Whether the kids are home for the whole summer or just a few weeks, there's always something to do and someplace to go. Following is a collection of activities, workshops, and entertainment for a range of ages and interests. They make the city a pretty tempting option for summertime diversions!
Compiled by Jeanette Moriondo
Abigail Adams Smith Museum & Gardens, 421 East 61st Street, (212) 838-6878. "Children's Springtime Garden Party". Celebrate spring in the garden with old-fashioned pleasures. Young visitors are invited to join in a sing-along of traditional children's songs. Greet Mother Goose, who will read some of her rhymes. May 16, 1-3pm. All participants $5, museum members $3.
American Arts & Crafts Alliance, Inc. 425 Riverside Drive, (212) 866-2239. "Spring Crafts on Columbus Show". More than 300 outstanding American craft designers and artists will exhibit and sell their handmade works. May 1, 2 and May 8, 9 outdoors on Columbus Avenue from 77th to 81st Streets. FREE.
American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street, (212) 769-5100. "Inside Your Body": What's beneath your skin? Discover what makes the body work as you listen to your heartbeat, examine X-rays, and investigate bones and muscles. A visit to the Hall of Human Biology and Human Evolution is included. May 16, 10:30am-1:30pm. Fee $15. "Crime Lab Investigation": A crime has been committed. Solve the mystery of who did it by collecting evidence, rounding up suspects, and analyzing a ransom note. Children will learn how to compare fingerprints and test inks with paper chromatography. May 23, 10:30am-1:30pm. Fee $15.
The Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse, Bronx, (718) 681-6000. "Urban Mythologies: The Bronx Represented Since the 1960s". This exhibit presents the shifting images of the Bronx as represented in contemporary visual art, street culture, and the mass media through provocative works by more than 40 international, national and local visual artists. Now through September 5. Wednesdays 3-9pm, Thursdays and Fridays 10am-5pm, and weekends noon-6pm. Adults $3, children $2.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 1000 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, (718) 622-4433. "KinderGardeners: KG1 for 3- to 4-year-olds". Imagine the excitement and wonder of watching a garden grow. From seed to harvest, youngest gardeners work in small groups to nurture young sprouts to mature fruit-bearing plants, watch for creepy crawly critters, and gather herbs and flowers for scented sachets. May 7, 14, 21, June 4, 11, 18, 25; 3:30-5pm. $90 non members; $70 members.
Brooklyn Children's Museum, 145 Brooklyn Avenue, Brooklyn, (718) 735-4400. "June Balloon": Bring a picnic and make it a day at the special Centennial Year incarnation of BCM's family arts festival. Enjoy arts and crafts workshops, crawling creatures, live performances, and a fabulous marketplace. June 6, 11am-5pm. "Play Scape Design": Explore how games are made with design whiz Julie Maurer, then invent one of your own. June 19, 2:30pm. $3 materials fee.
Caribbean Cultural Center, 408 West 58th Street, (212) 307-7420. "Under One Sun". Summer concert series in conjunction with the Hudson River Park Conservatory. This month-long evening concert series in June will feature different music such as reggae, salsa and jazz performed by some of the best artists in the field. Pier 25 Chambers Street, $25.
The Center for Music Dance Theatre & Art in Queens, Queens College, Flushing (718) 997- ARTS. "Alice in Wonderland". Renowned for their clever adaptations of timeless children's classics, American Family Theater performs a new musical version of the Lewis Carroll tale. Recommended for ages 4-8. May 15, 1pm, Colden Auditorium. Admission $9.
Central Park Conservancy, 14 East 60th Street, (212) 310-6636. "Geology 101". Learn about the rocks and minerals beneath your feet, and through which our water flows. Meet Scott Chessman, a geologist with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, who will demonstrate how the rocks are mined and how to identify minerals. Meet at the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center inside Central Park at 110th Street between Fifth and Lexington Avenues. July 24, 1-2:30pm. FREE.
Central Queens YM & YWHA, 67-09 108th Street, Forest Hills (718) 268-5011. "Salute to Israel Parade". The Forest Hills community will join to become one cohesive group to welcome participating organizations, including the Reform Temple of Forest Hills, the Forest Hills Jewish Center, the Rego Park Jewish Center, and many more. Marchers should be between 4th and 12th grades. May 9 from 10am-2pm.
China Institute, 125 East 65th Street, (212) 744-8181. Summer intensive course in Mandarin Chinese, June 21-July 30, 9am-2pm. Beginners level of Chinese offered during six weeks of daily, expert instruction. Weekly cultural activities included. Senior instructor Ben Wang. Call for registration and fees.
