Things to do with kids in NYC this weekend

Want to plan a family outing? Check out our list of things to do with kids in NYC this weekend and let the fun begin.
Photograph: Courtesy NYC GO and Off Broadway Week
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RECOMMENDED: See the best things to do with kids this weekend

Jan 19–20

Photograph: Courtesy Bryant Park Corporation
Things to do

Read-to-Skate Story Time

icon-location-pin Bryant Park, Midtown West
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Bryant Park will keep the winter fun alive on Saturdays with the help of Cali Co Cat. Kiddos' favorite character will read the best stories in town, and afterward, littles have a chance to earn a free skating session on the ice rink. If you attend two story times and one New York Public Library program at the 42nd St location (and/or take out a NYPL book), you'll be entitled to a free skate. Have an adult who wants to get in on the action? Those youngsters who attend three story times will get a skating freebie for one adult, too. Bonus points? Free books are given out while supplies last. Learn more about the program and scoring those sweet deals here. All ages. 

Photograph: Courtesy Beth Levendis
Things to do, Literary events

Greenlight Bookstore Children’s Programming

icon-location-pin Multiple venues
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Get kids off on the right foot this new year by cultivating in them a joy of reading. With Greenlight Bookstore’s Saturday storytimes (11:30 am at the Fort Greene location; 1:30 pm at the Prospect Lefferts Garden store), children can enjoy books by exciting authors. Learn about the history of hip-hops — the music, art, and and culture that made it possible — through Frank Morrison's magnificently illustrated The Roots of Rap (Jan 12), or get lost in the imaginative world of cartoonist Tom Eaton's comics series Bug Zapper (Jan 26). Kids can also enjoy a particularly active storytime with VeroyogaNYC, which will combine books with actual yoga (Jan 19).

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Photograph: Courtesy Flickr + NYSCI
Things to do, Quirky events

“How Many Zombies Are Too Many Zombies?”

icon-location-pin New York Hall of Science | Queens, NY, Queens
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Zombies seem like all fun and games on The Walking Dead, but the New York Hall of Science is preparing littles for the real-life zombie apocalypse, not what you see in Hollywood. Through mathematical challenges, kiddos are in the front seat during this 20-minute game where they're tasked with helping the Center for Calamity Control take care of the outbreak. All ages. 

Music

Jazz for Kids

icon-location-pin Jazz Standard, Flatiron
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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.

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Movies, Family and kids

Film Forum Jr. Spring Season

icon-location-pin Film Forum, West Village
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From mid-December through March, spend chilly weekend mornings at Film Forum's popular family-friendly movie series. Watch time-tested faves like It's a Wonderful Life (Dec 15 and 16), Charlie Chaplin’s The Circus (Dec 22 and 23), Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Jan 19 and 20), The Muppet Movie (Feb 2 and 3), and more. Visit filmforum.org to view the complete schedule and grab your tickets. All ages.

Photograph: Courtesy Magic Evan
Things to do, Performances

Magic With a Twist

icon-location-pin Brooklyn Free Space, Park Slope
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Hurry, hurry step right up! You're not going to want to miss the tricks and surprises that Magic Evan pulls out of his hat. Kids can enjoy laugh-out-loud moments, interactive experiences and, of course, a few balloon animals during his Saturday-morning performance. All ages. 

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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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Things to do, Exhibitions

Martin Luther King Jr. Story Time at the New-York Historical Society

icon-location-pin New-York Historical Society | Manhattan, NY, Upper West Side
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The focus of this weekend's story time at NYHS will be on compassion and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Museum workers will read We March by Shane W. Evans, and afterward, children will create a dove paper airplane using Dr. King's words and messages as their inspiration. Ages 3–7.

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Things to do, Festivals

Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend at CMOM

icon-location-pin Children's Museum of Manhattan, Upper West Side
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At this celebration, the museum will host activities that honor the life and mission of Martin Luther King Jr. Kids will celebrate King’s memory by creating a mosaic of his portrait (Saturday–Monday, noon–1:45pm) and attending a (ticketed) performance from the Harlem Gospel Choir (Jan 19 at 3pm). All ages.  

