ages 11-13), $125/student.  History of Magic Family Days, Nov 18 and Dec 9, free with museum admission, all ages.  Harry Potter Trivia for Families, Oct 14 at 2:30 pm, $25, $22 members, all ages.  Historical Hallowe'en, Oct 28 at 5pm, $20, ages 18 and under. 

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Photograph courtesy K. Corbin, J. Sparks
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.

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Butterfly Conservatory at AMNH
Museums

The Butterfly Conservatory: Tropical Butterflies Alive in Winter

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

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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 Fairy Island
Things to do, Quirky events

Fairy Island Pop-Up

icon-location-pin 152 Lexington Ave, Midtown West
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Step inside a picture-perfect dream at "Fairy Island" without actually leaving Manhattan! NYC's new immersive pop-up experience will make you feel as though you're part of a fairy tale thanks to the six rooms of pastels, confetti, floral murals, unicorns and all-things magical. The exhibit encourages those making a visit to realize their dreams, enjoy the company of friends and of course, snap a few epic photos along the way. All ages. 

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Photograph: Courtesy Ripley's Believe It Or Not
Things to do, Quirky events

Ripley's Relic

icon-location-pin Ripley's Believe It or Not! Times Square, Midtown West
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Believe it or not, Ripley's has uncovered yet another way to blow visitors' minds! This time, museum-goers have the option to tackle a new immersive experience titled "Ripley's Relics." Here, they'll be able to tackle high-tech equipment (with the help of a guide) to uncover unusual symbols that were discovered right in the venue's home: Times Square. Think you have what it takes to crack the code? All ages. 

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Photograph: Courtesy Liberty Science Center
Museums, Childhood

"Doc McStuffins"

icon-location-pin Liberty Science Center,
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Little Dottie wants to follow in her mother's footsteps on the TV hit, Doc McStuffins. With the hopes of becoming a doctor, she practices her medical routines on her stuffed animals...who just so happen to come to life! Kids can channel their inner Doc McStuffins by checking in on fury friends in the ER, giving animals X-rays and more. This is a bilingual English and Spanish immersive exhibit. All ages. 

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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. 

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Things to do, Walks and tours

"Below Deck & Behind the Scenes: The Intrepid Hard Hat Experience"

icon-location-pin Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Hell's Kitchen
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Take a look at the Intrepid from a whole new vantage point—literally. In this tour, visitors will retrace the footsteps of the ship's crew members and explore unchartered territory that typical museum-goers do not have access to. Those attending will check out the emergency diesel generator room, sickbay and other areas. Appropriate footwear is required. A branded bump cap will be given out to those on tour (and they'll be able to take it home as a keepsake). Ages 16 and up. 

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Photograph: Courtesy CMOM
Art

"Art, Artists & You"

icon-location-pin Children's Museum of Manhattan, Upper West Side
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The Children's Museum of Manhattan is putting little visitors in the driver's seat. “Art, Artists & You,” a combination of an art studio and exhibit, encourages children to explore the creative process with several main components: working on stop motion animation, crafting a model of a pet or contributing to a wall hanging. “We want visitors to consider what it means when art is made of familiar object and materials, and how they can use these everyday items to make something new that expresses their thoughts, aspirations, and personal perception of the world,” David Rios, Children’s Museum of Manhattan’s director of public programs and the exhibit’s curator, said in a statement. Artists Amir Hariri, Antonia A Perez, Camille Hoffman and Jasmine Laura Murrell have just been added to the roster, so explore the pieces while you still can! All ages. 

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Photograph: Courtesy Museum of the Moving Image / The Jim Henson Company
Museums, Movies and TV

The Jim Henson Exhibition

icon-location-pin Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria
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The Museum of the Moving Image finally unveils its new permanent exhibition on Jim Henson’s work. Head up to the second floor to find nearly 300 items from the Henson’s career in film and television, including sketches, storyboards, scripts, photos, costumes, behind-the-scenes video footage and 47 puppets (Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Elmo and Big Bird just to name a few). Kids can even try their hand at puppeteering on screen and designing their own puppet characters. All ages.

