Free and Fun Things to Do This Weekend for NYC Kids: St. Patrick's Day Fun, Kids' Circus Show, Magic School Bus Live March 10-11
Welcome to another weekend of awesome NYC activities and (if the forecasters are to be believed) spring-like temperatures. My family may not be able to take advantage of the weather since we're going to back-to-back screenings at the New York International Children's Film Festival, one of our favorite annual events. The fest runs through Sunday, March 25 and tickets are still available for some screenings.
The weekend is jam-packed with multicultural fun. Even though St. Patrick’s Day is next weekend, families can celebrate the holiday a wee bit early at Kids Fleadh. The Purim festivities continue with a shadow puppet show about Queen Esther. Easter's just a month away, so you can brush up on your egg decorating skills at a Ukrainian pysanky workshop. And the French Institute hosts one of its bilingual Family Saturdays.
Other fun on tap includes the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus' Cavalcade of Youth starring variety performers under age 21. Out in Brooklyn, kids can learn all about the Beauty of the Ballet courtesy of the School of American Ballet. And a live version of The Magic School Bus rolls into town in honor of the kid-lit classic's 25th anniversary.
Playing Moliere – Battery Park City
New York Classical Theatre performs its latest "panoramic" production (i.e. you literally follow the actors around) at the Winter Garden in the World Financial Center. Playing Moliere includes three one-act comedies by the famous French playwright. This weekend, the troupe is also hosting free family theater workshops two hours before showtime. FREE
HerStory Weekend – Crown Heights
The Brooklyn Children's Museum marks Women’s History Month with this weekend-long celebration. Kids can catch a performance by the Urban Bush Women dance company, learn about female firefighters, and be inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama and other amazing women through stories and hands-on activities. Free with admission: $7.50.
Stunt Lab – Tribeca
Yo-yo champion Mark Hayward and contortionist Jonathan Burns are the creators and stars of this wacky show in which they use mundane objects in dangerous and thrilling ways. $20
Saturday, March 10
Family Day: There is a Bird in my Hat! – Upper West Side
The Bard Graduate Center hosts a family day inspired by its colorful Hats exhibit. Artist Caroline Borderies presents a feather-and-bird-filled shadow-puppet play. Afterward, kids can create their own duck, goose or ostrich puppet to fly through the gallery. $5 for adults, $3 for children.
Whitney Wees and Family Fun Workshops – Upper East Side
This weekend, the Whitney Museum's family workshops are inspired by its cutting-edge 2012 Biennial. Kids can tour the exhibit, and then create their own works of art. As of this writing, spots in Whitney Wees for tots and Family Fun Workshops for school-age kids are still available but register ASAP: These sessions always sell out. $10 per family.
Cinderella and the Prince Who Slays the Magic Dragon – Upper West Side
Guest conductor James Judd leads the Little Orchestra Society in this fantastic retelling of the classic fairy tale featuring Prokofiev's music, live dancers and puppets—including a 15-foot fairy godmother! $15-$50.
Family Films: Nature and the Changing Seasons – Midtown West
The Museum of Modern Art hosts a free selection of nature-themed shorts for kids, including Snowballs and Sandcastles, The Boy and the Snow Goose and The Snowy Day, based on Ezra Jack Keats' famous book. After the films, stay and enjoy the museum at no extra cost. FREE but tickets are given out on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Saturday Morning Storytelling with the Hans Christian Andersen Storytellers – Murray Hill
Storytellers Kristin Pedermonti and Rolf Stang share Nordic folk tales at the Scandinavia Center. Afterward, stay and play at the lovely Heimbold Family Children's Learning Center. FREE for storytelling, $8 for the center.
K-12 Education Expo – Greenwich Village
Looking to enhance your child's education? Then head to NYU's Kimmel Center for this annual expo. Enjoy educational workshops, kid-friendly activities, book signing with free books, and meet reps from more than 40 education programs. FREE
FIAF Family Saturdays: Contes & Fairy Tales – Upper East Side
You don't need to speak français to enjoy the French Institute's family days. At this fairy tale-themed edition, kids can enjoy a performance of Sleeping Beauty by New York Theatre Ballet, a subtitled screening of the French animated film The Tree of Spirits, a puppet show of Little Red Riding Hood and a bilingual storytime. Activities are $10-$35 and require tickets.
