Free and Fun Things to Do this Weekend with NYC Kids: Egg Hunts,Passover Fun, Dan Zanes, Gustafer Yellowgold, March 31-April 1

Weekend Events and Activities in New York City for Kids and Families

Although March came in like a lamb and is leaving like a lion there are a lot of spring events and activities to be found in New York City this weekend.  Kids can party with the Easter Bunny at one the festive Easter Egg Hunts or pre-Passover fun can be found at the mellow Dave Grover concert and the Egyptian-themed Story of the Exodus performance. Families can also learn about the Chinese Qing Ming Festival Spring celebration.  The tropical splendor, Brasil: Gardens in Paradise, the 2012 edition of the Macy’s Flower Show continues through the weekend and offers special family performances.

Look for outdoor fun at the old-fashioned race around the farmyard event at the Lefferts Historic House, the nature-themed scavenger hunt at the Blue Heron Nature Center, the Bike Bonzanza and Rodeo at PS 261 or opening weekend at the Queen’s Botanic Garden.  

Some Mommy Poppins favorite performers are on deck this weekend. Dan Zanes is playing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (act fast if you want a ticket they are almost sold out), the incredible Gustafer Yellowgold celebrates his new CD at 92Y Tribeca and the unique Pasta! A Pop Ups Musical plays Symphony Space.

More of our best bets for a fun weekend are below but be sure to visit the Mommy Poppins Events Calendar for more options.

All Weekend

UniverSoul Circus - the Bronx
It's the final week for UniverSoul Circus in the South Bronx. After Sunday, the troupe moves on to Queens and then Brooklyn. Although UniverSoul was originally founded to showcase the talents of African-American performers, this year's edition features acts from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. The Olates and their adorable dogs come from Chile, South America. All-female bicycle act Chain Reaction hails from China. The Zhukau Acrobatic Troupe is from Belarus and contortionist Rahel comes from Ethiopia. There is also lots of homegrown talent on display too, like ringmaster Tony Tone, the Soul Circus Divas and their elephants, a live hip-hop DJ and break-dancing clowns. Tickets are $20-$40.

The Macy’s Flower Show–Brasil: Gardens in Paradise – Herald Square
In addition to marveling at the sights and smells, visitors can enjoy free family-friendly activities. On Saturday, families can catch live performances from a pair of kid-friendly Off Broadway shows: a cappella extravaganza Voca People at 1pm, and the self-explanatory Gazillion Bubble Show at 2pm. FREE See our full review.

Opening Weekend Celebrations—Flushing
The Queen’s Botanic Garden opens for the season this weekend with tours of the grounds, arts and crafts for kids and special appearances by Flora, the garden’s lovable mascot. Free with paid garden admission of $4 for adults and $2 for children.

Saturday, March 31

Green Thumb Grow Together –the Bronx
Hostos Community College in the Bronx hosts the 28th annual GreenThumb GrowTogether. Join thousands of community gardeners and greening professionals from all over New York City for a day of learning and greening inspiration. This year’s edition includes lots of hands-on workshops for young gardeners. Pre-Registration required. In advance: $3; at the door: $5.

Carnegie Hall’s Neighborhood Concert & Community Sings -- Harlem
Catch a complimentary concert by the Young People’s Chorus of New York City at Harlem's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The theme is audience participation, so be prepared to sing along to jazzy spiritual tunes. FREE

Easter Egg Hunt –Upper West Side
All Souls Christian Church sponsors the annual Upper West Side Easter Egg Hunt on the North Lawn of Riverside Park at 79th Street. Since children are grouped by age, even the littlest searchers can find some eggs before the big kids run off with the rest. Spring-themed arts and crafts, and face painting round out the fun. Registration begins at 9:45am. FREE

Bindlestiff Cavalcade of Youth – Coney Island
See the stars of tomorrow today at this variety show featuring jugglers, dancers, acrobats, contortionists and other circus artists all under age 21. $15 for adults, $10 for children.

Easter Eggs: A Family Extravaganza – Morningside Heights
Head to the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine for its annual Easter Eggs: A Family Eggstravaganza holiday workshop. Kids can create colorful patterns on their eggs with tissue paper, glitter, glue and paint, and then fashion a nest out of twigs, feathers and clay. Bring your own hard-boiled eggs. Pre-registration suggested. $8 per adult-child pair.

