From festivals to animal lovers events, we found plenty of family-friendly fun for you this weekend. If you’re in the market for a pet, check out Maddie’s Pet Adoption Days. Not ready to add a furball to your brood, but have an animal lover? Go to Prospect Park Zoo’s pizza party night to dine with some wild friends under the stars. The Howl Festival is taking over Tompkins Square Park all weekend including a fun kid-centric carnival on Saturday. You have another chance to help your kiddo learn to ride a bike this weekend, too. Looking for an indoor activity? Hit the Whitney for a VIP family morning on Sunday. Or if you’re a new or expectant parent, check out the Brooklyn Baby Expo in Carroll Gardens. For even more events, check out our New York City kids events calendar.



Maddie’s Pet Adoption Days
Are you ready to adopt a pet with your kids (or ready to find out if you are)? More than 50 shelters and rescue organizations are showcasing adoptable cats and dogs that you can take home for free this weekend. Thousands of pets are looking for forever homes. Take a look at the list of organizations before you go as some require appointments to meet with them and discuss what type of pet will be the best fit for your family. Sat., 11:00 am – 5:00 pm. Petco Upper West Side. Sun., 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm. Petco Union Square. Free. All ages. Event details.

Whitney Museum Family Day: Hopper Drawing
Just because you’re parents doesn’t mean you can’t still get a little VIP action. Get early access to the Whitney Museum of American Art to see the Hopper Drawing exhibition. The museum will open one hour early just for families. Artist Jason Polan will also be on hand leading a collaborative drawing project geared toward families. Sun., 10:00 am – 1:00 pm. Uptown. Free with museum admission. All ages. Event details. 


Learn to Ride: Columbus Park
Think your child is ready to ride, but not sure how to teach him? The Parks Department and Bike New York are here to help with a free class that teaches you how to help your kid learn to ride a two-wheeler using the “balance first” method. Class participants learn the basics of balancing, starting, stopping and steering a bike and your little rider may even master the task before you leave. Bring your child, his bike and helmet. Pre-registration at is required. Sat., 11:00 am – 2:00 pm. Chinatown. Free. Ages 5 and older. Event details.

Howl Festival
Named the Village Voice’s Best Outdoor Festival 2011, this community event celebrates the history of the East Village and Lower East Side. More than 350 poets, performers and artists, including talented kids, will transform the Tompkins Square Park into a stage of creative energy. There will be three days of free family fun including free games, art and entertainment. Be sure to hit the Great HOWL! Out Loud Kids Carnival on Saturday and check out the art around the park from more than 140 artists. Fri., 4:30 pm – 7:00 pm., Sat. & Sun., 11:00 am – 7:00 pm. East Village. Free. All ages. Event details.


2nd Annual Brooklyn Baby Expo
Get your strollers ready, we’re heading to the Brooklyn Baby Expo! Presented by A Child Grows, this expo will showcase top resources for new and expecting parents and provide a space for hands on product demonstration, exhibitors and experts! Sat., 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Carroll Gardens. Free. All ages. Event details.

Family Pizza Party at the Zoo
Gather the family and have dinner with the zoo animals at this after-hours pizza party. You’ll nosh on pizza and snacks under the stars with juice for the kids and wine for the parents. The night will include animal encounters, crafts, a private sea lion feeding and a scavenger hunt. Sat., 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm. Prospect Park. $60 members, $65 non-members, additional participants, $15. Ages 2-10. Event details.

What are you doing with your family this weekend? 

— Julie Seguss

Image courtesy of Bike New York