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Cosmic Camp
Photograph: courtesy CAMP

Things to do with kids in NYC this Saturday

Start the weekend right: The best things to do with kids in NYC this Saturday run the gamut—exhibits, shows and more!

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Danielle Valente
Written by
Shaye Weaver
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Saturdays are for fun! There's no shortage of fun things to do on Saturday in NYC and we have the best listed here.

Check out great new exhibits at our favorite kids' museums in NYC, visit your favorite attractions and of course, wrap it all up with something sweet from NYC's most delectable Instagrammable dessert spots

Now that the holiday season is coming up, you'll want to check out cool Christmas events for kids while you still can!

RECOMMENDED: See the best things to do with kids this weekend

Things to do with kids on Saturday in NYC

  • Kids
  • Kids

The brand new theme park LEGOLAND NY—the third resort of its kind in the U.S.—is now open in Goshen, NY, just 60 miles (and 60 minutes) from NYC. With thrilling rides and 15,000 LEGO models made up of over 30 million bricks, the colorful amusement park is a sprawling 150-acre sure to thrill both the young ones and LEGO fans of all ages. Across the park, there are seven themed lands. For those wanting to stay over, the resort's hotel is now open with 250 themed rooms—LEGO Pirates, LEGO Kingdoms, LEGO Friends and LEGO NINJAGO—as well as 150 acres of "natural buffer around the resort" that will function as a "park within a park."

  • Things to do
  • City Life

CAMP, the experiential retailer known for its kid-friendly shops, has an immersive concept to its flagship store near Union Square called Cosmic Camp. Behind its magic door and across 8,000 square feet, families will be transported to space by AR and projection-mapping technology by Future Colossal and interactive experiences will unfold across space stations, asteroid fields, lava pools, and other immersive worlds. Families who enter Cosmic Camp will enter through a tunnel to arrive at the Launch Pad. With the press of a button, they'll watch as smoke billows and flames erupt as they take off into space. Once they get to the Space Station, kids can climb up into a teleportation tube and use joysticks to control Remote Rovers on an alien planet. When they arrive in Deep Space, they can throw asteroids into black holes to collect coins before they disappear and discover Ice Caves with mind games and crazy visual effects. The Floor is Lava room will challenge families to traverse fields of (virtual) lava — the living room game made realistic. Space explorers will get to track their points on an ongoing leaderboard and through space communicators worn by each family member.

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  • Things to do
  • Soho

Ice cream is at the center of this 20,000-square-foot museum that'll make the cold treat even more fun (who knew it'd even be possible?). Across 13 multi-sensory installations visitors to the museum will be able to interact with fun elements like a sprinkles pool and photo ops like an ice cream truck you can "drive" and a rainbow tunnel. Better yet, you can purchase the museum's signature flavors at its cafe in cups or waffle cones, milkshakes (regular and spiked), sweet specialty sundaes, craft cocktails and boozy shakes after the fact.

  • Museums
  • Military and maritime
  • Hell's Kitchen
  • price 3 of 4

For World War II buffs, and folks that like checking out fighter ships and planes, this museum on a real aircraft carrier The Intrepid docked at Pier 86 is a chance for an upclose look at the nuts and bolts of our not-so-distant history. bhtfgAboard this vessel, which fought in the Pacific during the ‘40s and withstood head-on attacks by Kamikaze planes and a torpedo strike, visitors will find a wealth of information about how naval officers lived on the massive ship, including hands-on-displays of items used in everyday life and views of the lower living quarters, and an outdoor flight deck with an impressive assortment of fighter jets and helicopters. Non-claustrophobic guests should descend into the Growler, the only American guided missile submarine open to the public, where you’re tiny New York living quarters will seem spacious and airy in comparison. If underwater living freaks you out though, then imagine taking to the skies, and beyond, in the Space Shuttle Pavilion where NASA orbiter, the Enterprise, is parked, which is fitting since during the 1960s the Intrepid was a NASA recovery vessel. A series of photographs, films and artifacts from the Enterprise’s career makes the history of space travel, which predated modern computers by decades, all the more awe-worthy.

