This post is from 2013. For 2014 activities, check out our Event Calendar. Most NYC kids are looking at a three-day holiday so be sure to get out there and enjoy all the great things going on this Veterans Day weekend. Catch cool new kids' shows like The Very Hungry Caterpillar or Ballerina Swan. See FREE family films at MoMA or KidsCinema Fest in Washington Heights. Commune with nature at the New York Botanical Garden's Fall Forest Weekend or the Queens County Farm Museum's Wildlife Weekend. Or celebrate the reopening of the renovated Queens Museum with a hands-on family art party.
Veterans Day Weekend is also a great opportunity to honor the brave men and women who have served our country. Consider having your kids donate some of their Halloween candy to charities that send care packages to soldiers, or cheer on the marchers at the annual Veterans Day Parade.
Looking ahead to next weekend, have you booked your session for our Mommy Poppins Holiday Photo Event yet? On Saturday, November 16, the talented photographers from Big Apple Portraits will snap playful pics of your kids with (or without) Santa. Plus there will be craft activities, storytime and discounts on holiday cards. Reserve your slot now.
All of our best bets for this weekend are below. You can find additional options in our Event Calendar. And remember, before heading out on your adventures, be sure to download our Mommy Poppins Kids on the Go app so you can find the best family destinations wherever you happen to be in NYC.
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KidCinemaFest – Washington Heights
Catch an eclectic selection of international family flicks at this fifth annual fest, which is subtitled "the Washington Heights Children and Young People’s Film Festival." Highlights include From Up on Poppy Hill from famed Japanese animation giant Studio Ghibli and Le Secret d'Eléonore from France, plus lots of shorts. Check the website for the complete lineup. FREE
Wildlife Weekend – Glen Oaks
Get up close and personal with wild animals at the Queens County Farm Museum's final Wildlife Weekend of the season. See birds of prey in action, enjoy face time with some exotic creatures, take a pony or hayride, and feed the farm animals. Saturday and Sunday only. $9
Fall Forest Weekends – the Bronx
More nature fun: Celebrate the New York Botanical Garden's magnificent old-growth forest with guided walks through the woods, tree-climbing demos, raptor presentations and canoe trips on the Bronx River. There will also be tree-themed activities for kids in the Everett Children's Adventure Garden. Saturday and Sunday only. Free with all-garden pass: $20 for adults, $8 for children ages 2-12
Children's Museum of Art: Mexican Festival – Hudson Square
Hit the hands-on arts institution for this fiesta featuring a collaborative Día de los Muertos altar, a Day of the Dead face painting workshop, a live performance by the Calpulli Mexican Dance Company and a bilingual family concert. Free with admission: $11
The Little Orchestra Society Presents: Carnival of the Animals – Upper East Side
Back when my son was in kindergarten, we went to see many of the Little Orchestra Society's interactive Lolli-Pops classical concerts for young kids, and I highly recommend this particular performance. The orchestra plays Camille Saint-Saëns’ playful Carnival of the Animals while Judy Moody illustrator, Peter H. Reynolds, creates on-the-spot drawings inspired by the music. Saturday and Sunday only. $15-$50
Ballerina Swan – Midtown West
Got a little kid obsessed with ballet? Then your child should love this adaptation of NYC Ballet prima ballerina Allegra Kent's picture book by venerable family theater company Making Books Sing. The tale of a Central Park swan who yearns to do ballet is told through a mix of theater, dance and puppetry, and set to Tchaikovsky's romantic music. Saturday and Sunday only. $25, $95 for a family four-pack
Saturday, November 9
The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Eric Carle Favorites – Greenwich Village
The Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia brings Eric Carle's simple and sweet stories to life via black-light puppetry at the Skirball Center. This triple bill also includes Little Cloud and The Mixed-Up Chameleon, and runs just an hour making it perfect for first-time theatergoers. My son and I saw this production last year and were both mesmerized. Arrive early for pre-show arts and crafts. $22-$28
MoMA Family Films: Lines in Motion – Midtown West
