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Things to do on Columbus Day for kids in New York City

Spend the three-day weekend hitting up the Columbus Day parade and more things to do on Columbus Day for kids

Photograph: Marielle Solan
Columbus Day parade

Staying in town over Columbus Day weekend? Good news: There are tons of awesome events to make sure it's a fun Columbus Day for kids in NYC, including live music and theater performances for families and the annual Columbus Day parade, an ode to Italian-American culture. An extra day off with the kids will give you plenty of time to check out some new kid-friendly exhibits at NYC museums and to tackle our list of the 50 best things to do in the fall. Enjoy the long weekend!

 

Saturday, October 10

The Amazing Maize Maze

Recommended

City kids get a true taste of the country as they track down clues and solve puzzles to find their way out of this labyrinthine, three-acre maze made of corn stalks. The fun starts with a “Stalk Talk” to brief participants on the clues and puzzles they’ll find along the twisting paths. Once the youngsters reach the exit, reward them with a trip to the pumpkin patch (open from October 3), where they can pick their future jack-o’-lantern from the field. Families up for a more challenging (and slightly scary) mission can grab a flashlight or navigate the maze by moonlight when it’s open until 9pm.

Read more
Queens County Farm Museum , Queens Saturday September 23 2017 - Sunday October 29 2017

Robin Hood

The Seattle Children's Theatre offers a madcap take on the Prince of Thieves with plenty of swashbuckling and swordplay. Our hero and his merry men—all played by just four actors—fight for justice with swords and their just-as-sharp wit. On October 11, your fam can get in on the action with a fight-choreography workshop (2:30pm, $17 per kid), led by New Vic teaching artists. Ages 7 and up.

Read more
Until Sun Oct 11

"If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home"

Printed maps have provided the information we needed to understand our surroundings since long before Google was giving us directions on our iPhones. The artists featured in the Children's Museum of the Arts' fall exhibit incorprates elements of cartography and mapping into detailed multimedia works, including collages, prints, paintings and drawings. Many used their imaginations as the first cartographers did, to wonder what lies beyond certain physical boundaries, and kids can now take a crack at interpreting the meaning behind the unique diagrams. The artistic expressions of personal identity, political ideas and culture will serve as great inspiration for visitors, who get to add their personal touch to a large-scale world map on the museum wall. Ages 5 and up.

Read more
Until Fri Jan 1
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Gone Batty! Live Bat Encounter

Catch these creepy meet-and-greets over Columbus Day weekend, when various species of bats stop by the New York Botanical Garden. Families come face-to-face with the nocturnal critters, including the endangered Rodrigues bat from Mexico and the Malayan flying fox. Kids will find out how these creatures keep our environment healthy. All ages.

Read more
Until Mon Oct 12

“Superheroes in Gotham” Opening Weekend

Since their introduction in the 1930s, superheroes have inspired kids through comic books, games, television and movie screens—even the Broadway stage. This exhibition tells the story of superheroes in NYC, ranging from the birth of comic book superheroes to their transition to radio, TV, film and more, including New York Comic Con. During opening weekend, kids get to design their own wrist cuffs (a superhero's costume isn't complete without them!) and jump in on hero training sessions to practice defense and attack skills. They'll decorate a super plane and fly it across the New York skyline, too! A special family guide will lead you gang through the exhibit in search of six special heroes, then make sure to snap a photo with the super-cool Batmobile! All ages.

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Until Sun Feb 21

Spotlight on Dance

Drama queens (and kings) can participate in a workshop inspired by a Broadway show—such as On The Town (Apr 18), An American in Paris (Oct 10) and On Your Feet! (Nov 14)—in this theater education series. Each session includes a 90–minute dance and movement workshop taught by a professional dancer, a Q&A with a guest artist from the featured show, lunch and a matinee theater ticket. No dance experience is required, but class size is limited, so sign up quick! Ages 12–16.

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14 Nov 2015
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Last chance: "Alice: 150 Years of Wonderland"

After a century and a half, the original Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland manuscript has made its way from the British Library in London to NYC, where it sits surrounded by original drawings and letters, rare editions, vintage photographs and other mementos from the story’s early days. Fans will adore seeing Sir John Tenniel’s colorful pen-and-ink illustrations, Carroll’s personal puppet theater and the desk used by Alice Liddell (the story’s namesake), which holds a letter she wrote to her father when she was 10. In the gallery, catch screenings of the first Alice film adaptation (from 1903) and hang out in reading areas to page through copies of the manuscript. Ages 4 and up.