The Cloisters, at the MET, Fort Tyron Park, (212) 650-2290. "Music and Merry-Making": Celebrate May Day and see how it was done in the Middle Ages. May 1. "Growing Toward the Sun": Hear storyteller Kathy Devine tell medieval tales of plants and their magic as part of the Garden Day festivities. June 5. Adults $8, children under 12 FREE.Connecticut River Valley & Shoreline Visitors Council, 393 Main Street, Middletown, CT, (860) 347-0028. "Strawberry Shortcake Festival": Town Green, Main Street, Branford. Held in conjunction with the Branford Festival. June 19, 11am-4pm. Admission $4.50. "July 4th Parade": Downtown Madison, Rte. 1. Old fashioned parade including marching bands and floats. July 4, 11am. FREE. "Friskies Alpo Canine Frisbee Disc Competition & Baked Potato Festival": South Elm Street, Wallingford. Live music, Frisbee dog competition and baked potatoes. July 28, 6-9pm. FREE, $2 for potatoes.
Dance Theater Workshops (DTW), 219 West 19th Street, (212) 691-6500. "Madison as I Imagine It". A new evening-length work about the strange beauty of irregularity, imperfection, and possibility. May 6-9, and May 11-16 at 8pm. General admission $15.
Gowanus Arts Exchange, 421 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn, (718) 832-0018. "Young Choreographers Project". This project matches interested teenage choreographers with professional dancers to push the young artists' level of creative development. May 7, 8 at 8pm. Adults $8, children $5.
Green Meadow Waldorf School, 307 Hungry Hollow Road, Chestnut Ridge, NY, (914) 356-2514. "Green Meadow Family Music Festival". An all-day event for families that features lively music, folk dancing, children's activities, nature walks, international and natural foods, and vendors with handcrafted wares from around the world. All proceeds benefit the school. May 29, 10am-6pm. Advanced tickets: adults $16, children $8. At the gate: adults $20, children $10.
Henry Street Settlement Abrons Art Center, 466 Grand Street at Pitt, (212) 598-0400. "Afro-Caribbean Ensemble Retumba": All-women folkloric music and dance. May 8, 7:30pm. "Elizabeth Gomes, Felix Pitre": Traditional Bangladeshi dance and stories from Latin America. June 12, 7:30pm. Adults $8, children $4.
Hecksher Museum of Art, Two Prime Avenue, Huntington, NY, (516) 351-3250. "Discover Artsense". A new program designed for children entering kindergarten and first grade. The week-long summer workshop introduces young children to the art museum and also teaches many art techniques through storytelling, role-playing and a variety of inventive and enjoyable art activities led by museum educators. May 17, 10am-4pm. Tuition $60 per child.
Hi Art!, (212) 362-8190. At Hi Art!, kids don't stare at art or 'learn' about art or even 'critique' it. They climb inside it. "Culture Bugs" is a summer camp where children and their families are offered an opportunity to explore a wide range of 20th century art forms in a workshop setting. Provides an ongoing exploration of painting, sculpture and trips to New York's most important museums and galleries. Individuals are encouraged to freely enact their imaginations. Call for summer rates.
Historic Hudson Valley, 150 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, (914) 631-8200. "From a Child's Perspective at Sunnyside". Every Thursday in August, parents and children are invited to take a specially tailored tour of the home of Washington Irving. Visitors are given a child's eye view of the 19th century. Highlights include tales of Sunnyside's child residents, an interactive scavenger hunt, hands-on activities, and displays of period toys. Adults $8, children $4. Info: (914) 591-8763.
King Manor Museum, 90-04 161st Street, Suite 704, Jamaica, (718) 206-0545. Celebrate Flag Day at King Manor with the sights that make us all proud to be Americans. Enjoy tours, period games, and toys, too. June 12-13, noon-4pm. Adults $2, children $1. "Behind the Scenes Tour". A rare opportunity to see all 29 rooms of historic King Manor. Explore the wine cellar, bedrooms, caretaker's apartment, and more. Wear comfortable clothing and make reservations early. August 7 at noon; adults $5, children $3.