Catch a quartet of shorts about the creative power of the simple line, including Squiggle, Worm Dances, Nebule and a film adaptation of Crockett Johnson's beloved children's book Harold and the Purple Crayon. 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
St. Martin Celebration – Greenwich Village
Celebrate the legend of Martin of Tours, a Roman Soldier who reportedly cut his cloak in half to warm a beggar during a cold winter storm. In honor of his legacy, kids will build lanterns and sing songs, and then participate in an illuminated parade around Washington Square Park led by St. Martin on horseback. $10 per child for the lantern craft, FREE for the parade
Urban Starfest with the Amateur Astronomers – Upper East Side
Go stargazing in Central Park's Sheep Meadow with the Urban Park Rangers, who'll provide telescopes and binoculars to help you scour the night skies. Learn about the effects of light pollution and discover the best places in NYC for amazing starry views. FREE
Saturday Morning Storytelling with the Hans Christian Andersen Storytellers – Murray Hill
Storytellers Regina Ress and Jeslyn Wheeless kick off Scandinavia House's new season of family fun with Hans Christian Andersen’s The Most Incredible Thing of All and other tales of magic and wonder. Afterward, stay and play at the lovely Heimbold Family Children's Learning Center. FREE for storytelling, $15 per child for the center
Veterans Day at the Navy Yard – Brooklyn Navy Yard
Honor our brave U.S. veterans at BLDG 92. Families can check out exhibits on the history and future of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, create flowers for the museum's tribute wall or catch Stephen Savage reading his picture book Little Tug (reservations required). Most activities are FREE; $30 for guided tours
Circus to Go: Dikki's Wacky Magic Show – Prospect Heights
Head to the central branch of the Brooklyn Public Library for a no-cost magic show by illusionist Dikki Ellis. Marvel as he makes it snow inside, throws sparking fireballs and makes an audience member levitate. FREE
Family Program: the Book, the Lock and the Key – Murray Hill
In honor of the Morgan Library & Museum's Edgar Allan Poe exhibit, illustrator and educator Stephanie Krause will show kids how to make books using beautiful papers and fine-art techniques. $6 for adults, $2 for children
See all Saturday events.
Sunday, November 10
Steamboat Bill, Jr. – Greenwich Village
Head to Film Forum for a screening of the classic silent Buster Keaton comedy about a ukulele-strumming student who's a big disappointment to his gruff old dad. The cyclone finale is legendary. There will also be live piano accompaniment and a post-screening Great Stone Face Contest for kids. $7
The Quiet Clock: A Musical – Upper West Side
Mommy Poppins blogger Natalie and her kids recently saw this new musical based on Britt Nichols' children's book of the same name. She says it's sweet, and interactive with high-energy performances, upbeat music and a positive message: Believe in yourself and work hard to fulfill your dreams. $29.50
Puppet Takeover: Blown Away by Poetry – Chelsea
A charming show for emerging writers, Blown Away by Poetry follows the adventures of Wendy Windstorm after she sneezes all the poems out of Poetsville. Kids learn about poetry basics like rhyme, meter, alliteration and description. $10 for adults, $5 for children
See all Sunday events.
Monday, November 11
Queens Museum Reopening: Festival of Artmaking for Families – Corona
After many months of renovations, the Queens Museum reopens this weekend. In honor of its debut, there will be three days of festivities but the bulk of the activities for kids are on Veterans Day. Enjoy a museum-wide scavenger hunt, "The World of Tomorrow Photo Booth" inspired by the Futurama Exhibition at the 1939 & 1964 New York World’s Fairs, puppet making, circuit bending, Korean brush painting, collaborative art projects and more. Bonus: The museum's suggested admission fee is waived on Monday for families with children ages 5 to 12. FREE
NYC Veterans Day Parade – Flatiron to Midtown East
Celebrate our nation's courageous military at this annual procession. The parade begins with a ceremony in Madison Square Park and then proceeds uptown to 56th Street. Look for Manhattan's Cub Scout Pack 422 as they bring up the rear—that's my son in the photo above during last year's parade! FREE
See all Monday events.
Don't forget: There's more fun to be found in our Event Calendar.