Green Screen: 5 Kid-Friendly Movies Celebrating Mother Earth


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Earth Day may have come and gone, but teaching New York City kids to appreciate the natural world is a 365 days a year job. After all, they’re the ones who are going to inherit and, hopefully, preserve the planet. But young children tend to blank out on abstract concepts; they don’t want to hear about it, they want to see it — and if seeing it happens to be on an IMAX screen in 3D, all the better. To that end, we’ve rounded up some of the best kid-friendly movies about taking care of our planet, its oceans and its parks. Check them out below!


photo: A Beautiful Planet 

A Beautiful Planet
What Is It: An IMAX and IMAX 3D movie
Where Can I See It: Select NYC theaters
When: Opened on April 29, 2016 and playing now
Best Part for Kids: See the world the way astronauts at the International Space Station do, along with cool shots of floating personnel (and fruit), space-walks, and blast-offs.
Best Part for Parents: Seeing different countries lit up at night and realizing the technological (and wealth) gaps between areas right next to each other, especially North and South Korea (plus, marvel at the world’s first space espresso machine!).
Be Advised: Although it’s advertised as a nature movie, a good half of the 45-minute-long film is dedicated to the astronauts, their hardware and their daily routines. Kids who love nature but aren’t interested in space tech might be bored – and vise-versa.


photo: AMNH

National Parks Adventure
What Is It: Film celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service (available in 2D and 3D)
Where Can I See It: American Museum of Natural History
When: Through September 1, 2016
Best Part for Kids: Adorable prairie dogs! Baby bears learning to catch salmon! An ice lair just like in Frozen! Swooping camera shots that make you dizzy!
Best Part for Parents: Gorgeous vistas ranging from Yellowstone to Yosemite to Glacier National Parks— as long as you can handle the swooping camera shots that make you dizzy.
Be Advised: The folks doing the icy mountain climbing and the off-road biking over dunes and caverns are trained professionals. You might want to advise kids not to try this at home.


photo: Alina Adams

Beneath the Ice
What Is It: An Immersive Dome Installation film
Where Can I See It: American Museum of Natural History
When: Through May 27, 2016
Best Part for Kids: Climb into a free-standing dome and gaze up at the ceiling, where you’ll get to see video examples of life under the ice, including seals, zooplankton and a variety of fish and “alien” jellyfish – coming right down on top of you.
Best Part for Parents: You get to sit down.
Be Advised: The bio-dome can get crowded and dimly-lit, so probably not optimal for restless toddlers or kids still struggling with dark.

American Museum of Natural History
Central Part West & 79th Street
Upper West Side of Manhattan
Tickets: Adults $22, Children $12.50 (extra for National Parks movie)


photo: via Love They Nature Official Facebook Page

Love Thy Nature
What Is It: Documentary arguing that people have lost their connection with the natural world
Where Can I See It: Traveling the country
When: Coming to Clayton, NY June 2016
Best Part for Kids: Watching other cute kids frolicking with even cuter creatures.
Best Part for Parents: Tips on how communing with nature can recharge your batteries, too.
Be Advised: At 76 minutes running time, it might be too long for younger kids.


photo: via Official Sylvia Earle Facebook Page

Mission Blue
What Is It: Documentary featuring Sylvia Earle’s campaign to save the oceans.
Where Can I See It: Streaming on Netflix.
When: Anytime!
Best for Kids: Real-life “Finding Nemo” images!
Best for Parents: Inspirational woman who doesn’t hold back her opinions.
Be Advised: Your kid may refuse to ever eat seafood again.

Finally, the New York Wild Film Festival should be coming around again in January of 2017 but, until then, you can watch the 2016 winners at the following outlets.

Have your kids seen any of these films? Share their reviews here! 

— Alina Adams

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