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Things to do, Exhibitions

"Impractical Jokers: Homecoming"

icon-location-pin Staten Island Museum, Midtown West
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Ready for a few laughs? Well you're in luck. The masterminds behind the popular TV series Impractical Jokers are coming back where it all originated. This exhibit gives fans an up-close and personal look at costumes, props and even secrets behind the show. Make sure you're on your A-game: There will be a few interactive impractical surprises on display throughout the exhibit. All ages. 

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Photograph: Courtesy Museum of the City of New York
Museums, Special interest

"Germ City"

icon-location-pin Museum of the City of New York, East Harlem
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If your kids won't cover their mouths when sneezing or refuse tissues, maybe "Germ City: Microbes and the Metropolis" will help them change their ways. MCNY's new exhibit will focus on the clash between NYC and disease and how it has shaped us in a variety of ways, from culturally to physically. Pieces include "Blood Mirror," Jordan Eagles' offering that's comprised of human blood, a 20th-century smallpox quarantine poster and New York City Health Department diphtheria pamphlet, among many other others. Don't forget to register for the Community Care Fair, a family event on Nov 18 from 11am–3pm, that will let visitors explore ways we care for one another by taking a look at paraphernalia, stories and more. All ages.  

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Photograph: Courtesy Matt Shanley
Museums

Inside You

icon-location-pin American Museum of Natural History, Upper West Side
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The American Museum of Natural History’s exhibit explores the microbes, viruses, fungi and other organisms that live inside our bodies. According to the exhibit, our gastrointestinal tract is home to about 100 trillion bacteria and they can be affected by where we live, what we eat and what we touch among other factors. Learn about all about microbial genes and the important work they do to keep us alive. All ages.

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Greenbelt
Photograph: Dorothy Reilly
Kids, Exhibitions

"From Farm to City"

icon-location-pin Staten Island Museum, Midtown West
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During this family-friendly tour of the exhibition, tykes will learn about the island's evolution as well as its hidden history of farming, manufacturing and sports. Little ones will then commemorate the borough's storied past and present in a tile-making workshop, presented by the Staten Island's own Kreischer Brickworks and American Linoleum Manufacturing Company. Ages 7 to 12.

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Photograph: Courtesy Peter Kuper
Things to do, Exhibitions

"Underground Heroes: New York Transit in Comics"

icon-location-pin New York Transit Museum, Boerum Hill
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We need a little levity while commuting, so why not get a chuckle with "Underground Heroes: New York Transit in Comics"? The New York Transit Museum just released this silly (yet all-too familiar) exhibit of cartoons—ranging from the 19th to 21st century—depicting rides through on the trains. All ages.   

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Photograph: NARI WARD
Museums

"We the People"

icon-location-pin New-York Historical Society | Manhattan, NY, Upper West Side
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From the donations of many visitors' used shoelaces comes "We the People," an art installation by Nari Ward. From Feb 20–24, you can see the sculpture as it gets installed, and from February 20–26 you can post a sticky note on the museum's preamble wall to share how the words "We the People" make you feel. All ages.

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Art, Contemporary art

"Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power "

icon-location-pin Brooklyn Museum | Brooklyn, NY, Prospect Park
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Over 60 black artists from the mid-20th century are featured in this exhibit that explores the unjust treatment of African Americans from 1963 to 1983. Check out photography, abstract paintings, portraits, prints, and sculptures from this era. All ages. 

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Kids Class
Photograph: Shutterstock
Things to do, Classes and workshops

Introduction to Stop Motion Animation

icon-location-pin Creative Arts Studio, Boerum Hill
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Let kids take their love for movies to another level with Intro to Stop- Motion Animation, which teaches them how to use a camera and color-correct masterpieces. Once the class wraps up, little filmmakers will have their own clips to share.

