Check out the top activities for kids that we've selected from our August 2011 calendar of events. This month, go to an outdoor movie in Brooklyn Heights, Williamsburg, Coney Island, or Red Hook; find a free family concert; venture to Governors Island for a Volkswagon festival or the Civil War Weekend; or take the hop to Staten Island to have Breakfast with the Beasts. Whether you're a native or just visiting Brooklyn in August, there's plenty to keep your kids entertained!
Randy Weston (pictured) is one of jazz's most important figures; his influence as a pianist, composer, and barrier-breaker who has melded American classical music with its African roots has reached far and wide. He's also a Brooklynite through and through. Weston was a trusted friend of Thelonious Monk, and back in the '40s and '50s, he introduced that icon to a thriving jazz scene happening in Brooklyn's Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, and Bed-Stuy neighborhoods. Today, Weston, who is 85 years old and still a Brooklynite, is known as a brilliant performer as well as an educator who particularly loves working with children. He will be performing this month at Brooklyn Bridge Park when Jazzmobile Presents: Randy Weston in Concert -- a special opportunity to hear jazz and learn about it with one of its most important ambassadors. August 2. 7-8:30pm. All ages. FREE. Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1, Old Fulton Street, DUMBO/Brooklyn Heights.
You can kick yourself for going to the movies when everybody else is outdoors, or simply go to an movie outside. There aren't any drive-ins left in Brooklyn, but outdoor movies are all the rage these days, appearing in particular at spaces near water where a calming breeze mingles with the urban skyline in the distance. Here are some screenings under the skies to check out:
Brooklyn Bridge Parks' Movies with a View happens every Thursday in August, beginning with An American Tail on August 4. 6-11pm. All ages. FREE. Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1, Old Fulton Street. DUMBO/Brooklyn Heights.
At the SummerStarz series at East River State Park in Williamsburg, How to Train Your Dragon kicks off the August lineup of films. August 4. 6-11pm. All ages. FREE. East River State Park, North 8th Street and Kent Avenue, Williamsburg.
Head south to Coney Island, and you're treated to a movie every Monday evening at the Flicks on the Beach series, which begins in August with Iron Man 2. There isn't any urban skyline in Coney Island, as we know, but the ocean breeze and boardwalk aromas make a special backdrop. August 1. 8:15pm. All ages. Flicks on the Beach, 10th Street and Boardwalk, Coney Island.
Need more? The Red Hook Summer Films series presents the provocative Wall-E, followed later in the month by the equally provocative Iron Giant. August 2. 8pm. All ages. FREE. Louis J. Valentino, Jr. Park and Pier, Coffey Street and Ferris Street, Red Hook.
Question: What happens to all those amazing aerialists and trapeze artists after they've trained and trained and trained? Answer: They run off and join Cirque-Tacular. This local troupe hardly plays it safe with its stunts. Cirque-Tacular's niche is performing very daring acts that leave audiences wondering what they just witnessed. From gravity-defying to sensual and beautiful movements, the audience experiences the grace of modern gymnastics, dance and movement, and acrobatics. The stunts are made even more enjoyable with clowning and interactive routines. Check them out at the Brooklyn Children's Museum on August 5, 6:30-7:15pm. All ages. $7.50 museum admission. Brooklyn Children's Museum, 145 Brooklyn Avenue, Crown Heights. 718-735-4400.
My 10-year old son discovered an amusement called "punch buggy:" every time he spots a VW Beetle, he shouts "punch buggy!" and then whacks me (gently) on the arm. I imagine he would go nuts at Governors Island's NYC Volkswagen Traffic Jam, where "V-Dubs" of every stripe will be on display. Marvel at a Karmann Ghia, a '60s bus, Vanagons, Things, powder blue stations wagons, single cab trucks, and lots of those Bugs. How about a 1975 Brasilia? No guarantees, but it'll be worth the free ferry ride to see what'll be there. August 13. 10am-4pm. All ages. FREE. Governors Island (free ferries available).
Head out to Governors Island to be transported back to the summer of 1863. This month's Civil War Weekend, honoring the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, includes historic weapon demonstrations, music, and family programs introducing the men and women of the Governors Island Garrison, among them some Confederates who were imprisoned on the island. August 13-14. 10am-4pm. FREE.
Early Morning at the Zoo
Be a chef for a bison at Staten Island Zoo's Breakfast with the Beasts. Take a tour of the animal kitchen, help prepare some food for critters, and watch them eat. A paying adult must accompany a paying child (preschool and elementary-aged children are welcome at this program). Preregistration is required and can be made by calling 718-442-3174. August 14, 8:30-10:30am. $13. Staten Island Zoo, 614 Broadway, Staten Island.
An Afternoon Extravaganza
Urban Divers presents its Summer Concert and Outdoor Movie featuring the great Melvin Van Peebles, which will combine a concert with the director/musician Melvin Van Peebles, a tour of the Enviromedia Mobile and Maritime Museum, and a movie (When Fried Eggs Fly). August 20, 3-10pm. All ages. FREE. IKEA/Erie Basin Park,1 Beard Street, Red Hook.
For even more family events in Brooklyn and the NYC area, visit our Online Calendar.
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