Brooklyn's lovely Botanic Garden offers free admission to visitors entering before noon on Saturdays, always free for those 16 & under & Tuesdays are free all day. Victorian Holiday & train show [opens Fri. through 1/9]. Watch bunnies skate & ice fish at "City Bunnies' Winter Wonderland" [opens Fri. through 1/9]; Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 1000 Washington Ave. (Eastern Pkwy.), 718-622-4433, ext. 216; Weds.-Fri. & Tues. 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. & Sun. 10-6.
children's museum of the arts
Museum feat. daily activities & exhibitions incl. children's art shows & art studio, interactive computer art station, creative playroom, actor's studio, costume shop, community group workshops, after-school art programs & birthday parties. London's Young Circus Performers come to CMA (Fri. & Sun. 2-4); 182 Lafayette St. (betw. Broome & Grand Sts.), 274-0986; Weds. 12-7, Thurs.-Sun., 12-5, $5, s.c. & kids under 1 are free.
WINTER FESTIVAL AT PROSPECT PARK
Saint Nicholas stops by for an afternoon of holiday oriented workshops incl. candle- & toy-making; Lefferts Homestead Children's Historic House Museum, Prospect Park, Flatbush Ave. (Empire Blvd.), 718-965-6505; Sun. 1-4.
Every Saturday Sensation artist, Rachel Whiteread leads 90-minute gallery tour, discussion & activities in Chelsea; meet at Luhring Augustine, 531 W. 24th St. (betw. 10th & 11th Aves.) 718-797-1573, res. req.; 11 a.m., $20 per child & adult, $5 each add. child.
Henry Street Settlement celebrates 25th anniversary with performances & workshops. Today, London's Young Circus Performers in "Cinderella á la Tango;" Henry St. Settlement, 466 Grand St. (Pitt St.), 598-0400; Sat. at 2, $5.
GARDEN TO GARLAND-WREATHS TO SWAGS
Make a fragrant decoration from flowers & dried herbs; Kerlin Learning Center at Wave Hill, 675 W. 252nd St. (Indep. Ave.), Bronx, 718-549-3200; Sat. & Sun. 1-4, free w/grounds adm.
HAWK MIGRATION & NAVIGATION
Learn about hawks & falcons with Central Park Conservatory staff as the birds pass over Central Park during their migration south; Dana Discovery Center in Central Park, 110th St. (5th Ave.), 860-1370; Sat. 1-2, free.
RAP WRITERS & PERFORMANCE WORKSHOP
Free seminar on rap music at Riverside Church, 91 Claremont Ave. (betw. 120th & 122nd Sts.), 870-6784; Fri. 7-9 p.m. [through 12/17].
rock climbing classes
Offered by Central Park Conservancy, free for ages 9 & up?learn rope management, anchor set-up, knot tying & more; North Meadow Recreation Center, 97th St. (midpark), 348-4867, res. req.; Sat. at 1:30 & Tues. at 3:30, free [through 11/30].
70TH ANNIVERSARY OF IRVING JOHNSON'S VOYAGE
Celebrate Johnson's voyage around Cape Horn on South Street Seaport's historic Peking ship. Activities incl. screening of Peking, reading from Johnson's diary & splicing rope ($2 fee); South St. Seaport Museum, 207 Front St. (Fulton St.), 748-8600; Fri.-Sun., call for times, free w/mus. adm.
WRITING WORKSHOPS FOR TEENS
Learn how to generate ideas & explore different writing styles with Adam Nadler's "Writing & Producing the Screenplay" (Mon. 4-6) & Marcelle Karp's "Making the Zine" (Mon. 4-6)?ages 13 & up; Writer's Voice at the West Side YMCA, 5 W. 63rd St. (Central Pk. W.), 875-4124; free [through 12/16].
Things to See & Hear
BIG APPLE CIRCUS
Returns to Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center, B'way (64th St.), 307-4100 or 800-922-3772; call for times, $15-$60 [through 1/9].
CAROLINE KIDS KLUB
Watch Don Miller go out of control at Caroline's Comedy Club, 1626 B'way (49th St.), 757-4100, res. req.; Sat. at 2, Sun. at 1, $14.
CHILDREN'S TELEVISION FESTIVAL
Join Blondie, Dagwood, Babar, Wallace & Gromit for the eight annual children's festival at The Museum of Television & Radio. This week, "Growing Up" shorts & international screenings incl. "Growth Vitamins: Jolly Good Family" & Canada's animated "Stickin' Around: Send in the Clones" Other events incl. storytelling, live music & workshops; 25 W. 52nd St. (5th Ave.), 621-6600; Sat. & Sun., call for times, free w/mus. adm. [through 12/5].
EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD CAN MAKE YOUR MIND BIGGER
Advice from the theories of Aesthetic Realism Foundation on learning to like the world as a whole, for children ages 5-12; 141 Greene St. (betw. Houston & Prince Sts.), 777-4490; Sat. at 11, $7.
FESTIVAL OF LIGHT & SOUND
Lights, Santa, Action?Lighting ceremony & Chanukah celebration with caroling & St. Luke's Orchestra; World Financial Center Winter Garden, West St. (betw. Vesey & Liberty Sts.), 945-0505 for complete schedule of events; Tues. at 5:30, free.
MISS MAJESTY'S LOLLIPOP PLAYHOUSE
Santa & the Snow Queen (1:30) & The Three Bears' First Hanukkah (3:30); Grove St. Playhouse, 39 Grove St. (betw. Bleecker & Hudson Sts.), rsvp 741-6436; Sat. & Sun., $8.50 [through 1/2].
NEW YORK GOOFS
Try to win tickets to the Film Society's "Reel to Real for Kids" screening of Lucy at the Circus; Lincoln Triangle Barnes & Noble, 1972 B'way (66th St.), 595-6859; Mon. at 4:30, free.
RADIO CITY CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR
Radio City Rockettes, dancers & Santa Claus continue to entertain families during a 90 minute production incl. "Parades of the Wooden Soldiers" & "The Living Nativity;" Madison Square Garden, 2 Penn Plaza (34th St.), 465-MSG1, call for schedule, $29-$77 [through 1/2].
READINGS AT BOOKS OF WONDER
Weekly readings & meet the author series at NYC's largest independent children's bookseller. Today, Jerry Pinkney pres. his new picture books, The Ugly Duckling & The Little Match Girl & Robert Sabuda pres. The Movable Mother Goose at Books of Wonder, 16 W. 18th St. (betw. 5th & 6th Aves.), 989-3270; Sat. at 2, free.
Fourth annual Family series at Lincoln Center. Today, the Alloy Orchestra performs original scores for silent movies during "Cookin' Up Music for the Clowns" event; Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center, 165 W. 65th St. (B'way), 875-5370; Sat. at 2, $12, $6 for kids 4-14.
Every Monday night Barnes & Noble hosts storytime for kids; 4 Astor Pl., Junior's Dept. (betw. Lafayette St. & B'way), 420-0816; 7:30, free.
WEST END CHILDREN'S THEATER
Today, "Cross Currents" at West End, 2911 B'way (betw. 114th & 113th Sts.), rsvp 877-6115; Sat. at 1:30, $12.