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 P.S. 132
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RECOMMENDED: See the best things to do with kids this weekend

May 18–19

Photograph: Courtesy Play:ground NYC
Things to do

play:groundNYC Pop-Up Adventure Playground

icon-location-pin Various locations, Midtown West
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The Yard is one NYC playground that truly makes its mark among the others. The Governors Island hangout for kiddies encourages visitors to tinker with loose parts and atypical objects (think cardboard, rope, wood planks, tires) and work toward creating a unique masterpiece. If you can't hop aboard the ferry, visit play:groundNYC (the Yard's former name) pop-up in Cobble Hill, operating rain or shine at Christ Church Cobble Hill, located at 326 Clinton St. All ages. 

Photograph: Courtesy Jane Catherine Shaw
Things to do

La Mama Kids

icon-location-pin Ellen Stewart Theatre at La MaMa E.T.C., East Village
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La MaMa Theater is opening the curtains and bringing the theater fun to kids. Through a variety of workshops and performances, little attendees will be exposed to a Shakespeare retelling, a dance workshop and much more. The schedule of events—held at 66 E 4th St— is as follows:  While You Are Out (March 23 at 2pm, March 24 at noon): Midsummer Night’s Dream meets puppets in this interactive experience where kiddies are encouraged to dress up as faries and woodland creatures.  Three Dolls (March 31 at 2pm, April 6 at noon, April 7 at 2pm): Three dolls prove the true meaning of friendship in this puppet show.  La MaMa Moves! Dance Workshop (May 18 at noon): Get ready to bust a move with choreographer Dan Safer Family Play Date (June 9 at noon): A family cabaret performance with elements of theater, dance and music.  Ages 4–12. 

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Photograph courtesy Story Pirates
Theater, Children's

Story Pirates Family Flagship Show

icon-location-pin Cherry Lane Theatre, West Village
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When the Story Pirates take the stage at the Cherry Lane Theater, your kids will be excited to find out what happens next...and so will the Story Pirates, since they'll be performing a show that hasn't been written yet! This interactive performance lets your kids call out their ideas, which the performers than use in the plot. Expect lots of laughs in a show that's as entertaining and unexpected as your little ones. 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 The Enigmatist
Theater, Interactive

The Enigmatist

icon-location-pin High Line Hotel, Chelsea
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Magician and cruciverbalist (crossword constructor) David Kwong combines his passion for illusions and cryptology with this immersive experience. Tweens, teens and grownups alike who enjoy enigmas will love solving Kwong's entertaining riddles and puzzles, while the whole family will be left agog by his mind-bending illusions. Be on the look out for hidden messages — Kwong has a talent for adding an extra layer to everything he creates. Ages 10 and up.  

Summer on the Hudson: 4th Annual West Side County Fair, Riverside Park South
Photograph: Robin Schatell
Things to do, Festivals

Summer on the Hudson

icon-location-pin Various locations, Midtown West
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Spend your summer on the Hudson enjoying free arts and cultural events, performances and seasonal festivities at various NYC parks. The schedule for the program is as follows:  May 5 from 1–5pm in West Harlem Piers: Irish Arts Center New York City Irish Dance Festival   May 9 from 10:30–11:15am in Riverside Park South: Locomotive Lawn Live featuring Moosiki Kids Musical Storytime May 11 from 1–4pm at 125th and Marginal Sts: STEAM the streets  May 25 from noon–2pm at 125th and Marginal Sts For a full lineup of events, visit the NYC Parks Department online. 

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kids.dough02 copy.jpg
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. 

Discovery Walks for Families
Photograph courtesy Central Park
Things to do, Walks and tours

Discovery Walks for Families

icon-location-pin Central Park | Manhattan, NY, Central Park
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Get to know Central Park's resident plants and bugs at the popular Discovery Walks series, where families "get lost" in the public green-space with the help of a guide from the Central Park Conservancy. Explore the North Woods (Mar 30, Apr 7, Apr 22, Apr 28 and May 6 at 11am), enjoy the blooms during the Conservatory Garden walk (Apr 14, Apr 23, May 5, June 2 at 11am) and ventur to the Harlem Meer in an all-new tour (Apr 21, Apr 25, May 12, May 26, June 9). Pre-registration required. Ages 5 and up.

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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.

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
Things to do, Concerts

Rock & Roll Playhouse Kids Concert Series

icon-location-pin Industry City, Greenwood
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This is one event parents might enjoy just as much as the kids...maybe even more so. Rock & Roll Playhouse is a family-friendly concert series that introduces littles to the greats—The Beatles, Queen, U2, to name a few—as the house band plays some of the most popular tunes. The weekend happening adds a few kid-friendly elements such as stories and crafts to make the program extra epic. All events in Industry City (Saturdays at 12:30pm) are free, but tickets are required. Shows at Brooklyn Bowl (Sundays at noon) are $12. Head to the event's website for a full lineup. 

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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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. 

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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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.

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. 

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Photograph courtesy Martin Seck
Museums, Art and design

Art Lab: Nature

icon-location-pin Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Midtown West
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Drop in to draw, sculpt and collaborate in MoMA's Art Lab. Visitors of all ages can learn how artists are inspired by the natural world through a brand new multisensory installation, and then create and desig their own works using multiple mediums, including natural materials. All ages.

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. 

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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 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.  

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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. 

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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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. 

Things to do, Exhibitions

Our Senses: An Immersive Experience

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.

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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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. 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 work after a day of working on a masterpiece. In March, the museum is celebrating Holi, the Hindu spring festival of colors and love, by inviting families to create their own handmade paper that use bring and vibrant hues. Ages 3 and up.

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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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. 

Time Out says
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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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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Theater, Puppet shows

PuppetMobile presents "Bessie’s Big Shot"

icon-location-pin Various locations, Midtown West
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No stage, no problem—the PuppetMobile comes to you! The CityParks' brainchild hits the road beginning May 1 for a spring and summer of performances, workshops and so on. This year, young audiences will be treated to Bessie’s Big Shot, the story of a cow who is willing to try any stunt in order to land a spot in the circus. Visit the City Parks Foundation online to learn when the PuppetMobile is making a pitstop near you! All ages. 

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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. 

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Things to do, Classes and workshops

Free Family Art Making

icon-location-pin Rockefeller Center | Manhattan, NY, Midtown West
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Let kids channel their creativity with free art programs. Rockefeller Center and the Noguchi Museum will offer a series of free offerings as part of the Frieze Sculpture at Rockefeller Center installation. The schedule of projects is as follows:  April 28: Get the Scoop: Stories and Art from 10:30am–1:30pm, ages 2–11 May 12: 3D: Build Up! from 10:30am–noon, ages 4 and up May 26: Your Neighborhood: Public Art from 10:30am–12:30pm, ages 5–6 June 9: Figures: Strike a Pose from 10:30am–12:30pm, ages 7–11.  June 23: Get the Scoop: Stories and Art from 10:30am–1:30pm, ages 2–11 Register for the events on the Noguchi Museum website. 

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