Raven Snook

Raven Snook

Raven Snook's picture

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

Beauty and the Beast Parent Review: Disney's New Live-Action Feature

Regardless of whether this movie gets raves or pans, if you have a princess-obsessed child in your home chances are you're seeing this movie in the theater—probably opening weekend. So let me get right to the good news: my 11-year-old daughter and I, both fans of the 1991 animated original, quite enjoyed Disney's live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. It is, perhaps, overly faithful to the source material. But hey, if it ain't broke, right?

There really was no reason for Disney to reinvent this classic, since the sight of Hermione—er, Belle in her frilly yellow dress will probably catapult this movie to the top of the box office. However, this isn't a soulless brand-expanding cash grab, either. For all of its familiarity, Beauty and the Beast is lovely to look at and listen to, with a smattering of new songs and a fairly subtle injection of progressive politics.

Is it good for preschoolers? Is it worth splurging for IMAX? Be our guest and read on for our honest opinions.

Rock Out to a New Alice in Wonderland Musical

Lewis Carroll's trippy adventures of Alice in Wonderland have been adapted a lot. But often the magic of his nonsensical world gets buried under special effects and heavy-handed attempts at poignancy. Not so in Wonderland: Alice's Rock & Roll Adventure, a new family musical playing in NYC this March that retains the most celebrated vignettes from Carroll's books while adding catchy songs and a relatable story line about a tween anxious to come of age.

Produced by Atlantic for Kids, the family theater arm of the renowned Atlantic Theater Company, this 75-minute show invites audiences of all ages to experience a familiar tale from a fresh musical perspective.

Interactive Digital Installation with VR Opens for Kids at BAM

Hands-on art is almost always fun for families, but BAMkids' interactive high-tech playground Teknopolis is truly mind-blowing. At this multifloor installation, which is on view through March 12, school-age kids (and their parents) can enjoy augmented-reality storytelling, virtual-reality simulations, motion-capture dancing, and other cutting-edge technological experiences that you might already know a bit about.

But what really makes Teknopolis special is its immersive first-floor gallery, a darkened room featuring 10 interactive stations, where visitors can manipulate a variety of digital landscapes via touch, movement, and even breath. Just like Alice stepped through the looking glass, you'll feel as if you've slipped through a screen into a shimmering world of black and white, where everything reacts to your presence. It's totally trippy and completely unforgettable.

But before you run off to buy tickets, we have some tips to share, including don't-miss highlights, appropriate ages, and, most importantly, how to get in since it is sold out. (Don't worry—there's a way.)

Splurge GoList: 10 Worth-the-Money Experiences for NYC Kids

While we love spotlighting all of the FREE and inexpensive activities New York City has to offer families, sometimes it's fun to toss your budget aside and splurge on an unforgettable, extra-special experience. Whether you're celebrating a big birthday, holiday, or a stellar report card, visiting on vacation, or just feel like treating your child to some amazing memories, the Big Apple is full of over-the-top options you can't enjoy anywhere else in the world. We've rounded up 10 of our favorites, from ideas to make the best Broadway shows even better, to up close and personal sporting events, to new ways to see our beloved city from the air—and beyond!

History Mystery Review: A Family Musical with Timely Politics

In TADA! Youth Theater's The History Mystery, an hourlong musical, a trio of history-hating teens is magically transported back in time to meet Martin Luther King, Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt, and others when they were adolescents. Not only do they learn about the experiences that helped shape these iconic figures, they also see how the past impacts our present. For school-age kids living in today's difficult political climate, it's a fun but fact-packed look at how every person, even a child, has the ability to affect positive change.

Best Things to Do with NYC Kids: February GoList

Get your calendars ready! Here are the top 15 things to do with kids in New York City this February, several of which are FREE.

Even though it's the shortest month, there are still plenty of awesome family activities in NYC. Our February GoList includes annual favorites such as Chinatown's Lunar New Year Parade; the Intrepid's activity-filled Kids Week during public school midwinter break; and the city's biggest movie fest for families: the New York International Children's Film Festival. And, of course, there are some brand-new, exceptional-sounding shows, concerts, and other special experiences for kids of all ages. We made sure to highlight a range of options, whether you have toddlers, elementary schoolers, or tweens.

Given that the February school break is coming up, you might also want to check out our Camp Directory and Day Trip and Family Getaway Guide, including ski trips.

You can find more seasonal fun in our NYC Winter Activities Guide and our daily Event Calendar.

Best Winter Shows for NYC Kids: Dinos, Circus Acts, Peter Pan

Winter 2017 in New York City is loaded with cool children's theater. Recently, we spotlighted a pair of high-profile family musicals coming to Broadway this season: long-running London hit Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and a screen-to-stage adaptation of the animated movie Anastasia.

But you don't need to shell out big bucks to give your kids a memorable live entertainment experience in NYC—plenty of engaging family productions are playing Off-Broadway for a lot less. This winter there are wonderful options for toddlers to tweens, including interactive shows created specifically for the preschool set (Shadow Play and Ear, Nose, and Tail ), eye-popping spectacles for all ages (Erth's Dinosaur Zoo Live and Cirque-tacular's Snowkus Pocus), and stage adaptations of popular picture books such as Elephant & Piggie and Please Bring Balloons. Best of all, most of these shows cost $25 or under, so you can take the whole family for less than the price of one Broadway ticket.

A Dozen Times Square Restaurants for Kid-Friendly Eats

Finding a family-friendly Times Square restaurant that doesn't belong in a mall might be more difficult than navigating the costumed-character-crammed sidewalks of the area with a stroller. The presence of Applebee's, Chevy's, Olive Garden, and TGI Friday's might leave you feeling as if you're in the 'burbs, not the crossroads of the world.

But just as there are things to do with kids in Times Square beyond the tourist attractions, there are also a variety of off-the-beaten-track, family-friendly eateries that serve tasty cuisine reflecting our melting pot of a city.

Next time you're in the Theater District, whether seeing a Broadway show, entertaining guests or just passing through, skip the chains and try one of these 12 kid-friendly Times Square restaurants.

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