Looking for fun and low-cost things to do with your kids in Manhattan this November? We've hand-picked the best kids events in the city from our November calendar, including the 14th annual New York Chocolate Show, the 2011 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the opening of a new history museum for children, the New York Botanical Garden's Holiday Train Show, family-friendly holiday shows, and a few fun ways for kids and families to give back together.
Chocolate Lovers Unite
More than 65 celebrated chefs like Zac Young, pastry chef at Flex Mussels and former contestant on Bravo's "Top Chef Just Desserts," will showcase their chocolate-inspired creations while kids participate in chocolate-themed activities at the 14th Annual New York Chocolate Show at Metropolitan Pavilion. Presented by Event International, the New York Chocolate Show is the largest show completely dedicated to chocolate in the United States. Considered the chocolate hub of North America, this show will bring together more than 65 fine chocolate companies who will present a diverse array of fine chocolates and chocolate-inspired products that tantalize the senses! This year's Chocolate Show will also feature book signings by award-winning authors; cooking demonstrations in two culinary theaters featuring renowned chocolatiers and pastry chefs who will share secrets of the trade; a Kids Zone dedicated to fun-filled activities for young chocolate lovers and more!
November 10-12, 10am-7pm; November 13, 10am-6pm. $30 in advance, $35 at the door; two children ages 5-12 may accompany each adult for free; $8 each additional child; free children 4 and younger.
Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 W. 18th Street. 646-292-1138. www.chocolateshow.com.
Give Thanks, Give Back
It's easy to get caught up in the turkey-and-football mindset of Thanksgiving, but this season of overflowing tables and tummies should also remind us of those who are less fortunate. While a visit to a local soup kitchen or food pantry is a great way to show your kids the true meaning of the holiday, below are a few more creative ideas. Give back while you...
...Believe it or Not!
Guests who bring a donation of five non-perishable food items can get a ticket to Ripley's Believe It or Not! Times Square Odditorium for just $5 (regular adult ticket price is $29.95) during Ripley's "Gimme Five" Food Drive, November 6-10. All the food collected will go to City Harvest, an organization that will distribute it to those in need.
Ripley's is open 9am-1am daily and located at 234 W. 42nd Street. For more information: www.ripleysnewyork.com.
Canstruction® is an international charity competition where architects, engineers, contractors, and students compete to design and build giant structures made entirely from full cans of food. At the 19th Annual New York City Canstruction® Competition and Exhibition, more than 20 entries vie for awards in categories like Best Meal, Best Use of Labels, and Structural Ingenuity. These sculptural works are on view 10am-6pm daily, November 10-21. Visitors are encouraged to bring donations of canned food as admission. At the close of the exhibition, the sculptures will be dismantled and donated to City Harvest.
World Financial Center, 220 Vesey Street, Battery Park City. For more information: www.canstructionny.org.
...Take a Walk
Bundle up the kids and brave the brisk fall air for the St. Jude Give thanks. Walk. on November 19, which raises money for the children of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The 3.1-mile walk will begin at 9am at Foley Square and proceed over the Brooklyn Bridge, ending in Cadman Plaza Park in Brooklyn.
For more information or to register: www.givethankswalk.org.
Bringing History to Life
A new interactive museum at the New-York Historical Society will bring American history to life for children using distinctly 21st-century methods. The DiMenna Children's History Museum will feature state-of-the-art permanent and special exhibits that incorporate historical artifacts, objects, illustrations and replicas, three-dimensional biography-based pavilions, and interactive elements, all designed to immerse young visitors in American history by encouraging them to explore different historical periods and moments and then make their own discoveries. Children will be able to go to the polls at the Cast Your Vote Pavilion, deliver a presidential address at the First President Kiosk, and more.
The museum opens November 11 at 11am. Admission is included with admission to the New-York Historical Society: $15; $12 teachers/seniors; $10 students; $5 ages 7-13; free ages 6 and younger. On the lower level of the New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West (between 76th and 77th Streets). 212-873-3400. www.nyhistory.org/childrens-museum.
Bowl for the Cure
Four years ago, Eric Greenberg Goldy set out to raise awareness and money for the Pediatric Cancer Foundation (PCF) among young people. Goldy, now just 16 and a sophomore at Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School on the Upper West Side, will host his 4th Annual Strike Out Pediatric CancerTM PCF Bowl-a-thon on November 13 at Lucky Strike Lanes. The event raises money in support of PCF's mission: to find a cure for childhood cancer.
To support his efforts, Goldy's sister Taylor founded CharitotesTM, which provides Bowl-a-thon participants with Design-A-Bag Kits-canvas tote bags that bowlers can personally decorate. Each bag will be filled with a small gift and then delivered directly to children being treated in a nearby Pediatric Cancer Unit.
