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 [through 1/9]. Watch bunnies skate & ice fish at "City Bunnies' Winter Wonderland" [through 1/9] & "Blooming Lights" lights up the Garden with holiday displays, entertainment & refreshments [starts Thurs. 5:30-9, through 1/2, $5, $2 child./s.c.]; 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. On Sunday LuAnn Adams reads stories for children (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.
Family tour of Clemente exhibition followed by poetry workshop with artist John Cassotra; Guggenheim Museum, 1071 5th Ave. (88th St.), 423-3587; Sun. 2-4, $15 per child, incl. mus. adm. for parent & child, $8 each add. child.
NY BOTANICAL GARDENS
"A Victorian Holiday" celebrates the holidays with a 30-foot glowing tree, miniature trains, caroling & holiday puppet show. On Sunday, Christmas/Chanukah celebration with The Bronx Arts Ensemble's Elijah's Angel feat. Robert Kapilow & Jim Friedland, followed by tree-lighting ceremony outside the Conservatory at 4:30 [Sun. at 3, $3, $1 child.]; NY Botanical Garden, 200th St. (Southern Blvd.), Bronx, 718-817-8773; noon-5, free w/grounds adm., free after 4.
PROSPECT PARK HANDMADE: A HOLIDAY CRAFTS FAIR
Third annual event feat. handcrafted jewelry, photographs, pottery, art stuff & lamps?free shuttle bus from 7th Ave. & 1st St; Picnic House, Prospect Park, enter Prospect Park W. (5th St.), 718-965-6505; Sat. 10-5, free.
Kids ages 6-11 are invited to excavate archaeological site & explore science at 92nd St. Y, 1395 Lexington Ave. (92nd St.), 996-1100; Sun. 10-12, $35 for 1 child & adult, $10 each add. person.
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.
KINGS OF THE COURT VS. TRAXTARS
Harlem Globetrotters & demo kids show off Reebok's new high tech shoes which measure performance levels via 3-level (gold, silver & bronze) microprocessor; Reebok Concept Store, Lincoln Center, 160 Columbus Center, (betw. 67th & 68th Sts.), 595-1480; Sat. 2-4, 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.; Weds. 3:30-5:30, free [through 12/22].
Family events incl. Mickey D. & friends in "Mellow Moves" dance (11), "Painting on Glass" with artists from Urban Glass & "Learn to Play the Steel Drum" workshops (12-1) then watch the C.A.S.Y.M. Steel Band perform (3-4); Arts Connection, 120 W. 46th St. (betw. 6th Ave. & B'way), 302-7433 ext.1440; Sat., $2-$6.
TILES THAT BRING SMILES
Explore the history of Minton Tiles at Bethesda & build your own design with Central Park Conservatory staff?ages 6 & up; Dana Discovery Center in Central Park, 110th St. (5th Ave.), 860-1370; Sat. 1-2:30, free.
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
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
Singer/performer Bill Gordh's "Out of the Watermelon Patch" 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, animated shorts "The Adventures of Dodo" & "the Adventures of Captain Pugwash" during "Adventure & Travel" weekend. 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].
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.
FATHER GOOSE'S TALES
Puppeteer Jim Napolitano pres. new show at Puppet Playhouse, Mazur Theater, 55 E. 90th St. (betw. York & East End Aves.), 369-8890, ext. 159; Sat. & Sun. at 10:30 a.m. & 12, $6.
FESTIVAL OF LIGHT & SOUND
Lights, Santa, Action?A Chanukah Celebration: Ancient Wonders Modern Miracles feat. classics by Lazar & The Selah Vocal Ensemble; World Financial Center Winter Garden, West St. (betw. Vesey & Liberty Sts.), 945-0505 for complete schedule of events; Mon. at 6:30, 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].
READINGS AT BOOKS OF WONDER
Weekly readings & meet the author series at NYC's largest independent children's bookseller. Today, Hilary Knight, illustrator for Eloise joins Books of Wonder, 16 W. 18th St. (betw. 5th & 6th Aves.), 989-3270; Sat. 12-2, free.
Sony hosts holiday activities for families. This week, "The Puzzle Place" screening & discussion about holiday celebration with Patti LaBelle; Sony Plaza, 550 Madison Ave. (55th St.), 883-8100; Sat. & Sun. at 2, free.
WEST END CHILDREN'S THEATER
Today, ventriloquist Winnie Blake & Dottie Lee's puppet show; West End, 2911 B'way (betw. 114th & 113th Sts.), rsvp 877-6115; Sat. at 1:30, $12.
YIDDISH SONGS FOR FRIENDS & FAMILY
Chanukah Yiddish party with The Jewish People's Philharmonic Chorus & the Pripetchik Youth Chorus; De Jur Playhouse, Henry St. Settlement, 466 Grand St. (Pitt St.), 598-0400; Sun. at 2, $5.
Holiday Fairs & Carnivals
CRAFT STUDENTS LEAGUE HOLIDAY SALE
Affordable handmade crafts incl. ceramics, jewelry, books & more; YWCA, 610 Lexington Ave. (53rd St.), 735-9731; Thurs. & Fri. 12:30-7:30.
Annual winter carnival feat. holiday gifts, games, crafts & international food, all proceeds benefit the children of P.S. 41; 116 W. 11th St. (6th Ave.), 741-1099; Sat. 12-6.
TARTAN CHRISTMAS FAIR
Eighth annual fair feat. live entertainment, handmade crafts, toys, books, antiques & more; The First Presbyterian Church, 12 W. 12th St. (betw. 5th Ave. & University Pl.), 675-6150; Fri. 4-8:30, $1 [repeats Sat. 10-5 & Sun. 11-4].