4th of July may still be a few days, but we’re firm believers that it’s never to early to start celebrating! Bake up some delicious red, white and blue cupcakes, learn some magic tricks to show off at your BBQ, or have an old fashion Independence Day celebration filled with pies and hand churned ice cream. This weekend is shaping up to be something magical, so get out there enjoy!


Photo: Mario the Magician


Summer Play at the Zoo with Project Playdate
Drop your kiddos off for a wild experience at the Central Park Zoo. Your little monkeys will explore nature by visiting the tropical rainforest, the temperate forest, and polar exhibits. After seeing hundreds of animals and even watching the sea lions and penguins get fed, they will then get a chance to pet and feed animals themselves in the petting museum. Snacks are included and there is a transportation option for downtowners for an additional charge. Fri. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Central Park. $100/first child ($170/first child with transportation); $80/sibling ($150/sibling with transportation). Ages 3-10. Event details

DIY Magic with Mario the Magician
Abracadabra! Bring your kiddos to this magical class where Mario the Magician will teach your little ones the art of magic through making, creating, inventing, imagining. The class includes live performance time by Mario followed by a special DIY magic project. It’s magic through the eyes of the maker! Must register in advance to attend. Sun. 4-5 p.m. Upper West Side. $35/child. Ages 5-8. Event details


Bake Red, White and Blue Cupcakes
Bring your little bakers to this tasty class to whip up some patriotic cupcakes just in time for all those 4th of July BBQs! Learn the trick to making a perfect cupcake: moist, delicious and addictive. And while your little ones are hard at work baking, try your hand at some cool decorating tips. Sat. 9-10 a.m. Chelsea. $40/child, caregiver pair. Ages 2-5. Event details

Grand Central Scramble Family Scavenger Hunt
Work together to uncover the secrets of this amazing train station with Watson Adventures’ fun and exciting scavenger hunt for the whole fam. To win, you’ll have to go nuts in the Whispering Gallery, learn a secret about the stars, learn the arrival time of a “ghost” train and think like Willy Wonka in the Transit Museum Gallery. Happy hunting! Sun. 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Midtown East. $22/adult; $18/child. Ages 7 and up. Event details


Red, White and Blue Portraits
Need a patriotic masterpiece for that big BBQ? This museum has just the thing. Your family will work together to draw each other’s portraits and then give it a little 4th of July flair using red, white and blue. Fri. at Noon-6 p.m. Sat. & Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Free with museum admission ($12/person; children under 1are free). Ages 5 and up. Event details


Learn Circus Moves and Listen to Stories
Hit the park for a day filled with stories and tricks. A Royal Shindig will be offering interactive storytelling with your kiddo’s favorite fairy tale characters and Brooklyn Beanstalk will be hosting a kiddie Circus workshop. Enjoy juggling, flower sticks, spinning plates, hula hoops, physical comedy, mime, and acrobatics under the supervision of trained professionals. Sun. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Brooklyn Bridge Park. Free. All ages. Event details


Celebrate Plover Day
Discover one of New York City’s endangered species: The Piping Plover. Bring the whole fam for a day filled with games, crafts, and educational activities that raise awareness of this amazing shorebird. Plus, you get to enjoy a day at the beach, so pack a picnic and stay the day! Sat. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Rockaway Park. Free. All ages. Event details

Staten Island

Independence Day Celebration
It’s an old-fashioned, patriotic celebration of the classic American holiday. Enjoy a pie-baking demonstration and help to chip ice and churn old time ice cream; don’t forget to grab some samples! Your little patriots can make a pinwheel and march in the Pinwheel Parade, and meet patriotic villagers from the 1800s and earlier. Train enthusiasts will love the Staten Island Model Railroaders. Sun. Noon-4 p.m. Historic Richmond Town. $8/adult; $5/child age 4-11. Event details

How will your family celebrate this weekend? Share with us in the comment section below.

—Caitlin Dowling