Mother's Day with NYC Kids: Things to Do this Weekend, Free Outdoor Festivals, Garden Party, Parade of Trains May 11-12
If it pours on Saturday or Sunday, some of our outdoor event picks may be canceled, rescheduled or move inside. We're doing our best to keep this post updated, but if it does rain on the weekend, be sure to check the events' official websites before heading out to find out if anything has changed. Mothers Day is Sunday, so moms, this weekend should be all about you. Why don't you decide what to do on Saturday and Sunday? (As if you don't do that most of the time anyway.) There are lots of fabulous outdoor activities including a slew of cool school festivals, Socrates Sculpture Park's annual Kite Flight, a no-cost Brady Rymer concert in Battery Park and the New York Botanical Garden's Mothers Day Garden Party. Plus, after being closed for many months due to damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, Tribeca's popular Pier 25 playground is set to reopen on Saturday.
If Mother Nature decides to make it rain on our big weekend (how could she?) there's plenty of indoor fun too beyond Mother's Day brunch. My family plans to check out the Parade of Trains celebration in Grand Central Terminal. And on Saturday you can get geeky at the Kids Comic Con in the Bronx or bring your natural treasures to the American Museum of Natural History for Identification Day.
These are just a few of the great things going on this Mother's Day weekend. All of our best bets are below, You can find additional options in our Event Calendar and our Spring Fun Guide. Happy Mother’s Day to all of you from your fellow moms at Mommy Poppins.
Grand Centennial Parade of Trains – Midtown East
Explore sixteen historic trains from the '40s and '50 at Grand Central Terminal or hit Kid Junction, where Radio Disney will be on hand with games and prizes, Chuggington will be greeting his fans, a master builder from Westchester's recently opened Legoland Discovery Center and more. FREE
Mother’s Day Garden Party – the Bronx
Why sit in a stuffy restaurants when you can enjoy Mother's Day brunch alfresco at the New York Botanical Garden? Tour the new Native Plant Garden, play croquet and badminton, fly a kite and craft nature-themed masterpieces. There will also be live music, a professional photographer snapping pics and picnic lunches from some of NYC’s most celebrated food trucks. Rain or shine. Free with all-garden pass: $25 for adults, $10 for children ages 2-12
The Firework Maker's Daughter – Midtown West
My son and I saw this opera for young audiences at the New Victory Theater last weekend and both really enjoyed it. An adaptation of Philip Pullman's children's novel of the same name, it's a great introduction to the genre, with sophisticated music, a moving story about a girl trying to follow in her father's footsteps, and lots of cool visuals like shadow puppets and sand painting. $14-$38
Saturday, May 11
Kids Comic Con – the Bronx
Founded by children's author and comic book writer Alex Simmons, KCC is NYC's only comic con specifically aimed at children. Meet artists and authors working in the industry, including reps from Archie, Sesame Street, Marvel, DC and the Jim Henson Company. There will also be creating comics workshops, drawing demos, cosplayers and portfolio reviews. FREE
BAMcinématek: Looney Tunes – Fort Greene
Introduce your kids to classic cartoons by Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng and Robert McKimson starring Wile E. Coyote, the Road Runner, Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn and other animated icons. $13 for adults, $9 for children under 13
Identification Day – Upper West Side
Got any feathers, rocks, shells, bones or other natural artifacts sitting around your house? Bring them to the American Museum of Natural History and scientists will attempt to figure out what they are. You can also peruse the pros' natural collections including insects, birds and more. Free with admission: $19 for adults, $10.50 for children ages 2-12
Jewelry Making Workshop – Harlem
Head to Morris-Jumel Mansion for a jewelry making family workshop where kids can create beautiful gifts for mom out of beads, wire and cord with the help of a pro. Preregistration required. FREE
Go Fish! Festival with Brady Rymer – Battery Park City
The Battery Park Conservancy's Go Fish! festival kicks off for the season in Wagner Park. Learn about the Hudson River, try catch-and-release fishing and do arts and crafts. Then groove to live runes by Grammy-nominated Brady Rymer and his Little Band That Could. Want more? There will also be a Birds of Prey demo going on in the same park! FREE
Kite Flight – Long Island City
The stunning Socrates Sculpture Park kicks off its Saturday kids' art workshops with a day of kite flying fun. Families can bring their own or fashion paper fliers in a workshop led by teaching artist Miguel Luciano, and then let them soar. All supplies provided. Rain or shine! FREE
Amazing Bronx River Flotilla – South Bronx
Although only experienced paddlers ages 18 and up can tackle this five-mile ride sponsored by the Bronx River Alliance, anyone can watch. Greet participants at the finish line and celebrate with live music, arts and crafts, canoe trips, bird watching and bike riding. Rain date is Sunday, May 12. FREE
West Side Montessori Spring Fair – Upper West Side
Enjoy trolley rides and live entertainment along with the usual festival fare like face painting, games, crafts, bouncy houses and food at this preschool benefit. Rain or shine. Free admission but there are fees for certain activities.