Photograph: Courtesy DreamWorks Trolls the Experience
Things to do, Quirky events

DreamWorks Trolls the Experience

icon-location-pin Midtown West

New York City is going to be treated to a dose of color thanks to "DreamWorks Trolls the Experience." When little visitors enter the 90-minute walkthrough exhibit, they'll fall in love with a bunch of exciting features. Poppy's Party Room will include augmented reality and 3D technology in the midst of musical fun. Before getting wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of Troll Village and playing in the life-size Caterbus, youngsters will want to hit the bright, imaginative Hair-We-Go Salon and Barbershop—which is sure to be an Instagram hit for moms and dads. This will be open until May 12, 2019 All ages. 

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Photograph: Danielle Valente
News, Art

“Mickey The True Original Exhibition”

We certainly hope you have your party hats—er, we mean mouse ears—ready.  On Nov 8, “Mickey: The True Original Exhibition” opened its doors to New Yorkers, and this is one 90th birthday bash you won't want to miss.  “There are incredible installations where we will deep dive into the history of Mickey,”  says curator Darren Romanelli. “There will be a mix of archives that will be in direct dialogue with a curated assortment of contemporary artists that created specific works.” Get ready to experience Mickey like you've never seen him before! The exhibit will be open until Feb 10, 2019. 

Photograph: Courtesy MCNY
Museums, Childhood

“A City for Corduroy: Don Freeman’s New York”

icon-location-pin Museum of the City of New York, East Harlem
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The Museum of the City of New York will pay homage to Corduroy's creator, illustrator Don Freeman, with the new exhibit, “A City for Corduroy: Don Freeman’s New York.” Expect a glimpse into the creative process of the 1968 story, as well as other popular work from the creator, including drawings, paintings and original sketches. All ages. 

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Courtesy Jim Kay/Bloomsbury Publishing
Museums, Special interest

"Harry Potter: 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. Harry Potter: A History of Magic will open at the New-York Historical Society October 5, 2018 and will feature rare books, manuscripts and treasures from the British Library’s collections that relate to the myths and magic behind the series. Original drafts and drawings by author J.K. Rowling and illustrator Jim Kay will also be on display for the first time. All ages. 

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 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. 

Photograph: Courtesy Children's Museum of the Arts/Will Ellis
Museums, Special interest

“A Way With Words: The Power and Art of the Book”

icon-location-pin Children's Museum of the Arts, West Village
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There’s no arguing that books are an artform—especially when visiting the Children Museum of the Arts’ eccentric exhibit. In “A Way with Words,” books are transformed into sculptures, paintings and other works to emphasize their importance and history. Museum staff guide young bibliophiles through a craft inspired by the pieces on display. All ages. 

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Photograph: Courtesy Robb McCormick + Liberty Science Center
Museums, Science and technology

“International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes”

icon-location-pin Liberty Science Center,
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Do you have your magnifying glass ready? You'll need it! Liberty Science Center is taking a step back in time with its latest exhibit, “The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes," which allows visitors to explore science and technological advances from the late 1800s, decipher the inner workings of forensic specialists today and go through clues to uncover an exclusive mystery! All ages. 

Photograph: Courtesy: Robert Gerhardt and Denis Y. Suspitsyn
Museums, Art and design

"Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again"

icon-location-pin Whitney Museum of American Art, Meatpacking District
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Take a look back at Andy Warhol's iconic pieces—portraits, pop and photo silkscreen paintings and other pieces of work—during the Whitney's retrospective that highlights all aspects of his career. During Family Day (Dec 1 from 10:30am–3pm), kids can create their own artistic gems inspired by the late icon. Check the museum's website to see when its Open Studios (Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30am–3pm in November and December, minus holidays) will dedicate its weekly kids’ project to all-things Warhol. All ages. 

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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. All ages. 

Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Children's Museum
Museums, Childhood

“Science + You”

icon-location-pin Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Crown Heights
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Get those lab coats ready! Little ones can take on the role of scientists in the latest traveling exhibit at Brooklyn Children's Museum. "Science + You" is an interactive opportunity for visitors to explore health and nutrition. In the 1,200 square-foot-space, kids will be able to explore their findings at the Magnification Area, learn about the five food groups in the Test Kitchen and more. 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. 

