New York City

SpongeBob SquarePants Aims for a Broadway Splash This Fall

Although you'll have to wait until spring to catch the highly anticipated stage adaptations of Frozen and Harry Potter on Broadway, there's another popular kids' character hitting the boards this fall. After a well-reviewed Chicago run, Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants musical sails into town this November featuring all the beloved Bikini Bottom denizens including Patrick, Squidward, and the endlessly optimistic title character who lives in a pineapple under the sea.

While I realize this production may sound like a soulless cash grab by Nickelodeon, which has long been interested in getting into the theater biz like its rival Disney, there are actually several reasons I expect this production to make a splash on Broadway. In fact, I think this may be one of those rare family shows that works on multiple levels, thrilling the brand's young fans while also winning over grown-ups with its stunning design, quirky humor, and songs by some of the biggest rock stars of all time—including the late David Bowie.

American Girl Gets a Makeover with a Brand-New NYC Store

If your daughter's a fan of Samantha, Kit, MaryEllen, or Melody, or it's a major announcement in your house when the annual Girl of the Year is revealed, we've got news for you: American Girl is relocating and revamping its flagship Midtown store just in time for the holiday rush.

Those familiar with its current location just east of Rockefeller Plaza won't have to reroute themselves too far to find signature dolls' new home.

Weekday Fun: Rosh Hashanah, Do-Si-Do, and Some Good and Evil

Days off from school? No problem! New York City Kids sans class at the end of this week can head to Prospect Park's Rosh Hashanah activities on Thursday, and they can cap off their Friday with a giant square dance in Bryant Park.

If you want to keep it simple, check out our new Best Playgrounds in Prospect Park, Ranked. If you want to keep their brains working, see our guide to seven musuems to explore the immigrant experience with kids. Or use the days off from school to take a day trip out of the city for apple picking or another fall activity.

Meanwhile, our September GoList and Fall Fun Guide are available for monthly and seasonal planning, and our Event Calendar is filled with fun for anytime now or in the future.

Harvest Fests, Pumpkin Patches, and Hayrides Right Here in NYC

If you think you need to head out to the 'burbs for an authentic fall harvest experience, we've got good news: You can pick the perfect pumpkin, go on a hayride, ride a pony or meet farm animals, and even get lost in a massive corn maze right here in NYC.

So if you're looking to skip the car rental, hop onto the subway instead to head out to these fall harvest festivals and pumpkin patches, all located within the five boroughs. Looking for more fall fun? Check out our NYC Fall Guide for the best of the season.

Storytimes for NYC Kids: Read Your Way Around Manhattan

Storytimes are a great free—or super low-cost—kid activity that can often provide the incentive families need to get out of the house on those rainy, cold, or snowy days when cabin fever is likely to set in. Hosted throughout NYC at libraries, bookstores, museums, and other fun places, most of these baby and kid reading sessions don't require reservations, making it easy to just drop in. Plus, many of these storytimes incorporate arts and craft projects and, considering the venues that host them, a story hour can easily turn into a full morning or afternoon of fun.

Read on for our most up-to-date list of storytimes for fall and winter 2017 in Manhattan. Also, be sure to peruse our post on NYC's best independent bookstores for kids for more reading inspiration, and if you're in the outer boroughs, we've also written about storytimes in Brooklyn and in Queens.

Best Family Theater in NYC this Fall: Paw Patrol to Shakespeare

Autumn marks the start of a new theater season, but you don't need to shell out big bucks on Broadway shows to give your kids a memorable live entertainment experience in NYC. In fact, this fall boasts more high-quality productions for young audiences than in recent years—so many in fact, we have a whopping 22 picks, and that's after whittling down the contenders!

Preschoolers will go gaga for return engagements of popular stage incarnations of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Pete the Cat, and Paw Patrol. Older kids can get schooled in the classics with creative, kid-centric adaptations of Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde. There's funky fare for tweens at Lincoln Center and BAM, plus everyone in your family can cheer the highly anticipated return of the Big Apple Circus. Best of all, most of our picks are $25 or less per ticket.

Rad Women and Civil Rights Heroes: Children's Books for Right Now

By Gwen Glazer, recommendations librarian in the Readers Services unit of the New York Public Library.

Fred Rogers’ famous advice to "always look for the helpers" has never seemed more important. In the wake of recent events in Charlottesville and beyond, parents may be looking for ways to engage their children with the social justice efforts—and also to talk about positive examples of activism and leadership.

We put together a list of 13 books for a wide range of children, from picture books for toddlers to nonfiction series for middle schoolers. These books address some of the most familiar human- and civil-rights leaders, like Malala and Gandhi, as well as some lesser-known activists who deserve more attention. All of them inspired others to create change in the world around them.

Weekend Fun: A Book Fair, a Tech Playground, and Marine Science

New York City kids like to learn (OK, most the time) and with school in full swing, events with an educational spin abound. There's a 'technology playground' at the World's Fair Nano in Greenpoint, and more science at Submerge: NYC Marine Science Festival in Tribeca. The Brooklyn Book Festival Children's Day, with five stages of top children's authors, has more reading-fun than seems fair. Speaking of education—hey parents! Looking for a preschool? Check out our preschool fair on Sunday, September 17!

Another highlight of the school year: free museum times! See our full guide. We also have a new guide for you, this one an extensive lowdown on six newly renovated playgrounds to check out this fall. Not enough outdoor fun for you? See our guide to five kid-friendly farms right here in New York City.

We'll also get some early Halloween fun on Coney Island with the kickoff to Luna Park's Halloween Harvest Festival, and there are fall street fests in Sunset ParkFlatbush, and of course, San Gennaro in Little Italy.

Make sure our September GoList is always on hand, and keep our Fall Fun Guide close for apple picking outings, corn mazes, and more day trips. And don't forget our Event Calendar for all your day-to-day planning needs.

Top Corn Mazes and Fall Farm Fun Near NYC

Navigating the twists and turns of a giant corn maze is the perfect fall outing for adventurous NYC families. Yet, with dozens of mazes scattered throughout the rural parts of our tristate area, the real challenge is deciding which one to visit.

My family loves our annual corn maze romp to the local Queens County Farm Museum's Amazing Maize Maze. It's just the right size for kids, includes fun challenges and clues, and doesn't take all day to get to. However, if you're looking to get out of the city for that true country feel, or headed upstate New York or elsewhere for a long weekend getaway, we've compiled a list of almost two dozen of the area's best corn mazes—most within 90 minutes of NYC.

We've broken down our picks to let you know which are better for older kids vs. preschoolers, which are accessible by train, and which has the best doughnuts! Most farms include extra seasonal things to do like apple pickingpumpkin picking, pony rides, petting zoos, and even a 100-foot mountain slide in one case. For more farm fun, check out our Pick-Your-Own Guide to Farms near New York City.

7 Spots to Explore the Immigrant Experience with City Kids

No matter your political leanings, immigration is a hot topic of conversation these days, and New York has a rich and ongoing history as a gateway to our country. We've combed through our city's top museums and cultural institutions to pinpoint some of the most kid-friendly destinations for those curious about the immigrant experience, or looking to teach children about diversity and tolerance for others.

Of course NYC often plays host to rotating art exhibits related to this theme, which you can always find in our event calendar. One upcoming highlight is the annual outdoor Photoville exhibition in Dumbo, where families will find both American and global diversity and immigration stories on display, from Syrian refugee tales to a Newark campus to Detroit.

Now, here are seven NYC spots where history leaps off the pages for interactive exploration.

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