P.S. 84 International Spring Fair – Upper West Side
Just a few avenues over on the same block you'll find this school fest featuring a bouncy castle, a giant slide, an inflatable obstacle course, face painting, henna tattoos, arts and crafts, neighborhood vendors, international food and live music. In the event of rain, activities will move inside the building. Free admission but there are fees for certain activities.
Brooklyn Bike Jumble – Park Slope
If you're in need of a new tire, pump, kids' seat or bike, this flea is the place to go. Buy new-to-you cycling items or bring your old ride so Recycle-A-Bicycle can appraise and sell it for you. Rain or shine. Free admission but bring cash to shop.
Fair at the Square – the Bronx
Celebrate the borough and its vibrant arts scene with dance performances, art exhibits, local merchants, vintage FDNY and MTA vehicles, food from local eateries and a kids' activity zone. FREE
Spring Festival – Park Slope
This circus-themed school benefit for P.S. 133 includes bouncy castles, face painting, carnival games, and arts and crafts. Free admission but there are fees for certain activities.
A Year with Frog and Toad – Prospect Heights
The BFFs from Arnold Lobel's beloved children's book series Frog and Toad sing, dance and play in this musical at the Brooklyn's Public Library's main branch. FREE
Sunday, May 12
Clearing in Forest: Mother's Day – Upper West Side
Pack a picnic and head to Central Park's Peter Jay Sharp Children's Glade for an afternoon of storytelling with Tammy Hall followed by planting seeds in a take-home flower pot. Canceled if it rains. FREE
Wildlife Theater presents Butterfly Boogie – Brooklyn Heights
The activity filled Brooklyn Bridge Park hosts the interactive musical The Tale of Flutterby and Piggle about the special relationship between plants and insects. FREE
Mother's Day at the Children's Museum of Arts – Hudson Square
The über-creative museum hosts a trio of drop-in workshops where kids can make memorable gifts for mom like an original poem, a bouquet of paper flowers or a coupon book. Free with admission: $11
Preservations Detectives: Real Housewives of Eldridge Street – Lower East Side
Learn about the scrappy group of Jewish housewives who protested the price increase in Kosher meat by starting a boycott of butchers throughout NYC back in 1902. Kids can find out what role the Eldridge Street Synagogue played in the drama, create a retro protest poster and newspaper headline, and then make a bouquet of paper flowers for mom. $15 per family
Listen to Your Mother – Upper West Side
Catch Mommy Poppins New Jersey's very own Shari Simpson in this adults-only Mother's Day storytelling show at Symphony Space. Readers include Stacy Morrison from BlogHer, Inc., Tracy Beckerman author of Lost in Suburbia: A Momoir, Sandy Rustin, playwright of the Off-Broadway show Rated P For Parenthood and of course, Shari, sharing her piece on growing up in the Midwest with a belly dancer for a mother. Sounds fun! In advance: $25; at the door: $30
And if you're still not sure what to do on your big day, we've got three different Mother's Day brunch roundups, including swanky spots, reader recommendations and five unique brunch ideas that go beyond the meal. We also have a roundup of grown-up ways to celebrate Mother's Day without kids because we're sure you deserve some you time.
Outside of NYC
On Saturday, head to Absecon, New Jersey for Historic Smithville and Village Greene's Children's Festival featuring a bubble station, live animals, a touch tank, train rides, paddle boats and a carousel.
Or visit the Bellamy-Fairiday House and Garden in Bethlehem, Connecticut for Caroline’s Enchanted Garden Fairy and Wizard Festival. Kids can make a fairy house out of all natural materials and follow the path through the garden to Fairy Village.
Don't forget: There's even more fun to be found in our Event Calendar.