Brooklyn's lovely Botanic Garden offers free admission to visitors entering before noon on Saturdays, free for under age 16 at all times & Tuesdays are free all day; 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, summer art camps & birthday parties. Opening of "Stories from Tibet" exhibit feat. drawings of Panchen Lama, 11-year-old abducted political prisoner [Thurs. 6-8]. Sat. & Sun. celebrate Tibetan culture [12-5]; 182 Lafayette St. (betw. Broome & Grand Sts.), 274-0986; Weds. 12-7, Thurs.-Sun., 12-5, $5, s.c. & kids under 1 are free.
KISS ME KATE
Theater production to benefit The Manhattan League of Helen Keller Services of the Blind programs for children, preceded by cocktails (5:15) & dinner (6:15) at Barbetta; Martin Beck Theater, 302 W. 45th St. (8th Ave.), 285-7029 for res. & info; Fri. at 8, $175-$300.
Former NYC Marathon runners offer tips for kids; Great Hill in Central Park, 1106h St. (Central Park W.), 860-1370, reg. req.; Weds. 10-12, free.
Learn about the monuments of Central Park & create your own; Dana Discovery Center, Harlem Meer in Central Park, 110th St. (5th Ave.), 860-1370, res. req.; Sat. 1-2:30, free.
OPERATION CHICKEN SOUP
Teens gather to prepare & deliver kosher food to those in need; Jewish Community Center, 15 W. 65th St. (betw. Central Pk. W. & B'way), 580-0099; Thurs., call for info.
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].
Family events incl. reading with author Faith Ringgold & Diane Wolkstein (12-1), "Muppets Make Puppets" with artists from The Jim Henson Foundation (12:30-2:30), "Make a Pop-up Book" (12:30-2:30) & black light production of The Very Hungry Caterpillar & the Very Quiet Cricket (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's "Casting Your Net" (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
Annual gala held Fri. at 6 feat. new production of Bello & Friends; Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center, B'way (64th St.), 307-4100 or 800-922-3772; call for times, $15-$60, $200 & up for gala tix. [through 1/9].
CAROLINE KIDS KLUB
See dancing, miming & acrobatics during Super Silly Circus at Caroline's Comedy Club, 1626 B'way (49th St.), 757-4100 res. req.; Sat. & Sun. at 2, $14.
CHILDREN'S HEALTH SERIES
Series of five discussions focuses on children's health issues. Today, orthopedic surgeon Lon Weiner, MD, on "Sports Medicine: Maximizing Performance, Minimizing Injury;" 92nd St. Y, 1395 Lexington Ave. (92nd St.), 996-1100; Sun. at 2, $20.
Jarrett Parker's 19th-century magic performed to classical music; Rose's Turn, 55 Grove St. (7th Ave. S.), 875-7785; Thurs. at 7:30 & 9:30, $12, $6 child. [through 11/11].
THE CRAZY ADVENTURES OF DON QUIXOTE
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.
FILMS AT MOMA
Ellen Besen's Sea Dream & Gene Deitch's Where the Wild Things Are?ages 5-10; Museum of Modern Art, The Roy & Niuta Titus Theater 2, 18 W. 54th St. (betw. 5th & 6th Aves.), 708-9400; Sat. 12-1, $5 per family.
MISS MAJESTY'S LOLLIPOP PLAYHOUSE
Cinderella (1:30) & The Three Little Pigs (3:30); Grove St. Playhouse, 39 Grove St. (betw. Bleecker & Hudson Sts.), rsvp 741-6436; Sat. & Sun., $8.50 [through 11/21].
RADIO CITY CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR
Radio City Rockettes, dancers & Santa Claus continue to entertain families during a 90 minute production feat. "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].
Meet the red hair wonder for storytime at Borders, 461 Park Ave. (57th St.), 980-6785; Thurs. at 10 a.m., free.
RAISING AN ONLY CHILD
Patti Wolamn offers advice to parents at 92nd St. Y, 1395 Lexington Ave. (92nd St.), 996-1100; Thurs. at 8 p.m., $20 per family.
READINGS AT BOOKS OF WONDER
Joan Aiken reads from new works incl. Nightbirds on Nantucket (Thurs. 6-8) & John Scieskza, author of The Stinky Cheese Man & Other Stupid Tales reads from new work entitled It's All Greek to Me; Books of Wonder, 16 W. 18th St. (betw. 5th & 6th Aves.), 989-3270; free.
THREE BEARS & A BABE
Musical fairy tale for children; Vital Theater, 432 W. 42nd St., 3rd Fl. (betw. 9th & 10th Aves.), 592-4508; Sat. at 11 a.m., $8 [through 11/20].
WEST END CHILDREN'S THEATER
Bobo the Hobo entertains audience with magic, stories & fun at West End, 2911 B'way (betw. 114th & 113th Sts.), rsvp 877-6115; Sat. at 1:30, $12.
YUEH LUNG SHADOW THEATER
Learn ancient legends of the East through puppetry, part of "Super Saturday Family Performance" at Guggenheim Museum, 1071 5th Ave. (88th St.), 423-3587; Sat. at 4, free w/mus. adm.