New York City

Five Summer Art Adventures for Kids in New York City

New York City is full of art, sure, but taking kids to an art museum can either be totally cool or a total nightmare. I wanted to know what's going on this summer in the art scene that my kids will enjoy and not turn into a whine-fest. Who better to ask than Natasha Schlesinger. Natasha is the founder of ArtKids, classes that take children into NYC museums and galleries and makes looking at art fun, exciting and acccessible for kids ages 3 to 12.

Here are five recommendations for cool art outings in New York City this summer from the founder of ArtKids, Natasha Schlesinger.

Hang Out with Your Kid's Favorite Entertainers at Little Airplane Cafe

There's a great new little venue for kids concerts and other children's entertainment in Lower Manhattan. Little Airplane Cafe isn't actually a cafe at all. It's the production studio of the animation company that makes children's television favorites like The Wonder Pets. For the past year Little Airplane Productions has been giving NYC families in the know free tours of their studio so kids can see what goes into making Lenny, Tuck and Ming Ming come to life.

Now Little Airplane has opened a small performance space with some great shows. The space is incredibly intimate. Seeing Laurie Berkner in the space's inaugural performance feels like hanging out with your favorite kids artists in their living room with a back-stage pass for everyone. Everyone sits on the floor and the space was a little bit overfilled, but the kids could not have been more thrilled. After the show there was a radio interview where Laurie answered kids' questions and then she hung out and said hi to everyone who hung around. Kids got their pictures taken and lots of hugs were shared.

Sony Wonder Technology Lab

We recently visited the newly renovated Sony Wonder Technology Lab and by the end of the visit this great venue had shot up to the top of our list of must visit spots for kids in New York City. The Sony Wonder Technology Lab has always been a great find, with free movie screenings and a fun children's museum with interactive exhibits. But the new renovation and exhibits leap-frog the Sony Wonder Technology Lab to the forefront of NYC children's museums for kids.

New York is full of great children's museums, but the Sony Wonder Technology Lab does one thing really, really well that none of the other children's museums in New York City currently do: it teaches kids about the stuff they want to learn about most, technology.

Quidditch Game and Scavenger Hunts Bring Harry Potter to Life for NYC Fans

If you have a Harry Potter fan at home, these are some pretty exciting times. What with the new Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince movie out now and the final book in paper back. But for New York City kids, of course, there are always more ways to get involved in any passion than just viewing it through mass media. If you are a Harry Potter fan in New York, Harry Potter can come to life for you in lots of fun ways.

Here are some upcoming events for Harry Potter fans:

Weekend Events for NYC Kids July 17-19: Water, Drawing and Music Festivals, Free Shakespeare, Fishing and More

Imagine a New York where people flock to visit not for skyscrapers and luxury shopping, but gorgeous sand and beach front fun; a New York where "staycation" really takes on a new meaning. This weekend, you can get a glimpse of that version of the City with the City of Water Day festival--a celebration of our waterfront's potential. But until we rival the beaches of Capri (hey, it could happen), there's other things to keep us occupied, like turning the streets into a drawing canvas, saws making music, fishing contests and kid-friendly Shakespeare.

We also have weekly listings for Long Island events and New Jersey events on their respective pages (whether you live there or are looking for a day trip). And of course, our event calendar is jammed with even more things to do, as is our Summer Activity Guide.

Kids Go Free to Cole Bros Circus Where Old Fashioned Circus Fun Meets Cirque Nouveau

Another circus is coming to Long Island, Brooklyn and Staten Island. We just heard about the Cole Bros. Circus – which is surprising since it has been around for 125 years. So we did a little research and found it's something you might want to check out.

Since this is their 125th Anniversary, they are celebrating with a special performance reprising legendary circus acts of the past along with showcasing the talents of cirque nouveau artists.  There is a 7-man pyramid on the high wire – these acts always amaze me as I really feel for the guy on the bottom holding all these people on a high wire no less; also gymnastic routines, circus daredevils (with “the Globe of Death and Giant Gyro Wheel”) and of course clowns for a little comic relief.  And,  no circus would be complete without the animals, and there are elephants, camels, dogs, ponies and a mule. It is a fast paced two hour show – with something for everyone.

Weekend Events for NYC Kids July 10-12: New Markets, Free Movies, Muppets, Concerts and More

This weekend looks like a great one to head to some nearby beaches or the Jersey shore, but you don't have to ditch the pavement and run for the sand to enjoy a fabulous family weekend. Afterall, They Might Be Giants and The Muppets are here in the City, along with lions, tigers and bears--well, at least Dorothy and her little dog, too, plus some festivals and classes that will send you to Europe and Asia, sans airfare. So be sure to catch some waves, and some of these events, too.

Don't forget, we also have weekly listings for Long Island events and New Jersey events on their respective pages (whether you live there or are looking for a day trip). And of course, our event calendar is jammed with even more things to do, as is our Summer Activity Guide

Visit Arthur Avenue: NYC's Real Little Italy in the Bronx

Often thought of as the real “Little Italy” of NYC, Arthur Avenue is a wildly popular destination for foodies from all over.  There are countless Italian restaurants, bakeries, cafes, and bars along Arthur Avenue, as well as its lesser known counterpart, 187th Street.  Arthur Avenue is quite a popular day trip for families with small children because it is just a few blocks away from the world-famous Bronx Zoo

Celebrate Congo Gorilla Forest's 10 Year Anniversary at the Bronx Zoo

I remember when they originally opened the Congo Gorilla Forest exhibit at The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo, what a revelation it was. To be able to stand with just a thin layer of glass separating us from those amazing animals. I can hardly believe that the Congo Gorilla Forest exhibit is now celebrating it's 10th Anniversary. Has it really been 10 years!?!

The 10th Anniversary of the Congo Gorilla Forest makes now an especially good time to visit, because The Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo is celebrating with special programs that highlight the Congolese culture. There will be traditional African drum and dance performances by the Harambee Dance Company, kids can watch “lunchtime with the gorillas” at 2pm each day, and experience the crafts of the Republic of Congo with artisans from the Museum for African Art leading workshops in Basket-making, Gourd Adornment, Bead-making and Mask making. Best of all, visiting the zoo contributes to WCS's ongoing conservation work with gorillas and the Congo.

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