nyc fall
Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock

September events calendar for kids in NYC

Check out our September events calendar for kids to find the best seasonal happenings for NYC families

By Danielle Valente and Allie Early
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Fall is on the horizon! Enjoy the start of the harvest season by perusing our September events calendar for kids and families.  

From apple and pumpking picking to Halloween fun, September offers a lot to love. Plus, we can look forward to visiting our favorite family attractions once again: The Museum of Natural History and the Intrepid are among our go-to spots that are reopening.

RECOMMENDED: Full NYC events calendar for families 

We'll help you make the most out of the season, even if things are looking a little different this year. 

September 2020 events calendar for kids

Time Out + NYPL
Time Out + NYPL
Photograph: Time Out/Shutterstock

1. Time Out + NYPL daily storytimes

Things to do Literary events

Are your little ones missing their favorite reading circle? Don’t worry, Mom and Dad: We have the perfect solution! Time Out is partnering with the New York Public Library to present digital storytimes for pint-sized bookworms. Families can tune in Monday through Friday at 10am—right here—for a remote read-aloud. Curious about the lineup? The Time Out New York Kids newsletter will reveal forthcoming story time schedules on Fridays, so sign up today!

 

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Photograph: Courtesy of Michael Seto

3. Morningside Lights

Things to do Remote, Midtown West

This twilight parade of handmade paper lanterns, which is going digital for its ninth anniversary, is a gorgeous welcome to fall. Every year, more than 50 creatures and shapes are created by members of the community. From Sept 17–19, at home lantern kits will be distributed at a socially-distanced pick-up location outside of Miller Theatre at Columbia University. This year's theme is inspired by the Langston Hughes poem "Harlem Night Song." A few weeks later, the lanterns are in a glowing procession that starts in Morningside Park and winds its way up to Columbia. On Oct 26 at 7pm, you can watch the parade video online and see the creations come to life. However, Morningside Lights is magical even if you're just a spectator. All ages.

The Morgan Library & Museum
The Morgan Library & Museum
Photograph: Graham Haber

4. Morgan Explorers

Things to do Classes and workshops Remote, Midtown West

Bring the best of The Morgan right to your living room. During this 45-minute virtual family program, young patrons will be guided through crafts, explore museum objects and learn more about the attraction's library and temporary exhibits. Ages 3 and up. 

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Queens County Farm Museum, New York
Queens County Farm Museum, New York
Photograph: Queens County Farm Museum

5. The Amazing Maize Maze

5 out of 5 stars
Kids Quirky events Queens County Farm Museum, Queens

No autumn would be complete without the Amazing Maize Maze at the Queens County Farm Museum! The American Maze Company builds a labyrinth every year that that stretches over several acres, with the length of the course often stretching two miles! Previous years’ themes have included a violin, a riverboat, a train, a farmscape and the largest living sundial. This year, paths will be larger, timed tickets will be required and employees will monitor guests. Ages 3 and up.

Photograph: Courtesy Jennifer Mitchell

6. The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze

Things to do Quirky events Van Cortlandt Manor,

Like a well-stocked candy stash, the Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze is an essential part of Halloween in New York. The attraction is set along the beautiful 18th century riverside landscape of Van Cortlandt Manor and boasts a pumpkin promenade like none other: There are over 7,000 hand-carved jack o'lanterns waiting to impress visitors. As you tour the grounds, expect synchronized lighting, spooky music and more dazzling, Instagram-worthy features like the Pumpkin Carousel and the Pumpkin Windmill. What's new in 2020? A pumpkin fire truck and a coven of witches cooking up a spell! New safety measures will be in place in 2020. Read all about them online. Be sure to snag tickets early; the event is likely to sell out. All ages.

