Spring Break is Sprung!
April 11, 2014

Standardized testing kicked off April Fool’s Day in New York City schools and is slated to last into early May. Between that and the fact that March is the only month in the school calendar without any days off, everyone is primed for Spring Recess which couldn't begin soon enough on Monday, and for public schools, and goes through Tuesday, April 22. 

Fortunately New York City Parks have planned ahead, and (in case like us) you have not, following is a roundup of free or low-cost activities to do with the kids. 

If you can’t get to Florida this break, you can at least catch a glimpse of it at the New York Botanical Garden’s greenhouse feature: The Orchid Show: Key West Contemporary. Blooming orchids thrive around reflecting pools, soaring pergolas, and sleek benches where visitors can sit to take it all in. It’s the perfect respite after a hike around the forest primeval that surrounds the park’s sculpted gardens and walks. 

For younger children, Poe Park is also hosting a series of free arts and crafts events such as sand art and scrapbooking on different days throughout the recess, and on April 20, the Urban Park Rangers will help children explore the natural world that surrounds the Orchard Beach Nature Center in Pelham Bay Park

To give back to the greenspaces that give us so much, adults with school-aged children are invited to join the Junior Volunteer Corps to clean up the Zucker Natural Exploration Area in Prospect Park on Saturday, April 19.  Also in the park, on Thursday and Friday, April 17 and 18, children can learn all about birdwatching from 1-2 p.m. or, from 2-3 p.m., join discovery walks to explore the flora and fauna that thrives within the park. 

If there’s rain in the forecast, head to the southeast section of Central Park where you can easily duck into the Arsenal Gallery to seek refuge and take in the STRATA exhibit that features artifacts from the urban environment—river flotsam, ceramic shards, and architectural details—crafted into multilayered, abstract compositions that highlight the relationship between the man-made and natural worlds.  The exhibit is free and goes through Thursday, April 24.

Spring recess is also a great time to finally take some tours of Central Park, including the North Woods on Tuesday, April 15; a collection of iconic views from around the park, on Wednesday, April 16; and West Side Stories on Wednesday, April 17; and the Heart of the Park on Thursday, April 18.  All are free and held from noon to 1:15 p.m. Check the Park’s website for meeting locations. 

A colorful exhibit titled “Get the Picture?” at the Queens Botanical Garden invites visitors to find things funny, wry, and touching in the composite images of artist Alan Richards.  Using photomanipulation techniques, the artist brings disparate images together into one piece to create a scene that may not exist in nature but could in someone’s mind. 

Also, as it would turn out, April is national kite month and to celebrate, the King Manor Museum in Rufus King park is hosting “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” on Saturday, April 19.  In addition to having fun and making their own kites kids will learn that kites have also been used for scientific experiments and discovery.

Staten Island
Take in stunning waterfront views while walking the grounds of the Conference House in Tottenville, and on Friday, April 18, join a guided tour through the historic home where Benjamin Franklin, Edward Rutledge, John Adams, and Lord Howe met in an attempt to end the Revolutionary War. Tours will run from 1-4 p.m.

Egg Hunts
And for many kids, it wouldn’t be spring break without an egg hunt!  Current opportunities to hunt for colorful, treasure-filled eggs—or to dye your own—include the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum in the Bronx on Sunday, April 13, from 1:30 to 4 p.m.; Greenbelt Park in Staten Island on Wednesday, April 16, from 4-6 p.m., and at the Queens Botanical Garden on Saturday, April 19, from noon to 3:30 p.m. 

Please leave a comment below to let us know what you plan to do for break, or what you did afterwards!


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