Want to know what fun things are happening in Brooklyn this April? Check out our roundup of 10 free and low-cost family events around Brooklyn, including Earth Day events, kids' movies and shows, and the long-awaited Food Truck Rally.
Doctor in the House
Maybe you're a parent with a kid who is driven by music. Maybe you are driven by music and your kids could care less about it. Perhaps you just need a night out—dinner and something better than a movie. For three nights, the near legendary Dr. John—a brilliant musician whose work resounds like an aural encyclopedia of Southern culture—presents Locked Down at BAM, a new take on his signature New Orleans-style R&B, with help from Dan Auerback, guitarist for the Black Keys. All the music-heads in your family will revel in the groove. Click for details
Rally the Trucks!
A grand army of food trucks rolls into Grand Army Plaza April 15 for the Prospect Park Food Truck Rally. Click for details
A Quest for Inner Beauty
Author John Steptoe’s renowned retelling of the African folktale Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters has won a bevy of awards, including a Caldecott honor. As the story goes, Mufaro, an African man, has two beautiful daughters that are kind but selfish. Their king, who is seeking a wife, has a meeting with the two young women, which sets the scene for an exploration of inner beauty and goodness in the face of what is only skin deep. Do either of the young women have the inner beauty required to be a queen? Steptoe’s adaptation of the story, presented by the Dallas Children’s Theater, will be told through African art, drumming, and song. Click for details
See Dick Van Dyke and the rest of the original cast in a screening of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the unforgettable Disney film about the ultimate all-terrain vehicle, presented by Big Movies for Little Kids. Click for details
Cherry Blossom Time
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is unquestionably one of Brooklyn’s most beautiful places; peaceful, meditative, lush, and buzzing with life, its transformation throughout the seasons bespeaks the cycle of life. The garden honors the seasons with wonderful events that time perfectly with the seasonal cycle. Nothing honors the rebirth of spring like the Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival, which celebrates the flowering of cherry blossom trees and is also an excellent reason to rejoice in Japanese culture. The garden is already heavy on the Japanese tip with a collection of bonsai trees and a wonderful Japanese garden filled with koi. During Sakura Matsuri, visitors will also enjoy origami demonstrations, Japanese folk dancing, manga, tea ceremonies, Taiko drumming, Japanese food, martial arts, and of course, the splendor of the cherry blossoms. Click for details
Celebrate Earth Day
The weather lately has been strange, to say the least, making Earth Day feel more significant than ever. Many of Brooklyn and Staten Island’s major art and cultural institutions are catching the spirit:
April 14: Brooklyn Children’s Museum is saturated with Earth Day-related events throughout April. One in particular is the Celebrate Earth Festival, which uses the museum’s many exhibits to convey the importance of alternate energy sources and the necessity of protecting the Earth. Children will meet local “green” heroes and solve environmental puzzles. Click for details
April 22: Nothing says Earth Day like the beautiful surroundings of Prospect Park. The park’s B’Earthday event, which celebrates the holiday as well as the 10th anniversary of the park’s Audubon Center, features nature games, tours, performances, educational activities, and a volunteer cleanup of the park’s lakeshore. Click for details
April 22: A more zoological take on Earth Day happens at Staten Island Zoo, where visitors will learn about composting and recycling, make crafts, and encounter some of the zoo’s animal residents up close. Click for details
Through July 8
Art Goes Pop
New York City’s art scene in the 1980s marked a time when street art became fine art—when spray paint-inspired imagery that adorned subway trains and brick walls found its way onto canvases and plywood. Andy Warhol’s populism spearheaded the scene, and the icon was visible at dinner tables surrounded by adoring protégés like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kenny Scharf, and of course, Keith Haring. Haring’s art first became noticeable in the late ‘70s as graffiti in the subway. His style was simple, bold—black and white representations of mood-lifting and joyful tranquility, such as a happily barking dog, people dancing, DJs and spinning turntables, and eventually political ideas and visual rhetoric in response to the AIDS epidemic—the disease from which Haring eventually died. Brooklyn Museum’s new exhibition, Keith Haring: 1978-1982, explores Haring’s earliest years in New York and is considered the first large-scale display of his early work. On display along with his art are relics from his life—sketchbooks, journals, notes, photos of Haring at work, and various ephemera from his life. Haring often celebrated children, and kids, in turn, have always marveled at his art. Click for details
For even more fun stuff to do in Brooklyn and the NYC area, head to our full, searchable calendar of events.