Financial District

14 Best Places to Get Scientific with Kids in NYC

The bankers and the artists may get all the press, but NYC is a great city for science too. There are many wondrous places in New York where kids can soak up, explore and create scientific knowledge for themselves. From science museums, programs, shops and more, we've rounded up the best places for kids to get scientific in New York City.

Find more great geeky ideas in our Tech & Science Guide.

NYC School Zones: Where to Find Accurate Public School Zone Maps

New York City got an F in geography this month as news got around that 311 (the official New York City info line) has been giving out inaccurate information about elementary school zones. Over the past few years, there has been an unprecedented amount of school rezoning due to the introduction of several new schools to help ease overcrowding. Apparently even the DOE and NYC.gov can't keep up with the changes, so what are parents supposed to do—especially with the deadline for kindergarten applications looming?

I spent several hours sussing out where NYC parents can find accurate school zoning maps. It was not an easy task as there literally is no one place to find accurate school zoning maps for NYC... until now. Read on to see how you can get the right information when looking up your zoned schools.

Indoor Swimming Pools in New York City for Families

[UPDATED: JANUARY 21, 2013]

The first time my three-year-old son saw a backyard swimming pool, he was completely befuddled. He thought pools belonged indoors or on glass-enclosed rooftops, not out in the elements in a backyard. Thanks to city living, he had already discovered the pleasures of swimming year round in an indoor pool. New Yorkers are lucky to have many family-friendly pools available with affordable open swim options. Read on for our list of the best public and private indoor pools in New York City. No need to pack up your bathing suit until next summer!

Parents' Day Out: Accomplice New York - An Interactive Mystery for Mom and Dad

Even though we're parents, we can't always focus on the kids. We've got to spend some quality time with our friends and partners, too. That's why I enjoy writing about things for parents to do in NYC without their children in tow.

In the past, I've shared moms' night out suggestions like cool dance and art classes. Now I've got a great idea for an adults' day out. Who says you can only take a break once the sun's gone down?

Accomplice New York is equal parts interactive theater, scavenger hunt and a walking tour/pub crawl. Yes, it's a tad touristy, but it allows you to experience parts of the city in a totally new way.

The tricky part about writing about Accomplice is that I don't want to give anything away! The mystery is a big part of the fun, so the less you know the better. I promise not to reveal too many spoilers.

Best Foodie Spots Near Outdoor Music Concert Series in NYC

Summer in New York City can feel like one season-long music festival. There are an incredible number of free outdoor concert series around town, and my family and I try to hit as many performances as we can. (We never say no to complimentary culture.)

Since we often make a day (or evening) of it, some kind of meal is always involved, and as an ex-Food Network employee, I admit that I can be picky.

Some series, like Celebrate Brooklyn!, have wonderful concessionaires to complement the amazing performances. Others, like Waterside Plaza’s Music Under the Stars, leave the food up to you.

Here are five concert series that promise awesome eats or have great places to pick up snacks nearby.

Knitting, Sewing and Weaving Classes for NYC Kids

Most kids keep their hands busy with gadgets these days. Now we're not knocking technology—we love tech (we're a website, after all). But we also appreciate analog activities like textile crafts. And if given the chance, lots of kids do, too.

There's something really wonderful about tying knots in sequence or knitting a scarf or weaving a pattern. The satisfaction is tangible—literally. Crafty kids are lucky to live in NYC, since there are plenty of places where they can learn to work with yarn, thread, fiber and cloth. So unearth your old needles! Here's the scoop on spots that will get your family knitting, crocheting, sewing, quilting and weaving in New York City.

Junior Officers Discovery Zone at the NYC Police Museum: A Colorful & Playful Look at New York's Finest - Just for Kids

Due to terrible damage sustained during Hurricane Sandy, the NYC Police Museum's Old Slip building is closed. However, you can still see some of its exhibits in its temporary 45 Wall Street space. When my (very) soon-to-be-six year old son entered the new, hands on, Junior Officers Discovery Zone at the NYC Police Museum, his reaction wasn’t quite what I expected.  As we walked down the ramp leading to the new children’s area he said “uh oh, this place looks like it’s for toddlers”.  I told him that we should go in and check it out anyway and after about an hour I asked him if the zone was for still only for toddlers and his reply tells it all:  “No, it is for me, too!”

Find out what changed his mind about this new permanent children's exhibit about NYC Finest in lower Manhattan.

Gingerbread House Decorating and Holiday Cooking Classes for NYC Kids

Family holiday traditions often seem to revolve around food: cooking special meals, baking holiday cookies and creating gingerbread houses. These family moments create those warm memories that children will look back on with nostalgia. But if your inner Martha is on vacation, consider taking your kids to a holiday cooking class instead (or joining in on one with them!)

Several kids' cooking “schools” are offering classes in November and December, teaching holiday staples like sweet potato pie, cocoa and gingerbread house construction. Classes for toddlers through tweens could whet your child's appetite for culinary greatness—or just a really good sugar cookie. Instruction doesn't come cheap: the classes range from $30 to $95 per child. Then again, every holiday host knows eager kitchen help is priceless.

Fall Culture Guide: 7 New Museum Exhibits for Kids in New York City

Adventure abounds in NYC museums this fall.  Lots of new exciting (and educational) exhibits will have families crash landing into Oz, patrolling the city with the NYPD, going nose to nose with a real woolly mammoth, learning all about the brain and even climbing up a tree.  Once your kids hear about these fun exhibits they will be begging for a museum visit.  Here is our round up of the must-sees that we think the kids will really dig.

 

Fall Culture 2010: The Best Family Programs and Free Events at NYC Museums

If the kids are experiencing “museum burnout” from too many weekends dragging (or strollering) around one of NYC’s famed museums, don’t worry, you don’t have to write off these trips just yet.  Instead, plan your visits to take advantage of the many educator led programs our museums have to offer.  These programs can provide a deeper understanding of the subject matter and an enriching experience for kids (and adults) or just help make the same old museum look new again. Last week we wrote about all the cool ancillary programs for families and kids at New York City’s art museums and today we are bringing you the “rest” of them: science, nature, design and history.  Read on to find out more:

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