April 22 is Earth Day, but you don't have to confine your celebrating to just that one date. This year, many places across the USA are scheduling environmentally-themed events throughout the month with lots of great family-friendly activities. Learn about the environment, how to live more greenly, volunteer to green up in your community, or just celebrate the Earth and have fun.
Here are some of the many Earth Day/Month activities in New York City:
Central Park Bandshell: April 26, from 12pm-4pm
(use the East or West 72nd Street entrance); 212-360-1461
This may well be the biggest Earth Day event of them all. Central Park is hosting their huge free celebration called Earth Day in Central Park. This will feature live kid-friendly performances; planting and mulching projects; composting demonstrations; and crafts with recycled materials, just to name a few. You'll also have the chance to be a part of history by getting on a bike to create Central Park's first sound system powered by human energy. After the festivities, walk around the park and revel in the abundance of natural beauty.
Green Apple Festival: Friday, April 17th-Sunday, April 19th FREE
Various Locations around New York
What better way to celebrate Earth Day than to volunteer with your children to make the planet a better place. And what better extra motivation for volunteering than a free concert for volunteers. Anyone who participates in this April 17th-19th event will get to enjoy a free concert on the 19th (Deep Banana Blackout at the Bowery Ballroom). Embrace the true meaning of Earth Day, give yourself a little musical reward, and sign up to make positive change to parks, beaches, forests, and schools in your community. Volunteering opportunities are available for all ages. Check their website for volunteer activities and more information.
Earth Day at Grand Central, Earthfair 2009: Friday, April 24th to Saturday the 25th; Exhibit: April 20th to the 26th FREE
Outdoor Events: Vanderbilt Avenue, between 42nd and 45th Streets
Indoor Events: Vanderbilt Hall, Grand Central Terminal
New York, NY 10017; PH: 212-922-0048
From April 24th to the 25th, Grand Central is celebrating the Earth in a huge way with a giant indoor and outdoor fair. Expect to see a Green Home Pavilion that has organic food, children's activities, live music, yoga, and the "BioBus." Plus, don't forget to head to the main concourse to catch The Giant Earth Images, a free exhibit focusing on the environment, utilizing the work of such modern artists as Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and Roy Lichtenstein. The Earthfair runs from 12pm to 7pm on Friday, and from 11am-5pm on Saturday; the exhibit is open the 20th to the 26th, from 10am to 8pm.
Habana Outpost's Earth Day Expo 2009: Saturday, April 18th and Sunday, the 19th, 12pm to 6pm FREE
757 Fulton Street Brooklyn, NY 11217; PH: 718-858-9500
Habana Outpost is New York's first "eco-eatery," located in Fort "Green," so it's no surprise they're presenting their own Earth Day Expo. This promises to be a fun time for kids and parents alike, with bingo, games, crafts, face painting, films, a DJ, and a fashion show. Various vendors and organizations will also be on hand to present info on green living in Brooklyn, such as Brooklyn Green Drinks and Green Edge NYC. The free festivities run Saturday, April 18th and Sunday, the 19th, 12pm to 6pm. It's a perfect way to get plugged into Brooklyn's green scene.
Go Green! Greenpoint! Earth Day Festival: Sunday, April 19th, from 11am to 4pm FREE
Nassau Avenue & North 15th Street; Brooklyn, NY; 718-609-1090
Join other Brooklynites on April 19th, from 11am to 4pm, for this free festival that includes crafts, music, contests, and yoga. There will also be a "drop-off" station, where you can get rid of your child's old books, toys and clothes, and with only a $5 charge, you can "shop" there and pick up as many items as you can use. What a smart (and environmentally-friendly) idea during a recession!
Go Green Expo: April 18 to April 19 (10am-6pm on Saturday and 10am-5pm on Sunday)
The Hilton New York, 1335 Avenue of the Americas at 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019 212-655-4505
New York has expos for cars, books, and travel, so why not the Earth? The goal of the Go Green Expo is to teach people how to better preserve the planet by using more environmentally-friendly products. This event has more than 200 booths and exhibits; seminars (including one with Mariel Hemingway); films; demonstrations; activities; an "eco-fashion show;" and the Kid Zone, where children can learn all about Disney's latest film, Earth, and the Sammy and Sue Go Green book series. The Go Green Expo is open to the public April 18 to April 19 (10am-6pm on Saturday and 10am-5pm on Sunday). A weekend pass is $10, but students are free.