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Six Flags HOLLOWFEST
Six Flags HOLLOWFEST
Photograph: Courtesty Six Flags Great Adventure

7. Six Flags' new HALLOWFEST

News City Life

The spooky season is right around the corner, so ghosts and ghouls should prepare accordingly. HALLOWFEST, Six Flags Great Adventure's all-new celebration, will run from Sept 18 through Nov 1, which means there are plenty of opportunities for creepy, kooky and spooky shenanigans. During the day, little monsters can enjoy seasonal scream-worthy attractions: inflatables, a Trick or Treat Trail, a hay bale maze (in one direction) and other fun activities. At night is when things get a little more serious (perhaps a time better suited for the tweens and teens): Creepy fog, eerie lighting and sinister music will transform the family attraction into a real-life horror movie and thrill-seekers can ride their favorite coasters...in the dark!

food fair carnival
food fair carnival
Photograph: Shutterstock

8.  Orange County Drive-Thru Fair Food Festival

News Transport & Travel

Let's be honest: We love a ride on the ferris wheel and a few rounds of Whac-A-Mole, but the real draw of a festival is the food. (Candy apples, anyone?) Since fall activities are making adjustments this year, one New York town wanted to ensure that you got your funnel cake fix. Plan a weekend day trip to the free, socially-distanced Orange County Drive-Thru Fair Food Festival. From Sept 24–27 and Oct 1–4, you and your family can head to the Orange County fairgrounds in Middletown for all the sweets your heart desires. 

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Classic Harbor Line
Classic Harbor Line
Photograph: Courtesy Classic Harbor Line/Dennis Cahlo

9. Classic Harbor Line Statue and Sightseeing Cruise

Things to do Walks and tours Chelsea Piers, Chelsea

Take in NYC's gorgeous views from a new vantage point—right on the water! This weekend's Statue and Sightseeing Cruise will provide photo-worthy views of your favorite family attractions, so make sure your camera roll is ready! The cruise leaves from Pier 62 at Chelsea Piers. All ages. 

the dynamite shop
the dynamite shop
Courtesy: The Dynamite Shop

10. Dynamite Shop Weekend Workshops

Things to do Classes and workshops Remote, Midtown West

The Dynamite Shop is helping families improve their culinary chops, right from the comfort of their own kitchen. Online weekend workshops cover a wide variety and range from $40–$50 per family. The schedule is as follows: 

  • Saturday, Sept 12 from 2–30pm: Fresh pasta 
  • Saturday, Sept 19 from 2–4pm: Sushi and Edamame
  • Saturday, Sept 26 from 2–30pm: Monkey Bread Brunch 
  • Saturday, Oct 3 from 2–3:30pm: Ultimate Cupcake Challenge 
  • Saturday, Oct 10 from 2–4pm: Chinese hand-pulled noodles
  • Saturday, Oct 17 from 2–3:30pm: Free-form pies 
  • Saturday, Oct 24 from 2–4pm: Dumplings from Scratch
  • Saturday, Oct 31 from noon–1:30pm: Caramel apples with all the toppings
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new york aquarium
new york aquarium
Photograph: Courtesy Julie Larsen Maher

11. The New York Aquarium

News City Life

The New York Aquarium is welcoming back visitors! There are a few things to note before making a visit: Online reservations are now required, guests must wear a face mask and new safety procedures will be in place, including additional hand sanitizing stations and contactless check-in. There will be limited seating at the Aquatheater and the 4-D Theater still remains closed. However, visitors can still expect the same great exhibits. Stop by and say hello to sea otters and harbor seals at "Sea Cliff," extend Shark Week with a pitstop to the "Ocean Wonders: Sharks" exhibit and take in a "snorkeler's-eye view" at Conservation Hall. Plus, the new "Spineless" exhibit—which was only accessible through live cams—will be ready to rock 'n roll. Park-goers can learn all about lagoon jellies, Pacific octopi and other backbone-lacking invertebrates that call the ocean home.

spineless at new york aquarium
spineless at new york aquarium
Photograph: Courtesy Julie Larsen Maher

12. "Spineless" at the New York Aquarium

Things to do Exhibitions New York Aquarium | Brooklyn, NY, Brooklyn

Now that New York Aquarium has reopened to the public, we're finally able to check out "Spineless," in person the newest exhibit hall at the aquarium. No internet or live cams required! The exhibit features octopuses, jellies, Spider Crabs and other invertebrates. (Get it?) All ages.

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American Museum of Natural History
American Museum of Natural History
Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock

13. The Museum of Natural History

News City Life

We have some dino-mite news to share with you, NYC: One of our favorite family attractions is getting ready to open its doors for the first time since March! The American Museum of Natural History took to Instagram to share its forthcoming plans. Pending approval from New York State, members will be able to visit beginning September 2 and the general public will be able to visit beginning September 9. Obviously, we're making a b-line for T.rex when we get there. 

