Kids are innate animal lovers—we bet all parents go through that phase when they're convinced their child is going to grow up to be a veterinarian. But in wintertime when all living things in New York City seem to be hibernating, it's tough to indulge kids' craving for creatures beyond the ever-present subway rats. And who wants to pet one of those?! That's why we rounded up the best places to get up close and personal with animals in cozy, indoor environments. Here's where you can hang with cool cats, beautiful birds and butterflies, and even "adopt" a critter without ever having to take it home.
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
When it comes to indoor play spaces, Brooklyn can't be beat. While both Manhattan and Queens have about a dozen drop-in indoor playgrounds apiece, Brooklyn boasts nearly two dozen places where kids can run amok. While we've included a couple of the more mellow tot spots with crafts or storytelling, this best of Brooklyn list is focused on the real active play spaces where toddlers, preschoolers and even tweens can conquer multi-level mazes, swoosh down slides, climb up rock walls or, you know, turn around in circles until they fall down exhausted and ready for a nap.
Read on for 21 drop-in indoor romper rooms for kids in Brooklyn.
Rediscover the magic of the movies with several upcoming children's film festivals landing in New York City this winter and continuing into spring. In the cold of winter, going to the movies is tempting, but the big-budget family film options? Not so much. They're expensive (especially 3D releases), and winter is the traditional dumping ground for duds.
Luckily, we have BAMkids Film Festival and New York International Children's Film Festival that showcase international and offbeat shorts and features, while Film Forum Jr. screens cool classics every Sunday morning. Each offers dozens of picks for preschoolers on up to tweens. Plus, ticket prices can be less costly—most are less than $15 per person. Oh, and we have a discount code to share with you!
Here are the details on these festivals, as well as theaters known to offer regular indie kid flicks like the Film Forum and even two spots—one in Brooklyn, another in Manhattan—serving up brunch, cocktails and kid movies. Don't forget to check out our post about where to see free and cheap kids' movies, too.
Get your calendars ready! Here are the top 15 things to do with kids in New York City this February, five of which are FREE.
Even though it's the shortest month, there are still plenty of awesome family activities in NYC. Our February GoList includes annual favorites such as Chinatown's Lunar New Year Parade; the Intrepid's activity-filled Kids Week during public school midwinter break; and two huge movie fests for families: BAMkids Film Festival and the New York International Children's Film Festival. And, of course, there are some brand-new, exceptional-sounding shows, concerts and other special experiences for kids.
We may be buried in snow in New York City, but it's already time to start thinking about summer camp for the kids. A number of the city's top camps will host open houses over the next few weeks, and it's a great way to get a feel of what's for offer this summer and test out a new one.
We've compiled more than a dozen of upcoming open houses from some of our sponsors—day camps, commuter camps and even one sleepaway camp—so you can stay warm while you peruse through the listings from your couch.
There are hundreds of summer camps in Manhattan alone, but this list should help you get started. Remember to check out our Mommy Poppins Summer Camp Guide for 2016 for more camp ideas whether you're looking for a preschooler-age camp, math camp or even an upcoming school vacation camp.
Read on—and let the research begin.
Little ones will go gaga this winter for page-to-stage adaptations of some of their favorite picture books, including The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Velveteen Rabbit. Meanwhile, NYC tweens can catch one-of-a-kind spectacles such as the live-action graphic novel Intergalactic Nemesis: Book One Target Earth, the interactive adventure Legend Has It and a musicalization of The Lightning Thief.
Recently, we shined a spotlight on the best Broadway shows for families in New York. But you don't need to shell out big bucks to give your kids a memorable live entertainment experience in NYC—plenty of engaging family productions are playing Off-Off-Broadway. Eight of the following 15 best winter theater picks are $25 or less per ticket.
Whether you're visiting NYC or live here year-round, seeing a Broadway show is a special family experience. Kids are sure to remember it vividly, and chances are parents won't forget the credit card bill. That's why it's so important to pick a Broadway production wisely, especially when bringing young children to their first performance.
While Disney juggernauts The Lion King and Aladdin are popular options, there are other kid-friendly choices that aren't as obvious. We've rounded up our 10 best Broadway musicals for families and organized them by age appropriateness. As a bonus, we've also got the scoop on how to save big bucks, including two-for-one tickets during the Broadway Week sale, which kicks off January 7.
Few suburban comforts make me jealous, but the ability to host a home birthday party is one. Fear not: There are inexpensive party rooms available to rent in NYC, you just have to know where to look.
For starters, move beyond all those great party places we've told you about, because buying an all-inclusive package can get pricey, especially if you want to invite the whole class. Instead, don your DIY hat and read on for five inexpensive party spots.