pumpkin arch pier 17
Courtesy: Jane Kratochvil

The best things to do with kids in NYC this week

Looking for the best things to do with kids in NYC this week? Find your virtual and in-person events right here!

By Danielle Valente
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It's beginning to look a lot like...Halloween! Celebrate the spooky shenanigans with the best things to do with kids in NYC this week. 

Our favorite Halloween events for kids, like the Staten Island Zoo's Spooktacular, have returned, and you won't want to miss 'em. Plus, there are many a pumpkin display emerging throughout the city to fill your Instagram feed with all-things autumn.

For those who are staying in, enjoy the scariest time of the year with fun Halloween movies for kids and Halloween songs for kids. We think a family karaoke session just might be in order!

Best things to do with kids in NYC October 19–23

Time Out + NYPL
Time Out + NYPL
Photograph: Time Out/Shutterstock

1. Time Out + New York Public Library daily storytimes

Things to do Literary events

Time Out is partnering with the New York Public Library to present digital storytimes for pint-sized bookworms. Families can tune in Monday through Friday at 10am right here for a remote read-aloud. Curious about the lineup? The Time Out New York Kids newsletter will reveal forthcoming story time schedules on Fridays, so sign up today!

 

Pier 17 Pumpkin Patch
Pier 17 Pumpkin Patch
Courtesy: Jane Kratochvil

2. Pier 17 Pumpkin Arch

Things to do Exhibitions Pier 17 at the Seaport District, Financial District

No stroll through the Seaport District this fall would be complete without a visit to the Pumpkin Arch. Stationed at the Heineken Riverdeck at Pier 17, the arch comprised of 500 gorgeous gourds and other fall goodness is on view now until Thanksgiving. Bring the kids for a super-cute pumpkin photo shoot as the Brooklyn Bridge looms in the background. All ages. 

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3. Spooktacular at the Staten Island Zoo

Things to do Staten Island Zoo, Staten Island

The entire zoo is transformed into a Halloween paradise for thrill seekers and tame trick-or-treaters alike. This year, families can embark on an outdoor adventure on a one-way path across the eight-acre grounds. Say hello to the princesses, escape the villains, get your sillys out at the scare zone and take photos in your cool costumes. You'll need about an hour to get through this ghoulishly good time. All ages. 

Classic Harbor Line
Classic Harbor Line
Photograph: Courtesy Classic Harbor Line/Dennis Cahlo

4. Classic Harbor Line Statue and Sightseeing Cruise

Things to do Walks and tours Chelsea Piers, Chelsea

Take in NYC's gorgeous views from a new vantage point—right on the water! This weekend's Statue and Sightseeing Cruise will provide photo-worthy views of your favorite family attractions, so make sure your camera roll is ready! The cruise leaves from Pier 62 at Chelsea Piers. All ages. 

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milk and cream
milk and cream
Courtesy: Milk & Cream Cereal Bar

5. Milk & Cream's“Blues Clues” treats

News Eating

Milk & Cream is at it again! After the success of the limited-edition Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle treats (ice cream pizza!), the Instagrammable dessert spot is continuing the fun with a second installment of the Nickelodeon flavor takeover (#NICKFLAVORTAKEOVER). This time, the focus is on Blue's Clues. Show one of your favorite TV shows for kids some love by stopping in for a snack. Now through Oct 25, the shop will offer Blue's Snack Time Treat, an ice cream sammie with cookie dough, chocolate chips and dark chocolate-covered pretzels and Josh's Ultimate Ube Surprise, a purple yam ice cream sandwiched between two chocolate wafers and dusted off with chocolate crunchies. 

the addams family
the addams family
Photograph: Courtesy Melinda Sue

6. Nightmare at the Movies Drive-in

News Movies

Come for the treats and stay for the screams: Adventureland debuted its Nightmare at the Movies drive-in experience for all horror fans. For $40 per car, the whole family can cash in on the ghoulishly good fun. The package includes a chicken fingers and fries dinner, a $10 Adventureland Arcade card, movie-style popcorn and a choice of beverages, trivia on select evenings and, of course, some of the our favorite scary movies for kids. On Oct 23, you can catch the Addams Family at 7pm, followed by Texas Chainsaw Massacre at 10pm.

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PS ART
PS ART
Photograph: Courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art/P.S. 193 Alfred J. Kennedy Queens/Alexandra Budnick

7. "P.S. Art" Exhibition at The Met

Museums Special interest The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park

NYC's youngest are showing off their creative chops. The 13th annual "P.S. Art" exhibition at the Met showcases artwork from 122 students ranging from prekindergarten through 12th grade in public schools and District 75 schools throughout the five boroughs. Catch all the work in a variety of media! "Now, more than ever, we are committed to investing in education and supporting school communities," Max Hollein, director of The Met, said in a statement. Though the Museum had to close for over five months, realizing the presentation of 'P.S. Art' soon after our reopening demonstrates the importance of this artistic program. I'm looking forward to celebrating the tremendous accomplishments of these very talented students." All ages.