Read more
Until Sun Oct 11

Jefferson Market Garden Children's Harvest Festival

Kids can scoop up mini pumpkins, then paint and adorn their finds with Halloween decoration during a day of autumn-themed activities. They can close out garden season with magic tricks and entertainment from the New York Public Library. Past offerings have included cookie decorating and storytelling. Rain date is October 11. Ages 3 to 8.

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10 Oct 2015

Cooking with Frida

Stop by the Edible Academy's Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden to experience the colors, textures, smells and tastes of Frida Kahlo's Mexican kitchen. Families will watch as educators whip up delicious recipes using fresh ingredients from the garden. Kids will learn about Mexican staple foods like beans, tomatoes, peppers, chiles and herbs. All ages.

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Until Sun Nov 1
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"NYC and Me: A Little Bite of the Big Apple"

This new interactive gallery for kids captures the sounds, sights, flavors and soul of New York! Little ones can take over the Big Apple's sidewalks, streets, parks, public transportation and more by driving taxis and police cars, building mini skyscrapers, running an international food cart and even imagining they're the mayor.

Read more
18 Jan 2016
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Sunday, October 11

"Pixar: The Design of Story"

Every parent has seen their kid's eyes light up as a flick like Toy Story or Up unfolds on the screen. Now, families can get a look at how Pixar's movie magic comes together thanks to a behind-the-scenes exhibit created in partnership with Pixar Animation Studios. The original artwork of genius illustrators—from films including Wall-E, Brave and The Incredibles—shows youngsters how their favorite characters developed over time, how the designers trigger our emotions and beyond. In the museum's immersive Process Lab, families will explore the design process through colorscripts, storyboards, sculptures and interactive stations like an 84-inch touch-screen table. Hit up a Design by Hand workshop led by creative staff from Pixar and don't miss screenings of Luxo Jr., a short film from 1986, or a Q&A with John Lasseter (Nov 12). Ages 5 and up.

Read more
07 Aug 2016

Cooking with Frida

Stop by the Edible Academy's Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden to experience the colors, textures, smells and tastes of Frida Kahlo's Mexican kitchen. Families will watch as educators whip up delicious recipes using fresh ingredients from the garden. Kids will learn about Mexican staple foods like beans, tomatoes, peppers, chiles and herbs. All ages.

Read more
Until Sun Nov 1

"NYC and Me: A Little Bite of the Big Apple"

This new interactive gallery for kids captures the sounds, sights, flavors and soul of New York! Little ones can take over the Big Apple's sidewalks, streets, parks, public transportation and more by driving taxis and police cars, building mini skyscrapers, running an international food cart and even imagining they're the mayor.

Read more
18 Jan 2016
Advertising

Robin Hood

The Seattle Children's Theatre offers a madcap take on the Prince of Thieves with plenty of swashbuckling and swordply. Our hero and his merry men—all played by just four actors—fight for justice with swords and their just-as-sharp wit. On October 11, your fam can get in on the action with a fight-choreography workshop (2:30pm, $17 per kid), led by New Vic teaching artists. Ages 7 and up.

Read more
Until Sun Oct 11

Family Concert Series at the Jewish Museum

Little ones are invited to sway, clap and sing along at a family concert series. Upcoming shows feature 60s-style tunes from Alison Faith Levy (Oct 11), a high-energy performance from The Funkey Monkeys (Oct 25), indie-rock from Grammy-nomiated band Ralph's World (Nov 8) and hits from Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights' latest album (Dec 20). Wrap up 2015 by hitting up one of two multi-genre Timbalooloo concerts with musician Oran Etkin (Dec 25). Ages 3 to 8.

