October kids' events
Of all the Halloween festivals in the city, Central Park’s is the only one that involves sending your homemade jack-o’-lanterns afloat into the Harlem Meer. Before the main event at 6pm, kids are invited to show off their most creative costumes in a parade, dance to "Monster Mash" and other Halloween songs by live musicians, ogle live pumpkin-carving demos, listen to scary stories and work on creepy crafts. Learn more about the ghoulishly good events' lineup online. All ages.
This adorable Manhattan lighthouse fetes its special day with free tours, live music, theatrical performances, arts and crafts and fishing clinics along the Hudson. As always, families can listen to a reading of the 1942 children’s book, The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge by Hildegarde H. Swift, which prompted an effort to save the lighthouse when it was decommissioned in 1948 after the “gray bridge” (the George Washington Bridge) was built overhead. All ages.
We love a good spooky theme—and good thing, because this year’s Halloween Harvest Festival theme is Fet Gede, the Haitian Festival of the Ancestors! There will be a card readings, mini altars and a special dance and drum performance. Kids can also enjoy some hands-on fun with costume making, face painting and art projects. Dogs are invited to join in the fun with the annual canine costume contest. All ages.
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 thousands of 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.
Head to Coney Island for some Halloween fun! Luna Park's annual celebration kicks off mid-September and runs on weekends through October with kid-friendly activities and fall fun. Little ones can get their faces painted, ride ponies, participate in arts and crafts, magic tricks, karaoke, games, story time and dance. No need to head to a farm to find your Jack O’Lantern—the park will have a pumpkin patch onsite. Head to Luna Park's website for more event information! All ages.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden is debuting its Harvest Homecoming Festival in a big way: Families can expect classic autumnal activities—think hayrides, cornhole games and bobbing for apples—but there will also be newfangled delights, such as pumpkin bowling. Mom and Dad can kick back, too: New York breweries will be on hand with cider and other bevvies. Halloween costumes are encouraged! All ages.
Elmo loves tricks, illusions and hijinks, but he can’t quite master the art of magic himself...until he elicits the help of his friends. When Sesame Street Live! takes the stage, the red Muppet discovers his own capabilities in the inspiring story, Make Your Magic. For an additional fee, families can join a meet and greet with their kiddos' favorite characters. All ages.
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.
To prove that art and music are an unstoppable pair, The Jewish Museum and the the Diller-Quaile Music School will host a six-week program titled "The Sound of Color" for pre-schoolers and families. The program's family concerts are as follows: The Funky Monkeys: Sept 22 at 11:30am Dan & Claudia Zanes: Oct 20 at 11:30am Hopalong Andrew Band: Nov 24 at 11:30am Nefesh Mountain: Dec 25 at 11:30am and 2pm
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.
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.
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.
Charley Maplewood is about to reach a milestone: He's entering double-digit territory and celebrating the big one-oh! The youngster has never been too keen on grand festivities, considering he only has imaginary monster friends by his side, but that's about to change. In honor of this new chapter, the little one decides to throw himself a House of Horrors-themed bash, but things go awry. Will he be able to make the party a success? Find out in this adorable family musical! Note that the Oct 12 showing is a relaxed performance. Ages 5 and up.
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.
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 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
Although the spotlight is oftentimes on the dinosaurs, the Museum of Natural History wants to give patrons a chance to experience life under the waves, too, not just on land during prehistoric times. Thanks to the new film, Oceans: Our Blue Planet, musumer-goers can journey with the OceanX research vessel Alucia as it uncovers what's lurking beneath the sea. This film will be shown daily in the Museum’s Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Theater in 2D at 11:30am and 4:30pm, and in 3D at 10:30am and 12:30, 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30pm. The schedule is subject to change. All ages.
A tech and gaming-inspired pop-up from artist Tianyu Qiu, the former creative director behind the whimsical Wonder World installation in Brooklyn, has opened in Soho at 1 York St. With odes to the American Pop Art movement and European Futurism movement, “Pixinity: Pop Futurism” will transport visitors of all ages to a creative universe. Those who swing by will be led through 10 vibrant rooms chock full of sculptures, pixelated pieces, emoji-like figures, digital and gaming icons and computer-inspired work. (Yes, there's even a ball pit!). All ages.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.