Our guide to cultural events in New York City for families with children and teenagers.
‘CARTOON NETWORK: 25 YEARS OF DRAWING ON CREATIVITY’ at the Paley Center for Media (through Oct. 8). At 25, this 24-hour network, the first devoted completely to animation, is all grown up. But this free birthday exhibition still offers a lot of fun for its not-grown-up fans. The display, which travels to the Paley Center’s Beverly Hills, Calif., location after its Manhattan run, includes an exploration of the series “Steven Universe,” stop-motion sets from the show “Adventure Time” and sculptures from the revived hit “The Powerpuff Girls,” among other exhibits and activities. On weekends at 12:15 and 2:15 p.m., the center will also feature a hit parade of cartoon screenings.
‘DREAMING UP NORTH: CHILDREN ON THE MOVE ACROSS THE AMERICAS’ AT EL MUSEO DEL BARRIO (through Nov. 5) Amid all the voices hotly debating immigration, one is often missing: that of the youngest travelers. This exhibition displays the images, words and drawings of children from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador and Nicaragua who have left home — sometimes for the United States, sometimes not. Presented by the museum with Colectiva Infancias, a group of social scientists, the show demonstrates that migrant children are more than pawns shifted by adults; some leave to escape gang violence or to find their parents. Juan Pablo, an 11-year-old Mexican, chose field work because he couldn’t bear to see his little sister shoeless. Although some accounts are harrowing, the exhibition conveys an urgent message. As Yosselin, 14, from El Salvador puts it, “If I told you all I have been through, you would understand me.”
FAMILY EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS DAY at the Staten Island Children’s Museum (Sept. 30, noon to 5 p.m.). Congratulations to the NYC Emergency Management agency for creating a female superhero: She’s Ready Girl, and children can meet her at this free event, where she’ll teach how to prepare for disasters like fires and floods. (Copies of the comic book in which she stars will be distributed while supplies last.) Young visitors will also encounter heroes with more typical powers — firefighters, police officers and police horses — as well as investigate city emergency vehicles and a command center, and crawl through a simulation of a smoke-filled house. Demonstrations and games will focus on how to create a family evacuation plan if danger strikes.
‘THE JOSHUA SHOW: EPISODE 2’ at Here Arts Center (through Sept. 30). Joshua Holden was part of the national tour for “Avenue Q,” but you won’t encounter any foulmouthed puppets in this production. You will, however, meet at least one grumpy one: Mr. Nicholas, a sourpuss sock fellow who’s the foil to Mr. Holden. An unabashed “ambassador of joy,” Mr. Holden has dedicated his shows to lightening the mood of all in the theater, puppets and humans alike. Accompanied by the musician Jeb Colwell, he does this through physical comedy, oddball props, wry commentary and tap-dancing.
MEDIEVAL FESTIVAL at Fort Tryon Park (Oct. 1, 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.) Powerful princesses and knights in shining armor are more than just storybook fantasies at this free celebration, which turns the park area around the Cloisters, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s medieval branch, into a village and a tournament field straight from the Middle Ages. In addition to actors incarnating period folk — including jousters on horseback — the festival, presented by the Washington Heights and Inwood Development Corporation, offers a host of family activities: a children’s costume parade, storytelling, marionette shows, circus performances and crafts. New entertainers this year include Luther Bangert, a sword swallower and juggler, and Vixens En Garde, a medieval combat act made up entirely of women. (Let’s hear it for progressive anachronisms.)
92Y STREET FEST on Lexington Avenue, 79th to 94th Streets (Oct. 1, noon to 5 p.m.). How often do you get to be a ninja warrior on the sidewalks of Manhattan? That’s one of the treats promised to young visitors at this free festival, which this year includes a Ninja warrior obstacle course, as well as a “tiny tumbler” obstacle course for those a little too small for Ninja moves. In addition to highlighting the programs of its presenter, the 92nd Street Y, the fair will further appeal to children with face painting, a coloring corner, crafts, gymnastics demonstrations and performances that include the Big Apple Circus.
‘THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR SHOW’ at DR2 Theater (through Feb. 18). That little larva with the extremely large appetite is back onstage. This charming adaptation of Eric Carle’s beloved picture books, conceived by Jonathan Rockefeller, has reopened with some new friends for its fuzzy title character: In addition to the Very Lonely Firefly, part of the original production, the show now features 10 Little Rubber Ducks, heroes of the book of the same title, and Brown Bear Brown Bear, whose own story just celebrated its 50th anniversary. All the characters in this 55-minute show are brought to life through Mr. Carle’s own words and a variety of puppets, designed by Rockefeller Productions.
‘THE WIZARD OF OZ’ at the Theater at Blessed Sacrament (Sept. 30-Nov. 12). The journey down the Yellow Brick Road is considerably shorter in Vital Theater Company’s production of this classic tale: You’ll be to the Emerald City and back in just an hour. Since the show, adapted by Michael Schloegl from John Kane’s 1987 theatrical staging for the Royal Shakespeare Company, is intended for children ages 2 through 7, you can probably expect the trip to be less scary, too. But Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion will all still star, along with Munchkin puppets and Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg’s tunes from the 1939 motion picture.
An earlier version of this column misidentified the creator of the puppets in the revival of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” The puppets were designed by Rockefeller Productions, not by Eric Wright of the Puppet Kitchen. (Mr. Wright designed the puppets in the show’s original production.)
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