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Awesome Party Places for NYC Kids

New York isn't exactly a cookie-cutter city, so it may not come as a surprise that there are kids' party places for just about every interest under the sun. Sports fanatics can invite guests to hit an indoor ice skating rink or a high-tech golf driving range, while little athletes can celebrate with trampolines and obstacle courses in state-of-the-art gyms. Imaginative birthday boys and girls can mark the day with a fairytale-inspired fantasy ballet party, while tech lovers can throw LEGO- or Minecraft-themed bashes. There are even animal encounters for underwater enthusiasts and mobile pizza parlors for fun-loving foodies.

If you're on the hunt for a venue for your own one-of-a-kind kid, take a look at these awesome spots with packages for tots, tweens, and teens (plus, plenty of help from experienced party pros). For even more ideas, take a look at the New York City Party Guide, or browse our directory for party places, entertainers, and even party supplies.

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 show based on a Laurie Berkner song. 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.

The Best Spring Theater for NYC Kids: 17 Fabulous Shows

The spring is always a great time for family theater, but this season looks particularly exciting. There are page-to-stage adaptations of cool kid lit (The Little Red Fish for toddlers and Seedfolks for tweens); wordless spectacles to captivate all ages (clown show Air Play and underwater spectacle Symphonie Fantastique); and Lincoln Center's Big Umbrella Festival, the first-ever monthlong performance fest for children on the autism spectrum.

While on Broadway it's all Frozen, Harry Potter, and Mean Girls mania, there's no need to shell out big bucks to give your kids a memorable live entertainment experience in NYC. Most of the 17 shows we're spotlighting are just $25—or less—per ticket.

22 Fantastic Winter Theater Shows for NYC Kids

Winter 2018 in New York City is loaded with cool theater for families, including the debut of three super buzzed-about Broadway productions: Disney's Frozen the Musical, Tina Fey's musicalization of her hit movie Mean Girls, and the two-part Harry Potter and the Cursed Child from London. 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 teens, including interactive shows created specifically for the preschool set (A Book of Hours and Waves, All That Glows Sees ), stage adaptations of popular picture books such as A Sick Day for Morris McGee and Owen & Mzee the Musical, and eye-popping spectacles for the whole family (Bromance and Marvel Universe Live!).

Best of all, most of these nearly two dozen shows cost $25 or under, so you can take the whole family for less than the price of one Broadway ticket.

Best NYC Holiday Shows for Kids: Elf, Charlie Brown, and More

'Tis the season to get the gang all dressed up to see some holiday shows. While there are plenty of spectacles to splurge on like the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and all those Nutcrackers, if you've got young children you may not want to blow all of your bucks on theater tickets.

That's why our roundup includes a range of productions, from inexpensive, low-key offerings perfect for fidgety preschoolers, to extravaganzas that are worth the investment. Bonus: We've got the scoop on how to save money on a few of the higher-priced offerings.

From live stage adaptations of holiday classics such as A Charlie Brown Christmas, Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, and the movie Elf, to tot-friendly fairy tales and Hanukkah tales, to amazing magic tricks, here are our top 14 holiday shows for NYC families.

Best Summer Theater and Shows for NYC Kids (Free Options Too!)

New York City's family theater scene is hotter than a heat wave. Some people might think the dog days of summer are a cultural wasteland and that all the cool openings won't start again until fall, but that's not the case when it comes to the stage.

There are shows for all ages, interests, and budgets throughout the season, including a FREE page-to-stage adaptation of the Pete the Cat picture books, family-friendly outdoor Shakespeare, the launch of new kid-friendly matinees for a long-running Harry Potter parody, and a rare revival of the musical Really Rosie based on Maurice Sendak stories. Best of all, many of our picks cost less than $25 per ticket, and four are 100 percent FREE! Plus, we found discount codes for the pricier ones.

Big Apple Circus Readies Its Return to NYC

The past few years have been rough on circus lovers. After flying high since 1977, NYC's homegrown troupe, Big Apple Circus, announced last summer that it was folding up its tent and selling off its assets due to financial woes. And just last month, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey took its final bow after 146 years.

But this news should turn your sad clown frown upside down: Big Apple Circus is set to return this fall under new management, with a spectacle-studded show under the big top at Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park. And longtime fans should be particularly thrilled to hear that the company's veteran comic star, Grandma, who bid Big Apple adieu in 2012, is rejoining the circus. We've got the scoop on what to expect when you take a bite out of this overhauled Big Apple.

While you wait for the new show to debut, stay busy with our Summer Fun Guide.

Lincoln Center Launches Arts Festival for Children with Autism

Lincoln Center is making headlines in the New York City special needs community. The iconic cultural institution is launching the "Big Umbrella Festival," a month of arts programming dedicated to autistic kids and their families. The inaugural festival is set to take over stages on the cultural campus and at local schools in April 2018, Autism Awareness Month.

The stated mission is to "enrich the lives of children on the autism spectrum through inclusive art that engages, educates, and inspires." While still a year away, the monthlong festival is surely a welcome addition to city's existing cultural programs for kids with autism.

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.

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.

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