Jody Mercier

Jody Mercier

Jody Mercier's picture

When asked to illustrate her career goal as a first grader, Jody drew a picture of a mom with one kid on each hip and another clinging to her leg. All these years later, that is her reality, raising three kids in this crazy city. Since her dream job only pays in hugs and kisses, she has spent her professional career as an editor at SI.com, espnW.com and SportsonEarth.com, and also freelanced for Care.com.

Latest posts by Jody Mercier

NYC Museums Open Doors for Free on Inauguration Day

As the country swears in a new president Friday, January 20, a number of New York City museums are opening up their doors for FREE. Many others will host American- or historical-themed events, or even protest sign making at one.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that in a city where residents overwhelmingly voted against President-elect Donald Trump, that NYC is in less of a celebratory mood than a reflective or even defiant one. Protests continue, including the Women's March on NYC, this Saturday. But the museums' outreach, a sort of taking in of those looking for camaraderie on Inauguration Day, is a welcome touch.

And in the spirit of making lemonade out of lemons, we've rounded up 11 ways to commiserate your Inauguration Day away. Whether you spend it taking in one of the city's cultural institutions FREE of charge, or in the company of like-minded friends we wish you the best on what still strikes us as a truly surreal day.

Kid Film Festivals and Indie Movie Theaters in NYC

A visit to the movies is tempting in the cold of winter, but big-budget family film options can be lackluster. Why not rediscover the magic of the movies at a children's film festival?

City kids can sit back and enjoy the carefully curated lineup at the BAMkids Film Festival and New York International Children's Film Festival. These showcase international and offbeat shorts and features. You'll also find cool classics every Sunday at Film Forum Jr., as well as a mix of indie and classics at BAM this winter and spring with its BAMkids movie matinee series. Each offers dozens of picks for preschoolers up to tweens. Plus, ticket prices can be less costly—most are less than $15 per person.

Here are details on these festivals, as well as theaters such as the Film Forum known to offer regular indie kid flicks. 

Governors Island Will Open a Month Early in 2017

Governors Island, long one of our favorite summer spots, will open to the public on Monday, May 1 this year, nearly a full month ahead of its usual schedule. Typically it opens for the season on Memorial Day weekend.

The earlier opening isn't just for weekends, either. Ferries will shuttle New Yorkers to the massive park seven days a week, from May 1 through October 1, offering access to the brand-new playgrounds it debuted last year, art, and cool festivals like Figment. Suddenly we know what we're doing for Mother's Day 2017! 

22 Brooklyn Drop-In Play Spaces and Kiddie Gyms

Brooklyn can't be beat for indoor play spaces. While Manhattan and Queens have about a dozen drop-in indoor playgrounds apiece, Brooklyn boasts nearly twice that number, and 2016 brought a slew of exciting newcomers to the scene, from the Brooklyn Children's Museum's outpost, Spark, to Busy Bodies in Clinton Hill, Curiosity on Court, and more.

While we've included a couple of the more mellow tot spots with crafts or storytelling, this best of Brooklyn list is focused on active play spaces, where toddlers, preschoolers, and even bigger kids can conquer multilevel mazes, swoosh down slides, climb up rock walls or just turn around in circles until they fall down exhausted, ready for a nap.

Read on for nearly two dozen drop-in indoor romper rooms for kids in Brooklyn. Find play spots in our Indoor Family Fun Guide.

Worth It? Family Memberships in NYC to Consider for Winter

After visiting NYC's top play spaces, museums, and other fun zones, we've rounded up the various membership deals at 18 kid-centric destinations. These places will keep your kids entertained, active, and out of the cold. Some even offer short-term memberships, so you only have to pay until spring arrives.

In the dead of winter, it can be daunting to schlep somewhere new every weekend, so a membership to one (or two) of your favorite kid play spots makes sense. We've already done the math so you'll know exactly how many visits it takes until these investments pay off—and whether or not the "deal" works for your family.

Need more ideas? Check out our ultimate Winter Fun List, featuring 50 cool (make that warm!) things to do indoors with kids throughout the freezin' season.

New Year's Eve Fireworks in NYC and More 2017 Family Celebrations

There are plenty of ways to ring in 2017 in New York City. We've rounded up the city's best family-friendly options from Brooklyn fireworks and FREE bike rides to swanky (and admittedly expensive) Times Square parties. 

If you have little kids, check out our article on pre-midnight bashes happening all day long at children's museums and other venues around NYC. However you welcome the New Year, we hope it's a blast. You can find even more seasonal fun in our Holiday Guide.

Register for Free Swimming Lessons for NYC Kids

The New York City Parks Department offers FREE aquatic programs for children under 18 all year round, as well as adults, but you have to apply through an online lottery for each session. Winter swimming lessons are on the horizon and the lottery opens on Monday, December 26. A lottery for a school holiday break learn-to-swim session also opened earlier this month.

Read on for the details on where to swim for free, or check our directory of paid kid swim classesmommy-and-me swim lessons for babies and toddlers, including those specifically in Brooklyn and in Queens.

Best Christmas Eve Activities in NYC for Families

Whether your family has established Christmas Eve traditions or decides to wing it, there are plenty of ways to celebrate in New York City this Saturday, December 24. From holiday shows to Christmas pageants, amazing holiday light and window displays to Christmas caroling, miniature trains, and ice skating, we found plenty of festive things to do on Christmas Eve with kids—during the day and after dark.

Remember, a number of places will close early on Christmas Eve, so click through to the full listing before hopping on the train. Still, there's plenty open on this holiday—the first day of the official school vacation for public school kids—to create a full day of NYC play.

You can find more seasonal activities in our Holiday Fun Guide or in our daily Event Calendar. And if you're celebrating the first night of Hanukkah instead, there are plenty of menorah lightings and Festival of Lights celebrations happening, too.

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