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Movie theaters

NYICFF Five Borough Tour

icon-location-pin Various locations,
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The movies are on the move! The best of the New York International Children's Film Festival—Kid Flicks One (ages 3–7), Kid Flicks Two (ages 8 and up) and ¡Viva Kid Flicks! (7 and up)—is returning to the big screen. The flicks will be screened at various theaters throughout the five boroughs to give children a taste of other cultures, and budding film buffs need to get tickets. Learn more about the tour here. Ages 3 and up.  Queens: Oct 13-14 — Museum of the Moving ImageStaten Island: Oct 13-14 — Staten Island MuseumEast Harlem: Oct 20 — El Museo del BarrioHarlem: Oct 21, Nov 18, Dec 16 — Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of StorytellingWashington Heights: Oct 25 — Kid’s CinemaFest/Dominican Film FestivalBronx: Coming soonBrooklyn: Coming soon

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Photograph courtesy Lincoln Center
Kids, Festivals

LC Kids

icon-location-pin Lincoln Center, Hearst Plaza, Upper West Side
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Every year Lincoln Center presents a phenomenal lineup of programming for kids of all ages. This years, wee ones (ages 0–18 months) can explore their surroundings with Rain, a sensory performance that includes touch and music, while slightly older babies (ages 6 months-36 months) can join a friendly environment for creative exploration with Pulsar. Highlights for big kids include Is this a Dagger? The Story of Macbeth (ages 8 and up), a retelling of the classic tale by a Scottish storyteller; You Me and the Space Between (ages 6 to 12), a performance about an inventive child that utilizes storytelling and choreography; Soundtrack '63 (ages 12 and up), a multimedia musical experience about music's relationship to social justice. A number of shows offer relaxed performances for neurodiverse audiences. Visit here for more details. 

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Things to do, Cultural centers

JCAL Saturday Family Matinee

icon-location-pin Jamaica Performing Arts Center, Harlem
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During Jamaica Center of Arts and Learning's Saturday matinee series, families can enjoy amazing performances from musicians, dancers, and storytellers representing cultures from around the globe. Kids can groove to the afro, futuristic soul of Brooklyn-based duo Soul Science (Oct. 27); be enthralled by The East Village Dance Project's innovative take on the Nutcracker with New Stories of the Shell-Shocked Nut (Dec. 15); be amazed by master storyteller Michael Manswell's tales of the African diaspora and the Caribbean (Jan. 19); and feel inspired by the instruments created out recycled materials and reused stuff at the Family Bash (April 13). All ages, full lineup can be found on website.    

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Photo: Courtesy Deen van Meer
Theater, Broadway

Broadway Bridges

icon-location-pin Various locations,
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The goal of Broadway Bridges is simple: To have NYC high school students attend a Broadway play or musical before they graduate, at just $10 a show for tenth graders. Who could resist that?! How it works: Your New York DOE High School can simply register for $10 tickets (for 10th graders and their chaperones) for the performances below. Be aware that there are a limited amount of tickets available per show. Here are the additional details for how your school can get involved. Here are this year's participating shows:  Aladdin Anastasia Beautiful Chicago Come From Away Frozen King Kong Kinky Boots Mean Girls School of Rock Summer The Band's Visit The Lion King The Phantom of the Opera The Play That Goes Wrong The Prom Wicked This newly-launched program expects roughly 17,500 students and chaperones to head to a show this year. Tickets are purchased based on availability and coincide with the NYC Department of Education's academic calendar, according to Broadway World. To learn even more about how to participate in this offer, click here. 

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Frozen
Photo: Courtesy Deen van Meer
Theater, Broadway

Frozen: The Broadway Musical

icon-location-pin St. James Theatre, Midtown West
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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 Andrew Kelly
Museums

Science Playground

icon-location-pin New York Hall of Science | Queens, NY, 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. Ages 6 and up.

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Rocket Park Mini Golf at NY Hall of Science
Museums

Rocket Park Mini Golf

icon-location-pin New York Hall of Science | Queens, NY, Queens
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The perfect activity for lovers of putt putt golf and rocketships! At Rocket Park Mini Golf, your golf ball will experience the same principles of physics (like the law of motion and gravity) that a spaceship employs. This nine hole golf course will teach kiddos (and adults alike!) important science concepts like escape velocity, gravitational assist and more. Ages 6 and up.

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