Looking for fun and low-cost kids events in Westchester? We've hand-picked the best things to do with your family from our November calendar of events, including the Westchester County Light the Night Walk; a few family-friendly shows, including the first "The Nutcracker" performance of the season; and a handful of family hikes, walks, and runs in honor of Thanksgiving.
For even more upcoming events in Westchester and the NYC area, see our full calendar.
What could be sweeter than curling up and reading a favorite book to a furry, four-legged friend? Children in first grade and older (with a parent) are invited to the Field Library to read to one of a number of specially trained dogs at Tales for Tails, a free monthly program designed to help kids gain confidence in their reading (dogs are very patient listeners!). All volunteer dogs and trainers are certified through The Good Dog Foundation. The program can work wonders for special needs children as well, who may be afraid of dogs but can learn to relax around these specially trained, gentle animals. November 3. To sign up, call 914-737-0847. The Field Library, 4 Nelson Avenue, Peekskill. www.fieldkids.wordpress.com.
Share the Light
The Westchester/Hudson Valley Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) will hold its 2011 Westchester County Light the Night Walk at Playland Amusement Park. More than 4,000 participants will walk and carry illuminated balloons to celebrate and commemorate lives touched by cancer. This year's event will include entertainment, food, and fireworks over the Playland boardwalk. The Light The Night Walk funds lifesaving research and support for people battling cancer, and is expected to raise more than $600,000 this year. November 5. 7pm; registration begins at 5pm.
Playland Amusement Park, Playland Parkway, Rye. Those interested in participating or volunteering can contact the chapter at 914-821-8362 or register online at www.lightthenight.org/wch.
A Modern Major General
As wacky and irreverent today as it was when it first opened in 1879, The Pirates of Penzance is a hilarious farce of sentimental pirates, bumbling policemen, dim-witted young lovers, dewy-eyed daughters, and an eccentric Major General, all morally bound to honor and duty. This popular musical is delightful family entertainment and the perfect introduction to light opera for children. Presented by the Broadway Training Center of Westchester, under the artistic direction of Jason Brantman and Fiona Santos. November 18-19 at 7pm; November 20 at 3pm. $20; $15 students/seniors in advance; tickets are $2 more when purchased at the door.
Call 914-591-6602 or order online at www.irvingtontheater.com.
That Crazy Candy Man
Evan Smolin is the unassuming and respectful Charlie Bucket and Charles Hallock is the mysterious and eccentric Willy Wonka in The Yorktown Stage musical production of Roald Dahl's family favorite, Willy Wonka. See the family favorite about an eccentric candy maker, an exciting contest, a misbehaving group of children, and the poor, but deserving boy who ultimately triumphs. November 18 at 7:30pm; November 19 at 11am and 4pm; November 20 at 1pm; November 25 at 2pm; November 26 at 11am and 4pm; November 27 at 1pm. $26; $21 seniors/students (12-22); $19 children under 12.
Yorktown Stage, 1974 Commerce Street, Yorktown Heights. 914-962-0606. www.yorktownstage.org.
A Holiday Train-dition
Visitors enter a magical, miniature world brimming with history and enchantment at the Holiday Train Show in the New York Botanical Garden's Victorian-style Conservatory. Children and adults alike will marvel as large-gauge model trains and trolleys wend their way past more than 140 replicas of New York City landmarks including Yankee Stadium, Radio City Music Hall, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty-all created from plant materials such as bark, moss, twigs, berries, and pine cones. Then stroll the spectacular grounds, decorate (and eat!) gingersnaps, and enjoy lunch and hot chocolate. November 19 through January 16, 2012. Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-6pm. Non-holiday admission: $20; $18 seniors/students with ID; $10 ages 2-12; free ages 2 and younger. Purchase advance tickets online.
The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory at the New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx. 718-817-8700. www.nybg.org.
Story on Stage
The Tanglewood Marionettes will present An Arabian Adventure, with more than a dozen handcrafted marionettes and exquisite storybook-style scenery. November 19 at 1pm and 3pm. FREE.
Scarsdale Congregational Church, 1 Heathcote Road, Scarsdale. 914-723-2111.
Over the past decade, I've noticed a few Thanksgiving trends come and go. From the "Thanks-Mom-and-Dad-but-I-won't-be-coming-Thursday-because-I'm-working-at-the-homeless-shelter-helping-those-needier-than-myself" of the late 90s, to turkey fryers, to the Bringing Movement. And now, as all things eventually do in our health-conscious society, the trend has turned to wellness.
On November 25, The Saw Mill River Audubon offers its Turkey Mountain Hike.
On November 26, you can choose between Teatown Lake Reservation's Hike Off the Turkey and Cranberry Lake Preserve's The Great Turkey Walk-Off.
Croton Point Nature Center even offers a Hike Off the Turkey event on December 3.
But most ambitious of all is The Bedford Turkey Trot on November 26. This post-Thanksgiving event expects more than 500 participants, all of whom are more virtuous and disciplined than I (or anyone in my immediate family) will ever be.
Please don't get me wrong-almost every major metropolitan area in the U.S. has a Turkey Trot, and the money these events raise benefits charities all over the country. This says something truly wonderful about us as a society. But here's the thing about this latest trend...it requires us to lift our tired, overfed bodies out of our warm beds on cold mornings, after cooking all day (longer if you count the brining) and hosting numerous guests. You know, that turkey fryer is looking better and better to me these days...and I'll bet we can get one cheap this year.
A New Nutcracker
When you hear the beloved score of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker Suite begin, you know it's the holiday season. This year, the New York Theatre Ballet presents The New Nutcracker. The new production retains the original's story and characters but has been visually reimagined in an Art Nouveau-style setting. As always, the ballet overflows with swirling dances, whimsical divertissements, and the witty juxtapositions of scale that embody Marie's dreams. But luscious new scenery and costumes (plus a luminous owl that flies over the front rows of the audience) add freshness. November 26. 3pm. $15-$25.
Paramount Center for the Arts, 1008 Brown Street, Peekskill. 914-739-2333. www.paramountcenter.org.