The best things to do with kids in NYC this week

The best things to do with kids in NYC this week including festivals, museum exhibits and other great events
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Looking for the best things to do with kids in NYC this week? Prepare for all of the awesomeness ahead! It is, of course, prime time to explore our guide to Halloween for kids, and it's also finally feeling like fall, so we're hitting up these local corn mazes in NY and the best pumpkin picking NY has to offer, too. Oh, and last call for apple picking near NYC...boy did that go fast!

Best things to do with kids in NYC Oct 15–19

Photograph: Courtesy AF Creative Media
Things to do, Quirky events

National Cookie Month at Schmackary’s

icon-location-pin Hell's Kitchen
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Is there a holiday more lovely than National Cookie Month? It provides 30+ opportunities to indulge in sweet treats. In honor of such a magnificent occasion, Schmackary’s will offer 15 percent off to readers who mention Time Out when they're shopping in store this month. Move over Halloween—there's a new cause for celebration this October! All ages. 

Photograph: Courtesy Liberty Science Center
Museums, Childhood

"Doc McStuffins"

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Little Dottie wants to follow in her mother's footsteps on the TV hit, Doc McStuffins. With the hopes of becoming a doctor, she practices her medical routines on her stuffed animals...who just so happen to come to life! Kids can channel their inner Doc McStuffins by checking in on fury friends in the ER, giving animals X-rays and more. This is a bilingual English and Spanish immersive exhibit. All ages. 

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Photograph: Courtesy Museum of the City of New York
Museums, Special interest

"Germ City"

icon-location-pin East Harlem
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If your kids won't cover their mouths when sneezing or refuse tissues, maybe "Germ City: Microbes and the Metropolis" will help them change their ways. MCNY's new exhibit will focus on the clash between NYC and disease and how it has shaped us in a variety of ways, from culturally to physically. Pieces include "Blood Mirror," Jordan Eagles' offering that's comprised of human blood, a 20th-century smallpox quarantine poster and New York City Health Department diphtheria pamphlet, among many other others. Don't forget to register for the Community Care Fair, a family event on Nov 18 from 11am–3pm, that will let visitors explore ways we care for one another by taking a look at paraphernalia, stories and more. All ages.  

Kids Class
Photograph: Shutterstock
Things to do, Classes and workshops

Introduction to Stop Motion Animation

icon-location-pin Boerum Hill
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Let kids take their love for movies to another level with Intro to Stop- Motion Animation, which teaches them how to use a camera and color-correct masterpieces. Once the class wraps up, little filmmakers will have their own clips to share.

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Photograph: Courtsey Prospect Park Alliance
Things to do

Halloween in Prospect Park

icon-location-pin Prospect Park
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Prepare for ghoulish happenings all over Prospect Park! Boo at the Zoo, which takes place every weekend in October (10am–5:30pm), will feature  a costumed scavenger hunt plus Halloween-themed games and projects, all of which provide frighteningly good fun. Gather the goblins for a truly hair-raising Halloween Haunted Walk and Fair (Oct 27 from noon–3pm)—just beware of the spooky creatures you encounter! End your afternoon at the family-friendly after party BKLYN BOO! at City Point (make sure to RSVP online, and note this is ideal for families with children ages 7–12). While you're making a trip to the park, make sure you take a spooky spin on the Haunted Carousel (Oct 27 from noon–5:30pm, $2.50 per ride) and then enjoy Scary Stories with Tammy Hall (2–4pm)...if you dare. For those tots who aren't inclined to be spooked, opt for the Halloween Cut-Outs, crafts based on a Lefferts family design (1–4pm). Head to the park's website for more details about the Halloween happenings! All ages. 

Courtesy Jim Kay/Bloomsbury Publishing
Museums, Special interest

"Harry Potter: A History of Magic"

icon-location-pin Upper West Side
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Take a trip to Hogwarts—without leaving NYC! Potterheads can experience "Harry Potter: A History of Magic," a British Library exhibit that is coming to the New York Historical Society. Harry Potter: A History of Magic will open at the New-York Historical Society October 5, 2018 and will feature rare books, manuscripts and treasures from the British Library’s collections that relate to the myths and magic behind the series. Original drafts and drawings by author J.K. Rowling and illustrator Jim Kay will also be on display for the first time. All ages. 

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Photograph courtesy New-York Historical Society
Kids, Quirky events

Harry Potter Family Book Club

icon-location-pin Upper West Side
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Though it's been two decades since Harry Potter first hit the book shelves, kids are still not done talking about the boy who lived, his friends, and the evil forces they fought. Whether your family is reading the books for the first time, or you're working your way through the series yet again, chat with other young and avid readers about the books and their enduring themes with these book clubs. The club is talking Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone on October 9 and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on October 23. Afterward visit the museum's special exhibit Harry Potter: A History of Magic. Ages 14 and under. 