Prospect Park: April 18th, from 9am-4pm
95 Prospect Park West at 5th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215
718-965-8999 (general hotline); 718-854-4901 (youth volunteer event); 718-287-3400, ext.104 (nature babies)
Prospect Park is a 585-acre wonder with its own zoo in beautiful Brooklyn. On April 18th, from 9am-4pm, kids can volunteer to clear plants and weeds, while planting new flower beds at Prospect Park's Youth Resource Center. This is a great way for kids to learn to take more responsibility for their environment. The park also has regular activities for children, like the weekly Monday Nature Babies class, where kids aged 18 months to 3 years get to make environmentally-inspired crafts. This $20-a-session class is from 10am-11:15am, and runs now through early May.
The Bronx Zoo: (Check web site for various times and dates of individual events.)
2300 Southern Boulevard; Bronx, NY 10460; 718-220-5100
Weekends in April: The Bronx Zoo is celebrating Earth Month with music, animal-inspired yoga, costumed characters, stories, crafts, and a live performance of "The Adventures of Captain Cocoa." (Perhaps he's the boyfriend of Swiss Miss?) Also part of Earth Month is the Bronx Zoo's first annual Earth Expo, with exhibitors ranging from Fisher-Price to Mr. Ellie Pooh's Elephant Dung Paper (actual paper made out of elephant waste, if you can believe it). No, you may not want to buy that particular product, but you've got to admit you're curious. Earth Month is free with zoo admission, which is $15 for adults, $11 for children.
April is Earth Month at The New York Botanical Garden: FREE on Wednesday, April 22nd
200th Street and Kazimiroff Boulevard; Bronx, NY 10458; 718-817-8700
What better way to see the New York Botanical Garden than for free? For one day only (April 22), the NYBG is offering all visitors free admission. This month, NYBG is featuring the tour Biodiversity: Think Global, Act Local, which highlights the NYBG's efforts to assist with conservation. There are also a variety of family-friendly activities running until the 19th, like the Forest Explorers Walk.
Celebrate Earth!: Saturday, April 25th to Sunday the 26th
The Brooklyn Children's Museum
145 Brooklyn Avenue; Brooklyn, NY 11213; 718-735-4400
At The Brooklyn Children's Museum's Celebrate Earth! event, kids will learn how to use flowers to communicate and recycle old materials into art, among other things. Celebrate Earth! runs from April 25th to the 26th.,10:30 am to 4:30 pm, and there are also other earth-related museum activities kids can enjoy during Spring Break, which runs through the 18th. (Hours vary, depending on the day.) Spring Break allows kids to do more with their vacation than just watch TV. They'll plant, make a birdhouse, and enjoy a special dinosaur puppet show that teaches them how to handle bullies.
The American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West and 79th Street; New York, NY 1002; 212-769-5100
Right now, the museum is presenting a number of nature-related exhibits, including The Butterfly Conservatory, featuring more than 500 butterflies, and Climate Change, which explores our ever-evolving Earth. Dr. Nebula teaches an interactive lesson on temperature April 19 at 2pm. Cap off your visit with a screening of Wild Ocean, AMNH's daily special IMAX film that looks at endangered sea life. Suggested museum admission is $15 for adults, $8.50 for kids. Exhibits, Dr. Nebula's class and film are extra.
The Staten Island Zoo: April 25, from 10:30am to 4pm
614 Broadway; Staten Island, NY 10310; 718-442-3100
If you've never been to the Staten Island Zoo before, Earth Fair is the perfect excuse to go. On April 25, from 10:30am to 4pm, kids can partake in crafts and face painting, and parents will get the chance to learn about New York organizations working to help the Earth. In addition, The Staten Island Zoo has a wide array of animals on display, such as ducks, bobcats, and spiny lizards. The Zoo costs $8 for adults, $5 for kids. The fair is free with admission.