Family Program: Columns and Stories – Battery Park
Kids can learn all about the glorious architecture of the Newspaper Row skyscrapers that were once clustered in lower Manhattan by touring News Paper Spires at the Skyscraper Museum and then creating their own special edition paper.  Pre-registration required. $5

Pasta!: A Pop Ups Musical – Upper West Side
A totally unique family show. Equal parts pop concert and interactive puppet show, Pasta! is great fun for young kids. Raven and her daughter saw it last year and loved it! No other kids' band is able to span different genres as successfully as this Brooklyn duo, who do reggae, dance, pop, indie and show tunes. The story revolves around their search to make the perfect pasta dinner with the help of a host of quirky New York characters. It's silly but tasty fun. $20 for adults, $13 for children.

Pysanky: Ukrainian Easter Egg Decoration Workshop – East Village
Learn how to make pysanky, a.k.a. Ukrainian Easter eggs, by drawing designs on the eggs with wax and then dyeing them. My aunt used to make pysanky and I've always wanted to try my hand at it, too. So I plan to hit one of these workshops at the Ukrainian Museum, which will be offered through Easter. Best for 12 and up. Registration required. $15 for adults, $10 for children ages 16-18, $5 for ages 12-15.

Scavenger Hunt – Staten Island
Kids can search the grounds around the Blue Heron Nature Center in a fun nature-themed scavenger hunt organized by the Urban Park Rangers. FREE

Spring Egg Hunt – Sutton Place
The 54th Street Rec Center and the Sutton Place community come together to throw a fun egg hunt for kids complete with arts and crafts, face painting and carnival games. FREE

8th Annual Egg Hunt – Upper East Side
Head to the Upper East Side's Carl Schurz Park for its annual Easter egg hunt. Families can decorate egg collecting bags before participating in one of three hunts, at noon, 12:20pm and 12:40pm. There will also be face painting by Sheila J., Easter bunny photo ops and a live concert by Moey's Music Party in the playground. FREE

First Annual Easter Egg Hunt – Dyker Heights
The 13th Avenue Merchants Association and a few local politicians sponsor this first annual community Springtime gathering, that includes not only an egg hunt but also an egg and spoon races as well as other kids' games, temp tattoos, a deejay and face time with the Easter Bunny. FREE

Irish Arts Festival – Hudson Square
The Children's Museum of the Arts hosts an Irish Arts Festival with lots of Celtic inspired activities including Irish crafts, jig lessons, mystical animations, storytelling and knitting workshops. Free with admission: $10.

Saturday Family Programs: Fish Face -- Park Slope
Fans of the Patricia Reilly Giff’s children’s lit series Kids of the Polk Street School should enjoy this musical adaptation of Fish Face by ArtsPower at the Central Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. FREE

Celebrate Spring Workshops – Flushing
At the historic Flushing Town Hall kids can craft animal hats from paper to honor the Mexican tradition of giving schoolchildren feathers to mark the start of Spring.  Families can also make their own pentatonic panpipes or pallas from the Andes and learn how to play it. $10

Bike Swap & Rodeo – Cobble Hill
Get the kids and the bikes ready for cycling season at Brooklyn’s PS 261.  Bring a bike to swap or buy a new one on site, enroll in a-learn-to-ride clinic for kids or have them hone their cycling skills during the afternoon’s skills workshop.  Workshop and skills programs FREE, Bike Swap is $15 and Bike Sale is $25.

Spring Fling – Dumbo
Kids can enjoy live concerts by AudraRox and The Wiyos, storytelling, face painting, yoga with Karma Kids and plenty of Easter-themed activities, including egg decorating, games and a visit from the Brooklyn Bridge Park Bunny. Other activities include making a toy boat at the nearby Brooklyn Navy Yard Center, crafting solar powered bracelets and going for a spin on the gorgeous Jane's Carousel. FREE

MacHomer: The Simpsons Do Shakespeare – Greenwich Village
Here's a great show for tweens: the Simpsons-Shakespeare mash up MacHomer, which hits the Skirball Center in Greenwich Village. Critically acclaimed comedian Rick Miller plays Macbeth as Homer with hilarious results. This show's been a big hit overseas, and retains about 85% of the Bard's text. Bet your kids won't complain that it's boring. $20-$32.

