Hundreds of NYC cultural institutions, historic homes, marvelous mansions and offbeat spots like cemeteries and artist studios open their doors to the public this weekend as part of OHNY and the Historic House Fest. While neither event is specifically aimed at families, many spots host special kids’ activities, like an architectural scavenger hunt through Staten Island’s Snug Harbor, a cell phone-led walking tour of Chelsea, cool crafts at Fort Greene’s brand-new BRIC House and the two-day family fest at the Center for Architecture. Be sure to check the complete schedule before heading out since some activities require advance reservations. Saturday and Sunday only. Most programs are FREE, a few cost $5.
African Penguin Awareness Weekend – Coney Island
Meet Anna, the New York Aquarium’s new penguin and celebrate her flightless kin. Feel real penguin feathers and eggs at touch stations, and enjoy penguin-themed games, crafts and storytimes. While in Coney Island, head down the boardwalk for some pumpkin painting and other seasonal fun at Luna Park. Free with admission: $9.95 for ages 3 and up.
Little Red Lighthouse Festival – Washington Heights
Although this fest in Fort Washington Park is part of the aforementioned Open House NY, it’s such a big annual favorite we wanted to spotlight it on its own. The main event is the chance to explore the interior of Manhattan’s only remaining lighthouse, made famous in Hildegarde H. Swift’s 1942 children’s book The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge. Take note: Tickets for the tours are distributed starting at noon but the line for them begins forming hours before, so plan ahead! Can’t stand waiting around? The fest also promises great food, fishing, fantastic views and readings of Swift’s classic. FREE.
Lloyd Miller – Park Slope
More cool family music: Deedle Deedle Dees front man Miller plays tunes off his new solo album, S.S. Brooklyn, at the Hip Tot Music Festival. Bonus: His old bandmates will join him onstage to celebrate the group’s 10th anniversary. In advance: $10; at the door: $15.
Raptor Day – the Bronx
More birds of prey fun, this time at Wave Hill. Enjoy bird walks, discovery tables, owl pellet dissections and other hands-on activities. Free with paid admission: $8 for adults, $2 for children 6 and up.
Also… check out these Top 12 Family Halloween Events!
Visit Mommy Poppins for the best things to do this weekend for NYC kids.
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