Whether you want to beat the heat in refreshing air conditioning or embrace summer with outdoor activities, we’ve found fun adventures for you this weekend. Two museum exhibits are opening and they are not to be missed – spider, spiders and more spiders at the American Museum of Natural History and a survey of 20th century children’s design from toys and games to playgrounds and school architecture at MoMA. If you’ve got Olympic fever, take your kiddo to a special gold medal event at the Scholastic Store. As for the outdoor activities, you can participate in or watch a sandcastle building contest, sing along with an outdoor showing of The Muppet Movie or catch a kiddie concert in the park.


Spiders Alive! Opens
A new exhibit featuring creepy, crawly, mythic spiders opens today at the American Museum of Natural History. Visitors will encounter a variety of spiders ranging from the goliath bird eater, which feeds on snakes, mice and frogs; and African whip spiders that have whip-like feelers up to 10-inches long! You can also explore spiders’ silk, venom, defensive mechanisms, larger-than-life models, videos, interactive exhibits and fossils. Sat. – December 2. UWS. $24.00 for adults and $14.00 for children. All ages. Event details.


Century of the Child Opens
A new kid-centric exhibition opens at MoMA today. Century of the Child: Growing by Design will run through November 5th on the 6th Floor. It is an ambitious survey of 20th century design for children, showcasing school architecture, clothing, playgrounds, toys and games, children’s hospitals, nurseries, furniture and books. Sun. – November 5. Midtown. $25 for adults, children free. All agesEvent details.


Going for the Gold!
The 2012 London Olympics are in full swing and today the Scholastic Store is featuring the new novel Gold Medal Summer for a fun celebration. Participate in a limbo tournament and a pass-the-torch relay race. Then design your own medal. Sat., 3:00 pm. Soho. Free. Ages 6 and older. Event details.

Shine & the Moonbeams
Listen to soul kiddie-centric crooners Shine & the Moonbeams at Sara D Roosevelt Park. They’ll invite your kids to stomp their feet, clap their hands and sing along to bubbly melodies. Fri., 10:30 am – 11:30 am. Lower East Side. Free. Ages 3-5. Event details.


Muppet Movie Sing-A-Long
Tonight Celebrate Brooklyn is showing the original 1979 film The Muppet Movie outside in the bandshell. But that’s not all, cover band the Loser’s Lounge will lead a fun sing-a-long for you and the kids, too to make this an interactive movie watching experience. Doors open at 6:30 pm. Sat., 7:30 pm. Park Slope. $3 suggested donation. All agesEvent details.

Sandcastle Building Contest
Get ready to show off your sandcastle building skills, or simply enjoy a day at the beach checking out other builder’s creations. The 17th annual sandcastle building contest with the Urban Park Rangers features activities and prizes for several age categories. Don’t forget your buckets and tools, but no experience is necessary. Sun., 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm. Rockaway Beach. Free. All ages. Event details.

— Julie Seguss

Image courtesy of MoMA