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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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. 

Things to do, Exhibitions

Our Senses: An Immersive Experience

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Step inside the world of senses in this funhouse-like exhibtion at AMNH. There are eleven unique galleries in all. You’ll be able to explore how real our “reality” is (and what it’s shaped by.) And what our mind tells us through our different senses. Step into a room that tests your balance as the walls will appear to wave and ripple, through your feet tell you otherwise. Fly through a garden seen through the eyes of a bee or butterfly to learn how other animals experience flowers. Take a smell test and learn how what we think is one scent really is a symphony of different smells. There will also be a live presentation on why our senses are necessary for survival, how our senses are different from other animals and why human perception is unique. 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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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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Photograph: Courtesy NYC GO and Off Broadway Week
Theater, Comedy

Blue Man Group

icon-location-pin Astor Place Theatre, East Village
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  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. 

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Photograph: Courtesy NYC GO and Off Broadway Week
Theater

Gazillion Bubble Show

icon-location-pin New World Stages, Hell's Kitchen
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  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.

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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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Photograph: Courtesy Hunter Canning
Theater, Off Broadway

Puffs, Or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic

icon-location-pin New World Stages, Hell's Kitchen
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Love Harry Potter? This one's for you. If you're a fan of witchcraft and wizardry, Puffs will take you back to that certain school, only this time the focus isn't on Harry—it's on the other kids who aren't destined for an epic story...but they'll certainly provide plenty of laughs along the way. All matinee showings of Puffs are family-friendly. All ages. 

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Photograph: Courtesy The Amazing Max
Theater, Circuses & magic

The Amazing Max

icon-location-pin Theater at Blessed Sacrament, Upper West Side
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Max Darwin, also known as The Amazing Max, uses his bag of tricks to entertain audiences of all ages. Little ones will get to go on stage and become a part of the magician’s interactive routines while he makes the grownups laugh with silly hijinks. Add high-energy fun and enchanting magic and you’ll quickly see why Max has earned his moniker. Plus, the whole family will be able to meet Max in the lobby after the show! Ages 3 and up.  

Things to do, Exhibitions

New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show

icon-location-pin New York Botanical Garden | Bronx, NY, The Bronx
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All aboard! One of NYC's most beloved traditions is making its way back into town. The New York Botanical Garden promises another year of fantastic displays during its annual holiday train show, this time spotlighting Lower Manhattan. Get a glimpse of trains zipping through pint-sized downtown attractions—One World Trade Center, Battery Maritime Building—while enjoying festive decorations in one of the city's most beloved green spaces. In addition to the display itself, the Holiday Train Show also offers the opportunity for fun programming—arts and crafts for kids, Bar Car Nights for mom and dad and other festive happenings. Get your tickets ASAP—this event is likely to sell out quickly. All ages.

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Photograph: Courtesy Ann-Sophie Fjelloe-Jensen/New York Hall of Science.
Things to do

GingerBread Lane

icon-location-pin New York Hall of Science | Queens, NY, Queens
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Get ready to have your mind blown at this massive gingerbread house display. In it, you won’t find just a couple of houses made of gingerbread cookies, candy and icing. That would be child’s play compared to this 500-square-foot village that has won the Guinness World Record for 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. Master builder Jon Lovitch designs, bakes and builds each feature over the course of the year. All ages.

Photograph: Credit New York Transit Museum
Things to do

Holiday Train Show at Grand Central Terminal

icon-location-pin Grand Central Terminal, Midtown East
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  Commuting in the winter can be quite a challenge. Between cold temperatures, howling winds and a dusting of snow, getting to and from NYC isn't always easy. However, The New York Transit Museum's model train exhibit at the Grand Central Gallery Annex & Store makes the venture a lot more tolerable. Lionel trains will travel along two 34’ long “O” gauge model train layout, where onlookers will start off in a mini Grand Central and follow along as the route heads toward the North Pole as work from Ebony Bolt is displayed throughout the exhibit. Sounds like a fun way to kill time while you're waiting for your 6pm home, right? All ages.

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