Martin Luther King Day Weekend with NYC Kids: MLK Celebrations, Recess Monkey, Mommy Poppins at the New Victory January 18-20
Monday is Martin Luther King Day, which means your family is looking at a three-day weekend. Whether you choose to celebrate the civil rights leader's life, take a quick trip or spend quality time with your kids right here in NYC, we've got plenty of ideas about how to enjoy the holiday weekend.
Highlights include getting your geek on at the second annual Black Comic Book Festival in Harlem, grooving to the catchy kindie tunes of Recess Monkey at Symphony Space, or learning about Martin Luther King. Jr. at the Brooklyn Children's Museum and the New-York Historical Society. It's also an amazing weekend for family theater with three brand-new kids' shows: the puppet production Bessie's Big Shot at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, the musical The Gift of Winter at TADA! Youth Theater and the kiddie cabaret Still Awake Still at the New Victory Theater. Mommy Poppins is actually hosting a special Saturday matinee of Still Awake Still that includes exclusive pre- and post-show activities, and a 20% discount on tickets.
Those are just a few of the great things going on this Martin Luther King Day weekend. All of our picks are below. You can find additional options in our Event Calendar. Before heading out on your adventures, be sure to download our FREE Mommy Poppins Kids on the Go app so you can find the best family destinations wherever you happen to be in NYC.
Sign up for our FREE Mommy Poppins newsletters and get our weekend picks delivered to your inbox every Thursday morning.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend – Crown Heights
Head to the Brooklyn Children's Museum to celebrate MLK with interactive activities that explore his incredible contributions to our society. Throughout the weekend, young kids can create peace-themed crafts while older children work on posters for a museum-wide peace march. On Monday, there will also be a special performance by the Berean Community Drumline at 1:30pm. Free with admission: $9
Bessie's Big Shot – Upper West Side
Catch the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre's new puppet show about a cow who dreams of making it big in the circus. Perfect for first-time theatergoers! Saturday and Sunday only. $10 for adults, $7 for children under age 13
Martin Luther King Weekend at the New-York Historical Society – Upper West Side
Celebrate MLK's legacy at the museum. On all three days you can go on an African-American Leaders Scavenger Hunt. And on Sunday, you can also listen to a civil rights-themed storytime and hear David Grover croon songs of freedom. All activities are free with admission: $18 for adults, $12 for students, $6 for children ages 5-13
The Gift of Winter – Chelsea
One of our January Go List picks: Catch the opening weekend of TADA! Youth Theater's latest musical, based on John Leach and Jean Rankin's '70s book and animated short of the same name, about a bunch of townsfolk who travel to the Ministry of Winter to lodge a formal complaint against the freezing season. $20 for adults, $8 for children
Saturday, January 18
Still Awake Still! – Midtown West
Head to the New Victory Theater for a special matinee of this kiddie cabaret sponsored by Mommy Poppins. The show is based on the 2009 children's bedtime book/album I'm Still Awake, Still! about the Queen of Sleep who can magically send little ones off to dreamland with a few notes of her soothing songs. However, on this particular night, surprise visitors pop out of her piano and cause mischief and mayhem with hilarious, non-restful results. Join the Mommy Poppins gang at Saturday's 3pm performance for exclusive pre- and post-show activities, plus a 20% discount on tickets. Read our in-depth post for additional details. $14-$38
Family Films: Magical Mysteries and Make Believe – Midtown West
Catch a series of kid-friendly shorts at MoMA that explore the theme of make believe. The lineup includes the original animated adaptation of Maurice Sendak's beloved Where the Wild Things Are from 1973, plus Strega Nona and Shipwrecked. Afterward, stay and enjoy the museum at no additional cost. FREE but tickets are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 10am.
Black Comic Book Festival – Harlem
Hit the Schomburg Center for this second annual fest. Meet more than 40 comic book artists and authors, attend panels and workshops (including a Create Your Own Comic Book Youth workshop run by long-time Archie writer Alex Simmons), and watch kid-friendly shorts and cartoons. Online preregistration is encouraged and you can find the complete schedule in our event listing. All activities are first come, first served. FREE
Recess Monkey – Upper West Side
We're longtime fans of this super Seattle kindie band made up of three goofy elementary school teachers. Head to Symphony Space to hear new songs off their latest album Deep Sea Diver as well as classics like "Jet Pack," "Marshmallow Farm" and "Sack Lunch." $20 for adults, $13 for children
Ice Festival in Central Park – Upper East Side
Watch artists from the Okamoto Studio carve Central Park's architectural gems from blocks of ice at Bethesda Terrace. FREE
A Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – Jamaica
Queens' Children’s Library Discovery Center celebrates the civil rights icon with storyteller Joy Kelly Smith, who met Dr. King and Rosa Parks back in the day after becoming the first African-American student at her school. FREE
Sony Place Atrium: Future City Competition – Midtown East
Drop by the Sony building to cheer on local seventh and eighth grade students participating in the 2014 National Engineers Week Future City Competition. Check out the students’ unique 3-D models of their dream cities and learn how they used the popular Sim City video game for inspiration. Afterward, head into the always-free Sony Wonder Technology Lab to play at a variety of high-tech hands-on stations. FREE
Sunday, January 19
Film Forum Jr: Babe – Greenwich Village
Introduce the brood to the awesome 1995 movie about an adorable sheep-herding pig. $7.50
Sunday Mystery Storytime – Murray Hill
Hit the Morgan Library & Museum for a drop-in storytime in its mysterious library. Free with admission: $18 for adults, free for children under age 13
Monday, January 20
There are many ways for families to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. today including peace marches, enriching museum programs and even a few kid-friendly volunteer opportunities. Read our in-depth MLK Day post for details. Non-MLK fun includes:
Cool School Holiday – Staten Island
Spend the day playing at the Staten Island Children's Museum, which offers no-cost admission in honor of the holiday. FREE
MLK Sunny Play with Project Playdate – Soho
If you need a few hours to yourself, our friends at Project Playdate are hosting a drop-off playgroup for kids at Citibabes. $45, $25 for siblings plus $15 Citbabes admission
Don't forget: We have additional activity options in our Event Calendar.
- Things to Do in Boston with Kids to Celebrate the Legacy of Dr Martin Luther King Jr
- This Week: Introducing WeeWork Kids Crafts Series, Tech & Science Guide for NYC Kids, Best MLK Weekend Events for NYC Families
- Martin Luther King Day 2012 with Kids: Celebrate in Connecticut
- Mommy Poppins Event at the New Victory Theater: Still Awake Still! Discounted Tickets & Special Activities on Sat, January 18