Raven is a writer, editor, performer and mom, who was born and bred in NYC, just like her husband, her mother and now, her daughter. As a writer, she's contributed articles to New York Magazine, Time Out New York, The Village Voice, the New York Post, TV Guide, Better Homes and Gardens, iVillage, AOL TV and Moviefone, Parents.com, and worked as an in-house editor for ParentsConnect.com and TimeOutKids.com. As a performer, she's appeared on many downtown stages (sometimes even for pay!), a couple of obscure films and TV shows, and The Maury Povich Show as a female drag queen. She's also the founder of Hot Mama Burlesque, the world's only all-moms burlesque show. After being the NYC editor from March 2011-March 2015, she is now happy to just be a blogger as she pursues additional writing opportunities.
Latest posts by Raven Snook
There are plenty of FREE swimming pools in NYC for kids during the summer months, but if you're looking for year-round options, or less crowded waters, try a private pool day pass. A number of "private" pools in New York City allow you to pay to swim for the day. And these are not hipsters-only hangouts, where visitors sip on $18 cocktails. Well, those exist, of course, but we've rounded up 12 private pools that are definitely kid-friendly and welcome families for swimming and other water fun.
Read on for where to get swimming in NYC now, and don't forget to check out how to score FREE swim lessons in the city, too.
Just because we live in a concrete jungle doesn't mean our kids can't enjoy a summer filled with athletic activities outdoors. The best news: You don't need to be a banker to afford it.
New York City offers many opportunities for kids to learn team sports and to try swimming, tennis, golf, fishing, kayaking, camping and more for FREE. Of course registering for these FREE programs takes a little legwork and, since many are first-come, first-served, punctuality. We've got the scoop on what's available, and how your kids can vie for spots. You can find more no-cost activities in our Free in NYC Guide, or check out these FREE or inexpensive summer camp options around NYC.
While there are no full-fledged water theme parks in NYC (yet), you don't have to go too far to find some awesome ones. We've rounded up 13 of our favorites for kids in the tristate area, mostly in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and all are less than a two-hour drive from Midtown Manhattan. No two are alike: Each one offers different experiences and thrills.
For more water fun, check out these toddler-friendly water parks and year-round indoor water parks near NYC.
Sure, a tasty Mother's Day brunch is nice, but just that word, nice. C'mon mom, you know you're more fabulous than that.
This year, Sunday, May 8 is all about you, so no simple meal, not even breakfast in bed will do. Mother's Day should be a whole-day affair that's fun for everyone in the family, especially in NYC, where options are as amazing as mom herself. You could book tickets to a kid-friendly Broadway musical—in addition to stalwarts Wicked and The Lion King, there are new tuners like School of Rock and Tuck Everlasting for which tickets are more available. If the tots are too young for Broadway, there are plenty of shows for preschoolers that are shorter and less expensive. Into museums? There are engaging new exhibits about dinosaurs, kid-lit icon Mo Willems and Star Wars sure to please all ages. Or you could splurge on a special experience such as a helicopter ride or a family spa day.
But if your ideal Mother's Day features an outdoor activity that makes the most of the spring season, we've come up with five memorable itineraries that include food and alfresco family fun that won't blow your budget.
City dwellers seem to go crazy for ice skating season, but once the ice thaws and summer is upon us, where's a skater to go? It's time to introduce the kids to the old-school art of roller-skating at one of these seven rinks within New York City limits and just beyond.
In addition to retro skating fun, many of these spots offer extras, including arcade games, bouncy houses and party packages. Many of NYC's outdoor skating rinks open in April as the weather warms, just in time for spring break. Just be sure to call ahead to confirm hours and skate rental availability.
Get your calendars ready! Here are the top 16 things to do with kids in New York City this April, six of which are 100% FREE. Bonus: Many of them take place during the public school break (April 23-May 1), so you'll have plenty of time to check them out.
Spring celebrations, offbeat circus spectacles and cool kids' culture abound in the latest edition of our NYC GoList. Many of our favorite annual festivals take place this month, including the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival, the Tribeca Film Festival's revamped Family Street Fair, the Queens County Farm Museum's Children's Carnival, Staten Island's St. George Day celebration and the old-school Street Games fest in East Harlem. Plus there are some cool-sounding family shows and other experiences worth fitting into your schedule.
Beloved children's characters spring to life on stage this season. Our top theater picks for the coming months include musicals starring popular little-kid icons such as Curious George, Peppa Pig, Clifford the Big Red Dog and the Runaway Bunny. But there are plenty of cool shows for tweens, too, including an interactive adventure staged throughout Lincoln Center's grounds, a trio of offbeat circus performances and a revival of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown starring theater pros who are still in middle school.
While there are some big Broadway shows debuting this spring, including a musicalization of Tuck Everlasting and Cirque du Soleil's first-ever Main Stem spectacle Paramour, there's no need to shell out big bucks to give your kids a memorable live entertainment experience in NYC. A dozen of the 14 shows we're highlighting are just $25—or less—per ticket.
While we love spotlighting all of the FREE and inexpensive activities New York City has to offer families, sometimes it's fun to toss your budget aside and splurge on an unforgettable, extra-special experience. Whether you're celebrating a big birthday, holiday or a stellar report card, visiting on vacation, or just feel like treating your child to some amazing memories, the Big Apple is full of over-the-top options you can't enjoy anywhere else in the world. We've rounded up 10 of our favorites, from ideas to make the best Broadway shows even better, to up close and personal sporting events, to new ways to see our beloved city from the air—and beyond!