Veterans Day Weekend for NYC Kids: Free & Fun Things to Do - Chocolate Show, Puppets on Film, Day of the Dead November 10-12
While much of NYC is trying to get back to normal after all the chaos caused by Hurricane Sandy, a few neighborhoods remain without power, water and heat, and many communities in Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island were totally devastated due to flooding. There are even venues in downtown Manhattan that won't reopen for weeks due to water damage. So as we get back to business as usual at Mommy Poppins NYC telling you about the best things to do with kids, we want to acknowledge that there are lots of local families struggling to rebuild their lives, including some of our own contributors. We encourage you to help in any way you can. No good deed or donation is too small!
If you're anxious to get out there and start enjoying our wonderful city again, there are lots of great things going on this Veterans Day weekend. Sample sweets at the annual three-day Chocolate Show, catch cool family flicks at BAM Rose Cinemas' Puppets on Film fest or the KidsCinema Fest in Washington Heights. Commune with nature at the New York Botanical Garden's Fall Forest Weekend, Queens County Farm Museum's Wildlife Weekend or the live Bat Encounter at the American Museum of Natural History. Or celebrate the Day of the Dead at Mano a Mano's annual fest, which is happening this weekend after being postponed last week due to the storm.
Those are just a few of the things going on this three-day weekend. All of our best bets are below. You can find additional options in our Event Calendar.
Wildlife Weekend – Douglaston
Get up close and personal with animals at the Queens County Farm Museum's final Wildlife Weekend of the season. Catch a birds of prey show; get face time with frogs, kangaroos and alligators; take a pony or hayride; and feed the farm animals. Saturday and Sunday only. $9
Day of the Dead at St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery – East Village
This annual celebration was rescheduled from last weekend due to the hurricane. Mano a Mano recreates a Mexican village churchyard and hosts a bunch of events to honor those who have passed. Workshops are for all ages and include altar-building, paper flower making, poetry writing and bread baking. Bring photographs, candles and flowers to adorn the altar in honor of your deceased loved ones, or just drop by and enjoy the experience of this three-day event, which also includes musical performances and a traditional dance procession. Friday through Sunday only. FREE
Chocolate Show - New York – Chelsea
Didn't get enough high-end candy at Halloween? Then head to the Metropolitan Pavilion for this annual three-day event featuring some really special sweets. Although I'm not a chocoholic, I've been to the show a few times and it's really fun, with tons of tastings, cooking demos and even a kids' zone where little ones can do chocolate dipping, molding, decorating and marbleizing. Friday through Sunday only. In advance: $35 for adults on Friday and Sunday; $40 for adults on Saturday. More at the door. Free for up to two children ages 5 to 12 with each paying adult; $10 for each additional child. Free for all kids under 5.
Puppets on Film – Fort Greene
This cool film fest returns for a second year at BAM Rose Cinemas. Cheryl Henson (daughter of late Muppets creator Jim Henson) curated the lineup, which includes family faves like Babe and The Muppets Take Manhattan, along with a live Father Goose storytime and puppet making workshops. Note: Not all movies are good for children so be sure to check the schedule carefully. Friday through Sunday only. Screenings: $12 for adults, $9 for children. Workshops range from $5 to $12.
Rise of the Guardians Screenings in Conjunction with the Opening of The Art of Rise of the Guardians – Astoria
If your kids are dying to see DreamWorks' new animated holiday flick about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and other beloved characters teaming up as action heroes, head to the Museum of the Moving Image where you can catch a special preview screening and check out original artwork from the film. Buying advance tickets is recommended. $15.
Fall Forest Weekends – the Bronx
Celebrate the New York Botanical Garden's magnificent old-growth forest. Enjoy guided walks through the woods, tree climbing demos, composting information and birding tours. There will be tree-themed activities for kids in the Everett Children's Adventure Garden, too. Saturday and Sunday only. Free with all-garden pass: $20 for adults, $8 for children.
Lolli-Pops: Things that Go Bang – Upper East Side
The Little Orchestra Society presents an interactive kids' concert at the Kaye Playhouse focused on percussion. Bang the Lion will show young music lovers how household items can become instruments while the orchestra plays March of the Toreadors from Georges Bizet's Carmen and other classical pieces. Saturday and Sunday only. $15-$45
KidCinemaFest – Washington Heights
The Washington Heights Children and Young People’s Film Festival screens eclectic family films from all over the world for a whole week. The fest kicks off with a screening of A Cat in Paris today, and it's FREE
The Grinch's Holiday Workshop: Card Making – Upper West Side
The Children's Museum of Manhattan's latest installation, The Grinch's Holiday Workshop, is a hands-on art studio for kids with educator-led and do-it-yourself projects. This weekend, visitors can work on Dr. Seuss-inspired cards to send to families affected by Hurricane Sandy. Free with admission: $11.