Kids Fleadh at Craic Fest – Tribeca
St. Patrick's Day isn't until next Saturday but you celebrate all things Irish a little early at this annual family-friendly event. Kids can hit Tribeca Cinemas for a program of award-winning shorts, Irish step dancing and storytelling, and complimentary goodies. $10 for adults, $5 for children.
Goldilocks & the Three Bears – Flushing
The Lower East Side's bilingual children's theater Teatro SEA heads to Queens' Flushing Town Hall with its Spanish and English musical adaptation of the classic fairy tale. Before the show, the troupe will hold a workshop where kids can reimagine fairy tales in NYC. Show: $12 for adults, $8 for children. Workshop: $6 for adults, $3 for children.
The Magic School Bus, Live!: The Climate Challenge – Tribeca
Fans of the popular book series will get a kick out of this musical about Ms. Frizzle’s class traveling the globe to learn about climate change and conservation. $25.
HSBC’s Children’s Garden Family Day – Flushing
See what's growing on at the Queens Botanical Garden and learn about all of its family programs in the lovely Children’s Garden. FREE
Kids Club Thirteen Presents: DiMenna Children’s History Museum – Upper West Side
Are you a member of Kids Club Thirteen? It certainly has its privileges, including free admission to 13 family events throughout the year, like today's offering at the DiMenna Children’s History Museum, where kids can go on a scavenger hunt, catch a new episode of Arthur and meets the series' stars. Read our post about Kids Club Thirteen for details on member benefits and how to join. Free for Kids Club Thirteen members.
Sunday, March 11
Bindlestiff Cavalcade of Youth – Lower East Side
See the stars of tomorrow today at this variety show featuring jugglers, dancers, acrobats, contortionists and other circus artists all under age 21. The six-year-old daughter of Mommy Poppins editor Raven will be doing a hula hoop routine! $15 for adults, $10 for children.
RoboFun Grand Opening Open House – Upper West Side
RoboFun, the super-cool high-tech kids' spot, celebrates the grand opening of its new Upper West Side space with an afternoon open house. See everything the program has to offer, including LEGO and robot building, stop-motion animation, video game design and other classes. Registration is required. FREE
Pysanky: Ukrainian Easter Egg Decoration Workshop – East Village
Learn how to make pysanky, a.k.a. Ukrainian Easter eggs, by drawing designs on the eggs with wax and then dyeing them. My aunt used to make pysanky and I've always wanted to try my hand at it, too. So I plan to hit one of these workshops at the Ukrainian Museum, which will be offered through Easter. Best for 12 and up. Registration required. $15 for adults, $10 for children ages 16-18, $5 for ages 12-15.
MetLife Second Sundays for Families – Flushing
Families can tour the Queens Museum of Art's new photography exhibit Frank Oscar Larson: 1950s New York Street Stories, and then work with FreeStyle Arts to create their own photo collages. Be sure to check out the Panorama of the City of New York while you're there. FREE
Shine & the Moonbeams – Dumbo
We really dig this kid-friendly R&B band. This weekend, the duo brings its groovy sounds to Superfine restaurant as part of Jam on Dumbo’s winter family concert series. Other activities on tap include face painting, balloons and a special kids' menu. $20 per family.
Purim Spiel Shadow Puppet Show – Upper West Side
If you didn’t get enough Purim fun last weekend, head to the JCC Manhattan for this show which recounts the story of brave Queen Esther with shadow puppets and songs. Afterward, stick around for mask making, storytime and hamantaschen. $15.
The Beauty of Ballet – Flatbush
Got an aspiring ballerina at home? Then head to Brooklyn College for this program that illustrates how young students develop into accomplished ballet dancers. During the 45-minute show, dancers and faculty from the School of American Ballet will demonstrate various steps and training exercises, and perform excerpts from The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker and Swan Lake with live accompaniment. FREE
Fans of all things fancy can head to Port Washington, Long Island's Dolphin Bookstore for a special Fancy Nancy Storytime and Mermaid Party.
Last weekend my family and I drove down to the City of Brotherly Love to check out the Philadelphia International Flower Show. This year's edition celebrates Hawaii and the floral displays are quite as sight, as you can see from our slide show. The show continues through Sunday, and there are lots of family activities this weekend. It makes for a fantastic day trip.
Maple sugaring season continues throughout the Northeast. This weekend's sweet festivities include SugarFest 2012 at Westchester's Westmoreland Sanctuary Nature Center and Wildlife Preserve and the annual Maple Festival in Hebron, Connecticut.
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