Chelsea

Mind-Bending Museum of Illusions Opens in Chelsea

New York City doesn't lack for fabulous museums or Instagrammable-popups but put them together and you'll come close to the brand new Museum of Illusions, opening today in Chelsea.

Equal parts trippy, mind-bending fun house and educational wonderland, the museum is home to more than 70 exhibits that will trick your senses, force you to question your perceptions and look at the whole space from a different perspective. Modeled after the original location in Zagreb, Croatia, the New York location is the first installation of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.

Best Family Theater in NYC This Fall

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 theater productions for young audiences than ever—so many in fact, we have a whopping 25 picks, and that's after whittling down the contenders.

Preschoolers will be excited for the return of old friends Pete the Cat and Angelina Ballerina, plus the debut of a new Laurie Berkner musical. Older kids will be inspired by That Inventions Show, the interactive improv piece Show Up, Kids!, and the immersive Gumshoe, which takes place throughout the 125-year-old Henry Street Settlement. There's also funky fare for tweens at Lincoln Center and the New Victory Theater, plus everyone in your family can enjoy the Big Apple Circus. Best of all, many of our picks are $25 or less per ticket.

Girl Power: Classes, Camps, and Workshops Just for Girls in NYC

One of my greatest priorities in raising a young girl is to give her a strong foundation, so that she has a positive self-image and feels empowered to be herself. Part of that work involves seeking out girls-only spaces across the city where she feels heard, valued, and has the opportunity to meet strong-minded, brilliant female role models.

There are more than enough opportunities to keep kiddos busy in the city, but girls-focused programs are specifically designed to allow girls to explore their world freely. From STEM to sports, many of these programs are run by women who, of course, know what it’s like to be a young girl coming into her own.

We've rounded up our favorite activities, camps, and programs that pack major girl power. Be sure to click through to the listings for all the details, including times, locations and recommended ages. You can search through dozens of classes by type or location in our Classes Guide and Directory Listings as well.

Cool Mommy and Me Exercise Classes in NYC

After my daughter was born, our weekly mommy and me yoga class was a bright spot in the middle of some of the longest days. Not only did the class help me regain my strength, it was also a place where I could form lasting bonds with other new parents in the city. Having a self-care routine proved essential for me after becoming a new mama—and my daughter seemed to enjoy the atmosphere, too.

The beauty of a good postnatal class is that instructors have designed workouts just for postpartum bodies, plus they understand if you or your little one are having a challenging day. Parent-baby fitness classes should be a judgment-free, safe zone for you and your baby.

Here are places and programs that regularly offer parent and baby exercise classes in New York City. As with any new exercise program, check with your doctor for the go-ahead. For more classes, check out our NYC classes guide

Free Times to Visit NYC Museums, Gardens, and the Zoos

Many of New York City's top museums, zoos, gardens, and cultural institutions offer FREE or reduced admission on certain nights, days, or hours at least once a month—a city perk that no busy, cash-strapped parent should miss out on! Plus, many of the "grown-up" museums let kids in for free year-round.

It can be hard to keep track of when and where these freebies are available, so we've compiled an exhaustive list of reduced or FREE admission days at all of your favorite NYC cultural spots from the Bronx Zoo to the Brooklyn Children's Museum.

As always, you can check our Events Calendar for more budget-friendly kid activities every day or peruse our Free in NYC Guide. Try our Museum Guide or Zoos and Gardens Guide for more on the latest kid-friendly art and exhibitions in NYC. Also, don't forget to put your library card to work for free admission anytime at many of these same places!

Destination Playground: Chelsea Waterside Park in New York City

Chelsea Waterside Play Area has been a mainstay on our list of the city's best playgrounds for years, and thanks to its recent $3.4 million overhaul, the aging play area has a whole new look that just opened to the public on Tuesday.

Once known for funky, chess-like, blue structures that spewed water sky-high, Chelsea Waterside Play Area has a colorful new star: A 22-foot, rainbow-hued pipefish who winds through the multi-level playground bringing joy to kids of all ages. Read on for more features that cement this spot's place among our favorite destination playgrounds.

Where to Find Awesome Classes for NYC Kids This Fall

Back to school season isn't just new backpacks and long lists of school supplies. It's also time to get your little New Yorkers signed up for fall classes!

Thankfully, this city's got something for kids of all ages, from babies and tots to tweens and teens. Whether you're looking for a morning mommy-and-me class or an awesome after school program, there's no shortage of sports, dance, art, theater, and academic options to keep everyone happily busy.

You can search through dozens of classes by type or location in our Classes Guide and Directory Listings, but we've also rounded up some of the top options for fall 2018. Take a look at these family favorites!

Ice Cream Shops Near Great Playgrounds in Brooklyn and Manhattan

We're well into playground season now, and New York City parents are steeling themselves to endure hearing the Mister Softee theme playing on a loop until September. While there's nothing wrong with grabbing a cone from your friendly neighborhood ice cream truck, I admit that I prefer play spots that have really fantastic ice cream vendors nearby. Cold and sweet, a few scoops of mint chocolate chip or strawberry (my flavors of choice) make sticking out the sticky New York City weather that much more manageable. And my kids don't mind eating it either.

Here are some of my favorite spots to grab a scoop, plus fun places to play before or after.

NYC Playgrounds with Shade: Stay Cool With Shady Park Benches and Equipment

While kids can always cool off in NYC's many sprinklers, we parents are often stuck baking in the sun all day during the heat of the city's summer as we supervise outdoor play. It's a problem our readers know too well—each summer we get requests for recommendations of shady spots to play.

Although we know of a couple playgrounds that offer exceptional amounts of shade—Hippo Playground in Riverside Park and Discovery Playground in Fort Washington Park come to mind—we decided to ask our readers if they knew of any super-shady playgrounds in New York City. They came through with a number of great suggestions.

Please keep in mind that the name of the game here is comfort on a hot summer day; though we have visited plenty of destination playgrounds, with a few exceptions, these shady suggestions tend to be neighborhood standbys and small playgrounds that have plenty of shade, but perhaps not too many bells and whistles.

Best Summer Festivals for NYC Kids This August

Many families flee the city in August for end-of-summer vacations, but it's actually one of my favorite months to be in NYC. With summer staples like swimming, play fountains, and Governors Island, plus hundreds of free summer activities and only-in-August favorites like Summer Streets and Arthur Ashe Kids' Day, there's plenty to do if you stick around.

So we've rounded up a dozen FREE family-friendly festivals happening throughout the Big Apple in August to help you get the most out of NYC with kids during the last month of summer.

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