Thanksgiving Weekend 2012 for NYC Kids: Holiday Train Show, The Ugly Duckling, Hayao Miyazaki Films November 23-25
The big to-do in New York City this holiday is, of course, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. If you plan on taking your kids to see it or the awesome balloon inflation the night before, we've got tips on how to scope out the best spots and other useful info about these must-see spectacles.
This weekend officially kicks off the holiday season and there are plenty of ways for families to get into the spirit (besides hitting a Black Friday sale). The New York Botanical Garden's beautiful Holiday Train Show is up and running, Santa is setting up shop at Macy's and other spots starting on Friday, and the big department stores have unveiled their over-the-top holiday windows.
These are just a few of the great things going on this Thanksgiving weekend. Read on for all of our picks and remember, you can find additional options in our Event Calendar and our Holiday Fun Guide. We wish you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving!
Castles in the Sky: Miyazaki, Takahata & the Masters of Studio Ghibli – Greenwich Village
GKIDS, the organization behind the annual New York International Children's Film Festival, curated this fest featuring anime films by Japan's famed Studio Ghibli at the IFC Center. Many of the features are by the incomparable artist/writer/director Hayao Miyazaki. Catch Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away and more this holiday weekend, even on Thanksgiving proper. $13.50 for adults, $9.50 for children under 12.
The Ugly Duckling & The Tortoise and the Hare – Greenwich Village
My son and I are very excited about seeing this double bill! Two fairy tale classics come to life in this eye-popping show by Lightwire Theater at NYU's Skirball Center. The members of this inventive high-tech troupe (which made the semi-finals on this year's edition of America's Got Talent) use glow-in-the-dark 3D puppets and props that seem to float across the stage without assistance. $28
Chuck Amuck – Fort Greene
Attention Looney Tunes fans: BAM Rose Cinemas is screening 29 animated shorts by the legendary cartoonist Chuck Jones, all in their original 35mm format. Catch the antics of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Pepé Le Pew, Porky Pig and their pals on the big screen at this fest, along with films influenced by Jones' work like Who Framed Roger Rabbit. $12
The Three Bears Holiday Bash – Upper West Side
The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre revives its holiday variety show featuring the three bears and all of their fairy-tale friends. This spirited puppet performance celebrates all of the holidays: Christmas, Kwanzaa and Hanukkah. $8 for adults, $5 for children under 12.
Black Violin – Midtown West
It's your last chance to catch this interactive concert by a classically trained string duo who play a mash up of rock, hip-hop, pop and Mozart, backed by a live deejay. My family went last weekend and loved it! Since the volume is constantly turned up to 11, the show is best suited for children ages 6 and up. $14-$38.
Caring is Squaring – Hudson Square
A meaningful and age-appropriate way to get kids involved with the Hurricane Sandy recovery. Children can create decorative fabric squares at the Children's Museum of the Arts that will be used to construct a series of collaborative quilts for families affected by the storm. Families are encouraged to bring their own fabric to incorporate into the project. Friday and Saturday only. Free with admission: $11.
Thanksgiving Weekend at New York Historical Society – Upper West Side
The museum is offering a great lineup of family activities this weekend in conjunction with its latest exhibit WWII & NYC. At Living History Weekend with the Army Air Forces Historical Association, kids can learn about the brave men and women who fought for our country in WWII through interactive activities. On Saturday, you can catch the National WWII Museum’s Victory Belles performing music and dance numbers from the period. It's also the opening weekend of Holiday Express, a static seasonal train display. All activities are free with admission: $15 for adults, $10 for students, $5 for children ages 5-13, free for kids under 5.
The New York Botanical Garden's Holiday Train Show – the Bronx
Marvel at amazing replicas of famous NYC buildings, all made from natural materials like twigs and flowers, and cool model choo-choos. There are also gingerbread-themed kids' activities in the Everett Children's Adventure Garden. Free with all-garden pass: $25 for adults, $15 for children ages 2-12, free for kids under 2.
Saturday, November 24
Sci-Tech Workshop – Midtown East
Kids can create their own animated short using paper and digital animation at the Sony Wonder Technology Lab. Advance reservations recommended. Ages 8 and up. $6
Sunday, November 25
Winter on a Flatbush Farm – Prospect Heights
Find out how 19th century NYC families prepared for winter at Prospect Park's Lefferts Historic House. Kids can try quilting and spinning, enjoy period treats made on an open hearth and get some face time with Old Saint Nick, who'll pop by to say hello (make that, ho-ho-ho). $3 suggested admission for adults, free for children under 17.
The Shaolin Warriors – Flatbush
Marvel at these fighting monks as they invade the stage at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts. Their amazing choreographed kung fu performance combines martial arts, theater and athletic ability. $30
Celebrate Mexico Now: Toys/Juguetes – Flushing
The Cornisa 20 theater company presents a puppet show featuring traditional Mexican toys at the Queens Museum of Art. Afterward, kids can craft their own playthings from recycled materials. FREE
Thanksgiving weekend is a great time to take a weekend trip before winter sets in. Find destination inspiration in our NYC Day Trips Guide and check out our roundup of Thanksgiving weekend travel deals on our Travel site.
If you're looking for a pre-Thanksgiving feast workout for the whole family, our NJ site has a roundup of fun Turkey Trots and there are fun runs on Long Island as well. Meanwhile our Connecticut site has multiple posts about holiday happenings in the state.
- This Week: NYC Kids Holiday Guide, Black Friday Deals, Santa and Xmas Trees
- What's Open on Thanksgiving Day in NYC 2012: 10 Things to Do with Kids Besides the Parade
- Weekly Wrap Up: Cool New Shows and Exhibits, Muppet Mania, Where to Play on the Upper West Side
- This Week: Early Holiday Fun for NYC Families, Our Hurricane Sandy Fundraiser, Countdown to Thanksgiving