Eggstravaganza – Upper West Side
And another Easter celebration: The West Side YMCA on West 63rd hosts its annual eggstravaganza with egg games, egg crafts, an egg hunt and other egg-citing activities.  $15.

See All Saturday Events

Sunday, April 1

Qing Ming Festival Family Day – Chinatown
This annual Chinese celebration of ancestry includes sweeping family graves each spring. After the work is done, the fun starts, usually in the form of kite flying and other seasonal amusements. At this Museum of Chinese in America festival, visitors can register for a kite-making workshop and catch Lenore Look as she reads from her book, Alvin Ho: Allergic to Dead Bodies, Funerals and Other Fatal Circumstances. Also on offer are family-friendly tours of the museum and drop-in arts and crafts for kids and adults. $10.

Open Studio: Seeds and Soil – Long Island City
Stop by the serene Noguchi Museum to explore its sculpture galleries and create spring themed art with the educators during the Seeds and Soil Open Studio. $5 per family.

David Grover & Grover’s Gang Concert and Songwriting Workshop – Upper East Side
Kids will have a blast at this groovy pre-Passover concert at the Jewish Museum where David and the Gang will be joined by Meredith Wright of SweetBeatz.  David will teach the kids how to create their own lyrics and set them to music in an intimate pre-show songwriting workshop.  Concert is $16 for adults and $11 for children.  The workshop is an additional  $16 for adults, $11 for children.

Gustafer Yellowgold’s Year in the Day CD Release Party – Tribeca
One of my family’s favorites Gustafer Yellowgold and his creator Morgan Taylor will be bringing their multi-media musical show to the Tribeca outpost of the 92nd Street Y to celebrate the release of their new CD Year in the Day. $15

Ramona Quimby – Flushing
Ramona, kids lit's most famous pest, comes to life on the stage at the Queen’s Theater in the Park in this theatrical adaption for school aged kids. Tickets: $14

Get Outta Town! The Story of the Exodus for Kids – Battery Park City
More pre-Passover fun at the Museum of Jewish Heritage when Play Me a Story presents the story of Passover with Egyptian-style dance, music, and costumes. Afterwards kids can work on creating some Passover arts and crafts. $10 for adults and $7 for children under 10.

Dane Zane & Friends in Concert – Upper East Side
Grammy winning kid rocker Dan Zanes plays a cool concert at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It's already almost sold out, so if you're interested act fast! $15.

Race around the Farm Yard – Crown Heights
Prospect Park’s Leffert’s Historic House kicks off the season with something new: Race around the Farm Yard.  A fun afternoon that will have kids and families moving by playing old fashioned games like potato sack races and stilt walking outside in the yard. FREE

Passover Spectacular – Lower East Side
Celebrate Passover a little early at the Museum at Eldridge Street by going on a fun-filled scavenger hunt. Search for clues all around the historic synagogue, and discover how new Jewish immigrants marked the holiday in the U.S. in days of yore. $15 per family.

Shlemiel Crooks – Upper West Side
The Poppy Seed Players comedic romp, which is narrated by the family dog, details what happens when the pharaoh tries to sabotage Passover by pinching the wine. The musical is based on two children’s books by Anna Olswanger: Shlemiel Crooks and Chicken Bone Man. The author will be on hand to sign copies of her tales after the show. $20

See All Sunday Events

Outside of NYC

Both the kids and the animals can participate in an egg hunt at the Bergen County Zoo’s SpEGGtacular in Paramus, New Jersey.

The Renaissance inspired Castle Gould at Sands Point Preserve in Sand Point, Long Island is hosting an egg hunt on it’s magnificent waterfront lawn.  

The New Canaan Nature Center in New Canaan, Connecticut will be teaching kids about eggs and letting them meet baby chicks and bunnies during their Great Egg Hunt.  

Don't forget there's a lot more fun in the Mommy Poppins Events Calendar.