Liberty Science Center, Liberty State Park, 251 Phillip Street, Jersey City, (201) 200-1000. "Robot Zoo": A housefly with a 10-foot wingspan, a giant squid with 18-foot tentacles, a giraffe whose head and neck alone measure 9 feet - interact with these and other mechanical animals in the Robot Zoo. Children operate the computer workstations that move these giants. May 29-September 9, 2000. "Reptiles-The Beautiful and the Deadly": What exactly is a reptile, a turtle, a crocodilian, and a lizard? This exhibition explodes common myths about reptiles and fosters a basic understanding of how they fit into the animal kingdom. May 29-September 12, 1999. "The Island of the Sharks": Off the coast of an uninhabited rainforest island in the Pacific Ocean is a world of underwater wilderness. Visit this ocean teeming with sharks, marlin, tuna, dolphins, and other migrating fish in this IMAX presentation. Now showing, 10am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 4pm, 5pm. Exhibit floors and IMAX theater: adults $12, children $8.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue, (212) 879-5500. "Abakanowicz on the Roof". A selection of works by 20th century sculptor Magdalena Abakanowicz will be installed on The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, which offers a spectacular view of Central Park and the New York City skyline. Beverage and sandwich service is offered from 10am until closing. May 1 to late fall. Adults $10, children under 12 FREE.
The Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Avenue, (212) 534-1672. "A Musical Prelude to the Puerto Rican Day Parade": To help jump-start the festivities tied to New York's annual Puerto Rican Day Parade, join the Association for Puerto Rican-Hispanic Culture for a presentation of songs from the musical for children, "Toys Without Children". June 6, 2pm. "ASPCA Celebration: Ice Cream Social!" Join the Museum and the ASPCA to celebrate the opening of the newest City Partners exhibition, "Heritage of Care: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals". If your pet was adopted from the ASPCA, bring a 'brag' copy of your favorite photograph to share; perhaps that photograph will appear on the ASPCA website. July 11, 1-3pm. Suggested donation: adults $5, children $4, and families $10.
The Museum of Television and Radio, 25 West 52nd Street, (212) 621-6600. "A Nickelodeon Celebration". The Museum will celebrate Nickelodeon, the cable television network that revolutionized children's programming, with a series of screenings, seminars, workshops, gallery exhibits, and other events. Included in the screenings are Rugrats, Blues Clues, Clarissa Explains it All, Ren & Stimpy, Doug, The Secret World of Alex Mack, and many others. June 4-September 12; Tuesdays-Sundays noon-6pm. Adults $6, children $3.
Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, NY, (914) 251-6100. "Art About Town": Children ages 5-8 can enjoy a week of art, adventure, and exploration during a fun-filled, one-week art workshop. The workshop will be held in the museum and at various locations around the college grounds. June 28-July 2, 10am-noon. $100 general public, $80 members. "Adventures with the Goodnough Dinosaurs": A day-long family adventure with Dinny the Dinosaur and friends. Children are encouraged to create art, and dance movements are taught to illustrate how and when dinosaurs roamed the earth. June 6, noon-4pm. FREE with museum admission.
New Jersey Children's Museum, 599 Industrial Avenue, Paramus, (201) 262-5151. "Bringing in the May": Join the world in celebrating May in many ways. In Mexico, it's Cinco de Mayo. In Japan, the skies are filled with flying fish windsocks in honor of young children, and in England many children deliver flowers to friends and neighbors in May baskets. Celebrate May by making multicultural crafts, including paper flowers, a Japanese windsock, or maybe a May basket. May 1, 2. "Celebrate the Sea": If you can't make it to the shore, let the museum bring the sea to you. Special videos are offered about the sea and special sessions are available to make crafts, including sea shell frames, sea mobiles and more. July 17, 18. FREE with museum admission ($7).
New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th Street, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, (718) 699-0005. "Kitchen Science": Enjoy science that is good enough to eat when you investigate chemical and physical changes that take place in food processing during this tasty workshop. Stir up yogurt, soda pop, ice cream and more. For all ages. June 19 or June 24, 1-4pm. $20 per person. "Science City at Queens Center": The world's first sidewalk science display revealing the hidden technology of New York City. It is an unconventional hands-on exhibition where shoppers can turn on a streetlight with a wave of their hand, analyze different light sources with a diffraction grating, see and hear what is happening underground using a special viewer, and uncover more secrets of how big cities work. August 21-September 12. FREE.
The New York Historical Society, 2 West 77th Street, (212) 873-3400. "Yada, Yada, Yada: New York in Quotes": From John Adams to John Steinbeck, people of all professions, of all ages, and from all times have had something to say about New York. There is no shortage of opinion in this exhibit that includes manuscripts, photographs, and other visual material. May 11-August 15. "Kid City", a new, permanent, child-sized recreation of Broadway between 82nd and 83rd Streets. Children can visit the various shops along the way. Adults $5, students $3.
