Things to do with kids in NYC this Saturday

Kick off your weekend and spend Saturday with the family at the city's best events for kids

Photograph: Courtesy Jennifer Mitchell
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RECOMMENDED: See the best things to do with kids this weekend

Saturday, Sept 21

Photograph: Courtesy Jeff Kavanaugh
Theater, Children's

Sesame Street Live! Make Your Magic

icon-location-pin New Jersey Performing Arts Center,
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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. 

Photograph: Courtesy Jennifer Mitchell
Things to do

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze

icon-location-pin Van Cortlandt Manor,
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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.

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Photograph: Courtesy Galli Theater New York
Theater, Children's

Galli Theater's September Performances

icon-location-pin Galli Theater, Financial District
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Let your young thespians kickstart fall with a few lovable tales. In The Princess and The Pea, a single prince seems to fail at speed dating, but what happens when the seemingly perfect match ends up at his doorstep? Will the pea test work? Gordy, Perkey and Snoozy are the main stars in The Three Little Pigs who venture out to live on their own. However, when an evil wolf tries to huff, puff and blow their houses down, which one will stand tall? Ages 4 and up.  The Princess and the Pea: Sept 14 and 15 The Three Little Pigs: Sept 21, 22, 28 and 29 

Photograph: Courtesy David Mitchel + Arcadia Earth
Things to do, Exhibitions

Arcadia Earth

icon-location-pin 718 Broadway, Downtown
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This is planet Earth like you've never seen her before. NYC's latest immersive installation—located at 718 Broadway—is photo-worthy for a cause: While venturing through 15 rooms of underwater realms and fictional landscapes, "Arcadia Earth" visitors will be able to participate in virtual and augmented reality offerings while learning how our lifestyle choices will impact the future of our planet. Proceeds from all ticket sales will also directly support Arcadia’s educational and charity partner, Oceanic Global. All ages. 

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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. 

Photograph: Courtesy Courtesy of the National Museum of Mathematics
Museums, Special interest

“Math Unfolded”

icon-location-pin Museum of Mathematics (MoMath), Flatiron
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Photograph: Courtesy Jocko Graves/BFA.com
Shopping, Kid's clothes

Rockets of Awesome Pop-Up

icon-location-pin Various locations, Hell's Kitchen
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Might as well send the kiddos back to school in style! Visit the Rockets of Awesome pop-up (133 5th Ave at 20th St) for garments and accessories that are just that: awesome! Choose from backpacks, outerwear and so much more. While visiting, take advantage of in-store activities, including sneaker personalization, manicures, a braid bar and more! All ages. 

Photograph: Courtesy Tri-Lox + Brooklyn Children's Museum
News, City Life

NEST at Brooklyn Children's Museum

Summer in the city isn't complete without a rooftop soiree, and now lil' New Yorkers can embrace the trend.  One of our favorite kids' museums is taking the fun to new heights with an epic interactive playscape, just in time for the sunny season. Make your way to the Brooklyn Children's Museum's roof to let little patrons scale the 1,800 jungle gym titled NEST (ideal for ages 2–8). Needless to say, the awe-inspiring attraction will climb to the top of your outdoor activities bucket list. 

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Photograph: Courtesy Etienne Frossard
News, Sports & Fitness

Free kayaking in Brooklyn Bridge Park

From now until August, park-goers are welcome to take advantage of kayaking (at no cost!) on Thursdays from 5:30–6:45pm and weekends from 10am–2pm. Venture to Pier 2 and get ready to float across the water. 

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.

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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.

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 Nov 3, 2019 All ages. 

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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 WonderWorld + O Zhang
News, Weird & Wonderful

WonderWorld NYC

Head to Williamsburg for a world filled of wonder—literally! After a 2018 stint in Soho, WonderWorld NYC is back for a whole new chapter of stories in a mythical, immersive realm. This year, the pop-up exhibit will run until Nov 4, and it's an epic family attraction to add to your summer bucket list (especially for the fantasy and fairytale readers in your brood). The photo-worthy spectacle will deconstruct Alice in Wonderland and add exciting new aspects to the experience. The set is characterized by a connected maze of fairytale installations, from ancient Roman times to modern NYC. It's safe to say there's no shortage of areas to explore! 

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Photograph: Courtesy Pulse Creator LLC
Things to do, Exhibitions

“Pixinity: Pop Futurism”

icon-location-pin Various locations, Hell's Kitchen
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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. 

Photograph: Courtesy Evan Joseph Images
Things to do

Empire State Building's Reimagined Observatory Experience

icon-location-pin Empire State Building | Manhattan, NY, Midtown West
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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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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. 

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 Alex Vail copyright BBC NHU 2017
Things to do, Film events

"Oceans: Our Blue Planet"

icon-location-pin American Museum of Natural History, Upper West Side
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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. 

Photo Courtesy Cosmic Picture, Ltd.
Movies, Family and kids

'Superpower Dogs 3D'

icon-location-pin New York Hall of Science | Queens, NY, Queens
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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  

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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. 

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 NYC GO and Off Broadway Week
Theater, Comedy

Blue Man Group

icon-location-pin Astor Place Theatre, Downtown
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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.

Time Out says
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Photograph: Courtesy Yelp.com + Michelle D
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.

Time Out says
Photograph: Courtesy City Parks Foundation / Justina Wong
Theater, Puppet shows

PuppetMobile presents "Bessie’s Big Shot"

icon-location-pin Various locations, Hell's Kitchen
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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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Photograph: Justina Wong //City Parks Foundation
Theater, Puppet shows

Puss in Boots

icon-location-pin Central Park Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, Upper West Side
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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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Attractions, Parks and gardens

"Brazilian Modern: The Living Art of Roberto Burle Marx"

icon-location-pin New York Botanical Garden | Bronx, NY, The Bronx
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The New York Botanical Garden found a muse for its new exhibit. Through a display of drawings, paintings, textiles and other media, the venue will pay tribute to the work of Roberto Burle Marx, a Brazilian artist and plant conservationist. To accompany the exhibit, NYBG will also host a variety of programs—live performances of Brazilian music and dance, poetry walks and more—that celebrate Marx's work. All ages. 

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Things to do, Play spaces

Saturdays Are for Spanish

icon-location-pin Various locations, Hell's Kitchen
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One World Project (302 Vanderbilt St) is looking to bridge the gap between cultures. Come to the Saturday play sessions (for both children and adults) to immerse yourself in the Spanish language by way of outside play, story time, music and other fun activities. Scholarships are available. Register online. Ages 5 and under. 

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