Things to do

Boo at the Zoo

icon-location-pin The Bronx
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Boo at the Zoo takes over this Bronx wildlife haven every weekend from Sept 29–Oct 28 (and Oct 8, too!). There's so much to see that we're never really sure where to start, but expect your experience to be action packed. Hop on a Halloween Hayride, explore the Haunted Forest if you dare , see the Extinct Animal Graveyard, trick-or-treat, walk in a costume parade and see the Zoo's animals get some of their favorite autumnal treats! All ages.

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Photograph: Courtesy Ben Hider
Things to do

Spooky Pumpkin Garden

icon-location-pin The Bronx
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The blooms at NYBG are given a spooky touch during this seasonal extravaganza. The Everett Children’s Adventure Garden will transform into a Halloween hotspot with pumpkins, scarecrows, puppets and eye-popping pumpkin carving demonstrations. Guided activities will be held on weekdays from 1:30–5:30pm and on weekends from 10:30am–5:30pm. Giant Pumpkin Weekend (Oct 20–21 from 10am–6pm) and Spooky Pumpkin Nights (Oct 26 and 27 from 6:30–8:30pm) are other can't-miss Halloween happenings. Check out NYBG online to learn more about the offerings. All ages. 

Photograph: Courtesy Liberty Science Center
Museums, Childhood

"Doc McStuffins"

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Little Dottie wants to follow in her mother's footsteps on the TV hit, Doc McStuffins. With the hopes of becoming a doctor, she practices her medical routines on her stuffed animals...who just so happen to come to life! Kids can channel their inner Doc McStuffins by checking in on fury friends in the ER, giving animals X-rays and more. This is a bilingual English and Spanish immersive exhibit. All ages. 

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Photograph courtesy Diana Natal
Attractions, Farms

Fall Harvest Festival Weekends

icon-location-pin Midtown West
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Escape the concrete jungle for a crisp slice of autumn at Fishkill Farms. Every weekend from the second week in September through the last in October, the whole family can enjoy apple pickings, wagon rides, live music and fresh treats like cider, donuts, and homemade pies. Starting in late September you can even pick your own pumpkin. Stop by the farm’s grill for barbecue classics, and be sure to check out the farm store before you leave to pick up some maple syrup, honey, artisanal cheeses and more. All ages. 

Photograph courtesy Lincoln Center
Kids, Festivals

LC Kids

icon-location-pin 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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Courtesy Jim Kay/Bloomsbury Publishing
Museums, Special interest

Family Programs for "Harry Potter: A History of Magic"

icon-location-pin Upper West Side
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Ready your wands, young wizards: All-things magical and mystical are heading to the New-York Historical Society for the London transplant, "Harry Potter: A History of Magic," a can't-miss exhibit for history buffs and bibliophiles. Fans will be able to celebrate one of the most beloved characters in children's literature and explore a wide variety of artifacts, including work from J.K. Rowling's original manuscript, oracle bones dating back to the 1600s and even costumes from the Broadway play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. But a celebration of Harry and all that he means to us wouldn't be complete without a variety of family events. Here's a full lineup of what parents and kiddos can attend when the exhibit opens on Oct 5.  Hogwarts House Badges, Saturdays and Sundays from 1–4pm, free with museum admission, all ages.  Harry Potter Family Book Club, various dates from 4–6pm, $15, $12 members, ages 14 and under.  Writing Historical Fantasy with Writetopia Lab, Oct 21 2–6pm (ages 8–10) and Nov 3 2–6pm (ages 11-13), $125/student.  History of Magic Family Days, Nov 18 and Dec 9, free with museum admission, all ages.  Harry Potter Trivia for Families, Oct 14 at 2:30 pm, $25, $22 members, all ages.  Historical Hallowe'en, Oct 28 at 5pm, $20, ages 18 and under. 

Fri Sept 30
Things to do

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze

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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 over 7,000 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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Things to do

Halloween Harvest Festival

icon-location-pin Astoria
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We love a good spooky theme—and good thing, because this year’s Halloween Harvest Festival theme is Fet Gede, the Haitian Festival of the Ancestors! There will be a performance by the New York chapter of Konfederasyon Nasyonal Vodouyizan Ayisyen (K.N.V.A), card readings, mini altars and a special dance and drum performance. Kids can also enjoy some hands-on fun with costume making, face painting and art projects. Dogs are invited to join in the fun with the annual canine costume contest. All ages.

Photograph: Courtesy RISE of the Jack O'Lanterns
Things to do

Night of 1,000 Jack O'Lanterns

icon-location-pin Long Island
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Get in the Halloween spirit at this massive jack o'lantern bonanza featuring more than a thousand hand-carved pumpkins, The orange works of art are transformed by hundreds of carvers into movie characters and pop culture icons, plus impressive multi-pumpkin sculptures of dinosaurs, dragons, safari animals and more. The whole family will love exploring these intricately carved pumpkins (some of which weigh over 100 pounds!) while listening to festive Halloween tunes. Be sure to check out the live-carving stations, where tykes can watch the artists in action. Check online before booking, as some time slots might be sold out. All ages.

