Astoria

Much-Awaited Jim Henson Exhibit to Open This Summer at MoMI

The wait is over for Muppets fans! The long-anticipated permanent exhibit showcasing the late Jim Henson and his beloved characters will open in July at The Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria.

A successful Kickstarter campaign, along with generous donors, including Henson family members, will bring it to fruition at last. Although the exhibit offers something for everyone—nearly 300 artifacts—kids will probably be most excited about the 47 original Muppets, which include Kermit, Miss Piggy, Big Bird, Elmo, and other favorites. Other material on display at MoMI, including sketches, storyboards, scripts and costumes, will highlight the process Henson followed to bring his visions to life.

The Best Playgrounds in Queens

Although every pocket and corner of Queens has a neighborhood playground (we frequent Playground Thirty-Five multiple times a week), we’ve taken the time to scout the cream of the crop for NYC kids. From Astoria to the Rockaways, with rope spider webs to kid-sized Ferris wheels, these parks offer clean, safe equipment with innovative and fun details that go beyond the metallic jungle gyms of the past.

Looking to make more of a splash? Check out our roundup on top water playgrounds in Queens, or find more playgrounds across the five boroughs in our NYC Parks & Playgrounds guide.

12 Mother’s Day Brunch Spots in Queens

Just as its population is diverse, so are options for Mother’s Day brunch in Queens. It’s mom's special day, and she'll want to relax with family, sip a mimosa and eat great food knowing that spills won't be met with rolling eyes. So we’ve curated this family-friendly list of brunch options in the borough, offering inventive twists on traditional favorites. Don’t worry, omelets and French toast still are represented.

Check out our suggestions for how to spend the rest of your 2017 Mother's Day in NYC, or peruse Brooklyn or Manhattan brunch options if you're thinking of hopping boroughs.

9 NYC Batting Cages That Hit it Outta the Park

For my family, no season is as sacred as spring since it means the start of Little League and hours spent at our local ball fields. Of course, leading up to the season shift my son, who is serious about baseball, is itching to get some real reps in.

There's only so much that can be tackled within the four walls of a cramped New York City apartment. Luckily, the city has a slew of batting-cage options; some even include private instruction and facilities where players can work on their fielding skills. Check out our roundup and be sure to click through to each spot's website for details on current operating hours and prices.

Find more action in our Kids' Sports Center Guide for NYC Families.

The Geekery HQ: A Board Game Treasure Trove in Queens

In 2017, nerd = cool. Game boards and tabletop gaming seem to be at an all-time high. When I was a young adult, I would have done anything to have a place like The Geekery HQ in my neighborhood. Where was it in 1997?  Combining games, communal play and collectibles, The Geekery HQ in Astoria is a haven for tweens and teens with a penchant for Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), Magic the Gathering (MTG) and all things geeky.

10 New Kids' Birthday Party Spots Around NYC

I'm always looking for birthday party ideas that don't involve a potential slideshow of my Pinterest fails, especially for my 9-year-old who is blossoming into a mini Martha Stewart. Luckily, NYC seems to open new party spots monthly for the kids.

We've rounded up a sampling of some of the top new locations around the city that are offering kid party packages or room rentals, including a rock climbing spot and cool preschool-age play spaces.

Need further inspiration to kick that birthday fatigue to the curb? Check out our NYC Birthday Party Guide, or peruse these special occasion options, from dine-in movie theaters and fancy high tea to museum sleepovers.

So read on for a list of great birthday party venues that might just save your couch, the dog, the cat, your relationship with your downstairs neighbor, and your sanity!

Best of Astoria with Kids: Play Spaces and Indoor Attractions

Families flock to Astoria, Queens, for its parks, pool, and great restaurants, but also the trove of family-friendly indoor entertainment, from top museums like the Museum of the Moving Image to creative kids' classes and fun play spaces.

We can't possibly list all of the wonderful programs on tap, but we're highlighting locations that offer drop-in sessions, as well as a few perennial family favorites that require longer commitments. Many of these spots attract residents from all over Queens, including my kids and I, who come from Sunnyside to hit The Yoga Room and the inexpensive but fun play space, Kids Playhouse Astoria.

Here are 11 places where kids can swim, dance, bowl or just get their sillies out in Astoria, Queens.

10 Montessori Preschools in New York City

Picking out a preschool is no simple feat. From dual-language and immersion programs to outdoor and nature-themed classes, there are so many options and, as always, so little time. But, if you're considering sending your child to a Montessori school, this roundup of some of the most popular ones in New York City could save you some stress.

For the uninitiated, Montessori is an educational philosophy developed more than a century ago that encourages kids to be independent and learn at their own pace. Typically students are grouped by ability rather than age, classrooms are outfitted with specific learning materials, and specially trained teachers act as observers and facilitators. Read on to see what makes these 10 NYC schools extra special, and you just might find the perfect fit for your preschooler.

Find more options in our Preschool Guide and Directory.

Hobby Shops for NYC Kids: Model Trains, Planes, and Robots

Just like authentic New York soda fountains and ma-and-pa stores, old-fashioned hobby shops are seemingly an endangered species in NYC. But they're not dead yet.

Thanks to the popularity of the maker movement, hobby shops are enjoying a resurgence as kids (and grown-ups) look for fun, hands-on projects that range from assembling intricate models to flying remote-control airplanes, building robots, and racing model trains. That last option is one of my 9-year-old's favorite pastimes.

Although you can buy most of these kits online, visiting a brick-and-mortar hobby shop can be an inspiring experience for children who like to tinker, experiment and create. Plus, they get a chance to meet their fellow enthusiasts and learn from the vets. Whether your kids are into planes, trains, or automobiles, here are 10 hobby shops across the five boroughs where families can stock up on all their DIY model-building needs.

The Museum of the Moving Image: Best Things to See with Kids

The Museum of the Moving Image is one of Astoria's hidden gems. Situated right next to Kaufman Studios—the home of Sesame Street and decades of film and television history—the museum features an amazing permanent exhibit as well as an ever-changing roster of special exhibitions, series, and events, including family movie showings and film series. There's something for every age range, making it a favorite go-to spot for my Queens family.

The Museum of the Moving Image has some exciting changes on the horizon, including an upcoming permanent exhibit honoring the late, great Jim Henson that we simply cannot wait to see. Read on for details on the planned exhibit, plus other useful tips for making the most of your visit with kids, including what to see, the best time to visit, and the scoop on family programming.

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