News: Snag Free Sweets on Thursday, New Coney Island Roller Coaster, the Brooklyn Children's Museum Annex Is Coming to Dumbo

3/18/14 - By Alina Adams

NYC kids, prepare to be blinded by science (and art, too) as Brooklyn debuts two STEAM (that's STEM with an A for Art) programs, along with a brand-new Coney Island thrill ride that's sure to get your hearts pounding. Plus, find out where to pick up FREE treats this Thursday in honor of Macaron Day, two of our favorite Queens ice cream spots close, a book swap no kid-lit lover will want to miss, and a notable new children's book by an iconic rock star.


Openings & closings Park Slope has a cool new hands-on science spot for kids: The Tiny Scientist. Opened by a veteran state-certified science teacher, the center offers seasonal classes, camps, parties and even playgroups for children ages 2 to 11. Examining bugs, building robots and investigating Montessori-inspired sensory boxes are just some of what's on tap.

Flushing's namesake culture spot just got a $1.2 million makeover. The newly renovated renovated Flushing Town Hall boasts fresh seating and flooring, and modern heating and air conditioning, but the same great family programming, including popular annual Halloween and Lunar New Year celebrations.

And we saved the depressing for last: We just discovered that two of our favorite Queens dessert spots, Snopo in Flushing and Malu in Long Island City, are no more. We're particularly bummed about that last one since the owners had named a flavor after us!

In the works... Coney Island is getting a new/old ride this Memorial Day weekend: the custom-built Thunderbolt roller coaster inspired by the thrill ride of the same name that was demolished in 2000. The 2014 version will be smaller: just 45-feet wide and 800-feet long with three cars to hold nine passengers. But what it lacks in size it makes up for in screams with a top speed of 55mph and a stomach-dropping 90-degree vertical free fall. Some unsolicited advice: Hit Nathan's after you ride.

Meanwhile, Dumbo is set to get even more family-friendly when an annex of the Brooklyn Children’s Museum opens on John Street in 2016. The 1,700-square-foot space will include a studio and a classroom.

Free stuff The Madison Urban Club for Kids (M.U.C.K.for short) is about to kick off a year-long series of FREE workshops in Madison Square Park. Open to children of all ages, participants will gain a basic scientific understanding of the natural world and the importance of green spaces in urban areas. The first offering is Flower Power on Saturday, April 12 at 10am and includes a hands-on gardening activity.

And more FREE fun: Thursday, March 20 is Macaron Day NYC. That means you can pick up these delicious French cookies for FREE at a bunch of sweet spots (mostly in Manhattan) while supplies last. Visit the website for all the fine print.

Media matters NY1 recently debuted a cool new biweekly series, How NYC Works hosted by everyman Roger Clark, that answers all of those random questions we New Yorkers have like how does our water get here and where does our electricity come from? Clark already showed viewers how our mail system works. This Thursday, he'll take us behind the scene at the Fulton Fish Market.

The New York Times parenting and family blog Motherlode recently got a redesign, a new tagline "Living the Family Dynamic" and a renewed promise to focus on everything families are interested in across the country. The editor is soliciting ideas in the comments so weigh in while you can.

Got a bunch of kids' book to unload? Throughout April, you can hit the children's book swap at Tribeca boutique Torly Kid to trade in your old stories for new-to-you tomes. Bonus: You'll also get a coupon for 10% off your next purchase. As a family that literally rents a storage unit for excess literature, all I can wonder is: Where have you been all my life, Torly Kid?

And finally, Keith Richards is writing a children's book. Yes, that Keith Richards. The veteran rock and roller is collaborating with his daughter on Gus & Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar, which will be released with a CD in September.