Although the weather may not be warm yet, the signs of spring are everywhere. The daffodils are planted in the window boxes, falling ice is dripping off the skyscrapers, and frozen rats are revealed in the melting snow. Pull out the rain boots and get ready to make a splash all month long with activities ranging from a remarkable miniature spectacle to the grandiose cherry blossom festival.
1. You’ll have the urge to be near the waterfront.
NOTE: Sadly, this event is fully subscribed. But it can’t hurt to call and ask if there is any room left. Although it isn’t beach weather yet, there is already a draw to the water. On Saturday, April 1, join the Brooklyn Historical Society for a Family Play Day where families will get to learn about the history of the Brooklyn Waterfront. This new exhibition is aimed at kids ages 2-12. Activities will include dressing up like Brooklyn Navy Yard workers, drawing waterfront murals, building puzzles, coloring postcards, and free snacks. Best of all? It’s all FREE! Saturday, April 1, 10am-2pm, 128 Pierrepont St., Brooklyn Heights. Free.
2. You’ll want your favorite Smorgasburg ice cream all week long.
Warm weather means ice cream. Wowfulls, the most Instagram worthy ice cream Hong Kong waffle treats at Smorgasburg now has a brick-and-mortar store. In celebration of opening weekend (through April 2nd), there will be special prices ($5 Wowfulls sale!), t-shirt giveaways, pins for sale, plus a million ways to impress your Instagram fans. Watch your kids’ heads explode. Wowfulls, 309 E Houston St, Lower East Side
3. You can travel to a faraway land for Spring Break without leaving town.
Even if you aren’t leaving town for your child’s Spring Break, you can travel to another land with the preview of Gulliver’s Gate. Opening April 4th, this Times Square spectacle lets you enter a shrunken world of miniatures. Global sights span time and space and include the 7 Wonders of the World and a futuristic functioning airport in breathtaking detail. During this press preview, artists will be putting the finishing touches on pieces, letting your kids learn more about 3D technology and video mapping technology. While you’re there, you’ll get scanned and a miniature version of yourself will actually be added to the exhibit. The price of a preview ticket ($25) is much cheaper than an airline ticket to Tulum. 216 W. 46th Street, Times Square.
4. It’s time for The Whitney Biennial.
Every other year you can tell it’s spring with the arrival of the biennial at the Whitney. This year is the 78th installment of the show, making it “the longest-running survey of American art.” With sixty-three artists who have created everything from paintings, to activism to video-game design, there is definitely something for everyone. Pick up a Kids Activity Guide for interactive viewing or stop by any Saturday in April for Kids Tours for children 5 and up. Or Saturday, April 8 from 9:30am-10am, bring your crying babies for a Stroller Tour before the museum opens to the public. Whitney Museum of American Art, 99 Gansevoort Street, Meatpacking District. In advance: Adults: $22/ Kids: free; At the door: Adults: $25/ Kids: free.
5. Brooklyn babies will be everywhere.
Although new research has revealed that breastfeeding is no longer the holy grail, women across Brooklyn are going to attempt to exclusively nurse, regardless of hurdles. But now one major obstacle has been lifted: finally you can find normal looking clothes that won’t flash your breasts at everyone at brunch. Mama’s Milk Box was founded by Elena Petzold, who has brought together the cutest in nursingware under one umbrella. Professional nursing dresses, plaid nursing flannels, and jewel encrusted nursing sweaters will make the chore of milking that much easier. Plus, some of these items are so cute and economical, you might just keep wearing them after you’ve weaned.
6. Books about Brooklyn babies will be everywhere.
On Saturday, April 8, Books of Wonder in Manhattan is hosting a discussion about a new picture book that will help your (older) Brooklyn babies learn about sex positivity, consent, and the right to be curious about your body. Tell Me About Sex, Grandma emphasizes the dynamics of sex rather than its mechanics, and sex educator and social worker Janah Boccio, LCSW, will be in discussion with author and illustrator Anastasia Higginbotham about how to support these conversations at home. Saturday, April 8, 4-6pm, Books of Wonder, W. 18th St., Manhattan. On Sunday, April 9th, from 2pm-5pm, join POW! Kids Books and author Rajiv Fernandez for the release party of his new book, Baby To Brooklyn. The book is a hipster twist on the normal ‘ABC’ book. Comparing the world of babies to Brooklyn landmarks and lifestyle, this humorous book will be a favorite at baby showers across the borough. “Kindergarten to Biergarten” and “Building Blocks to Brooklyn Bridge”, this is the book to have on any Brownstone bookshelf. The party will feature books, beer and magic. FREE Sunday, April 9th, 2pm-5pm, Berg’n, 899 Bergen St., Prospect Heights.
7. You will celebrate Earth Day.
This year, celebrating Mother Earth feels more imperative than ever. At the time of writing this, Trump has just signed an executive order to unwind the policies that Obama put into place and to revive the coal industry. On April 22, families can participate in the March for Science to “support and safeguard the scientific community.” Marches will be organized all across the country, including New York. Bring your budding lab workers to acknowledge the importance that science plays in our lives. If your kids aren’t into demonstrations, you can celebrate a little more passively with the Sunset Park Cinema Club’s FREE screening of Wall-E. There will also be food for purchase and family friendly activities. April 22, 10am-1pm, Industry City, 274 36th St., Sunset Park. FREE
8. The Cherry Blossoms will bloom.
Everyone knows about Sakura Matsuri, the Cherry Blossom Festival at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. There are over 60 events and performances that celebrate traditional and contemporary Japanese culture. The entire weekend (April 29-30) is really fun, it can also be extremely crowded with very long lines. Pro tip: Beat the crowds by going at a different time. The cherry blossoms often bloom earlier or later through the middle of May. With the daily updates of BBG’s Cherrywatch, you can be updated daily on which trees are in bloom and you can beat the crowds. Trees only bloom for a week, so get there quickly. The Instagram worthiness of your kids dancing through petals that look like snow is breathtaking. And if you can make it on a Tuesday, it will even be FREE. Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 150 Eastern Parkway, Prospect Heights. Open Tuesday-Friday, 8am-6pm, $15 adults, free children.
9. You’ll remember your old favorite playgrounds.
If it’s been months since you’ve visited your favorite playgrounds, you and your kids are probably happy to return to them once the snow melts. If you find yourself at the Piers, you’ll be delighted to find new fancy snack and beverage options. Pier 1’s controversial hotel in Brooklyn is open for business, and although it blocks the view from half of Brooklyn Heights, it also has a luxe coffee shop, Neighbors, for your cold brew fix. If Pier 6 is more your family’s thing, you’ll want to try out Vendome Macaron Cafe between Pier 5 and Pier 6. Fill up on croissants, macarons, sandwiches, coffee and wine. There’s no better way to celebrate spring!