Best annual pet events
The Parks Department reminds us why we should love the colder months with Winter Jam, its annual winter sports festival in Central Park. Families can expect to learn or take part in snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snowboarding; do animal tracking with the Urban Park Rangers; explore the Pride of New York Winter Market—or just sip hot chocolate and enjoy the outdoors. If you've got a dog, bring her along: The fest features a new Doggie Snow Zone. All ages.
During the two-day event, little animal lovers can watch and even interact with hundreds of dogs of all shapes, sizes, colors and breeds (including two new breeds, the Treeing Walker Coonhound and the Russell Terrier), and participate in one of the oldest sporting traditions in America, second only to the Kentucky Derby. All ages.
No St. Paddy’s Day in NYC would be complete without staking out a spot at this parade, which made its 251st march up Fifth Avenue this year. (The event is even older than the United States; it was started by a group of homesick Irish conscripts from the British army in 1762.) More than 2 million onlookers (including pups decked out in green!) show up for the annual spectacle. Note: This particular St. Paddy's Day event is best for older kids. Ages 9 to 12.
The outlandish haberdashery on display—ten-foot-tall hats, costumed pets, bonnets with live birds nestled inside—more than makes up for the lack of floats at this annual see-and-be-seen parade. All ages.
Get your puppy fix at this silly dog show, where pooches are judged in such creative categories as Sloppiest Kisser, Looks Most Like Owner and Best Beard. Jersey Shore fans will appreciate the competition's newest addition: a Snook-a-like contest, in which canines and their owners are encouraged to dress up. If you want your dog to compete, the entry fee is $25; all proceeds will benefit a local animal shelter. Stay tuned for more details on the 2013 festival. All ages.
Actors from the Great White Way—Mary Tyler Moore, Bernadette Peters and Joel Grey among them—come out in support of their canine friends at this benefit for New York City’s animal shelters and adoption agencies. The real stars, however, are the pets from city shelters. All ages.
Spend a dog day afternoon at this event, where you and your little sluggers can take in a Brooklyn Cyclones game (7pm) along with your furry four-legged friends. Get there early to watch a performance by the Frisbee-catching Disc Dogs, an adorable puppy parade and even a doggy wedding. Then, take home your own pup at the event's pet adoption fair (4–8pm). All ages.
If canines and felines make your heart go pitter-patter, head to Washington Square Park, where Animal Care & Control of NYC, Sean Casey Animal Rescue and other organizations will be on hand for dog and cat adoptions. Expect practical services like an ask-the-vet booth and spay/neuter information too. All ages.
Bring your young doggie devotees to this fest celebrating NYC pups. Highlights include the popular Best in Park Competition, games like musical chairs, where your dog must sit before you can; a children's corner for kids' games; and free goodies and giveaways. All ages.
The Village Halloween Parade is fun and all, but does it have a plethora of puppies in adorable outfits? For that, you’ll have to head to the East Village for this annual dog parade. The getups are remarkably elaborate and conceptual. Last year, we saw dogs dressed as Lady Gaga, a peacock and an A train (complete with a stuffed rat). Enterprising families stand to win prizes if their pooch is selected Best in Show, so start planning Fido’s outfit now—your brood can even join him in the procession! All ages.