Read more
Until Fri Dec 25

The Amazing Maize Maze

Recommended

City kids get a true taste of the country as they track down clues and solve puzzles to find their way out of this labyrinthine, three-acre maze made of corn stalks. The fun starts with a “Stalk Talk” to brief participants on the clues and puzzles they’ll find along the twisting paths. Once the youngsters reach the exit, reward them with a trip to the pumpkin patch (open from October 3), where they can pick their future jack-o’-lantern from the field. Families up for a more challenging (and slightly scary) mission can grab a flashlight or navigate the maze by moonlight when it’s open until 9pm.

Read more
Queens County Farm Museum , Queens Saturday September 23 2017 - Sunday October 29 2017
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Film Forum Jr.

Your kids may never tire of watching Frozen, but they'll be explosed to plenty of family-friendly classics as well, thanks to this weekly film series. On Sundays, the downtown theater hosts a matinee screening of a bona fide family favorite. This season kicks off with a restored version of On The Town, starring Gene Kelly (Sept 6), Buster Keaton's silent masterpiece The Cameraman, set to a live piano accompaniment (Sept 13), insect-centric horror flick Them! (Sept 20), and Beatles film A Hard Day's Night (Sept 27). Other top-notch picks include Hold That Ghost (Oct 4), The Yearling (Oct 11), Calamity Jane (Oct 18), Ghostbusters (Oct 25), Kiss me Kate in 3D, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Nov 8), 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Nov 15), Way Out West (Nov 22), A Raisin in the Sun (Nov 29), The Freshman (Dec 6), The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (Dec 13), Elf (Dec 20) and Who Framed Roger Rabbit (Dec 27). Ages 5 and up.

Read more
Until Sun Mar 19

"If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home"

Printed maps have provided the information we needed to understand our surroundings since long before Google was giving us directions on our iPhones. The artists featured in the Children's Museum of the Arts' fall exhibit incorprates elements of cartography and mapping into detailed multimedia works, including collages, prints, paintings and drawings. Many used their imaginations as the first cartographers did, to wonder what lies beyond certain physical boundaries, and kids can now take a crack at interpreting the meaning behind the unique diagrams. The artistic expressions of personal identity, political ideas and culture will serve as great inspiration for visitors, who get to add their personal touch to a large-scale world map on the museum wall. Ages 5 and up.

Read more
Until Fri Jan 1

Frolic! at CMOM

Frolic!, a family-favorite play space in Williamsburg, brings a rock & roll–themed pop-up playspace to CMOM, inviting youngsters to enjoy hands-on musical exploration in the 1,500-square-foot space. Climb inside a paint-splattered replica of a 70s Volkswagen minivan, slip down the Rolling Stones–inspired tongue slide and play with an interactive video music wall. Daily programs and storytimes combining music, language and movement games will get them singing and dancing. Don't miss live performances on select Saturdays (11am and noon), featuring professional and student musicians. Ages 5 and under.

Read more
Until Thu Dec 31
Advertising

"Alice: 150 Years of Wonderland"

After a century and a half, the original Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland manuscript has made its way from the British Library in London to NYC, where it sits surrounded by original drawings and letters, rare editions, vintage photographs and other mementos from the story’s early days. Fans will adore seeing Sir John Tenniel’s colorful pen-and-ink illustrations, Carroll’s personal puppet theater and the desk used by Alice Liddell (the story’s namesake), which holds a letter she wrote to her father when she was 10. In the gallery, catch screenings of the first Alice film adaptation (from 1903) and hang out in reading areas to page through copies of the manuscript. Ages 4 and up.

Read more
Until Sun Oct 11
Show more

Monday, October 12

Columbus Day Parade

He may be one of the most popular failures in history, but 35,000 marchers and nearly 1 million spectators are expected along Fifth Avenue to mark the day when Christopher Columbus landed in the Americas and to celebrate the heritage of the Italian-American community. Kids, if they can score a good view, will see Italian folk dance troupes, massive floats and marching bands. Fifth Ave from 44th St to 72nd St.

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TADA! One-Day Camps

Youngsters can spend their days off from school learning the ABCs of musical theater through games, improv and dramatic play. On Rosh Hashanah, they'll explore themes like "Start It Up!" (Sept 14) and "Something to Step About" (Sept 15), then Yom Kippur and Eid al-Adha bring autumn motifs like "Swirling Leaves" (Sept 23) and "Fall Flavors" (Sept 24). Families are invited to watch the last 20 minutes of the day. Early drop-off is available for an additional $10. Ages 6 to 11.