DC Super Hero
DC Super Hero
Courtesy: The Children's Museum + Jennifer Dummett

8. "DC Super Heroes: Discover Your Superpowers"

Museums Special interest Liberty Science Center,

Consider it your favorite comic books come to life: "DC Super Heroes: Discover Your Superpowers" lets kids connect with their favorite vigilantes like Batman and Wonder Woman as they learn about safety along the way. Young visitors can solve puzzles in Gotham, see if trouble is brewing thanks to the Crisis Scanner, wander through Museum of Ancient History's laser maze and much more. All ages. 

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Storyland exhibit
Storyland exhibit
Courtesy: Minnesota Children's Museum + David Kern

9. "Storyland: A Trip Through Childhood Favorites"

Museums Special interest Liberty Science Center,

What's better than getting lost in a good story? Liberty Science Center's new exhibit focuses on children's favorites—If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr., to name a few—while allowing little bookworms to enjoy imagination and dramatic play along the way. All ages. 

kids books
kids books
Courtesy: Shutterstock

10. Hudson River Park Story Hour

Things to do Literary events Remote, Midtown West

Your go-to green space is hosting virtual reading circles on Thursdays at 4pm! The schedule is as follows: 

October 8, Little Elliot, Big City by Mike Curato (ages 4-8)
Craft of the week: Cardboard Tube Elephant

October 15, The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen (ages 0-4) 
Craft of the week: Origami Fish

October 22, Don’t Feed the Coos by Jonathan Stutzman (ages 4-8)
Craft of the week: Rocking Birds Paper Plates

October 28, Nerdy Babies: Ocean by Emmy Kastner (ages 0-4)
Craft of the week: Paper Plate Ocean

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Boo at the Zoo
Boo at the Zoo
Photograph: Courtesy Julie Larsen Maher

11. Boo at the Zoo

News City Life

Thursday through Sunday from Oct 1 to Nov 1 is your chance to revel in the Halloween fun, from magic shows and pumpkin carving demonstrations to mind reading and trips through the spooky extinct animal graveyard. Each day, animal-themed costumed stilt walkers and Halloween animal puppets will put on a "MASKerade" while the Wildlife Theater will pull out all the stops with performances in Astor Court. 

the amazing maize maze
the amazing maize maze
Photograph: Courtesy Matthew Borowick

12. The Amazing Maize Maze

5 out of 5 stars
Kids Quirky events Queens County Farm Museum, Queens

No autumn would be complete without the Amazing Maize Maze at the Queens County Farm Museum! The American Maze Company builds a labyrinth every year that that stretches over several acres, with the length of the course often stretching two miles! Previous years’ themes have included a violin, a riverboat, a train, a farmscape and the largest living sundial. This year, paths will be larger, timed tickets will be required and employees will monitor guests. You can wander your way through the maze by moonlight on Oct 3 and 24 from
5:30 pm–9:30pm (with staggered times). Ages 3 and up.

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nybg pumpkin path
nybg pumpkin path
Photograph: Courtesy NYBG + Marlon Co

13. Pumpkin Path at the New York Botanical Garden

Things to do New York Botanical Garden | Bronx, NY, The Bronx

The New York Botanical Garden is putting an autumn twist on its rustic displays. Beginning Oct 3, visitors can take a gander at gourds of all sizes and eccentric scarecrows adorning the Great Pumpkin Path. Some of the largest pumpkins in the world will arrive on Oct 24, so be on the lookout for the record-breaking sights! All ages.

Six Flags HOLLOWFEST
Six Flags HOLLOWFEST
Photograph: Courtesty Six Flags Great Adventure

14. Six Flags' new HALLOWFEST

News City Life

HALLOWFEST, Six Flags Great Adventure's all-new celebration, will run from Sept 18 through Nov 1, which means there are plenty of opportunities for creepy, kooky and spooky shenanigans. During the day, little monsters can enjoy seasonal scream-worthy attractions: inflatables, a Trick or Treat Trail, a hay bale maze (in one direction) and other fun activities. At night is when things get a little more serious (perhaps a time better suited for the tweens and teens): Creepy fog, eerie lighting and sinister music will transform the family attraction into a real-life horror movie and thrill-seekers can ride their favorite coasters...in the dark!

