Raven is a writer, editor, performer and mom, who was born and bred in NYC, just like her husband, her mother and now, her daughter. As a writer, she's contributed articles to New York Magazine, Time Out New York, The Village Voice, the New York Post, TV Guide, Better Homes and Gardens, iVillage, AOL TV and Moviefone, Parents.com, and worked as an in-house editor for ParentsConnect.com and TimeOutKids.com. As a performer, she's appeared on many downtown stages (sometimes even for pay!), a couple of obscure films and TV shows, and The Maury Povich Show as a female drag queen. She's also the founder of Hot Mama Burlesque, the world's only all-moms burlesque show. After being the NYC editor from March 2011-March 2015, she is now happy to just be a blogger as she pursues additional writing opportunities.
Latest posts by Raven Snook
How's the old adage go? The best things in life are free. But for families in NYC, that may sound like crazy talk. From housing to classes to entertainment, everything here seems to cost so much money...or does it?
The fact is, there's plenty of FREE fun for kids in New York City. And even top family attractions that charge entry fees like museums, zoos, amusement parks, and water parks offer no-cost admission for children under certain ages, and those savings can really add up, especially when you have preschoolers or toddlers.
So, we decided to make a list of when the freebies end for kids at New York City's best family destinations, from tourist hot spots like the Statue of Liberty to all of the children's museums and zoos. Yet another reason to wish your children could stay young forever! We've even included a few of our favorite picks in nearby locales, too.
Note: The cut-off ages imply that once kids reach that age, they no longer qualify for free admission, and some places may ask for proof of age. Looking for a 100% FREE outing? Check out our roundup of no-cost admission hours at NYC museums.
NYC's FREE summer concert season comes to its annual close in August, but it goes out with a bang. We've rounded up more nearly two dozen no-cost shows for families and kids that are worth the time, energy, and travel.
Since most of these performances take place in parks and playgrounds, you can make a day of it by packing a picnic and soaking up some complimentary culture.
August is seemingly movie month in NYC with free outdoor flicks playing every night. Of course, not all are family-friendly. So who has time to peruse all those different movie calendars to pick out the kid-pleasing titles? We do. Behold: More than 50 FREE outdoor movies this August, most rated G or PG (with a few PG-13 titles for the tweens in your life), organized by date. All you need to do is carve out time in your busy NYC summer schedule and pack a blanket and snacks.
Governors Island opens to the public for its summer season each Memorial Day weekend. It's an event we anticipate every year. The island seemingly reinvents itself with new attractions annually in addition to returning family-friendly favorites. The most noteworthy addition in 2016 is the opening of The Hills, though there have been plenty of other fun additions, too.
This 172-acre oasis was once home to the U.S. Army and Coast Guard, and is full of quaint 19th-century houses, grassy hills and traffic-free bike paths. It's just a seven-minute ferry ride from lower Manhattan, but if you stand in a spot where the city skyline is out of view, you feel as if you've been transported to 1800s New England. In addition to being a fantastic place for families to relax and explore, the isle hosts lots of cool FREE festivals like the Figment arts fest, and features awesome activities such as the Children's Museum of the Arts Free Art Island Outpost, no-cost mini golf, the city's first adventure playground, and so much more.
Read on for the scoop on the very best things to do on Governors Island with kids, plus important visitor tips.
My daughter was just 18-months old when she saw her first circus show (Big Apple Circus, of course). We've gone back every year and by the time she was in preschool, she was begging me to show her how to hula hoop, juggle and clown around. Except for the acting like a clown part, I am seriously circus-skill challenged. But there are lots of cool circus programs in NYC that are happy to teach aspiring acrobats and budding Bozos the tricks of the trade.
While we already have a post on trapeze classes for kids, the programs spotlighted here train children in a wide variety of circus skills, not just the aerial arts. Similar to theater courses, circus arts classes can help kids build their confidence, spark their creativity and get a great physical workout. Not sure how your kid would take to a circus class? A lot of these programs offer drop-in sessions so you don't have to make a long-term commitment. On the acrobatic flip side, if your kid is obsessed with circus, many of them offer semester-long courses and awesome summer camps, too. Here are 11 circus classes for kids in New York City.
You can find more NYC classes in our Classes Guide and Directory Listings.
New York City's family theater scene is hotter than a heat wave. Some people might think the dog days of summer are a cultural wasteland and that all the cool openings won't start again until fall, but that's just not the case when it comes to kids' shows.
There are options for all ages, interests, and budgets, including a page-to-stage adaptation of a Junie B. Jones picture book, family-friendly outdoor Shakespeare, the return of a glow-in-the-dark extravaganza, and a brand-new Spectacular starring the Radio City Rockettes. Best of all, some picks are less than $25 per ticket, and three are 100 percent FREE! Plus, we found discount codes for the pricier ones.
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is getting ready to boldly go where no American has gone before! Imported from the Canada Aviation and Space Museum and opening Saturday, July 9, Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy Experience is a 12,000-square-foot, interactive installation where fans of all ages can immerse themselves in the sci-fi franchise's universe by "training" for various on-ship jobs. By completing fun tasks and taking brief quizzes at themed stations, find out whether you're best suited for a career in Communications, Medical, Science, Engineering, Navigation, Tactical, or Command, all while tracking your progress on a high-tech wristband that sends your results to your email.
For Trekkies, missing this exhibit would be "illogical" as Spock loves to say. But will casual viewers and little kids think it's out of this world, too? Find out whether your little space cadets are ready to join up, and tips for making the most of your voyage!
And don't forget to check out the NYC Museum Guide for all the latest kid-friendly exhibits.