New York City

25 Things to Do for Mother’s Day 2018 in New York City

Mother's Day is Sunday, May 13, 2018, and mothers everywhere (is it fair to say especially in NYC?) deserve to have a great weekend—and an edible, or at least Instagram-worthy, breakfast in bed. 

Depending on the success of that breakfast in bed, you might also want/need to grab brunch before launching fully into the day—and we found some great options in Manhattan and the rest of the city (not to mention delicious special events, below). Then, tummies pleasantly sated, you'll be ready to focus on the 25 excellent options we found to enhance your Mother's Day celebration.

25 STEM Activities Easy Enough for Preschoolers

STEM activities are all the rage in education right now, and for good reason. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) – and the Arts for STEAM – are crucial to kids’ learning and our future. But how to get your younger children interested?

They might not be ready for coding, but many preschoolers under age 5, and even toddlers, can enjoy some basic STEM principles through play. Although one of my family’s admitted guilty pleasures is relaxing with a little screen time, I was inspired by the upcoming national Screen-Free Week (April 30-May 6, 2018) to take my daughter on a STEM binge instead.

We built an apple boat, a toothpick-marshmallow castle, attempted a pom-pom drop, and indulged in baking soda science. Read on for a list of 25 tried-and-true screen-free STEM activities to do with your preschooler.

May GoList: Best Things To Do with NYC Kids

May is beloved in NYC for the return of warm weather, alfresco dining options, and family-centric holidays such as Mother's Day and Memorial Day weekend. The latter marks the unofficial start of summer as beaches, water parks, and amusement parks open for the season.

But you don't have to wait until the last weekend of the month to enjoy wonderful family outings. There are fairs and festivals everywhere you turn in May, and our GoList includes the top 13 things to do with kids in New York City this month, a host of which are FREE. Enjoy no-cost annual favorites such as Governors Island Family Fun Day, the New York Dance Parade, and the Children's Museum of the Arts' Kids Fair. There's new spring theater, too, and new art debuting downtown.

For more activity ideas, peruse our Event Calendar and our Spring Fun Guide. It's also a great month to check out our NYC Parks & Playgrounds Guide.

Best Broadway Shows for Kids and Families

Whether you're visiting NYC or live here year-round, seeing a Broadway show is a special family experience. Kids are sure to remember it vividly, and chances are parents won't soon forget the credit card bill. That's why it's so important to pick a production wisely, especially when bringing young children to their first Broadway performance.

While Disney juggernauts The Lion King and Aladdin are popular options, there are other kid-friendly choices that aren't as obvious as well as attractive newcomers such as Harry Potter, SpongeBob, and Frozen. We've rounded up our 15 best Broadway musicals for families and organized them by age appropriateness. As a bonus, we've also got the scoop on how to save big bucks on tickets to some of our picks.

Peruse our event calendar for additional family theater options in NYC, or read reviews of current productions to find one that best suits your children.

Visiting Playa del Carmen and Riviera Maya in Mexico with Kids

Mexico's Caribbean coast is known for its first-class resorts, especially along the Riviera Maya, including towns such as Playa del Carmen and Tulum. So much so that sometimes the sparkling waters, stunning beaches, and swank surroundings of this northern Yucatan peninsula's all-inclusive deals make it hard to want to leave the lovely confines of your hotel.

But there’s so much more to this gorgeous Mexican coastal region just south of Cancun than beachside getaways. To introduce the kids to a taste of authentic culture, including Mayan ruins, natural wonders, and unlimited adventure, you don’t have to go far. Some excursions may take only an hour and others a whole day, but these 25 ideas are surely worthy of drawing the family out of the resort for even just a few hours.

Weekend Fun: Sakura Matsuri, Legos, and Family Festivals

Warm, cold, rainy, sunny (please, no more snow)...whatever the weather has up its sleeve for NYC, Legos don't care. And there are TWO Lego events happening this weekend for NYC kids: Saturday (for FREE!) and Sunday (for a fee). The Legopalooza begins at Scandinavia House on Saturday, and the good news is that this new exhibit, aptly titled Lego Bricks: A Celebration, is open through August 4 (hot, rainy days = already sorted for you). 

On Sunday, Lego Build for Habitat for Humanity at the World Trade Center invites kids ages 5–12 to compete for prizes, working in teams of four to build their own version of a Habitat for Humanity home.

National Arbor Day is April 27, so naturally this weekend includes lots of tree-themed outings. For starters, the massive Brooklyn Botanic Garden Sakura Matsuri festival takes place all weekend, celebrating those fleeting cherry blossoms and Japanese culture. 

More tree hugging can be accomplished at Wave Hill's Arbor Day Fest, which includes a chance to don hard hats and harnesses to climb an ancient sugar maple, The Evergreens Cemetery, and the Queens Botanical Arbor Fest.

All that, plus street festivals are in season, including this weekend's Street Games, the Puppetry Arts Fest in Brooklyn, the Jack and Jill School Spring Fair, and the Friendship Circle Upper East Side Carnival (with ponies), to name just a few.

Check out our Spring Fun Guide, the best upcoming family festivals this season, events for the pre-K and toddler crowd, and more outdoor fun like the May 1 opening of Governors Island, or maybe a little mini golf (did you know there are 12 miniature golf courses in NYC—at least one in each borough?)!

Fearless Girl Statue Set to Move to New NYC Home

Fearless Girl, the bronze statue put up in NYC by an investment firm last year ahead of International Women's Day, is about to get a new, long-term home in the city. The guerilla-style art installation was meant to bring attention to the lack of women in senior-level management positions and became an instant selfie magnet for women and girls of all ages.

It has spent the past year staring down the Charging Bull in Bowling Green Park on Broadway. She will be moved just north from the skinny Bowling Green median to a pedestrian-only spot directly in front of the New York Stock Exchange in the Financial District.

Best Family Festivals and Street Fairs in NYC This May

There are street fairs—and then there are street fairs. We don't mean those random ones selling irregular socks and fried Oreos; we're talking about true community festivals. Each one is unique, reflecting the character of its neighborhood, and many feature rides, performances, activities, and food. The hard part, of course, is knowing which is which, but don't worry, we've taken the guesswork out of it for you.

We've gone through the city's list of top annual festivals, street fairs, and carnivals and put together our roundup of top picks for May—more than two dozen. Most of these fetes are FREE or cost just a couple of bucks, and in many cases your dollars go to support a local charity or school. Here are some awesome fests happening in NYC this May.

You can find even more seasonal activities in our Spring Fun Guide.

Petting Zoos Near NYC Where Kids Can See Farm Animals

We're so fortunate to live in a city that offers an incredible array of fun spring activities for kids, but sometimes I fret over the disconnect from nature. I want my daughter to be as comfortable in the country as she is in the urban jungle, so we're always looking for ways to get out of NYC and explore the expansive farmland that borders the city.

While you can meet some furry friends at the city's wonderful zoos, and even get hands-on at their mini petting zoos, there's something particularly special about enjoying an authentic farm setting. We've rounded up our top petting zoos and animal havens to get some serious face time with furry friends. Get ready to load up the family for a day of donkey petting, goat bottle-feedings, and sheep shearing.

Here are our favorite spots for an up-close animal encounter, all within two hours of NYC.

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