Our guide to cultural events in New York City for families with children and teenagers.
‘CELEBRATE PACIFIC NORTHWEST CULTURES’ at the American Museum of Natural History (Aug. 16 and 30, 1-4 p.m.). How often do you get to tour an exhibition with a robot? In this Wednesday program, some of the museum’s youngest visitors will investigate its oldest hall — the Hall of Northwest Coast Indians, established in 1900 — in the company of a telepresence robot, which will connect them with a virtual guide from the Haida Gwaii Museum in Canada. And that’s not all the cutting-edge technology: The hall’s interactive digital totem, a touch-screen exhibit, offers filmed interviews with Native Americans and opportunities to experience the region’s sights and sounds. Participants will also handle an authentic Haida salmon club and investigate a model of an Indian long house.
‘DIG! PLANT! GROW! GLOBAL GARDENS SUMMER HARVEST CELEBRATION’ at the New York Botanical Garden (Aug. 12-13, 1:30-5:30 p.m.). This Bronx haven for all things green embraces the world as well as the borough. Its two-acre Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden is home to five Global Gardens, plots tended by community volunteers who cultivate their cultural heritages along with the produce popular in their families’ regions of origin: Italy, Ireland, China, Korea and the Caribbean. At this annual celebration, young visitors will meet the gardeners and receive passports — actually activity sheets — to be stamped at each of the Global Gardens after they’ve investigated plants like Korea’s balloon flowers or Ireland’s potatoes.
‘MUNE: GUARDIAN OF THE MOON’ (Aug. 12, 12:55 p.m.). It’s not exactly string theory: The sun is anchored in the firmament by a harpoon attached to a chain, and the moon by gossamer-like threads. But while children won’t learn astronomy from this film, they may well be captivated by the adventures of Mune, a young forest faun who’s thrown into the role of the moon’s guardian and, well, loses his grip. This animated French fantasy, directed by Alexandre Heboyan and Benoît Philippon, is now being released in a new English-language version, which GKids and Fathom Events are bringing to select cinemas — along with a program of international shorts — this Saturday only. The movie follows the fuzzy Mune; Sohone, the vain sun guardian; and Glim, a brave, spirited girl made of wax, as they strive to save the whole cosmos from a villainous plot.
‘PETE THE CAT’ at the Lucille Lortel Theater (through Aug. 18). Everyone knows that cats love to shred, but the shredding that Pete enjoys is more likely to damage your eardrums than your couch. Pete is a genuine rock star, and he’s now come to the stage as the hero of the latest production in Theatreworks USA’s free summer theater program. Also the focus of a beloved picture book series, Pete’s adventures have been adapted by Sarah Hammond and Will Aronson, who have created a high-energy 50-minute pop musical devoted to the week that Pete spends with the Biddle family. Pete doesn’t quite learn how to be a pet, but he does teach Jimmy Biddle, a second grader, how to take life less seriously. (Reservations are not accepted; admission is first come first served, starting an hour before each performance.)
SUMMERSTAGE FAMILY DAY at Rumsey Playfield (Aug. 12, 3-5 p.m.). The headlining act for this free outdoor music celebration is They Might Be Giants, and to young fans, its members are giants. The group’s Saturday show, “Kids, Science and Beyond,” covers those topics and more as it delves into the repertory of a band founded by the adult indie rockers John Flansburgh and John Linnell. They wrote the theme song for the erstwhile hit sitcom “Malcolm in the Middle” and soon expanded into Malcolm’s age group. They’ll be joined by the radio host Bill Childs, whose show is the evocatively titled “Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child,” and by the puppeteers of CityParks PuppetMobile, who will perform “Cinderella Samba,” the Cinderella tale with a Latin twist. (Admission starts at 2.)
TEEN NIGHT: ‘SUGAR HONEY ICED TEA’ at the Brooklyn Museum (Aug. 11, 5-8 p.m.). Refreshments will be served at this free event for art-hungry adolescents, but not necessarily those of the title: The teenagers who planned the evening chose the words to evoke the pleasures of summer. Each of these monthly gatherings revolves around one of the museum’s shows, and this time it’s “We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965-85,” which explores the interplay of art and politics. Young visitors will discuss the exhibition’s themes, make their own work — paintings, screen prints and jewelry — and enjoy music from DJ Ella and dance by the City Tech Steppers.
‘WHALE RIDER’ at the JCC Manhattan (Aug. 13, 11 a.m.). Paikea, or Pai, is a 12-year-old Maori girl named after that people’s ancient ancestor, who legend says came to their land on the back of a whale. But even though Pai is the sole heir of her grandfather, the chief, he won’t allow her to assume his role and the title of whale rider because tradition demands a male successor. This acclaimed feature by Niki Caro, based on the novel by Witi Ihimaera, is now being given a 15th-anniversary screening by the New York International Children’s Film Festival. Rated PG-13 and released in the United States in 2003, the movie earned a best actress Oscar nomination for Keisha Castle-Hughes, who stars as Pai. (Admission is free, but tickets are required.)
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