New York City’s gone pop-up crazy! So many fun, immersive Instagram and selfie-friendly experiences have popped up, out, in and around NYC, it’s incredibly hard to keep track of all of them—or know which ones are best for kids (and worth your cash, ‘cause those things can add up). We hit up the latest and best Instagram spots for families in New York City so you know which ones are the best match for your clan. (Some of them are actually here to stay!) Here’s our guide to where you and the kids can get seriously selfie.
Free Pizza (and Fun) at The Caulipower House
Did someone say "free pizza"? It's true, Caulipower, the people behind the good-for-you-but-still-tastes great gluten-free frozen pizza, are giving away slices in the West Village throughout May. (Don't believe it's good? That's why they want you to bring the kids and try it.) In addition to slices on the house, the pop-up will have entertainment, free swag, a 180-degree multi-camera photo booth, and even a pizza claw machine.
Daily, in May, noon - 8 p.m.
257 Bleeker St.
Found in the brand-new, blockbuster luxury development Hudson Yards, Snark Park a monochromatic mashup of art, design, playhouse and yes, unique Instagram-friendly immersive experience. Created by New York-based design studio known as Snarkitecture, Snark Park is the first entirely Snarkitecture-designed experience, and it will change three times a year. The first installation, Lost and Found, is described as a "modern-day enchanted forest" – built from a series of massive, inhabitable columns, each offering a unique, tactile experience. A series of totems lines the space and many of them are inhabitable and built with custom materials: EPS foam, mirror tile, acoustic paneling, cork, latex, ping-pong balls, faux fur, among others. Deeper into the installation, visitors discover a hidden, two-way mirrored room. (It is worth the high price tag? We've yet to experience it, as it was closed during the Hudson Yards preview, but plan to visit soon.)-
Rounding out the high-concept experience, Snark Park will also sell its own KITH Treats ice cream flavor "Snark Bite", with traditional KITH menu items. (Lots of sugary cereal mix-ins.) And of course, you can purchase a Snark Park souvenir, including the stuffie mascot "Snarky."
Tickets must be bought online for a specific time slot.
Tickets: $28/adults; $22/kids; free/kids four and under
Trolls: The Experience
If you've got a Troll-loving child in the house (and who doesn't?) then Trolls: The Experience should be on your radar. Produced by Feld Entertainment and taking over 12,000 square-feet of space in midtown, this colorful journey into Queen Poppy's world invites guests to the "Best Day Ever Bash." Visitors get to help prep for the party in a variety of ways, and collect badges along the way. (Those badges are incorporated in a scrapbook at the end of the journey.) Kids get to make music on out-of-this-world instruments, ride a confetti-filled Caterbus, play a Trolls version of whack-a-mole, and more. For the deluxe Trolls experience (and additional $40 fee), kids can get a "Troll transformation" in the "Hair We Go" salon; here, they can pick the Troll they want to be and get some facepaint and the matching Troll hairdo to match. For those not wanting the full makeover, cardboard "wigs" are available, and they actually look pretty good. The Experience ends with a rousing dance party (facilitated by special glasses and digital special effects), and of course, a chance to meet Poppy herself on the way out. Be forewarned: you will hear the song "Best Day Ever" a lot, and it will be hard to make it out of the gift store without dropping some cash. Tickets are timed entry and should be purchased in advance online; if you buy the "Hair We Go" salon treatment, make sure your general admission ticket and salon ticket are for the same time. Note to those with winter babies: they do birthday parties (rates start at $1,200.)
Tickets: $25/person until Nov. 9; $40/person Nov. 10 and after
218 W. 57th St.
Museum of Illusions
Unlike the other installations featured here, The Museum of Illusions is not passing through. Created in Zagreb, Croatia (with additional outposts in Vienna, Kuala Lumpur, and beyond) the museum is less technicolor extravaganza, and more exercise for your brain (in a good way). But don’t worry: fun photo ops still abound.
Visitors can explore more than 70 elements and experiences that include "illusionistic rooms", optical illusions, and puzzles. Every "piece" in the museum is accompanied by a clear and concise explanation of what is causing or creating the illusion; mathematical, biological, and psychological concepts are all touched upon, as are perception, vision, and how the human brain works.
This museum is an outstanding (and very fun) way to engage kids with complex scientific principles, and help them understand through experience. The well-curated gift shop allows you to take home some of the brain-bending fun. PS: Looking for a fun indoor birthday party idea? You can host one here.
Tickets: $19/adults; $15/kids six - 15; $17/students, seniors, military; $53/family of four
Daily, 9 a.m. - 10 p.m.
77 Eighth Ave.
The Color Factory
Color Factory is a vibrant and interactive experience that celebrates hues of all kinds in myriad ways. (And while something like Candytopia does have that candy X-factor, we found Color Factory to be not only fun, but thoughtful, thought-provoking, and even a bit magical; any kid will have a blast, older ones will have an appreciation for its sophistication, and you'll probably love it.)
After a wildly-popular run on the west coast last year, Color Factory NYC features new collaborations with artists and partners including OH HAPPY DAY, Leah Rosenberg, Erin Jang, and Roz Chast. It’s 20,000 square feet and 16 installations of Technicolor, Instagram-friendly fun, such as ombré floating balloons with wishes for the world written by students at 826NYC, a walkable infographic leading you to your “secret color”, a palette of colorful treats featuring a custom color ice cream scoop, a unique activity on color and human connection, and a luminous dance floor. And of course, there is (a very large) ball “pit” — but it’s more like a ball room. (Everyone will love that.)
Through Spring 2019
Tickets: $38; kids 2 and under are free (Tickets must be purchased in advance)
Daily, 10 a.m. - 11 p.m.; closed Wednesdays
251 Spring St.