Photograph: Courtesy Craig Chesek

14. "The Nature of Color"

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

What is color? How does it work? Why do diamonds look they way they do? Do some colors really make us sad? These and other heavy questions are addressed by "The Nature of Color," a new exhibition opening at the American Museum of Natural History. The family-friendly show features interactive exhibits that invite kids to play and experiment with the science of colors by way of an immersive color-changing room that responds to movement, a light lab, an interactive game show and more. All ages. 

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Photograph: Courtesy Museum of the City of New York

15. "City/Game Basketball in New York"

Museums Sport Museum of the City of New York, East Harlem

If your kids love to shoot hoops, you won't want to miss "City/Game Basketball in New York," a new exhibit that explores the game as a whole and those in NYC who play it. Learn more about the game's MVPs, history and impact in our neighborhoods. All ages. 

Brooklyn Book Festival
Brooklyn Book Festival
Photograph: Filip Wolak

16. The 15th Annual Brooklyn Book Festival

News City Life

Prepare to do your book browsing online. One of New York City's most popular literary celebrations, the Brooklyn Book Festival, is going remote for the first time. Although it seems like an atypical way to ring in the event's 15th anniversary, the star-studded author lineup and programming, particularly for young readers, is certainly worth celebrating—even from your laptop. The week-long festival is scheduled from Sept 28–Oct 5. Children's Day, which will take place on Oct 3, will include virtual illustration competitions, readings and performances for little bookworms. Among the author attendees are R.L. Stein, Oliver Jeffers and Tami Charles. But families with teens should particularly take note: BKBF is introducing a new program titled Y.A. Out Loud, which is also slated for Oct 3. Attendees can enjoy virtual readings and talks with the most popular young adult authors out there, including Libba Bray, Kacen Callender and Marie Lu.

 

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LeFrak Lakside
LeFrak Lakside
Photograph: Courtesy Upsilon Ventures

17. LeFrak Center at Lakeside

News City Life

Visitors are able to rent a boat, kayak and bike with family and friends. If you're looking to refuel after an afternoon out, the Bluestone Cafe is offering food and drinks on a takeaway basis. Although Splash Pad is open, visitors must note that it is not regularly sanitized and social distancing guidelines are enforced when using the facility, according to the park's website

 

Kayaking brooklyn bridge park
Kayaking brooklyn bridge park
Photograph: Courtesy Etienne Frossard

18. Free kayaking at Brooklyn Bridge Park

News City Life

Anxious to start paddling? We can't blame you. There are a few things to note before venturing to the boathouse on Pier 4. For one, registration is open and kayaking will resume Wednesdays from 4–8pm and Saturdays from 10am–4pm from Aug 15–Oct 15, according to the park's website. Walk-ins will be accommodated if there is room. All participants must wear a face mask and attendees under 18 must have a guardian present. Park-goers must sign a waiver before hitting the water.

 

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Bronx Zoo entrance
Bronx Zoo entrance
Photograph: Shutterstock

19. Free Wednesdays at the Bronx Zoo

News City Life

Good news for those who are anxious to pay a visit to the animal kingdom. Not only is the Bronx Zoo reopening to the public on July 24 (it's operating on a members only basis from July 20–23), but it's enticing visitors with a perk. For families in search of a day trip on the cheap, might we suggest a Wednesday pitstop to the outdoor attraction? According to the Wildlife Conservation Society, general admission to the Bronx Zoo is free on Wednesdays. However, visitors have to plan in advanced: Advanced timed tickets will be required. The Wednesday ticket store will open on Tuesday at 10am for that Wednesday’s reservations, so make sure to set an alarm on your phone. You're not going to want to miss an opportunity to snag a spot. 

 

sea otters new york aquarium
sea otters new york aquarium
Photograph: Courtesy Julie Larsen Maher

20. Free Wednesdays at the New York Aquarium

News City Life

The New York Aquarium has started welcoming back visitors, joining the ranks of the Wildlife Conservation's other family attractions like the Bronx Zoo and Prospect Park Zoo. The sharks are lurking, the sea otters are relaxing and the "Spineless" newbies are waiting to say hello. These animal encounters alone are enough to pique your interest, but free admission is also another enticing factor. On Wednesdays after 3pm, the aquarium admits visitors at no cost. However, there are a few things to note now that city is grappling with a new norm: Advanced timed tickets are required, and those who attempt to enter without reservations will not be permitted inside. Every Monday at 5pm, the Wednesday Afternoon Ticket Store will open for that week's reservations according to the aquarium's website, so act fast! 

