Indoor Activities

Hang with Animals at These Cozy Indoor Spots

Kids are innate animal lovers—we bet all parents go through that phase when they're convinced their child is going to grow up to be a veterinarian. But in wintertime when all living things in New York City seem to be hibernating, it's tough to indulge kids' craving for creatures beyond the ever-present subway rats. And who wants to pet one of those?! That's why we rounded up the best places to get up close and personal with animals in cozy, indoor environments. Here's where you can hang with cool cats, beautiful birds and butterflies, and even "adopt" a critter without ever having to take it home.

21 Brooklyn Drop-In Play Spaces and Kiddie Gyms

When it comes to indoor play spaces, Brooklyn can't be beat. While both Manhattan and Queens have about a dozen drop-in indoor playgrounds apiece, Brooklyn boasts nearly two dozen places where kids can run amok. While we've include a couple of the more mellow tot spots with crafts or storytelling, this best of Brooklyn list is focused on the real active play spaces where toddlers, preschoolers and even tweens can conquer multi-level mazes, swoosh down slides, climb up rock walls or, you know, turn around in circles until they fall down exhausted and ready for a nap.

Read on for 21 drop-in indoor romper rooms for kids in Brooklyn.

Valentine's Day Activities & Crafts for Long Island Kids

With Valentine's Day fast approaching, love is definitely in the air. If your kids are anything like mine, they get a kick out of making special gifts and decorations to celebrate the holiday. And fortunately for Long Islanders, there are plenty of events to give your family a chance to get creative. From making a house plant to give to that special someone and cookie decorating to designing a heart flower pot and creating a mailbox, there is something for every child in your home. And for more fun events happening in the area--for Valentine's Day and beyond--be sure to check out our Long Island Events Calendar.

Westchester News: New Places for Kids to Play, Paint and Eat

The short, dark days of winter are over but long, sunny days are still ahead of us. February seems like a wedge between winter and spring: stores are already tempting us with swimsuits and garden gear yet the weather still beckons us to either bundle up or head indoors. Luckily, Westchester families have some new options to get them in a warm weather mindset. 

Go Back to the Future of Tech with Silicon City Exhibit

While some tweens are hardwired to think in zeros and ones and are ready for advanced instruction in computer science, others are leery of the whole thing. I have one of each.

Luckily, both my enthusiastic coder and my reluctant techie found something to enjoy at the New-York Historical Society’s exhibit Silicon City: Computer History Made in New York, on view through April 17 where kids can see early computers, typewriters, phones and even try out classic video games like Space Invaders. Read on for what to expect from this uptown STEM art exhibit where drop-in coding classes are also on tap.

Winter Gardens: Get Out of the Cold at Indoor NYC Plazas

If you feel like you've already exhausted your favorite NYC museum or indoor play space, why not try a nearby public atrium or garden? New York City is full of many semi-secret indoor public spaces, as well as not-so-secret gardens that are perfect for staving off cabin fever this winter with an antsy kid.

Bonus: The atriums are FREE to wander into and many offer seating, snacks, Wi-Fi and art. The gardens are so steamy that we practically feel as if we booked that tropical getaway after all. This is why we love New York, right?

Shastye Art and Play Space for Kids Opens in Astoria

A new indoor art gallery and play space in Astoria, Queens, is offering drop-in art-making and play sessions for toddlers and preschoolers and loads of creative classes for older kids. 

Shastye Art Gallery and Play Space is an intimate indoor play venue in this family-centric Queens neighborhood founded by professional artist Shasta Molnar. While not the largest play space we've reviewed—it is easily spotted by its red awning—it has a huge personality, offering family-friendly activities from crafting to indoor fort-making.

Kid Movies: BAMkids, NY International and More Film Fests

Rediscover the magic of the movies with several upcoming children's film festivals landing in New York City this winter and continuing into spring. In the cold of winter, going to the movies is tempting, but the big-budget family film options? Not so much. They're expensive (especially 3D releases), and winter is the traditional dumping ground for duds.

Luckily, we have BAMkids Film Festival and New York International Children's Film Festival that showcase international and offbeat shorts and features, while Film Forum Jr. screens cool classics every Sunday morning. Each offers dozens of picks for preschoolers on up to tweens. Plus, ticket prices can be less costly—most are less than $15 per person. Oh, and we have a discount code to share with you!

Here are the details on these festivals, as well as theaters known to offer regular indie kid flicks like the Film Forum and even two spots—one in Brooklyn, another in Manhattan—serving up brunch, cocktails and kid movies. Don't forget to check out our post about where to see free and cheap kids' movies, too.

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