Raven Snook

Raven Snook

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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

The Best Children's Theater in NYC This Summer

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.

Geek Out at the Intrepid's New Star Trek Installation

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.

50 Ways To Cool Off in NYC with Kids This Summer

As summer looms ahead, there's no denying that the heat and humidity can get under the skin of even the most tropical-weather-loving New Yorker. To beat the heat, my kid (and my inner child) insist any outing includes water, industrial strength air-conditioning, or sweet frozen treats.

While we enjoy hitting our local public pool and running around the sprinklers (oh yes, I get in there, too), lately we've been longing for more diverse destinations. That inspired us to round up our favorite ways to cool off in New York City.

Our list includes a variety of destinations, some are brand-new; others are old standbys. The list includes outdoor spots like extra-special water playgrounds, awesome pools and splashy boat rides, and indoor havens such as kid-friendly museums. Many of our suggestions are FREE and we even included exceptional frozen treat spots, so you can indulge in ice cream or pops. So strike while the weather's hot: Here are our top 50 ways to cool off with kids in NYC this summer.

14 Free Concerts for NYC Kids This July

Thought there were a lot of FREE family concerts in June? Well, NYC's no-cost kiddie music scene really heats up as summer continues. For July, we've rounded up 14 complimentary concerts for families that are worth the time, energy, and effort. The entertainers range from big names to local bands who reflect the diversity of our city.

Most of these performances take place in NYC's attraction-filled parks, meaning you can make a day out of it. So pack a picnic, stake out a spot, lay down a blanket, and soak up some no-cost culture. You can find more family fun in our jam-packed Summer Guide or our list of 100 Free Things To Do This Summer in NYC.

The BFG: How Scary Is Disney's New Movie About Kid-Eating Giants? A Parent Review

Although The BFG isn't as well known as some of Roald Dahl's other books (like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda), it definitely has its share of rabid fans. If your family is among them, you'll be happy to hear that Steven Spielberg is quite faithful to the source material in Disney's new CGI/live-action hybrid, The BFG—though some of the Dahl darkness has been replaced by the director's signature wide-eyed wonder. Even so, for parents of younger children the question is, just how terrifying are those tot-eating giants? We've got the answer (and a photo in case you want to see how your preschoolers react), plus the scoop on whether it's worth splurging for IMAX 3D.

Free Outdoor Family Movies in July for NYC Kids

Every summer in New York City, there are a slew of no-cost outdoor movie screenings. So many in fact, you can probably find at least one FREE alfresco flick per evening somewhere in the five boroughs. But a number of these films are not kid-friendly. If you don't plan ahead, you could end up dropping into Bryant Park for Die Hard, and you really don't want your preschooler repeating Bruce Willis' R-rated variation on yippee ki-yay, do you?

While a few series are aimed specifically at children, including RiverFlicks for Kids, most series sandwich their family films in between grown-up ones. But rather than having you peruse all those different calendars, we've done the work for you. Behold: More than 25 FREE outdoor movies this July, most rated G or PG (with a couple of PG-13 titles for tweens), all organized by date. Expect to find plenty of recent blockbusters such as Minions and Inside Out, with a few classics thrown in.

So pack your picnic, grab a blanket and head out to one of our picks for the best family-friendly alfresco flicks this month.

Finding Dory: How Does It Measure up to Finding Nemo?

You certainly can't accuse Disney•Pixar of rushing things. The sequel to the 2003 animated classic Finding Nemo was 13 years in the making, so evidently the studio was more interested in getting it right than in making a quick buck. That philosophy shows in every aspect of this movie, from its breathtaking underwater visuals to its cute, quirky characters to its moving story, which flips the Nemo plot and has Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) searching for her long-lost parents. Although the heroine suffers from short-term memory loss, anyone who saw Finding Nemo will find the proceedings very familiar. The result is immensely enjoyable for both children and adults, with heartfelt messages about family, self-reliance, and perseverance.

But before you start pushing your stroller to the nearest cineplex, be warned: the PG-rated Finding Dory is a bit darker than its G-rated predecessor (notwithstanding the latter's Bambi-esque death of the mom sequence). Dory and her pals are frequently lost and stuck in scary situations. Can your preschoolers handle it, and—if you have older kids—is it worth splurging on IMAX 3D? No need to go on a fishing expedition: we've got watertight answers.

Free Outdoor Family Movies This August in NYC

August is seemingly movie month in NYC with free outdoor flicks playing every night in August somewhere in New York City, but not all are family-friendly. So who has the 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.

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