Read more
25 Apr 2016

“Superheroes in Gotham” Opening Weekend

Since their introduction in the 1930s, superheroes have inspired kids through comic books, games, television and movie screens—even the Broadway stage. This exhibition tells the story of superheroes in NYC, ranging from the birth of comic book superheroes to their transition to radio, TV, film and more, including New York Comic Con. During opening weekend, kids get to design their own wrist cuffs (a superhero's costume isn't complete without them!) and jump in on hero training sessions to practice defense and attack skills. They'll decorate a super plane and fly it across the New York skyline, too! A special family guide will lead you gang through the exhibit in search of six special heroes, then make sure to snap a photo with the super-cool Batmobile! All ages.

Read more
Until Sun Feb 21
Advertising

Gone Batty! Live Bat Encounter

Catch these creepy meet-and-greet over Columbus Day weekend, when various species of bats stop by the New York Botanical Garden. Families come face-to-face with the nocturnal critters, including the endangered Rodrigues bat from Mexico and the Malayan flying fox. Kids will find out how these creatures keep our environment healthy. All ages.

Read more
Until Mon Oct 12

"Andy Warhol: Campbell’s Soup Cans and Other Works, 1953–1967"

Recommended

On July 9, 1962, Andy Warhol made his one-person debut at a Los Angeles gallery called Ferus, founded five years earlier by curator Walter Hopps and artist Edward Keinholz. It represented the first showing of Warhol's Campbell's Soup Can paintings, an image he became indelibly linked with. Often installed in a grid, the 32 works were originally hung in a single line at Ferus, an installation MoMA revives here in its look at Warhol's early years, when he turned the art world upside down. Kids will love checking out drawings, illustrated books and other prints that Warhol made in the 50s. Ages 6 and up.

Read more
Until Mon Oct 12

"Pixar: The Design of Story"

Every parent has seen their kid's eyes light up as a flick like Toy Story or Up unfolds on the screen. Now, families can get a look at how Pixar's movie magic comes together thanks to a behind-the-scenes exhibit created in partnership with Pixar Animation Studios. The original artwork of genius illustrators—from films including Wall-E, Brave and The Incredibles—shows youngsters how their favorite characters developed over time, how the designers trigger our emotions and beyond. In the museum's immersive Process Lab, families will explore the design process through colorscripts, storyboards, sculptures and interactive stations like an 84-inch touch-screen table. Hit up a Design by Hand workshop led by creative staff from Pixar and don't miss screenings of Luxo Jr., a short film from 1986, or a Q&A with John Lasseter (Nov 12). Ages 5 and up.

Read more
07 Aug 2016
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National Design Week

While families will have to wait until December to revisit the Cooper-Hewitt Naitonal Design Museum, its Harlem outpost, the Cooper-Hewitt Design Center hosts a weeklong series of drop-in programs for families. Be sure to reserve a spot online well in advance, as workshops are likely to fill up faster than parents will pull out their Tim Gunn impressions. See the website for the full schedule, which should be announced in the coming weeks. Ages 2 to 12.

Read more
Until Sun Oct 18

"If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home"

Printed maps have provided the information we needed to understand our surroundings since long before Google was giving us directions on our iPhones. The artists featured in the Children's Museum of the Arts' fall exhibit incorprates elements of cartography and mapping into detailed multimedia works, including collages, prints, paintings and drawings. Many used their imaginations as the first cartographers did, to wonder what lies beyond certain physical boundaries, and kids can now take a crack at interpreting the meaning behind the unique diagrams. The artistic expressions of personal identity, political ideas and culture will serve as great inspiration for visitors, who get to add their personal touch to a large-scale world map on the museum wall. Ages 5 and up.

Read more
Until Fri Jan 1

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. Ages 6 and up.

Read more
30 Nov 2016
Advertising

"NYC and Me: A Little Bite of the Big Apple"

This new interactive gallery for kids captures the sounds, sights, flavors and soul of New York! Little ones can take over the Big Apple's sidewalks, streets, parks, public transportation and more by driving taxis and police cars, building mini skyscrapers, running an international food cart and even imagining they're the mayor.

Read more
18 Jan 2016
Show more

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