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  • Things to do

Lace up for the best ice skating NYC has on its roster. Classic options (such as Rockefeller Center) are just as thrilling as newcomers like the rink at Industry City. After gaining the necessary stamina with a cup of the best hot chocolate in NYC, it's time to hit the ice with your crew! All ages and skill levels are welcome to give the winter sport a whirl.

  • Things to do
  • City Life

The NYC Winter Lantern Festival is returning for the 2021 season with three major events that will help illuminate the cold season! The first will kick off on October 22, with a drive-through experience at the Nassau County Museum of Art. Dubbed "A Bug’s Night," this experience will let you navigate across over 20 acres of vivid lanterns and holiday lights. Festive holiday lights, projection mapping and handmade lanterns in the shape of flowers, bugs, animals, and more will create this bright experience. Like all three Lantern Festival installations, this will run nightly through Sunday, January 9.  Adding to that first festival, will be an escape at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center on Staten Island. The botanic garden will be illuminated for over eight acres. In addition to the lantern display, a live DJ, projection mapping, food vendors, and more will keep the party going. 

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  • Museums
  • Childhood
  • Crown Heights
  • price 1 of 4

When it was founded in 1899, the BCM was the country’s first museum specifically made for children. Today it’s one of the most comprehensive, with a permanent collection of 30,000 objects, including musical instruments, masks, dolls and fossils. Kids have fun while learning (sneaky!) at interactive exhibits like “World Brooklyn,” a pint-size cityscape lined by faux stores where young’uns can weigh ingredients and knead pretend dough at the Mexican Bakery, or shop for cans of Indian ghee and Turkish candy at the International Grocery.

  • Things to do
  • City Life

Through February 14, 2022, New Yorkers can visit Dopl to take a 3D full body scan and receive a true-to-life 3D miniature of themselves. It's a micro doppelgänger! Dopl, a technology company that specializes in 3D technology, printing and development, just opened a store in Soho. Their unique works aims to capture the essence of how people feel in the moments they want to remember the most. The miniatures, which have been dubbed ‘Dopls’ start with the full 360-degree image captured on-site, which is then crafted in the Dopl production studio located in Brooklyn. 

 

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  • Museums
  • Science and technology
  • Flatiron
  • price 1 of 4

Rather than being a place to learn math, the new museum is a place to realize all the remarkable things math can be used to create. Its 30-plus interactive exhibits include the Wall of Fire, a laser "wall" that shows visitors that cross-sections aren't always what you think they are; Math Square, a Jumbotron on the floor that connects each person standing on it by the shortest path possible, changing the moment anyone moves; a design studio where participants create a 3-D design on a screen, for a chance to have it "printed" into an actual sculpture via a 3-D printer; and Enigma Café, a place where families can sit down at tables to work on digital puzzles.

  • Things to do
  • City Life

"Creatures of Light," which opens on June 2, explores organisms that glow, blink, flash and glitter in an immersive setting. You'll meet fireflies that glow across the Northeast, deep-sea fish that illuminate the dark ocean depths, hungry glowworms deep inside a New Zealand cave, dinoflagellates that make the ocean waves glow in Puerto Rico and jellyfish that seem to emit light. According to AMNH, bioluminescence, which is the generation of light through a chemical reaction, is more common in the ocean, where up to 90 percent of animals at depths below 700 meters are bioluminescent. 

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  • Art
  • Art

Giant origami-inspired sculptures now decorate Broadway, bringing a child-like whimsy to the Garment District. The installation, entitled "Hacer: Transformations," features seven massive paper-like animals: two dark turquoise coyotes, two medium turquoise rabbits, a magenta elephant, a yellow dog and a green bear cub. It's located on the public plazas of Broadway Boulevard in the Garment District between 36th and 39th Streets and will be there through November 23. The installation is part of Garment District Art on the Plazas, a year-round public art program made possible through Arterventions, part of the New York City Department of Transportation’s Art Program.

  • Things to do
  • City Life

It has finally happened — TikToks are officially museum-worthy, according to the Museum of the Moving Image. "Infinite Duets: Co-Creating on TikTok," is the newest exhibit to come to MoMI, opening on October 1. In partnership with TikTok itself, the museum's showcase will explore TikTok content and the process of collaboration that the social media platform is known for. Inside the museum’s Video Screening Amphitheater and Gallery and on the Schlosser Media Wall in the lobby, there will be videos showing the evolution of six influential TikTok videos and their remixes and remakes by users around the world.

