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9 Things to Do With Your Kids in N.Y.C. This Weekend

Category: Art & Culture,Arts

HOUDINI WEEKEND at the New-York Historical Society (July 13-15 at various times). Death was something even Harry Houdini (1874-1926) couldn’t escape, but those who have always wished they could see him can enjoy close approximations of his artistry at this museum. Part of the society’s Summer of Magic, a salute to all kinds of illusion, this themed weekend will begin on Friday night at 7 with a screening of “Houdini,” a PBS documentary. On Saturday, from noon to 4 p.m., Gregory Dubin, who bills himself as the Great Dubini, will offer old-fashioned parlor tricks, including swallowing needles, one of Houdini’s famous stunts. And on Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m., the escape artist Adam Rinn, a.k.a. Adam Realman, will extricate himself, Houdini-style, from ropes, handcuffs and a straitjacket — and reveal a few secrets about how it’s all done.

IT’S YOUR TERN! FESTIVAL and FAMILY FUN DAY on Governors Island (festival, July 14, noon-4 p.m.; fun day, July 15, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.). That first title does not have a typo. This free festival on Saturday honors the common tern, a species that, despite its name, is listed as threatened in New York State. Scheduled for the South Battery Triangle, the celebration will offer bird talks and walks — the terns nest on the island’s decommissioned piers — as well as children’s activities, like making tern masks, oyster shell necklaces and feather crowns. Visitors to the free Family Fun Day, on Sunday in Nolan Park, can hear the tasty tunes of the Long Island Vegetable Orchestra, which is exactly what it says it is. Other attractions will include face painting, arts and crafts, performances by Story Pirates and Trusty Sidekick Theater Company, and turns on the Homespun Merry-Go-Round, which is as much a one-man art project as it is a ride.

MIDSUMMER NIGHT SWING: LC KIDS DANCE WITH DANCING CLASSROOMS at Damrosch Park (July 14, 3-4:30 p.m.). This is more like midsummer day swing, but the timing is ideal for children 6 to 10, the recommended age group for this festive lesson and party in Lincoln Center’s seasonal dance series. The free annual event draws on the talents of Dancing Classrooms, the nonprofit that teaches social dance — and, by extension, poise, discipline and self-confidence — in New York City public schools. Featured in the award-winning 2005 documentary “Mad Hot Ballroom,” the organization introduces young people to merengue, tango, salsa and swing. Rodney Lopez will offer instruction in all of these on Saturday in Lincoln Center’s own outdoor ballroom.

‘PIRATE SCHOOL!’ at the Waterfront Museum (July 15, 2 p.m.). Education is probably not high on the list of pirates’ priorities. But Billy Bones — not to be confused with the boozy character in “Treasure Island” — is not your ordinary buccaneer, and his presentation is far from a typical classroom lesson. Billy, who in civilian life is known as David Engel, performs a solo children’s show in which he teaches how to walk, talk and swashbuckle in the style of legendary plunderers. Using slapstick, magic, puppets and lots of audience participation, he even instills a few values, like being kind to your mates, that might have caused Blackbeard to raise an eyebrow. And Billy couldn’t ask for a more appropriate stage: The Waterfront Museum is a converted historic railroad barge docked off Red Hook, Brooklyn.

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