Ahoy Mateys: Pirate Fun for NYC Kids - Festivals, Sails & Shows

Pirates is one of those words that elicits completely different reactions from kids and grown-ups. Although everyone pretty much pictures lawless bands of marauders in search of booty, as an adult, I think about awful, ripped-from-the-headlines stories while my son imagines Johnny Depp in eyeliner. Thankfully for children, pirates don't have any scary real-life connotations—they're as make believe as princesses, unicorns and dragons. So indulging your child's pirate fantasies can be fun for the whole family.

There are lots of interactive ways for kids to play pirate in New York City that are much more stimulating than spacing out to yet another episode of Jake and the Never Land Pirates. From swashbuckling festivals to pirate shows and exhibits to sailing the high seas (a.k.a. New York Harbor) on a pirate-themed cruise, here are five ways for kids to get their pirate on in NYC.

Free Dumbo Arts Festival: Children's Museum of the Arts Debuts Cool Hands-on Activities for NYC Kids

Sadly, the Dumbo Arts Fest was discontinued in 2014 after 18 years. Brooklyn's Dumbo neighborhood is full of funky, family-friendly art experiences all year-round. But every September, the area's creative spirit explodes onto the streets as part of the three-day Dumbo Arts Festival. Although this free fest isn't specifically aimed at families, most of it is kid-friendly, and over the past few years the organizers have added a bunch of hands-on activities for children to the lineup, making it even more enticing.

This year, the fest takes place Friday, September 28 to Sunday, September 30 (yes, the same weekend as the equally awesome World Maker Faire. Terrible timing!) and there are a lot of new attractions for families. We're particularly excited to check out the brand-new Art Village, a section of interactive projects being curated by the Children's Museum of the Arts. We've got the scoop on this new attraction and all of the other cool things to do with kids at this year's Dumbo Arts Festival.

Best New York City Views: 11 Spots to See and Photograph NYC

Visitors come to New York City from the world over to eat our pizza, feel our energy and marvel at our spectacular views. But even for us locals, NYC is an awe-inspiring sight (we just need to remember to slow down and take it in every once in a while).

While tourists routinely flock to the Empire State Building or the Top of the Rock to literally look down on the city, there are less well known vantage points that also offer incredible views of NYC, including parks, promenades, museums and a tram. So grab your camera and get ready to fall in love with New York City for the first time—or all over again.

NYC Boat Cruises: Best Boat Trips in New York Harbor

We're always looking for ways to experience New York City's vast and lovely waterfront, from kayaking and rowing to hopping on the Staten Island or East River Ferries to going on touristy boat rides. But nothing beats cruising through New York Harbor.

With breathtaking views of the city, tours of New York Harbor aren't just for visitors. Whether you choose an adrenaline-pumping speedboat, relaxing sailboat or even a sightseeing cruise (hey, natives are allowed on them, too), New York Harbor rides offer local families a chance to fall in love with our city all over again.

Brooklyn Kids Shoe Stores: Where to Buy Children's Shoes in NYC

[UPDATED: December 1, 2012]

As a busy mom, I do a lot of my shopping online. But when it comes to tricky things like making sure there’s that ideal half-inch of space between the tip of my son’s wiggling toes and the front of his shoes, I skip the websites and seek out the services of patient pros and their Brannock Devices (now you know what those foot measuring thingies are called).

Happily for Brooklyn families like mine, there are many wonderful stores in our borough that carry a wide selection of shoes for children, with staff that know how to coax squirming tots into trying them on. While you might be able to pick up a cheaper pair of sneakers, boots or sandals at a big chain store, you won't get the benefit of expert assistance and advice about which shoes truly fit. Here are some of our favorite children's shoe stores in Brooklyn, including two that just opened this year.

Brooklyn Kids' Stores: Toy Shops and Children's Boutiques in Dumbo

For our final Dumbo post this month, we're sharing our favorite stores for kids in the area. Considering Dumbo's reputation as an artsy neighborhood, it's no surprise that its shops sell unique, often handmade items.

While lots of Dumbo businesses are aimed at adults, like funky art galleries, furniture shops and high-end boutiques, the small nabe boasts a fair number of kids' stores. From clothing to candy, books to baby necessities, here are 10 great places for families to shop in Dumbo, Brooklyn.

Kids' Classes in Dumbo: Places to Play and Learn Indoors

We continue our month-long focus on Dumbo with a look at indoor places for kids to play and learn in the neighborhood. Although many families are moving to the area for its amazing views, cool culture and great things to do, Dumbo is still a work in progress when it comes to kids' play spaces—there's nary a kiddie gym franchise in sight. But in addition to a handful of athletic spots like Dumbo Gymnastics and Brooklyn Bridge Fencing, we've found some more offbeat spots where kids can take cool classes or just run around a bit.

Best NYC Kids' Concerts for Winter 2012: 13 Rockin' Live Music Shows

We love taking the kids to indoor concerts when it's cold outside. It's a great way for them to shimmy and shake away the winter blues. Unlike sing-alongs or jazz concerts, pop and rock bands really let little music lovers blow off steam.

Lots of our favorite kids' groups are playing this winter, like The Deedle Deedle Dees and Suzi Shelton, but we've also included less well known groups we love. Whether you want to see a big name like Dan Zanes or are hoping to discover a new musical obsession, here are 13 cool kids' concerts in New York City.

Best of New York City for Kids 2011: Our Favorite New NYC Spots

Happy New Year! New Year's is always a special time for Mommy Poppins because I started the site as a New Year's resolution five years ago (happy fifth birthday, MP!), and I wrote our popular list of 100 Things to Do in NYC with Kids the following New Year's. (Apparently I'm highly motivated by New Year's, who knew?). Unfortunately, I don't have anything that exciting up my sleeve today, but couldn't let January 1 go by without acknowledging some of the amazing new destinations we wrote about in 2011.

As we all know, NYC is constantly evolving with new attractions opening (and closing) all the time. While the pace of new kid biz openings seems to have slowed from its heyday a few years ago, there are still incredible places popping up in New York City. If you follow the site religiously, you will know about all of these, but for those of you who may have missed one or two of the approximately 500 posts we wrote this year, here's a rundown of our favorite new NYC attractions for families that opened in 2011.


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