To date, the Bowl-a-thon has raised more than $80,000 for PCF and 350 CharitotesTM have been donated to children in local Pediatric Cancer Units.
For more information or to register for the Bowl-a-thon, visit www.pcfbowlathon.org.
A Holiday Train-dition
Visitors enter a magical, miniature world brimming with history and enchantment at the New York Botanical Garden's Holiday Train Show. Experience the wonder of large-gauge model trains and trolleys winding past more than 140 miniature replicas of New York landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, Yankee Stadium, and Radio City Music Hall - all created from plant materials. The show is particularly magical at in the evening, when the lights twinkle.
November 19 through January 16, 2012. 10am-6pm Tuesdays-Sundays. Non-Holiday: $20; $18 seniors/students with ID; $10 children ages 2-12; free children ages 2 and younger.
New York Botanical Garden, Bronx River Parkway (exit 7W) and Fordham Road, Bronx. 718-817-8700. www.nybg.org.
Meet a Furry Friend
Where can kids play with a dog with six toes and pet a hairless cat? At the American Kennel Club's (AKC) Meet the Breeds, the AKC's annual event where kids have the opportunity to see rare breeds they've probably only read about, like the six-toed Norwegian Lundehund, the nearly 200-pound Leonberger, and the hairless Sphynx cat, whose ancestry dates back to the ancient Egyptian King Tut. There will be agility demonstrations, the chance to earn a Girl Scout badge, vendor booths, and opportunities to meet and play with thousands of dogs and cats.
November 19-20. 10am-5pm. $15; $10 ages 12 and younger (purchase tickets online before November 18 and save $3 for adults and $2 for children).
Jacob Javits Convention Center, 655 W. 34th Street, Manhattan. 212-216-2000. www.meetthebreeds.com.
Turkey Day Tradition
As much a part of Turkey Day as family feasts, post-consumption naps, and watching football, the 85th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade returns this year to the delight of families across the nation. The floats, performers, and larger-than-life balloons promise endless entertainment. The parade line-up includes performances by Spirit of America Dance and Camp Broadway Kids, among others, and even younger kids will recognize their favorite characters in balloon form, like the Kool-Aid man, Buzz Lightyear, and SpongeBob. Not brave enough to bundle up the little ones and battle the crowds gathered across Manhattan? Not a problem. You can watch the whole thing on TV while still in your PJs (check your local listings).
November 24. 9am-12pm. All ages. FREE. Parade begins at 77th Street and Central Park West. 212-494-4495. www.macys.com/parade.
Bring on the Holiday Spirit
You may just be packing away your kids' Halloween costumes, but New York is already gearing up for the winter holidays. And with all the cheery gift-giving and general sense of goodwill it brings, who's to say the season shouldn't start early? Plus, there are so many holiday activities to pack in-make sure to catch one of the tree lighting ceremonies at Lincoln Square (November 28), Bryant Park (November 29), or Rockefeller Center (November 30), and don't miss the enjoyable (if chaotic) experience of browsing the pop-up holiday markets around the city (search our full calendar for more information). Then, if you're a theatergoer, check out the holiday shows kicking off this month:
See the Rockettes perform new numbers and old favorites at the ever-popular Radio City Christmas Spectacular. This year's show features a new 3DLIVE video game adventure that uses cutting-edge technology to immerse the audience in the show's magical scenery. Multiple shows daily, November 11 through January 2, 2012. Go online for full performance schedule. $45 and up. Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Sixth Avenue. www.radiocitychristmas.com.
Fans of Angelina Mouseling, star of the Angelina Ballerina TV show and book series by Katharine Holabird, will love Angelina Ballerina: The Very Merry Holiday Musical, in which the little dancing mouse and her friends plan a spectacular holiday pageant and discover the true spirit of the holidays. Saturdays and Sundays at 11am and 1pm, November 19 through January 2. Special holiday performances on November 25 and December 26-29. Vital Theatre Company, 2162 Broadway, 4th Floor, Upper West Side. 212-579-0528. www.vitaltheatre.org.
You'll surely have sugarplums dancing through your head once you've seen the New York City Ballet present George Balanchine's The Nutcracker. A rousing snowstorm sends a blizzard of ballerinas across the stage, sweeping you into the enchanting Land of Sweets where you'll meet marching toy soldiers, little Marie, and the valiant Nutcracker who saves her from the villainous, seven-headed Mouse King. November 25 through December 31. Go online for full performance schedule. David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center Broadway at 64th Street, Upper West Side. 212-870-5570. www.nycballet.com.
Finally, A Christmas Carol is a lively, one-hour musical adaptation of the classic Dickens tale in which miser Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future. 7pm Thursday-Friday; 11am and 3pm Saturday; 11am Sunday. November 27 through December 30 (no shows December 4, 24-25). The Players Theatre, 115 MacDougal Street. 212-475-1237. www.scroogeinthevillage.com.