 

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  • Museums
  • Childhood
  • West Village
  • price 1 of 4

The CMA's 10,000-square-foot home has more than enough room to house its 2,000-piece collection of international children's art, including a huge center gallery to display it in. Artists lead workshops in classrooms, studios or media lab—that has a sound station, clay bar and video-making equipment. Kids can work their bodies as well as their minds on the museum's second floor, where they'll find interactive art displays and a ball pit.

  • Things to do
  • City Life

New York, your acceptance letter to Hogwarts is here—the most magical place in New York City, the Harry Potter Store New York, is now open. Wizards and witches are now able to shop from the world's largest collection of Harry Potter merch across 21,000 square feet at 935 Broadway in the Flatiron District at this highly-anticipated store. We've been waiting for a year to walk through these magical doors and we were finally able to check it out. Harry Potter fans? You're going to flip. 

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  • Things to do
  • Events & Festivals

 

LuminoCity Festival, which runs from November 23 to January 5, will be a holiday-obsessed folk's paradise. Picture 12-acres covered with glorious (and massive) LED art installations. While adventuring around the festival, you’ll want to have your camera ready for things like a giant glowing donut tunnel. You'll also be able to climb to the top of an illuminated castle in the sky and then glide back down via its tall slide. If you’re a fan of the board game Candy Land or anything Willy Wonka-related, then the sweets forest in the festival is most definitely your scene. There you'll find both a 22-foot-tall technicolor tree and a candy mountain with a surrounding rainbow field of candies, covered in lights and set to change color. You can also expect to pass things like a glowing unicorn, a fluorescent mushroom forest and a rainforest with animal light sculptures on the grounds. 

  • Things to do
  • City Life

One of AMNH’s most recognizable spaces, the glittering Halls of Gems and Minerals, has reopened to the public after a major transformation that will make you feel both completely captivated and kind of like you’re in the set-up for a heist film. The Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals displays 5,000 gems and minerals from 95 countries over 11,000 square feet. Highlights of the collection include the 563-carat Star of India sapphire, the 563-carat Patricia Emerald and the nine-pound “Subway Garnet” that was discovered under 35th St. in Manhattan way back in 1885. (Turns out, it was actually discovered during excavation for the city’s sewers but “Sewer Garnet” isn’t quite as enticing, is it?) Rather than being arranged chronologically, the objects in the new halls are arranged based on how they formed: “Category is: metamorphic, hydrothermal, igneous…” In addition to the geodes, you’ll want to keep an eye out for the museum’s famous Singing Stone, a massive azurite-malachite block that was collected in 1891 from Brisbee, Arizona, and the Garnet Slab, which is full of garnets that formed more than one billion years ago.

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  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Governors Island

A seven-minute ride on a free ferry takes you to this seasonal island sanctuary, a scant 800 yards from lower Manhattan. Thanks to its strategic position in the middle of New York Harbor, Governors Island was a military outpost and off-limits to the public for 200 years. It finally opened to summer visitors in 2006. The verdant, 172-acre isle still retains a significant chunk of its military-era architecture, including Fort Jay, started in 1776, and Castle Williams, which was completed in 1812 and used as a prison. The 22-acre area containing the forts and historical officers’ residences is now a national landmark. Today, the island is jointly run by the city, the state and the National Park Service, and it provides a peaceful setting for cycling (bring a bike on the ferry, or rent from Bike and Roll once there). The island hosts a program of events, such as concert series and art exhibitions (see website for schedule), and where else can you have a picnic directly across from the Statue of Liberty?

  • Attractions
  • West Village

New York City’s hottest new attraction, Little Island, opened to the public in May 2021 and has since brought in plenty of visitors who flocked to see Manhattan’s newest “floating” greenspace. Open from 6am to 1am, the park is filled with open lawns, colorful shrubs and trees and a secret garden. While entry is free to the park throughout the day, entering between noon and close requires a reservation. For those feeling peckish, there are affordable food and drink options offered by Savory Hospitality. The park’s amphitheaters, The Glade and The Amph, offer a spectacular view of the Hudson River, with a majority of the events being free throughout the summer. Every Monday night at 6pm, the theater hosts Savory Talks & Performances, a free dialogue around food sustainability and industry trends. The lineup includes local farms and sustainable meat and fish companies, discussing the future of food production, including "elements of storytelling and dance" from Perform in the Park artists.