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Photograph: Courtesy Jennifer Mitchell

15. The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze

Things to do Quirky events Van Cortlandt Manor,

Like a well-stocked candy stash, the Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze is an essential part of Halloween in New York. The attraction is set along the beautiful 18th century riverside landscape of Van Cortlandt Manor and boasts a pumpkin promenade like none other: There are over 7,000 hand-carved jack o'lanterns waiting to impress visitors. As you tour the grounds, expect synchronized lighting, spooky music and more dazzling, Instagram-worthy features like the Pumpkin Carousel and the Pumpkin Windmill. What's new in 2020? A pumpkin fire truck and a coven of witches cooking up a spell! New safety measures will be in place in 2020. Read all about them online. Be sure to snag tickets early; the event is likely to sell out. Check out the event's second location on Long Island, opening Oct 2. All ages.

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Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson on September 27, 2018.  (Photo by Tom Nycz)
Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson on September 27, 2018.  (Photo by Tom Nycz)
Photograph: Courtesy Historic Hudson Valley/Tom Nycz

17. The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze Long Island

News City Life

New Yorkers' favorite fall event, the Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze, will illuminate a second location with its stunning pumpkin art. In addition to operating at Van Cortlandt Manor in the Hudson Valley, the Halloween happening will set up shop at the Old Bethpage Village Restoration on Long Island from Oct 2–Nov 1.

american dream
american dream
Courtesy American Dream

18. American Dream reopens

News City Life

The Meadowlands' 3-million-square-foot shopping and entertainment hub, is preparing to welcome back visitors on Oct 1, and its endless entertainment options make it the perfect destination for a family day trip. Check out what's in store! 

 
 

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spineless at new york aquarium
spineless at new york aquarium
Photograph: Courtesy Julie Larsen Maher

21. "Spineless" at the New York Aquarium

Things to do Exhibitions New York Aquarium | Brooklyn, NY, Brooklyn

Now that New York Aquarium has reopened to the public, we're finally able to check out "Spineless," in person the newest exhibit hall at the aquarium. No internet or live cams required! The exhibit features octopuses, jellies, Spider Crabs and other invertebrates. (Get it?) All ages.

Photograph: Courtesy Craig Chesek

22. "The Nature of Color"

Museums Natural history American Museum of Natural History, Upper West Side

What is color? How does it work? Why do diamonds look they way they do? Do some colors really make us sad? These and other heavy questions are addressed by "The Nature of Color," a new exhibition opening at the American Museum of Natural History. The family-friendly show features interactive exhibits that invite kids to play and experiment with the science of colors by way of an immersive color-changing room that responds to movement, a light lab, an interactive game show and more. All ages. 

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Photograph: Courtesy Museum of the City of New York

23. "City/Game Basketball in New York"

Museums Sport Museum of the City of New York, East Harlem

If your kids love to shoot hoops, you won't want to miss "City/Game Basketball in New York," a new exhibit that explores the game as a whole and those in NYC who play it. Learn more about the game's MVPs, history and impact in our neighborhoods. All ages. 

Photograph: Courtesy Evan Joseph Images

24. Empire State Building's Reimagined Observatory Experience

Things to do Empire State Building | Manhattan, NY, Midtown West

NOTE: The Empire State Building's Observatory Experience will reopen on July 20 as part of NYC's Phase 4 reopening plans. Visits will be limited and on a reservation basis. Initial capacity will be reduced by more than 80 percent to only 500 guests in the Observatories’ 70,000 square foot space at a time—kind of like having NYC to yourself! Snag tickets at esbny.com

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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lefrak center skating
lefrak center skating
Photograph: Filip Wolak

25. Roller skate in Prospect Park

News City Life

Skating has resumed in Prospect Park, so now's the time to show off those moves you've perfected during quarantine. (C'mon, we know you've got 'em!) Families can make the way to the LeFrak Center at Lakeside every day from noon–6pm for a loop around the rink. Admission is $6 and $10 on the weekends; skate rentals are $7.

children hiking
children hiking
Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock

26. Visit a hiking trail

Things to do

Just because you live in the Big Apple doesn't mean you can't spend time in the great outdoors. Take a breather after a day of learning and go for a hike. There are amazing family-friendly trails close to NYC—in fact, the Bronx River Greenway and Inwood Hill Park are right in the middle of the city!

 

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kid bike
kid bike
Photograph: Shutterstock

27. Hit a bike trail

Things to do Games and hobbies

New York, New York, it's a wonderful biking town! From protected bike paths on the Bronx waterfront to the low-key cycling in Battery Park City, we'll help you find the best trails for families. Why not hit up these spots after school?

 

Central Park Bethesda Fountain
Central Park Bethesda Fountain
Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock

28. Go to a park

Things to do

Our guide to the best NYC parks for kids will help you make the most of your sunny autumn afternoon! Simply put, these parks amazing. Have a look at some of our favorites and their activity offerings. 

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Domino Park Playground
Domino Park Playground
Photograph: Courtesy Daniel Levin

29. Visit a playground

Things to do

This is a golden age of playgrounds. 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.

 

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