Our guide to cultural events in New York City for children and teenagers happening this weekend and in the week ahead.
‘BABY ON THE SUBWAY’ ALBUM RELEASE SHOW at ShapeShifter Lab (Sept. 15, 11 a.m.). The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is not known for producing smiles, but cute infants and toddlers in transit can still elicit giggles and grins. The singer, songwriter and comedian Camille Harris celebrates that phenomenon on the title track of her first full-length children’s album, which is being released on Friday. Appearing with a band at this Brooklyn concert — Harris refers to her musical genre as “silly jazz” — she will offer original tunes like “Jiggly Wiggly,” “The Backwards Alphabet” and “Procrastination Song (Untitled),” as well as her creative riffs on classics like “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” “The Wheels on the Bus” and “Chopsticks” (she’s even given it lyrics). Young listeners can look forward to a meet-and-greet after the show.
DISCOVERY DAY at Freshkills Park (Sept. 15, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.). Not so long ago, you wouldn’t have been delighted with what you could discover here: greasy wrappers and rotten fruit, anyone? Once the world’s largest landfill, Freshkills has been slowly transforming from an Everest of trash into a 2,200-acre Staten Island public park and wildlife habitat. Although the entire expanse won’t open officially for years, this free event, which will go on rain or shine (except for thunderstorms), will grant temporary access to more than 700 acres and eight miles of trails. Family activities will include cycling (bring your own bike or borrow one here), guided walks with groups like New York City Audubon and the Urban Park Rangers, kite flying and making wind chimes and other art from recycled materials. No worries if you don’t live nearby: Free shuttle buses will transport visitors to and from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal.
METFRIDAYS: PLAY IT LOUD at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Sept. 13, 5-9 p.m.). Play what loud? Rock music, of course. Held in conjunction with the museum’s exhibition of the same title, this event has concerts, discussions and activities that will appeal variously to school-age children, teenagers and their hip or nostalgic elders. (A 50th-anniversary screening of “Woodstock” is scheduled for 6 p.m.) In addition to an opportunity to explore “Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll,” which until Oct. 1 displays artifacts like a drum kit used by Ringo Starr and a guitar played by Joan Jett, the evening offers young visitors workshops in which they can create tie-dye T-shirts and handkerchiefs and learn how stringed instruments are built from a professional luthier. Those 10 and older may also enjoy a program on rock’s signs and symbols, in which they can invent their own bands — there is even a tool to help generate names for the groups — and make buttons to promote them. (The website has the full schedule.) And don’t miss a chance to take a stairway to heaven with Lez Zeppelin, an all-female Led Zeppelin tribute band that will rock the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium at 7:15. (Space at the performance is limited, and advance registration is recommended.)
ONE CROWN HEIGHTS NEIGHBORHOOD FESTIVAL at Brower Park (Sept. 15, 1-6 p.m.). A Brooklyn community with a long history, Crown Heights is known for its diversity — and occasionally for its divisiveness. Sponsored by the Brooklyn Children’s Museum and other organizations, this free annual festival seeks to unify the neighborhood by embracing its multiple heritages. This year’s celebration will feature Caribbean cultural performances by Tropical Fete, double Dutch by the group Ms. K’s Swagga Jumpers, Jewish-themed tunes from Uncle Moishy and spirited moves from Victory Music and Dance Company. It will also include fire safety demonstrations, health screenings, a mobile recreation van, a Brooklyn Public Library Bookmobile and kosher and nonkosher food. The festivities are rain or shine, but you can always duck inside the museum: It will offer free admission all day.
RAPTOR FEST at the East Meadow, Central Park (Sept. 14, noon-3 p.m.). Expect an air show at this event, but the performers overhead won’t be creative pilots. These soaring stars are raptors, or birds of prey, the guests of honor at this free annual celebration. Presented by the Urban Park Rangers, the program will feature a master falconer and species including the screech owl, the red-tailed hawk, the kestrel and the bald eagle, as well as some not native to the Northeast, like the Harris hawk, the black vulture, the Eurasian eagle and the spectacled owl. Families will be able not only to see these varieties up close, but also to learn about raptor traits and behaviors at activity stations where children can compare their own grasping strength to that of birds of prey and the length of their outstretched arms to avian wingspans. To be held rain or shine (except for thunderstorms), the festival will also encourage flights of fancy: Wearable props will help young visitors transform themselves into winged hunters.
SATURDAY SCHOOL at Rockefeller Plaza (Sept. 14, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.). Don’t let the title intimidate your kids: This free event promises no homework and plenty of fun. Devoted to entertaining explorations of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and math), this fair will host programs like CodeScty, which uses rap music and hip-hop videos to teach computer science; KidCoolThereminSchool, dedicated to hearing, playing and learning about that instrument; and Art Sundae, in which the author and artist Christopher Myers will engage children in drawing a “map” on the plaza that incorporates outlines of their bodies. Other highlights of the festival, taking place rain or shine, include fire safety demonstrations, hands-on activities from the Climate Museum, concerts by Rock and Roll Playhouse and the debut of MICRO’s Perpetual Motion Museum, a physics display that’s the size of a vending machine.