It’s the weekend before Thanksgiving and the celebrations are already starting! Enjoy a family friendly pre-festive feast at the first ever Tykesgiving, take your train enthusiasts to opening weekend at one of the city’s two big holiday train shows, or learn about the holiday and put them to work making some decorations for your home at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s I’m Thankful Celebration. Even if you’re heading out of town for Turkey day, you’ve got all weekend to get in a little NYC celebration before taking off, have fun!

nibble and squeak

Photo: Nibble and Squeak 


Magical Creatures Scavenger Hunt for Harry Potter Fans
The wizarding world is full of fantastical beasts and it’s up to you to find them! Inspired by the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films and books, this new adventure by Watson’s Adventures unveils the extraordinary—and the seemingly ordinary—at the Museum of Natural History. On your quest, you’ll find tiny cousins to dragons, meet the animal inspirations for Hogwarts’ Houses and discover the power of dressing like a magic monster. Advance purchase is required. Sat. Event details


Opening Weekend: 15th Annual Holiday Train Show
Roll on over to the Transit Museum Store inside Grand Central and let your little rail fans go nuts over this year’s holiday train show. The impressive display features Lionel model trains running in and out of a model Grand Central Station on a 34 foot-long, two-level platform. You’ll also find lots of unique subway and train gifts for purchase like subway backpacks and train sets, so feel free to get in a little holiday shopping for the train lovers in your life while visiting. Fri.-Sun. Event details

Operation Slumber
Pack an overnight bag and board the Intrepid for an exciting sleepover filled with a space shuttle visit, a flash light tour of the flight deck, and a ride in a flight simulator. Your little sailors will enjoy dinner, snacks and breakfast aboard this massive aircraft carrier and take home a goodie bag and t-shirt as souvenirs. Space is limited and reservations are required. Call (646) 381-5010 or email to reserve a spot. Sat. Event details


Nibble and Squeaks Tykesgiving
It’s a pre-Thanksgiving festive meal AND it’s kid friendly thanks to Nibble and Squeaks! This delicious restaurant is closing down to the public for this special pre-holiday meal just for parents with their little ones in tow. You’ll get to dine at a nice restaurant without the worries of your kids being kids. Enjoy! Fri. Event details

Hit the Club Family Style
So you feel too old or too tired (or both) to go out clubbing these days… Well now you can hit the club during the day with your little ones, at a CirKiz dance party designed for the next generation of electronic music fans. Kids can take dance and DJ lessons, party with an LED Robot, and light the room up at the glow station. Enjoy a free snack bar, water for the kids and a cash bar for the older folks. There are no strollers allowed inside so plan ahead. Sun. Event details

Native American Cultural Festival
Celebrate the Native American culture with a performance by the Redhawk Native American Arts Council at 12:30 and workshops all day at the museum. Your kiddos can make Native American animal zodiac tile mosaic, make jewelry, weave baskets, animate constellations and more. And as always, make sure to stop into the special tot section just for the littlest artists. Sun. Event details


Thanksgiving Celebration
Drop your little turkeys off to celebrate and give thanks together with their Recess friends. Kiddies will create Thanksgiving decorations and learn about the meaning of the holiday. Bonus: you can use the decorations for your party! Everyone will play,  enjoy arts & crafts and of course have a pizza dinner. Fri. Event details

I’m Thankful Celebration!
Join Brooklyn Children’s Museum for a two day celebration that celebrates the harvest season and allows your little ones to reflect on all the things for which they are grateful.Your kiddos can learn about the traditions of Native Americans living in the Northeast Woodlands through Museum collections objects and storytelling. Handle artifacts and leave with an art activity inspired by America’s first settlers. Swing by the thankful tree to talk about what your family is grateful for. You can even hit a pumpkin scavenger hunt in the Museum’s garden to pick out a mini pumpkin and decorate them as a beautiful centerpiece for the holiday. Sat. & Sun. Event details


Little Makers: Harvest Time Jam
It’s harvest time! Smash and stir this season’s fruit into a yummy batch of homemade jam. Bonus, you can wow your guest by serving homemade jam at your Thanksgiving feast. Sometimes creativity can get messy, so dress your little maker (and yourself) in old clothing. And of course while you’re visiting NYHS visit all the other cool exhibits, including the super cool area just for the little tots. Sun. Event details


Opening Weekend: Chug on Over to the Holiday Train Show
Take the kiddos to The Botanical Garden and marvel at model trains zooming through familiar NYC landmarks like the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, and Rockefeller Center–all made from plant parts such as nuts, bark, and leaves. The Artist’s Studio will provide an insider’s look at how the building replicas are constructed and feature a showcase of unique and historic model trains. Tip: the lines can get long, especially on the weekends, make sure to make a reservation in advance. Sat. & Sun. Event details

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

—Caitlin Dowling