Saturday, November 10
Yankee Fair – Brooklyn Heights
The Plymouth Church School hosts this annual street fest featuring pony rides and bouncy castles, live entertainment by Liam the Magician and John Carlin of the Kids Music Underground, face painting, spin art, crafts and a holiday market with handmade wares, books and DVDs, and other gift items. There will also be plenty of home-cooked eats. All-inclusive children's activiy bracelets are $15 per child, $40 maximum per family.
Saturday Morning Storytelling with the Hans Christian Andersen Storytellers – Murray Hill
Storyteller Diane Wolkstein kicks off Scandinavia House's new season of kids' programing. Afterward, stay and play at the lovely Heimbold Family Children's Learning Center. FREE for storytelling, $8 per child for the center.
Waltz of the Flowers – Prospect Heights
Budding ballerinas can head to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for a Nutcracker-themed dance workshop with American Ballet Theater, followed by plant explorations. Preregistration required. Free with admission: $10 for adults, free for children under 12.
Veterans Day at the Navy Yard – Brooklyn Navy Yard
Honor our brave U.S. veterans at the Brooklyn Navy Yards' BLDG 92. Families can check out exhibits on the history and future of the yard, and create flowers for the museum's inaugural tribute wall. FREE
Live Bat Encounter – Upper West Side
Meet some night flyers at this special live animal presentation with bat expert Rob Mies at the American Museum of Natural History. $12.
R & R Saturdays – Upper West Side
The JCC in Manhattan just kicked off its winter-long free Saturdays program. Families can drop by and enjoy art projects, indoor play, storytime, games and outdoor fun in its rooftop playground, weather permitting. There are activities for parents too, like films, meditation and yoga. FREE
Diwali Lights Up Asia Society: Family Day – Upper East Side
Celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights and the New Year, at the Asia Society, with traditional performances, and holiday arts and craft sessions. $12 for adults, $5 for children.
Treasured Stories by Eric Carle– Upper West Side
The Mermaid Theater of Nova Scotia brings Eric Carle's beloved children's stories The Very Hungry Caterpillar; Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See? and Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me to life onstage at Symphony Space. $25 for adults, $15 for children.
Sunday, November 11
Funkey Monkeys – Upper East Side
Groove to this cool kids' band at the Jewish Museum as they play tunes from their albums Sing, Dance and Underpants and Jewish Funkey Monkeys. $18 for adults, $13 for children under 12.
Breakfast with the Beasts – Staten Island
School-age kids can hit the Staten Island Zoo’s kitchen to help prepare a meal for the animals (and a little something for themselves). Preregistration required. $17.
NYC Veterans Day Parade – Flatiron through East Midtown
Celebrate our nation's brave military at this annual procession. The parade begins at Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street and proceeds uptown to 59th Street. FREE
Sunday Storytime in Mr. Morgan's Library – Murray Hill
Head to the Morgan Library & Museum to hear Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck and other Beatrix Potter classic read aloud and then explore the brand-new Beatrix Potter: The Picture Letters exhibit. Free with admission: $15 for adults, $10 for children ages 13-16, free for kids under 13.
Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could – Tribeca
Enjoy rock and blues by this Grammy nominated kids' band at 92YTribeca. $15, free for kids under 2.
Hip Tot Music Fest: The Itty Biddies – Gowanus
More cool music! Groove to the Itty Biddies, an all-female trio that makes music with a melodica, a standup bass and two ukuleles. Snacks and goody bags are included with admission. $12 for adults, $8 for children.
Monday, November 12
Public schools are closed on Monday in observance of Veterans Day. While there aren't any special family events today, we do have a few suggestions for things to do today.
If you're in need of child care, we rounded up cool holiday camps where you can send your kids for a day of fun while you work. One program, Beam Center, is even organizing a FREE day of volunteer work for children ages 10 and up to help with Hurricane Sandy relief.
Explore and make art at cool interactive kids' installations like The Grinch's Holiday Workshop at the Children's Museum of Manhattan, RAMMELLZEE Galaxseum at the Children's Museum of the Arts and MoMA Art Lab: People, all of which are open today.
Believe it or not, it's supposed to be in the 60s on Monday, so it might be a great day to hit one of NYC's best parks and playgrounds before it gets too cold to play outdoors.
Many communities on Long Island, and in New Jersey and Connecticut are still experiencing power outages and other problems due to Hurricane Sandy. Our NJ site has a small roundup of events happening this weekend and our Connecticut site has a post about kid-friendly venues that have reopened since the storm. If you do decide to go out of town, make sure you have plenty of gas and call first to confirm your destination is open for business.
Don't forget: We have additional activity options in our Event Calendar.
- Rodeos, Jazz Festivals and Other Fun Events Happening in Connecticut for Father's Day!
- Passover Events and Celebrations for New York City Kids
- Things for Kids & Families to Do in New York City February 5 - 6: Year of the Rabbit, Winter Jam, Crafts, Creatures & Music
- Things to Do in New York City for Kids & Families November 6 & 7: Diwali, Day of the Dead, Firebird & Free Museum Programs