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. & "Blooming Lights" lights up the Garden with holiday displays, entertainment & refreshments [Weds.-Sun. 5:30-9, through 1/2, $5, $2 child./s.c.]; Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 1000 Washington Ave. (Eastern Pkwy.), 718-623-7200; 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. On Wednesday, artist Linda St. John leads angel-making & angel cake-eating workshop (5-7). Sunday, learn to make & play drums with Schlomo, "the music man" Pestcoe (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.
BECOME A FOSTER PARENT
Call 1-800-4-KIDS-27 for information.
NY BOTANICAL GARDENS
"A Victorian Holiday" celebrates the holidays with a 30-foot glowing tree, miniature trains, caroling & holiday puppet show. Watch bunnies skate & ice fish at "City Bunnies' Winter Wonderland" [through 1/9]; NY Botanical Garden, 200th St. (Southern Blvd.), Bronx, 718-817-8773; noon-5, free w/grounds adm., free after 4.
Explore the Demoiselle & Blackbird planes & learn how to create your own flying machine; Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum, W. 42nd St. (12th Ave.), 957-7055; Sat. 12-2, free w/mus. adm.
Learn how 18th-century families crafted practical items for the home during today's "Design a Scented Angel Workshop" at Fraunces Tavern Museum, 54 Pearl St. (Broad St.), 425-1778; Sat. 12-3:30, $2.50, $1 st./s.c.
ORNAMENT MAKING WORKSHOP
Make decorations for your home from things found in nature; Dana Discovery Center, Harlem Meer in Central Park, 110th St. (5th Ave.), 860-1370; Sat. at 1, 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].
REEL TO REAL
Monthly weekend series for families feat. films & live performances. Today, "Clown Alley" tour with the New York Goofs & screening of fantasy film Lucy at the Circus; Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center, 165 W. 65th St. (B'way), 875-5370; Sun. at 11:30 & 2, $12, $6 child. 4-14.
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.; Weds. 3:30-5:30, free [through 12/22].
"Books Alive!" feat. Roz Abrams from WABC (12-1), "Jewelry Making" workshop with artist Ayanna Spears (12:30-2:30), learn how glass is made during "Urban Glass Tour" (12:30-2:30) & "Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimy" with puppeteer Preston Foerder (3-4); Arts Connection, 120 W. 46th St. (betw. 6th Ave. & B'way), 302-7433 ext.1440; Sat., $2-$6.
WRITING WORKSHOPS FOR TEENS
Learn how to generate ideas & explore different writing styles with filmmaker K. Wise during today's "Casting Your Net" workshop (Thurs. 4-6), 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
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. [through 12/18].
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].
DANCES BY VERY YOUNG CHOREOGRAPHERS
Dances for children by children at the Bessie Schonberg Theater, 219 W. 19th St. (betw. 7th & 8th Aves.), 924-0077; Sat. & Sun. at 3, $12, $8 kids.
HOLIDAY PUPPET THEATER
Ralph Lee pres. The Little Engine That Could at NY Botanical Garden; 200th St. (Southern Blvd.), Bronx, 718-817-8700; Sat. & Sun. at 1, 2 & 3, $2 [through 1/2].
Gregory St. John reads Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol, followed by a reception at 5:30; Merchant's House Museum, 29 E. 4th St. (Lafayette St.), 777-1089; Sun. at 4, $15.
Eleni Constantelos tells tales of gifts & giving at Dahesh Museum, 601 5th Ave. (betw. 48th & 49th Sts.), 759-0606; Sat. at 2:30-3:30, free w/mus. adm.
"New York's 50 Best Museums for Cool Parents & Their Kids" discussed with Vivienne Shaffer from Lefferts Homestead Historic House Children's Museum, Deborah Schwartz from the Brooklyn Museum of Art & Mark Watson from the New York Transit Museum, during BMA's "First Saturdays" series; Park Slope Barnes & Noble, 267 7th Ave. (6th St.), 718-832-9066; 7:30, free.
LOS TRES CERDITOS (THE THREE LITTLE PIGS)
New LES puppet & children's theater for Latino children; SEA @ Los Kabayitos Puppet & Children's Theater, 107 Suffolk St., 2nd Fl. (betw. Rivington & Delancey Sts.), 260-4080 ext.14, Sat. at 3:30, Sun. at 2, $8, $6 kids.
MISS MAJESTY'S LOLLIPOP PLAYHOUSE
Santa & the Snow Queen (1:30) & The Three Bears' First Chanukah (3:30); Grove St. Playhouse, 39 Grove St. (betw. Bleecker & Hudson Sts.), rsvp 741-6436; Sat. & Sun., $8.50 [through 1/2].
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].
Musical adaptation of Rumplestilskin; Thirteenth St. Rep, 50 W. 13th St. (betw. 5th & 6th Aves.), 675-6677; Sat. & Sun. at 1, $7 [through 1/22].
Sony hosts holiday activities for families. This week, screening of the original Frosty the Snowman; Sony Plaza, 550 Madison Ave. (55th St.), 883-8100; Sat. & Sun. at 2, free.
Marianna Loosemore directs production about Clifford the Pig's birthday; Thirteenth St. Rep, 50 W. 13th St. (betw. 5th & 6th Aves.), 675-6677; Sat. & Sun. at 11 a.m., $7 [through 1/22].
Holiday Events & Fairs
CANDLE LIGHT VIGIL & MARCH
International Human Rights Day helps end child labor & sweatshop abuse?live music, giant puppets, customs & march at 6; meet at 57th St. (betw. 5th & Madison Aves.), 242-3002; 5, free.
Holiday gifts, games, crafts, jewelry & bake shop, benefits Weekday School; Riverside Church, 91 Claremont Ave. (betw. 120th & 122nd Sts.), 870-6784 or 870-6743; Sat. 10-3, $1.