New York City

Birthday Freebies in NYC: Where Kids Eat Free and Get Gifts

In the era of rent-out-the-whole-museum and hire-a-marching-band kid birthday parties, it's nice to find a freebie.

Of course, there are plenty of at-home, DIY ways to celebrate your child's birthday for FREE, from mirror notes to playing hooky. But it's also the one time of year you can take advantage of all those corporate birthday clubs that promise to make your kid's big day even more special with fun freebies like complimentary gifts, food, and other deals.

We've rounded up a mix of local spots, with a lot of national chain restaurants and play spots thrown in, which all offer birthday goodies. Some are specific to kids, though some you can snag, too, and most will require some sort of email-list sign up. 

Find more fun for their big day (maybe even a marching band) in our Birthday Party Guide and Directory for NYC families.

Get Ready: New York State's Biggest Indoor Water Park Opens in April

The Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark—billed as the biggest indoor water park in New York state—is finally opening this spring!

Since we first learned about this exciting new indoor water park in the Catskills over a year ago, we’ve been eagerly anticipating its grand opening. Originally scheduled for April 5, the resort has announced that the opening will now take place Friday, April 19, 2019

Located about 2 hours from midtown Manhattan in Monticello, NY, the Kartrite is an exciting alternative to farther-afield indoor water parks in the NYC area. Reservations are now open for April and beyond—perfect for spring break, a weekend away, or your family's summer vacation. Read on for more details, plus a peek inside the space.

Nearly 50 Free Family Events This March in NYC

March means the first glimmer of hope for warmer days ahead. This month also hosts a slew of stellar events that won't break the bank—in fact, they're all FREE! Get ready for Dr. Seuss celebrations, Irish revelry for St. Patrick's Day, and early springtime flowers. There are also slightly more offbeat (and still FREE) events like a 90-second kids' film festival, National Pancake Day, and Pi Day at MoMath.

Read on for almost 50(!) FREE things to do this March in New York City, including in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. Find more top events in our March GoList, or our always packed daily NYC event calendar. Plus, find lots of seasonal to-dos in our NYC Spring Guide for Families.

Weekend Fun: Dr. Seuss, Tilt Festival, Herstory, St. Pat's Parades

The first weekend in March could offer a first peek at spring...or let winter howl back in when we least expect it. Fortunately for NYC kids, there's weekend fun to be had both inside and out.

The fourth annual Tilt Festival kicks off this weekend with a full roster of arts performances for kids. Standouts include She No Princess, He No Hero at FIAF, and the FREE, immersive Uramado experience (if you purchase a ticket for an opening weekend Tilt show, be sure to sign up for a free Uramado workshop on Saturday or Sunday!).

Head to the Bronx to check out opening weekend of The Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden. It's also opening weekend for Ajijaak on Turtle Island, a winter theater pick for kids with puppets by Heather Henson, daughter of Muppets master Jim Henson. And while it's technically in Jersey airspace, there's a weekend-long Drone Festival hovering right over the river at Liberty Science Center.

Saturday to-dos include an indoor block party in Brooklyn and a celebration of Danish Halloween (Fastlavn) at Scandinavia House. And don't forget to salute good old Dr. Seuss on his birthday—he'll be 117 on March 2! Parties are popping up all over town in his honor, and we have some fun at-home ideas for you, too.

Sunday's options include Herstory Day in honor of Women's History Month, the first of many St. Patrick's Day parades in Queens and Staten Island, a rocking early Mardi Gras celebration in Brooklyn, and Japan's Hinamatsuri (Doll's Day) at Japan Society. And if the weather holds out, Wildman Steve Brill is back this weekend in Central Park and Prospect Park. His fun and educational foraging tours might even provoke a new appreciation for vegetables.

Find more top events in our March GoList, or our always packed daily NYC event calendar.

Spring Break Camps for Private and Independent School Kids in NYC

Most private and independent schools in NYC have a two-week spring break (as opposed to the one-week-long winter and spring breaks public school kids get), during which parents need to keep the little ones busy. Fortunately, NYC has no shortage of camp options for the private and independent school spring break, which runs from March 15 to April 1 for the 2019 school year. 

We've rounded up over a dozen programs with camp offerings during the two-week break for private and independent schools. It's always worth checking with your local play space or other neighborhood kid spot to see what's on offer. Be sure to click through to the camps' official sites for more details, including hours and pricing.

Oh, and get ahead of the game by checking out our Summer Camp Guide!

Harry Potter-Themed Cafe Opens in East Village

Potterheads take note: A new coffee shop has opened in the East Village serving steamy brews and magical potions, along with a side of Harry Potter-themed fun. At Steamy Hallows, you can fill the void of the recently departed History of Magic exhibition with a Butterbeer, or even treat your sweetheart to a "Love Potion No. 9 3/4." Read on for a peek inside the new spot and details about the magic-inspired menu. Accio, hot cocoa!

30 Top Things to Do in Brooklyn with Preschool Age Kids

Brooklyn is full of fun experiences for little kids, whether you live here or are just looking for new adventures. From pedal boating in Prospect Park to sharing Key lime pie along the water in Red Hook, we guarantee you’ll want to take your preschooler or toddler on these 30 must-do activities.

And one of the great things about these early years is that your kids may not be in school every day, so you often can avoid the weekends and enjoy some of these Brooklyn places without crowds.

Great Art Camps for NYC Kids: Paint, Sculpt, Sing, Perform

There's really no place like New York City for kids to learn about art. There are many professional artists who moonlight as a talented pool of teachers. The demand for art programs has created an amazing wealth of exceptional art classes and camps. After evaluating a myriad of creative arts camps, we have selected 11 exceptional camps which excel for different reasons.

We found visual arts camps, dance and theater camps, music camps, and even creative writing camps. There are also camps that have programs in cool stuff like circus arts and art camps that allow kids to sample a little of everything. We found programs that run all summer as well as week-long intensives. No matter their age, if your child is ready to dive into a summer of artistic expression, read on to find the perfect camp.

If you need more ideas, check out our Camp Guide and full Directory of Listings for dozens more great camp.

Country Day Camps Right Outside of New York City

There's certainly no shortage of much-loved day camps right here in NYC, but did you know your kid could be boarding an air-conditioned bus to a right-outside-the-city summer oasis?

From sprawling campgrounds and top-notch athletic facilities to outdoor adventures and classic activities like canoeing and archery, these day camps from our partners offer amenities and activities that are tough to come by in our wonderful but admittedly crowded city. And as if that isn't reason enough to trade a humid crosstown hike or a stifling subway ride for door-to-door bus service, many of the camps also provide on-site lunch, healthy snacks, and even towel service. Did we mention these tried-and-true traditional summer programs have been adored by families across the tri-state area for decades?

12 Favorite Baby and Toddler Classes in Queens

Searching for an engaging baby and me class in Queens to take with your infant, crawler, or toddler? This diverse and ever-changing NYC borough offers up plenty of options for the littlest ones including music, art, movement, and even science. 

We've rounded up a dozen of the most popular and unique baby and toddler classes in Queens, including an outdoor nature program and an infant movement session. If you call Queens home, check out these classes, and find one that works best for you (or your caretaker) and your child. And don't forget to check out the other drop-in play spaces in this family-friendly borough.

Need more inspiration? Check out our NYC Baby Guide or directory of classes across NYC.

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