Chelsea

Rock Out to a New Alice in Wonderland Musical

Lewis Carroll's trippy adventures of Alice in Wonderland have been adapted a lot. But often the magic of his nonsensical world gets buried under special effects and heavy-handed attempts at poignancy. Not so in Wonderland: Alice's Rock & Roll Adventure, a new family musical playing in NYC this March that retains the most celebrated vignettes from Carroll's books while adding catchy songs and a relatable story line about a tween anxious to come of age.

Produced by Atlantic for Kids, the family theater arm of the renowned Atlantic Theater Company, this 75-minute show invites audiences of all ages to experience a familiar tale from a fresh musical perspective.

7 NYC Arcades for Kid Video Game Birthday Parties

Arcades are an ideal place to celebrate a kid's birthday. Blinking lights, spinning wheels, ringing bells, and mechanical jingles give arcades a festive atmosphere, and the assortment of amusements offers something for everyone. If you have a rare child who isn't a video-game enthusiast, these gaming parlors usually offer air hockey, skee-ball, and basketball games; some even have laser tag. These kid-pleasing party spots are full service, so hosts only have to provide a cake or cupcakes. Many offer games that award tickets redeemable for prizes to fill a goody bag.

Our list of seven arcades for kid birthday parties features spots in every New York City borough, from Manhattan to Staten Island, plus a mobile arcade that comes to you. Read on for all the details.

Looking for more birthday party ideas? Check out our NYC Party Guide or directory of birthday fun suppliers.

History Mystery Review: A Family Musical with Timely Politics

In TADA! Youth Theater's The History Mystery, an hourlong musical, a trio of history-hating teens is magically transported back in time to meet Martin Luther King, Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt, and others when they were adolescents. Not only do they learn about the experiences that helped shape these iconic figures, they also see how the past impacts our present. For school-age kids living in today's difficult political climate, it's a fun but fact-packed look at how every person, even a child, has the ability to affect positive change.

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.

Best Winter Shows for NYC Kids: Dinos, Circus Acts, Peter Pan

Winter 2017 in New York City is loaded with cool children's theater. Recently, we spotlighted a pair of high-profile family musicals coming to Broadway this season: long-running London hit Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and a screen-to-stage adaptation of the animated movie Anastasia.

But you don't need to shell out big bucks to give your kids a memorable live entertainment experience in NYC—plenty of engaging family productions are playing Off-Broadway for a lot less. This winter there are wonderful options for toddlers to tweens, including interactive shows created specifically for the preschool set (Shadow Play and Ear, Nose, and Tail ), eye-popping spectacles for all ages (Erth's Dinosaur Zoo Live and Cirque-tacular's Snowkus Pocus), and stage adaptations of popular picture books such as Elephant & Piggie and Please Bring Balloons. Best of all, most of these shows cost $25 or under, so you can take the whole family for less than the price of one Broadway ticket.

Hockey and Ice Skating Summer Camps for NYC Kids

When considering athletic camps for summertime fun, swimming, baseball, tennis, and outdoor team sports come to mind first, but if your kids prefer their summer vacation served ice cold it's totally doable in NYC even when the temperatures are well above freezing. Four of our city's wonderful indoor ice-skating rinks offer figure skating or ice hockey summer camps for your budding Michelle Kwan or Wayne Gretzky.

Foreign Language Camps for NYC Kids

New York City is home to an estimated 800 languages, and by virtue of living here, our kids are exposed many of them. It's no surprise, then, that NYC has a number of language-immersion summer camps for kids interested in going beyond hola! and bonjour. Whether your child yearns to master Chinese, French, German, Italian, Hebrew, or Spanish, summer is a great time to give language learning a try in a relaxed camp environment. Many of these programs include swimming, yoga, cooking, arts and crafts, music and dance, games, and other typical summer camp activities to supplement and enhance the instruction. Instructors and counselors are fluent or native speakers and not only teach kids the language but also expose them to the culture through activities and field trips.

For more ideas on summer camps, check out our Summer Camp Guide for NYC Kids. Got a preschooler? We've also rounded up immersion preschools for dual-language learning in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Pip's Island Leads Kids on Captivating Theatrical Adventure

Are the kids ready for an adventure? Or at least an interactive theater experience that doesn’t require sitting? Enter Pip's Island—a new live theater production for kids that just opened in NYC. You don’t even have to go to Midtown! It’s playing in Chelsea all holiday season long.

Although my NYC family has been to (and even acted in) plenty of children’s theater, I can easily say that this show was truly unlike any previous performance we’ve been to.

There is no stage; there are no seats. Instead, the production is crafted as more of a full-scale game of make-believe. Actors lead the kids on an hourlong quest, literally moving through rooms, and encourage them to help solve a mystery by locating and rescuing Amperes Wattson, leader of this magical, faraway world they are now inhabiting (Pip’s Island), from an ambitious villain, Joules Volter.

Read on for our full review.

Penguins, Puppets, and Daniel Tiger! Fall Theater for NYC Kids

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. This fall, preschoolers will go gaga for engaging, page-to-stage adaptations of some of their favorite picture books and TV shows like The Ugly Duckling, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, and Mr. Popper's Penguins. Meanwhile, school-age children can catch a pair of steampunk-styled spectacles—Cirque du Soleil's Kurios and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea—plus avant-garde offerings at Lincoln Center and La MaMa. Best of all, 10 of our picks are $20 or less per ticket.

7 Free Outdoor Art Exhibits to See with NYC Kids Now

Want to see some art with your kids, but can’t handle the hordes of summer tourists? (Guilty!) Believe that museums make more sense during the frigid winter months? (Also guilty.) Just not able to make your work hours or the kids' naps coordinate with FREE hours at NYC museums? (Hand raised.)

Here’s the solution: check out these seven outdoor art exhibits on display in NYC now. Since they’re located in city parks and other public spaces, they’re FREE! All have art that is interactive (to some degree), educational, and fun for kids. At one exhibit—Swale, a traveling barge with a “floating food forest”—you can even feed your kids healthy food they pick themselves. What could be better? Maybe the fact that you're outside and your children can run around afterward and get tuckered out? (Guilty again.)

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