So you’ve officially tackled the holidays, it’s the first weekend of the new year, now what? How about challenging your family to a Harry Potter themed scavenger hunt, singing along with Thomas and all his friends, or taking a spin on a ferris wheel while hundreds plunge into the cold ocean? Stick with us and we promise every weekend in 2016 will be filled with fun for your family!
Photo: New York Botanical Garden
Wizard School Scavenger Hunt
Bring your aspiring wizards to the Metropolitan Museum to search for art that echoes characters and enchanted objects in their favorite Harry Potter books. They’ll track down serpents, Dumbledore look-alikes, and figures as scary as any Death Eater. All little wizards must be accompanied by an adult. Sat. 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Upper East Side. $30.50/child; $42.50/adult (includes museum admission). Ages 10 and up. Event details.
Have Tea with Your Teddy Bear
Travel back in time to the 1830’s at this special event just for the little ones. Your kiddos will meet Mrs. Woodhull, the proprietor’s wife and roll play daily activities, including playing with some old fashion toys and doing the laundry. And make sure everyone brings their favorite teddy (or doll) to join them for tea and cookies after all that hard work. Call (212) 838-6878 to make reservations. Sun. 1-2:30 p.m. Upper East Side. $5/child 12 and under; $10/adult. Ages 3-6. Event details.
Cosmic Color Aboard the Intrepid
Bring your little star-gazer to learn how astronomers give photos of outer space their vibrant colors by taking a tour of the exhibition HUBBLE@25 during this family program. Then paint your own versions of deep space objects using real data from the Hubble Space Telescope. To register email email@example.com. Sat. & Sun. 11 a.m. Midtown West. Free with museum admission ($24/adult; $19/child 7-17; $12/child 3-6). All ages. Event details.
Bake Up a Delicious Snowman
So there hasn’t been much opportunity yet for snowman building, but we’ve got the solution, bake one instead! Your little bakers will learn tricks to creating a perfect snowman cupcake. Elsa, Anna, Olaf and Sven attire welcome. Sat. 9-10 a.m. Chelsea. $40/parent, child pair. Ages 2-5. Event details.
Imagine the World of the Future
It’s the beginning of a new year, so let your little ones use their imagination to think about what the future may hold for them. How will cars, buildings, clothes, and houses look in the future? Dream big and build a building that will be built 10, 20, 300 years from now! And don’t forget to explore other cool exhibits at the museum while you’re there. Sat. & Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Soho. Free with museum admission ($12/person, children under 1 are free). All ages. Event details.
Polar Bear Plunge
Ok, so we by no means condone your little Eskimos jumping into the frigidly cold Atlantic in January. But that doesn’t mean they won’t get a kick out of watching others do it! Head to Coney Island for the annual plunge, where hundreds of swimmers will run into the ocean. Deno’s Wonder Wheel will open up for the day, so take a spin while visiting the boardwalk. Make a day out of it and visit the penguins and fish at the aquarium. Fri. 1 p.m. Coney Island. Free. All ages. Event details.
Fold Away at this Origami Academy
Learn from the paper-folding pros at the Botanic Garden’s First Sundays series. Taro’s Origami Studio will help your crafty little ones create tiny animals and flowers out of paper, a perfect pastime for those snowy days to come, so take notes and stock up on paper! Classes begin every half hour. Sun. 10 a.m.-noon. Crown Heights. Free with admission ($12/adult, children under 12 are free). Ages 7 and up. Event details.
Watch Frozen in 3D
Sure you probably own Frozen, and if you do, you’ve probably watched it a hundred times, but how about in 3D? The kids are on break, so get out of the house to watch Anna and Elsa on the big screen with magical shades that will have your kiddos watching the movie like it’s their first time. Come before or stay after to explore the museum, we recommend taking a stroll through the delicious Gingerbread Lane. Fri.-Sun. 3 p.m. Corona. Free with admission ($15/adult; $12/child age 2-12, children under 2 are free). All ages. Event details.
All Aboard with Thomas and Friends
The NYBG’s Holiday Train Show continues in January and now you can add-on a special fun-filled, sing-along, mini performance adventure by Thomas and Friends. Bring your camera because after the show, you’ll have a photo-op with the favorite train character. Be sure to reserve tickets in advance, the Thomas shows typically sell out. Jan 2-Jan 24. Various times. Bronx. $18/child age 2-12; $30 adult (tickets include Holiday Train Show). All ages. Event details.
Travel back in time for this DIY adventure. Begin by assembling your very own LED paper lantern while sipping on hot chocolate or mulled wine. Then use your lantern to guide your way through the streets of this historic town, you decide where to visit. Stop in at the GLT to sample some 1940’s cobblestones (chocolate chip cookies) straight from the hearth, play with old fashion toys at the Stephens-Black House, or pop into the tavern for a sing-along. Sat. 5-8 p.m. Historic Richmond Town. $15/adult; $12/child. All ages. Event details.
How will your family have fun the first weekend in 2016? Share with us in the comment section below.