New York City

8 Indoor Water Parks Perfect for a Warm Getaway Near NYC

Indoor water parks offer summertime-style family thrills year-round and many are just a car ride away from NYC.

With winter's icy chill upon us, many families start looking for ways to escape the city for a warmer locale. Jet-setting to a tropical island might seem ideal, but if you're looking to stay a little closer to home, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Hudson Valley indoor water parks and resorts are a closer option for beating the winter blues.

We've found eight warm and wet indoor resorts perfect for kids and families that are less than two-and-a-half hours from Midtown Manhattan, along with a couple of bonus suggestions for further-flung options. Most indoor parks keep temperatures around a hot and humid 85 degrees year-round, creating a perfect beach day in any season! So leave the sunscreen at home, dust off that bathing suit, and hit the water.

Check out our NYC Weekend Trips Guide for more destination inspiration.

These Kids at the Women's March Will Melt Your Heart

When I was in first grade a child was killed crossing Seventh Avenue on his way to school by a speeding truck. So, I remember my first protest well. Just a handful of us, moms and kids, walking in a tight circle with signs and chanting to demand a crossing guard. We got that crossing guard and a lesson was learned: Even as kids, we could have a voice and make a difference.

America has been on tenterhooks this election season. It has caused much "unfriending" and, perhaps, drawn even more stark lines between groups. On Saturday, however, I saw Facebook friends from all backgrounds coming together at the Women's Marches across the country and the world. I even saw some who voted for Trump, but wanted to stand for women's rights and also listen to the other side! But of everyone out there, the thing that struck me the most was seeing all the children.

We may never agree on any of the political issues facing this nation, but one thing I hope we can all agree on is that these children are amazing and are learning that you're never too young to enjoy this country's most important freedoms of speech and peaceful protest. Whatever "sides" they may choose to take, I hope this is just the beginning for our daughters (and our sons) to feel powerful, valuable, and able to take constructive action to raise their voices, not to yell and name call, but to try to improve the world for all of us together.

 

Chinese Lunar New Year Parades and Celebrations in NYC

Lunar New Year is one of our favorite winter celebrations in New York City, and we're particularly excited for 2017's family activities.

Often referred to as Chinese New Year, although many Asian nations celebrate it, the holiday takes place Saturday, January 28, 2017, and ushers in the Year of the Rooster. Mark this cultural holiday with a family-friendly celebration. We've got the scoop on the best Lunar New Year parades, family dance parties, museum events, crafts, and more for NYC kids.

Commemorating Lunar New Year is a great way to learn about Asian culture and enjoy the food. We just profiled nearly a dozen NYC eateries where you can enjoy Lunar New Year banquets, snacks, or desserts. With celebrations and parades in almost every borough, it's also an opportunity to get out and explore a new-to-you neighborhood such as Manhattan's ChinatownFlushing in Queens, Sunset Park in Brooklyn, or Midtown Manhattan's Koreatown.

Weekday Fun: Interactive Art, Toddler Yoga, Live Powwow

Author and illustrator meet-and-greet, live cultural concert, toddler yoga, and interactive art? Yup, just another week full of amazing kid-friendly happenings in NYC. We've rounded up details on our top weekday picks to help you plan the week ahead.

We've also highlighted not-to-be-missed events for all 2017, fantastic winter theater like Elephant & Piggie and Peter Pan, great art exhibits, and 50 family-friendly things to do in Brooklyn to keep kids having fun all winter long.

Read on for our weekday highlights, and be sure to peruse our Event Calendar and January GoList for more ideas.

Winter Gardens: Get Out of the Cold at NYC's Indoor Plazas

If you feel like you've already exhausted your favorite NYC museum or indoor play space, why not try a nearby public atrium or garden? New York City is full of semi-secret indoor public spaces, as well as not-so-secret gardens perfect for staving off cabin fever this winter with an antsy child.

Bonus: The atriums are FREE to wander into and many offer seating, snacks, Wi-Fi, and art. The gardens are so steamy you'll feel as if you booked a tropical getaway. This is why we love New York, right?

Enjoy a Lunar New Year Feast at These NYC Chinese Restaurants

Lunar New Year is one of the most important traditional holidays on the Chinese calendar, and what better way to ring in any new year than by feasting. Whether it’s a tradition in your home or not, while you’re enjoying the firecrackers and parades make sure you take time to eat at some of New York City's best purveyors of Chinese food. And when we say time, we mean a few hours.