New York Renaissance Faire, 600 Route 17A, Tuxedo, NY, (914) 351-5171. 22nd annual celebration of this 16th century interactive adventure continues to offer audiences an enchanting day filled with lighthearted entertainment, unique crafts, hearty food and swashbuckling adventure. July 31-September 19, 10am-7pm. Adults $15.75, children $6.
The New York Transit Museum, Boerum Place & Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, (718) 243-3060. "Filming the Brooklyn Els": Join us for noted railroad author and historian Vincent Seyfried's private screening of his own 16mm films showing Brooklyn elevated trains in the 1950s. Mr. Seyfried will be on hand to answer questions. June 27, 1:30pm. Reservations required, $5. "Historic Stations of the Long Island Railroad": Rich architectural and sociological insights bring the Long Island Railroad's history to life at more than a dozen remaining historic stations. David Morrison, LIRR's Branch Line Manager, leads this day-long adventure. August 21, call for time. Advance reservations required, $30.
P.S. 1 Contemporary Art in Long Island City, (718) 784-2084. "Summer Festival" begins anew with DJs, a film series, and an under-the-stars hang-out environment. Saturdays July 3-August 28. $4.
Queens County Farm Museum, 73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Floral Park, (718) 347-3276. "Thunderbird American Indian Mid Summer Pow Wow". NYC's largest and oldest Pow Wow will feature two days of intertribal Native American dance competitions to which the public is invited. Over 40 Indian Nations are represented in this spectacular event held in the apple orchard on the farm grounds. Jewelry and foods are available. July 24, 25, 2-5pm, 7-10pm. Sunday 1-5pm. Adults $7, children 12 and under $3.
Queens Historical Society, 143-35 37th Avenue, Flushing, (718) 939-0647. "Motor Parkway Walking Tour". As tour guides, Urban Park Rangers will lead guests on a hike along the remains of the Long Island Motor Parkway in Queens. In the early years of this century, William Vanderbilt was one of the leading enthusiasts of the young sport of automobile racing. Due to his dissatisfaction with racing roadways of other countries, he was instrumental in the building of the Long Island Motor Parkway. Meet at Alley Pond Park Environmental Center, 228-06 Northern Blvd., Douglastown. FREE.
Queens Museum of Art, New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Flushing, (718) 592-9700. Hour-long hands-on workshops are scheduled on Thursdays from 1:30-2:30pm and again from 3-4pm. Each program is designed for children ages 5-14. Each workshop is limited to 20 children. July 8: Puppets; July 15: Masks; July 22: Decorative Boxes; July 29: Design a Building; August 5: Pins and Medallions; August 12: Cityscape Reliefs; August 19: Assemblages; and August 26: Clay Workshop. $3 per participant.
Sony Wonder Technology Lab, 550 Madison Avenue, (212) 833-8100. "Foley This". In this two-day workshop, children learn what it takes to be a foley artist. Participants experiment with special effects tools and a computer program used to create and manipulate sounds for the movies. They will synchronize their sounds with pre-recorded video footage and receive a copy of their work. Parts I & II, June 13, 20 and June 19, 26, 3-5pm. Grades 4-8, $40.
South Street Seaport Museum, 207 Front Street, (212) 748-8610. "Hudson Bay Expedition". Aboard Le Levant, a small, new, yacht-like cruise ship, travel along the rugged coast of Newfoundland to Baffin Island, then into Hudson Bay and Canada's Northwest Territories. Landslide visits include ancient Viking sites and contemporary Inuit villages; wildlife observations will bring you face to face with polar bears and seals, whales and water birds. July 2-August 4. Call for trip fees.
Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences, 75 Stuyvesant Place, Staten Island, (718) 727-1135. "Waterfront Art Workshop": Follow in the footsteps of waterfront artist Naima Rauam whose exhibition, "While the City Sleeps", is the focus of this two-part workshop for children ages 8-12. Naima will lead a tour of her paintings, then venture out with the children to capture the waterfront on canvas. June 5, 12, 10am-noon. $50 per child. Registration necessary. Call (212) 748-8786. "Ferry Tour": An informative look at both the historic New York Harbor and the Staten Island Ferry. Includes a visit to the Institute's ferry collection. June 13, 1-2:30pm. Meets at 12:45 on the Manhattan side, by the bottom of the escalators inside the terminal. General admission is $5.
Staten Island Zoo, 614 Broadway, Staten Island (718) 442-3174. "Eggstra! Eggstra!" Join the staff for this informative presentation on the wonderful world of eggs. May 9 at 2:30pm. "Fish Kites": You've heard of flying fish... how about making one of your own at a fish kite workshop. Take the rest of the day to show the neighborhood. June 12 at 2:30 pm. FREE with zoo admission.