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

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.

Best Summer Theater and Shows for NYC Kids (Free Options Too!)

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 not the case when it comes to the stage.

There are shows for all ages, interests, and budgets throughout the season, including a FREE page-to-stage adaptation of the Pete the Cat picture books, family-friendly outdoor Shakespeare, the launch of new kid-friendly matinees for a long-running Harry Potter parody, and a rare revival of the musical Really Rosie based on Maurice Sendak stories. Best of all, many of our picks cost less than $25 per ticket, and four are 100 percent FREE! Plus, we found discount codes for the pricier ones.

Big Apple Circus Readies Its Return to NYC

The past few years have been rough on circus lovers. After flying high since 1977, NYC's homegrown troupe, Big Apple Circus, announced last summer that it was folding up its tent and selling off its assets due to financial woes. And just last month, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey took its final bow after 146 years.

But this news should turn your sad clown frown upside down: Big Apple Circus is set to return this fall under new management, with a spectacle-studded show under the big top at Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park. And longtime fans should be particularly thrilled to hear that the company's veteran comic star, Grandma, who bid Big Apple adieu in 2012, is rejoining the circus. We've got the scoop on what to expect when you take a bite out of this overhauled Big Apple.

While you wait for the new show to debut, stay busy with our Summer Fun Guide.

Adventures at Governors Island: Zip, Climb, and Get Lost (for Fun!)

Every summer, the activity-packed Governors Island seems to become even more of a family fun zone. Its latest kid-centric destination is Adventures at Governors Island, a trio of thrilling outdoor attractions that debuted over the Memorial Day holiday. My tween and her friends were so excited to check out the 300-foot zip line, the 25-foot climbing tower, and the 3,600-square-foot maze that we decided to brave opening weekend. Overall we had an awesome experience (yes, even the parents), but we have some important tips to help your family get the most out of your Adventures.

Raring to ready, set...summer? Make the most of these sunny, warm days with our Summer Fun Guide and Parks & Playgrounds Guide!

Best Broadway Shows for Kids and Families

Whether you're visiting NYC or live here year-round, seeing a Broadway show is a special family experience. Kids are sure to remember it vividly, and chances are parents won't soon forget the credit card bill. That's why it's so important to pick a production wisely, especially when bringing young children to their first Broadway performance.

While Disney juggernauts The Lion King and Aladdin are popular options, there are other kid-friendly choices that aren't as obvious. We've rounded up our 10 best Broadway musicals for families and organized them by age appropriateness. As a bonus, we've also got the scoop on how to save big bucks on tickets thanks to various deals.

Find more upcoming NYC shows in our event calendar, or read reviews of current family productions to find the one that best suits your children.

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