New York City

Fairytale Island Opens in Bay Ridge with Ball Pit and More

Add Fairytale Island to the short list of winter (and hot day) indoor lifesavers. The brand-new play space in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, opened in late October, and it's huge. Not only that, but it offers just about every imaginable play item to keep the kids busy for hours.

When you enter Fairytale Island, you know that your child is entering an epic play zone. The main play space offers a giant ball pit, two-level Fairytale Island train, swings, crawl spaces, slides, little cars, and a trampoline—phew, hope I got it all. There are additional imaginary play and more toys set up in separate areas. Read on for our full review.

12 Must-Do Holiday Events Around NYC in 2017 for Kids

There may be a week of Kwanzaa, eight nights of Hanukkah, and 12 days of Christmas, but as the festive displays popping up all over town attest, the holiday season really lasts from mid-November through New Year's Eve. That's almost two months jam-packed with a certain Thanksgiving parade, tree and candle lightings, train shows, department store windows, eye-popping spectacles, and Nutcrackers.

Of course, not all holiday activities are created equal. That's why we've rounded up the absolute best ways to get into the spirit of the season, regardless of what you celebrate. From splurge-worthy, once-in-a-lifetime experiences to annual favorites worth revisiting to a few fabulous FREE options, here are 12 super-outstanding events where you can give your kid the best gift of all: happy family memories.

National Geographic's Interactive Ocean Odyssey Makes Waves in Times Square

A new experience is making a major splash in Times Square. National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey takes visitors on a virtual underwater journey beneath the Pacific Ocean, unlike anything we've ever seen before. Using breathtaking state-of-the-art technology, lighting, and audio effects, the self-guided walk-through journey explores different areas of a wondrous undersea world including coral reefs, kelp forests, and open ocean expanses.

Ocean Odyssey opened in mid-October, and my family and I couldn't wait to go. The visit left us awestruck and eager to return. It's a fantastic destination for all ages, filled with stunning visuals and interesting facts about ocean wildlife and habitats, human impact, and what each of us can do to help keep our oceans beautiful and clean—all without getting wet! Read on for more about this amazing new experience, plus what you need to know before visiting with kids.

19 Fun Things To Do with NYC Kids on Election Day

New York City kids get a day off from school on November 7, but maybe voting-age adults should have Election Day off, too, and not just because it's important that everyone vote; there's so much fun to be had! Fall weather offers the perfect chance to hit up one of New York City’s many destination playgrounds, but we’ve also scoured our event and museum listings, and combed through our day trip guides to put together a list of 19 things to do on Election Day. 

Of course, many (if not most) parents have to work one way or another on Tuesday November 7. See our directory for the many mini camps around the city offered on Election Day. And while you're at it, see our November GoList, our Fall Fun Guide, and our list of 35 free, family events in November for an action packed November beyond Tuesday.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2017: Where to Watch, What's New

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade celebrates its 91st anniversary this month, taking over the streets of Manhattan on Thursday, November 23, 2017, and decorating the city with its boisterous marching bands, extravagant floats, and giant balloon characters.

There are always a mix of old and new characters shown off at the parade, and this year is no exception. Expect four new giant balloons to take flight this Thanksgiving, and five new floats—several of which are sure to make your preschoolers' dreams come true. There are also big name characters returning to annual fete for the first time in years.  

If you're planning to attend the parade with the kids (and millions of others!), read on for the most up-to-date information on the route, best viewing locations, and other highlights. Check out our in-depth inflation post for an overview of the Wednesday-night festivities. You'll find more holiday inspiration in our Thanksgiving Fun Guide.

Not Just Trains: Best Things to Do with Kids at Grand Central

The typical New Yorker probably passes through Grand Central Terminal now and again, heading off on a family getaway, but there's plenty of fun inside the cavernous space to make the commuter hot spot the destination in itself.

Grand Central Terminal has tons to offer from dining to shopping and even seasonal toy train displays. Next time you are shuttling through the corridors, allow a little extra time to see for yourself what Grand Central has to offer you and your kids. Read on for our favorite ways to pass the time at this NYC institution.

Teen Spirit: 16 NYC Activities Even a Teen Will Call On Point

It can be tough to be a teen in New York City. They're too old to want the 'rents (that's you, mom or dad) to accompany them everywhere, but many destinations don't allow adolescents without adult supervision. If your high schooler's idea of a night out on the town has been reduced to hanging with friends and watching Netflix, help them mix it up by sharing this roundup of sweet 16 drop-in activities they can do on their own, a few of which were created by NYC teens. Worried that your teen never listens to you? Print this list out and leave it for them to find—perhaps they'll like these ideas better if you don't actually tell them to go out and try them.

Bonus: Many of these options are FREE or inexpensive, so you won't have to raise their allowance.

Weekend Fun: Play Fair, Princesses, Trains, and Infinity Rooms

Halloween has come and gone but New York City kids are only getting started. The first, full weekend of November provides an opporunity to dispose of pumpkins in the best possible way, at the annual Pumpkin Smash in Chelsea. It's also a weekend for big events like the two-day Play Fair at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, as well as the New York Marathon on Sunday, where you can join PS 118 in Park Slope for a fun, front row seat to the race

Is it too soon to plan your Thanksgiving fun? Nope! See our preview of new balloons coming to the Thanksgiving Day parade. Plus, believe it or not, despite one of the warmest Octobers in memory, outdoor skating rinks are beginning to open. More holiday fun awaits with the opening of the annual Holiday Express train exhibit at the New-York Historical Society.

There are plenty of shows, art, and literary pursuits this weekend, too, including a girls read-a-thon, Odyssey: a Youth Opera, and FREE storytimes at the Strand with the bonus of a certain mermaid princess character appearance. This weekend is probably not the best time to join the legions who will line up to see the eye-popping polka dot art exhibits and infinity mirror rooms of celebrated Japanese artist Yayoi Kusma, but we wanted to put it on your radar for the month nonetheless!

Also: Introducing our new November GoList! It's packed with November events pulled from our Fall Fun Guide  and our Event Calendar, both of which can help you peek past November for future fun.  

An FAO Schwarz Holiday Pop-Up Shop Opens in Bergdorf

The holidays are a delicate balance of memory-making experiences for the family (ice skating and hot chocolate, The NYBG Train Show, checking out massive holiday lights displays, and hitting up Santaland), but also playing Santa himself and hunting/gathering gifts and spreading holiday cheer without going nuts. I might have found the nexus of these two things when I visited the new FAO Schwatz pop-up shop within Midtown Manhattan's Bergdorf Goodman.

Read on to get all the details and to decide whether to add a trip with (or without!) the kids to your to-do list over the next two months.

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