With NYC public schools closed for Winter Break from December 26 – January 3, City students and their families have the wonderful opportunity to explore and enjoy some of the many holiday-themed events and festivities that take place in NYC throughout this time of year. And with the free IDNYC card, City families can visit many of the various venues that are hosting holiday activities and events throughout the City free of charge.

If you and your family members are staying in the City during Winter Break, consider checking out some of the following websites to get information about events and activities that are taking place between now and January 3, 2017:

4205685289_660bf09c68_oNew York City Department of Parks and Recreation’s Events Page:

This website is a wonderful place to start when it comes to finding holiday-themed events and venues to participate in and visit throughout all five boroughs. From tree and menorah lightings, to kid-friendly book readings, and winter holiday celebrations, the City’s parks are a great destination for cheap and/or free family fun.


Santa and the City (Exhibition) (Dec. 22 – Jan. 8)
Museum of the City of New York:

Stories of Saint Nicholas date back more than a millennium, but it was four 19th-century New Yorkers—John Pintard, Washington Irving, Clement Clark Moore, and Thomas Nast—who shaped the image of Santa Claus as we know him today. From Pintard’s push to make St. Nicholas the patron saint of the City to Irving’s early description and Nast’s enduring images to Moore’s poem, “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” Santa’s New York roots are undeniable.

Cost: $14 for adults, $10 for students & seniors, free for Museum members & all IDNYC cardholders who become members.

The Holiday Train Show (Exhibition) (Nov. 19 – Jan. 16)2115462664_5724593d3b_b
New York Botanical Garden:

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Botanical Garden’s enchanting model train exhibition. Trains zip through a display of 150 landmarks, each recreated with bark, leaves, and other natural materials, under the twinkling glow of the Botanical Garden’s Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. Marvel at G-scale locomotives humming along among familiar sights such as the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, and Rockefeller Center on nearly a half-mile of track. This year’s exhibition features more trains, an all-new Queensboro bridge, and a true New York finale featuring a whimsical tribute to the iconic Coney Island amusement park’s architecture and attractions.

Cost: $30 for adults, $28 for students, $18 for children aged 2-12, and free for Garden members and children under 2 years old.

Advanced reservations are strongly recommended by Garden staff.

6963467786_5148647010_oKwanzaa 2016: Songs for the Soul (Event) (Dec. 30; 2 seatings: noon & 3 p.m.)
American Museum of Natural History:

The American Museum of Natural History is celebrating Kwanzaa with a cultural celebration featuring an international marketplace and performances by students from the DOE’s very own Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music and American Idol champion, Ruben Studdard, inside the museum’s famous Milstein Hall of Ocean Life.

Cost: Free with general admission to the museum ($22 for adults, $17 for seniors & students, $12.50 for children 2-12 years old, free for children under 2), and free for Museum members and IDNYC cardholders who become Museum members.

New York City Service9592543_5ac92e5305_o

For many, the holiday season is the perfect time to give back to those in need. If you are interested in volunteering your time for a great cause, check out the NYC Service website to see how you and your family can help your fellow New Yorkers throughout this holiday season and beyond.


We hope these suggestions help to jumpstart your Winter Break plans. On behalf of the DOE, we hope you all have a wonderful holiday break!



The Morning Bell

Official blog for the NYC Department of Education, home of over 1.1 million students across 1,800+ schools

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