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

Best Things To Do with NYC Kids: October GoList

Get your calendars ready: Here are the top 17 things to do with kids in New York City this October, nine of which are FREE. Halloween may generate the hoopla, but there are plenty of other must-do activities this month. The fall culture season kicks into high gear with amazing events including the interactive royal adventure The Young King at the New Victory Theater, the grand opening of the immersive marine attraction National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey , and a classical Carnegie Hall Family Concert.

Many annual seasonal favorites also take place in October, including the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine's blessing of the animals, Bay Ridge's costume-filled Ragamuffin Parade, and the Medieval Festival in Fort Tryon Park.

SpongeBob SquarePants Aims for a Broadway Splash This Fall

Although you'll have to wait until spring to catch the highly anticipated stage adaptations of Frozen and Harry Potter on Broadway, there's another popular kids' character hitting the boards this fall. After a well-reviewed Chicago run, Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants musical sails into town this November featuring all the beloved Bikini Bottom denizens including Patrick, Squidward, and the endlessly optimistic title character who lives in a pineapple under the sea.

While I realize this production may sound like a soulless cash grab by Nickelodeon, which has long been interested in getting into the theater biz like its rival Disney, there are actually several reasons I expect this production to make a splash on Broadway. In fact, I think this may be one of those rare family shows that works on multiple levels, thrilling the brand's young fans while also winning over grown-ups with its stunning design, quirky humor, and songs by some of the biggest rock stars of all time—including the late David Bowie.

Best Family Theater in NYC this Fall: Paw Patrol to Shakespeare

Autumn marks the start of a new theater season, but you don't need to shell out big bucks on Broadway shows to give your kids a memorable live entertainment experience in NYC. In fact, this fall boasts more high-quality productions for young audiences than in recent years—so many in fact, we have a whopping 22 picks, and that's after whittling down the contenders!

Preschoolers will go gaga for return engagements of popular stage incarnations of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Pete the Cat, and Paw Patrol. Older kids can get schooled in the classics with creative, kid-centric adaptations of Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde. There's funky fare for tweens at Lincoln Center and BAM, plus everyone in your family can cheer the highly anticipated return of the Big Apple Circus. Best of all, most of our picks are $25 or less per ticket.

The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze Rises in Hudson Valley Again

There are some experiences every family should try once. Then there are annual events that, after you try them, you vow to do every year forevermore. The Great Jack O' Lantern Blaze in Croton-on-Hudson,  a Hudson Valley Halloween staple with thousands of hand-carved jack-o’-lanterns, falls firmly in the latter category.

The downside of the Blaze is that tickets start selling out way in advance ... like early September. The 2017 shows begin Friday, September 29, and run through Saturday, November 25—a longer run than planned in years past. They are not held every day, so start checking the calendar now. Our NYC readers should know that the Blaze is definitely worth splurging on, even if you need to rent a Zipcar. It's also accessible via public transportation.

Read on for what you need to know about this Halloween spectacle, including details about this year's installations (including the timely Pumpkin Zee Bridge). Looking for more fall and Halloween fun? Sign up for our newsletters

Indoor Swimming Pools in NYC That Offer Day Passes

There are plenty of FREE swimming pools in NYC for kids during the summer months, but if you're looking for year-round options, or less crowded waters, the options are a bit limited. We've rounded up the best bets, from private pools offering day passes, to off-the-beaten-path community spots. All are kid friendly and welcome families for swimming and other water fun.

Read on for where to get swimming in NYC now, and don't forget to check out how to score FREE swim lessons in the city, too.

Best Things To Do with NYC Kids: August GoList

While many New Yorkers like to skip town in August, there's plenty of must-do summer fun left if you're sticking around for a staycation with us, including the final FREE outdoor movies and summer family festivals.

Our top family event picks for August include annual favorites like Manhattan's car-free but activity-filled Summer Streets, the incredible Sand Sculpting Contest in Coney Island, and the colorful Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in Queens' Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Plus there are some exceptional family shows bowing this month, including a rare revival of Maurice Sendak's musical Really Rosie.

Find more fun things to do in our continually updated NYC Event Calendar.

NYC Playgrounds with Shade: Shady Park Benches and Equipment

While kids can always cool off in NYC's many sprinklers, we parents are stuck baking in the sun all day during the heat of the city's summer as we supervise outdoor play. It's a problem our readers know too well—each summer we get requests for recommendations of shady spots to play.

Although we know of a couple playgrounds that offer exceptional amounts of shade—Hippo Playground in Riverside Park and Discovery Playground in Fort Washington Park come to mind—we decided to ask our readers if they knew of any super-shady playgrounds in New York City. After clarifying that we were talking about shelter from the sun's rays, not sketchy parks, they came through with a number of great suggestions.

Please keep in mind that the name of the game here is comfort on a hot summer day; though we have visited plenty of destination playgrounds, with a few exceptions, these shady suggestions tend to be neighborhood standbys and small playgrounds that have plenty of shade, but perhaps not too many bells and whistles.

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