Banquet dinners can consist of six to 12 courses. Every dish has symbolic significance: fish increases prosperity, noodles bring longevity, and dumplings promise wealth. My family, including my 1-year-old, love a good, traditional, carb-coma banquet. Four generations around one table, red envelopes being passed with love, and hours to spare on course after course? Now that’s how to celebrate the New Year.

Book your own adventurous feast with the kids at one of these celebrated locations in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, Flushing, Queens, and Manhattan's Chinatown, or just stop in for a traditional Lunar New Year snack or dessert. And don’t end the party at the dinner table. Lunar New Year in New York City is jammed with amazing parades and activities for the kiddies as well.

NYC Museums Open Doors for Free on Inauguration Day

As the country swears in a new president Friday, January 20, a number of New York City museums are opening up their doors for FREE. Many others will host American- or historical-themed events, or even protest sign making at one.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that in a city where residents overwhelmingly voted against President-elect Donald Trump, that NYC is in less of a celebratory mood than a reflective or even defiant one. Protests continue, including the Women's March on NYC, this Saturday. But the museums' outreach, a sort of taking in of those looking for camaraderie on Inauguration Day, is a welcome touch.

And in the spirit of making lemonade out of lemons, we've rounded up 11 ways to commiserate your Inauguration Day away. Whether you spend it taking in one of the city's cultural institutions FREE of charge, or in the company of like-minded friends we wish you the best on what still strikes us as a truly surreal day.

Kid Film Festivals and Indie Movie Theaters in NYC

A visit to the movies is tempting in the cold of winter, but big-budget family film options can be lackluster. Why not rediscover the magic of the movies at a children's film festival?

City kids can sit back and enjoy the carefully curated lineup at the BAMkids Film Festival and New York International Children's Film Festival. These showcase international and offbeat shorts and features. You'll also find cool classics every Sunday at Film Forum Jr., as well as a mix of indie and classics at BAM this winter and spring with its BAMkids movie matinee series. Each offers dozens of picks for preschoolers up to tweens. Plus, ticket prices can be less costly—most are less than $15 per person.

Here are details on these festivals, as well as theaters such as the Film Forum known to offer regular indie kid flicks. 

Weekend Fun: Snowkus Pocus, Lunar New Year, Women's March

January brings a wave of new shows and new exhibits for NYC kids. This weekend, the Children's Museum of Manhattan returns its Hello From Japan! exhibit, an interactive investigation of two Tokyo districts. The Brooklyn Children's Museum takes kids outdoors while still indoors with its Wilderness Camp exhibit.

For shows, the Broadway Playhouse invites lucky kids to sing Gershwin onstage, and the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company spins, flips, and whirls itself into Brooklyn for an early Lunar New Year celebration. For an overall theater lowdown, use our guide to the best winter shows for kids. For more art exhibits, check out our must-see museum and art picks for NYC kids this winter.

There's no lack of one-of-a-kind experiences this weekend, either, with science and building activities at the Inventgenuity Fest, the Queens Museum's exploration of a mysterious watershed model, and a Baby and Me Comedy show in Astoria—and yes, that's exactly what it sounds like.

It's also inauguration weekend for one NYC native, and with that also comes the Women's March on Washington, D.C., and the local Women's March on NYC in Midtown Saturday. By the way, some of NYC's cultural institutions are getting into the inauguration action, such as the Whitney, which extended its "pay what you wish" admission hours to all day Friday, January 20, and is hosting a series of FREE events on the day. The New Museum will also offer pay-what-you-wish admission on Inauguration Day.

Interested in planning out your entire year? See our brand-new 2017 GoList for all the best things opening in NYC this year! If the current month is all you can handle for now, stick with our January GoList, as well as our Winter Fun Guide.

Governors Island Will Open a Month Early in 2017

Governors Island, long one of our favorite summer spots, will open to the public on Monday, May 1 this year, nearly a full month ahead of its usual schedule. Typically it opens for the season on Memorial Day weekend.

The earlier opening isn't just for weekends, either. Ferries will shuttle New Yorkers to the massive park seven days a week, from May 1 through October 1, offering access to the brand-new playgrounds it debuted last year, art, and cool festivals like Figment. Suddenly we know what we're doing for Mother's Day 2017! 

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