 

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intrepid
intrepid
Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock

21. The Intrepid Museum is reopening

News City Life

Beginning Friday, Sept 25, New Yorkers can make their way to the aircraft carrier for a peek into our nation's maritime, military and space history.  Things will look a little different once the city, state and federal guidelines are taken into consideration: The family attraction will operate at 25 percent capacity, operate Wednesday–Sunday from 10am–5pm and only invite those with advanced, timed tickets to enter the museum. Unfortunately, this also means that interactive areas will not operate, including the Concorde, submarine Growler, Lutnick Theater, simulators, food service and gift shop. At this time tours, parties and museum sleepovers will not operate. However, there is still plenty to see and learn—you'll just have to snag tickets and explore the space for yourself. 

 

Krispy Kreme Times Square
Krispy Kreme Times Square
Photograph: Courtesy Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation

22. Krispy Kreme opens

News Eating

Times Square is due for something sweet: A 4,500 square-foot Krispy Kreme. Opening Sept 15 at 1601 Broadway, the 24/7 doughnut shop will take desserts to the next level, and you need to swing by for an original glazed—and then some. Expect a big-city-twist to a classic brand: You'll be able to enjoy your favorite flavors, and the shop will take things to new levels with a doughnut-making theater, where you can catch a two-foot-tall glaze waterfall and doughnuts whipping through conveyor belts.Once you've snagged a snack (or two), be sure to pop a squat in the stadium-styled seating and score some fun merch—mugs, tees, and so on—before making your way out. Too busy to stay? No sweat: The street-side pickup window will be available 24/7! Don't forget to take a look at the world's largest Hot Light before you jet.  

 

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Milk & Cream Cereal Bar
Milk & Cream Cereal Bar
Photograph: Courtesy Milk & Cream Cereal Bar

23. Milk & Cream x “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”

News Eating

We've discovered the most unique pizza in all of New York City—and you can find it at one of your favorite ice cream shops. No, that wasn't a typo: Ice cream pizza has landed at Milk & Cream Cereal Bar in honor of Nickelodeon's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Show your love for the crime-fighting, sauce, cheese and dough connoisseurs with a slice of pie that's one of the most Instagrammable desserts in town. The combo of cookie crust, strawberry puree, Cocoa Krispy Treats and shaved bits of white chocolate will make the turtle quartet proud. You can also prove your devotion to Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael and Leonardo with swirl cups and collectable milkshake cups. Plus, you can find cartoon swag adorned throughout the shop. (We told you this was an Instagrammable spot!) Make sure to stop by before Sept 14 to enjoy the sweets.

 

Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock

24. Apple picking

Things to do

Summon the harvest season one Granny Smith at a time. We found the best places for apple picking NY families need to explore, so grab a basket and map out the fall activities for kids your brood can't miss.

 

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Photograph: Courtsey Shutterstock

25. Pumpkin picking

Things to do

Just like Humpty Dumpty, it's time to have a great fall: That means cozy sweaters, mugs of warm cider and the best pumpkin picking NY has to offer.

fall in nyc
fall in nyc
Photograph: Shutterstock

26. Fall foliage

News City Life

Autumn is upon us, folks. Before you know it, you'll be reaching into the closet for something plaid and scoping out the apple cider doughnut supply at the bakery. And, according to new data, you have little over a month before biding adieu to green leaves. Breaking down peak fall colors by state, Farmers' Almanac predicts that New Yorkers should be on the lookout for fall foliage from Sept–Oct 28, depending on each location's elevation and proximity to the coast. 

 

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Photograph: Courtesy Evan Joseph Images

27. Empire State Building's Reimagined Observatory Experience

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

NOTE: The Empire State Building's Observatory Experience will reopen on July 20 as part of NYC's Phase 4 reopening plans. Visits will be limited and on a reservation basis. Initial capacity will be reduced by more than 80 percent to only 500 guests in the Observatories’ 70,000 square foot space at a time—kind of like having NYC to yourself! Snag tickets at esbny.com

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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