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
Back when my daughter was in kindergarten, her class got into a conversation about world hunger. Her solution? Just go eat at a restaurant. (Marie Antoinette would have been proud.)
Clearly, my child has been raised on a diet that's heavy on eating out, and why not? New York City has some of the best kid-friendly restaurants anywhere.
Of course, dining out doesn't come cheaply, especially in this town—unless you happen to be a child. For NYC kids, there really is such a thing as a free lunch, brunch, and sometimes even dinner, if you know where to go. At these nine local eateries, you can feed those hungry mouths for the unbeatable price of $0, while you get a break from playing chef. We know what you'll be making tonight: reservations.
There are certain New York City celebrations we love so much, my daughter and I go every year, like the interactive art-filled Figment on Governors Island, the incredible (and educational) World Maker Faire New York, and Street Games, the Parks Department's tribute to old-school pastimes.
I know I'm not the only mom out there who likes to plan ahead, and since the festival season kicks into high gear this month, we figured it was a great time to round up our top annual festivals for families. Every single pick on our list is either an event my family or one of our writers has been to personally, or an annual favorite endorsed by our friends and readers. In other words, they're really worth your time and money—even better, in many cases they don't cost a penny.
Check out our Annual GoList for even more great happenings and new openings for NYC families in 2017.
Beloved children's characters spring to life this season. Our top theater picks for the coming months include page-to-stage adaptations of classic kid stories like Peter Rabbit and the oeuvre of Dr. Seuss. There are also a number of immersive, multi-sensory productions created specifically for preschoolers while tweens can thrill to offbeat circus performances and the just-opened The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical, which we highlighted in our winter theater roundup.
While the highly anticipated family musicals Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Anastasia both open on Broadway this month, there's no need to shell out big bucks to give your kids a memorable live entertainment experience in NYC. Most of the 15 shows we're spotlighting are just $25—or less—per ticket.
The tweenage years—it's a tough stage filled with lots of 'tude. As parents, we know they're too old to hold our hands and follow us blindly to the nearest playground...that's way too babyish. But unlike teens, they may not be quite ready to wander around NYC alone for hours without a destination or supervision. That makes planning family outings for this age particularly tricky.
It's challenging to find activities that will entertain you and your tween. That's why this mother of a picky 11-year-old asked her peers and their kids for ideas guaranteed not to prompt one of those infuriating eye rolls. So bark at them to put down whatever gadget they're holding, and try one of these tween-tested-and-approved excursions in NYC.
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.
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.
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.)
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!