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  • Attractions
  • Zoo and aquariums
  • Coney Island
  • price 2 of 4

Though it’s likely the only aquatic wildlife you’ll see at Coney Island is seagulls eager to scoop up whatever boardwalk snack scraps you leave behind, those intrigued by the ocean can immerse themselves in aquaculture at the New York Aquarium. A sea lion pool, penguin habitat, recreated reef, shark exploration and more are the current exhibits starring live sea creatures (and occasionally their handlers) that offer an up-close-and-personal look at both Atlantic and Pacific Ocean life at the oldest continually operating aquarium in the country. Mermaids, often associated with Coney Island, are not on display, but those tempted by the lure of fictional marine life may enjoy the 4-D (that’s 3-D plus water) SpongeBob experience. With a dedicated mission of conserving the oceans and oceanic life, the venue will leave you with an enhanced and renewed passion for natural preservation.

  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions

The beloved New York holiday train tradition at the New York Botanical Garden is back for its 30th year! The garden will become a mini-train depot with its collection of 25 G-scale model trains that'll chug along a nearly half-mile track (which is also overhead) by 175 miniature NYC landmarks like the Empire State Building, Radio City Music Hall, the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and Rockefeller Center—all made of natural materials such as leaves, cinnamon sticks, twigs, bark and berries. Tickets are on sale now for the show, which begins November 20.

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  • Attractions
  • Zoo and aquariums
  • The Bronx
  • price 2 of 4

Located in the Bronx, NY, this massive attraction is the largest metropolitan zoo in the country. Spanning 265 acres, it has numerous exhibits, forests, outdoor activities and restaurants. Oh, and don’t forget about the 5,000-plus animals! There are lions and tigers and bears (both grizzly and polar), all residing in naturalistic exhibits. You can easily spend hours walking the tree-shrouded trails past exhibits named after continents (African Plains) or taxonomic class (World of Reptiles). The zoo also has premium exhibits for an additional fee, such as the Wild Asia Monorail and the Bug Carousel, but the sea lion feeding is completely free and highly recommended.

 

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  • Things to do

Our guide to the best NYC parks for kids will help you make the most of your sunny afternoon! Simply put, these parks amazing. Some have the best playgrounds NYC families need to visit, others have the best water playgrounds in NYC. Go to these parks and you'll find the best bike trails for families in NYC, and even some of the best hiking trails for NYC families to explore. We guarantee that this list will steer you in the right direction!

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  • Things to do

In recent years NYC has completely transformed what playtime is like for a city kid, introducing creative playgrounds to every corner of the Big Apple. There are so many gorgeous playgrounds to visit in NYC, and this list will help you set off on a fabulous adventure.

  • Things to do

Just because you live in the Big Apple doesn't mean you can't spend time in the great outdoors. There are amazing family-friendly hikes close to NYC—in fact, the Bronx River Greenway and Inwood Hill Park are right in the middle of the city! So: Check the weather, pack a picnic and make plans to visit mother nature with the fam. These hiking trails are great for children of all ages, from toddlers out for a stroll to bigger kids looking to go for a scramble.

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  • Museums
  • Science and technology
  • Upper West Side
  • price 2 of 4

Beyond the iconic, show-stopping displays–the grizzly bear in the Hall of North American Mammals, the 94-feet long blue whale, the prehistoric Barosaurus skeleton rearing up as if to scare the adjacent Allosaurus skeleton–is an expertly curated, 148-year-old museum that fills visitors of all ages with a curiosity about the universe. Whether you’re interested in the world below our feet, or the cultures of faraway lands or the stars light-years beyond our reach, your visit is bound to teach you a few things you never knew. With four floors filled to the brim with artifacts, you could spend a whole day just looking at the taxidermied animals that hail from from North America, Asia, Africa, rain forests and the ocean.

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