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Photograph courtesy Andrew Kelly
Museums

Science Playground

icon-location-pin 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. Ages 6 and up.

Photograph: Courtesy CMOM
Art

"Art, Artists & You"

icon-location-pin Upper West Side
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The Children's Museum of Manhattan is putting little visitors in the driver's seat. “Art, Artists & You,” a combination of an art studio and exhibit, encourages children to explore the creative process with several main components: working on stop motion animation, crafting a model of a pet or contributing to a wall hanging. “We want visitors to consider what it means when art is made of familiar object and materials, and how they can use these everyday items to make something new that expresses their thoughts, aspirations, and personal perception of the world,” David Rios, Children’s Museum of Manhattan’s director of public programs and the exhibit’s curator, said in a statement. All ages. 

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Photograph courtesy K. Corbin, J. Sparks
Museums, Natural history

Unseen Oceans

icon-location-pin 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.

Photograph: Courtesy Museum of the Moving Image / The Jim Henson Company
Museums, Movies and TV

The Jim Henson Exhibition

icon-location-pin Astoria
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The Museum of the Moving Image finally unveils its new permanent exhibition on Jim Henson’s work. Head up to the second floor to find nearly 300 items from the Henson’s career in film and television, including sketches, storyboards, scripts, photos, costumes, behind-the-scenes video footage and 47 puppets (Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Elmo and Big Bird just to name a few). Kids can even try their hand at puppeteering on screen and designing their own puppet characters. All ages.

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Growler patrol flag, 1962–1963  Collection of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Gift of Duane Heatwole.
Courtesy Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
Things to do, Exhibitions

"A View From the Deep: The Submarine Growler & The Cold War"

icon-location-pin Hell's Kitchen
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History buffs of all ages can experience the fascinating past of the Growler, the only nuclear missile-launching submarine open to the public, without climbing the vessel's steep stairs or walking through its narrow passageways with this free new exhibit. Learn all about the Growler's place in Cold War history and about the naval officers that operated the complicated, state-of-the-art sub. All ages.

Photograph: Courtesy Peter Kuper
Things to do, Exhibitions

"Underground Heroes: New York Transit in Comics"

icon-location-pin Boerum Hill
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We need a little levity while commuting, so why not get a chuckle with "Underground Heroes: New York Transit in Comics"? The New York Transit Museum just released this silly (yet all-too familiar) exhibit of cartoons—ranging from the 19th to 21st century—depicting rides through on the trains. All ages.   

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Things to do, Exhibitions

Our Senses: An Immersive Experience

icon-location-pin Upper West Side
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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.

Photograph: Courtesy Matt Shanley
Museums

Inside You

icon-location-pin 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.

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Photograph: NARI WARD
Museums

"We the People"

icon-location-pin Upper West Side
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From the donations of many visitors' used shoelaces comes "We the People," an art installation by Nari Ward. From Feb 20–24, you can see the sculpture as it gets installed, and from February 20–26 you can post a sticky note on the museum's preamble wall to share how the words "We the People" make you feel. All ages.

Photograph: Courtesy Collection of Sharon Twigg-Smith
Art, Painting

Georgia O'Keeffe: Visions of Hawai‘i

icon-location-pin The Bronx
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Travel to Hawaii through Georgia O’Keeffe’s art created during a visit to its lush landscapes in 1939. More than 15 of O’Keeffe’s paintings, which haven’t been seen together in New York since their debut in 1940, will be on display in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library Art Gallery. Film screenings, lectures, readings, and an interactive guide will round out the exhibit and cultural activities—live music, hula and chant performances and artisan demonstrations—will take place on weekends throughout the garden. Kids will learn about the plants captured in O’Keeffe’s paintings, receive field notebooks to draw in as they follow a trail and create their own botanical works of art. All ages.

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Photograph: Courtesy NASA
Museums, Special interest

"Personal Space"

icon-location-pin 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. 

Courtesy Jim Kay/Bloomsbury Publishing
Museums, Special interest

"Harry Potter: A History of Magic"

icon-location-pin Upper West Side
icon-calendar

Take a trip to Hogwarts—without leaving NYC! Potterheads can experience "Harry Potter: A History of Magic," a British Library exhibit that is coming to the New York Historical Society. Harry Potter: A History of Magic will open at the New-York Historical Society October 5, 2018 and will feature rare books, manuscripts and treasures from the British Library’s collections that relate to the myths and magic behind the series. Original drafts and drawings by author J.K. Rowling and illustrator Jim Kay will also be on display for the first time. All ages. 

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