Embrace the chill this weekend (though by Saturday, the Arctic temps will have mellowed to a practically tropical 39 degrees) at Bryant Park’s FrostFest. Here’s what you need to know before you go.
Ice Bumper Cars: These look like fun! Just keep in mind that kids have to be at least 7 years old or 42 inches tall; there’s only one rider per car; and lap children are not allowed. It’s $15 for a 10-minute session—a little pricey, but worth it for the slick experience. How often do you get to slam your kid across the ice in the middle of New York City? Reserve your opportunity in advance! If the ice bumper cars sell out for Saturday, you’ll have another chance; the cars have been so popular that Bryant Park extended their availability through February 24. Ice-skating is still available, too.
Cozy Igloos: You may have seen the cute little igloo tents on social media, but these blanket-and-pillow–strewn wigwams cost $250 for four people—and you will most likely have to share yours with another group of four people. Will there be enough blankets to go around? My advice: Make your own fun by standing outside the clear tents, looking in at their occupants, and shivering and chattering your teeth in an exaggerated fashion. Or stay home and watch one of the Fyre Festival docs?
Ice Fishing: The “ice” in this activity refers to the slushy mess of the Bryant Park fountain, and the “fish” refers to mini plastic penguins (for the record, penguins are birds). But hey, we’ll take it. The slush penguin picking takes place 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
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Cozy Sweater Pup Meetup: Dogs in jumpers are encouraged to congregate around the fountain and submit themselves to the squeezes and squeals of dozens of children between 1 and 3 p.m. Because in these divisive times, there is still some stuff we can all agree on: Corgis in cable-knits and Pomeranians in parkas are adorable.
Puppet Show: Another thing we can all agree on: Puppet shows are pretty much always deathly boring. But little kids seem to like ’em! And it’s fun to be entertained by how easily our kids can be entertained. The puppets take the stage 2–3 p.m. in the Overlook on the second floor of the Skating Pavilion.
Group Kilt Skate and Bagpipe Skate: Men in skirts with knees bared playing heavy instruments on the slippery ice. What could go wrong? Find out! The Scottish celebration begins at 2:30 p.m. (and if you wrap a tartan around your waist, you can skate along with the bagpipers).
Skating Showcase: If you want to start your Family Saturday early, as on Friday evening, come to Bryant Park at 6 p.m. on February 1 to see fabulous Olympian Johnny Weir take the ice for a free, one-time-only figure-skating performance, along with Olympic gold medalist Gabrielle Daleman, Canadian national champions Andrew Poje and Kaitlyn Weaver, and athletes from Special Olympics New York. I can’t think of anything else to say about this one, except: It sounds pretty amazing!
Refreshments: You could pop into Bryant Park’s covered food hall, the Lodge by Urbanspace, for beer, hot chocolate, pierogi, and panini. Or you could grab a quick stand-up meal from one of the park’s quality kiosks (Le Pain Quotidien, Breads Bakery, and Wafels & Dinges). Our favorite spot for a tasty respite, though, is across the street at Kinokuniya, a bookstore that’s infinitely browsable for both adults and kids—especially kids who like Japanese manga or adorably tiny office supplies shaped like cats (and who doesn’t love those?). The café on the second floor has a decent selection of packaged sushi combos, onigiri, and Japanese baked goods. Best of all, it has a giant, park-facing window, which allows you to look out over all the FrostFest action.