tada04My theater obsessed youngest daughter has done musical theater day camps with TADA! and Camp Broadway, and I’ve been surprised by the number of families who turn their child’s day camp into a family vacation. Even if you don’t want to spend on these camps, you can have a low cost theater-centric NYC family vacation, getting half price tickets at TKTS and seeing free performances of Shakespeare in the Park.

We head to Bryant Park on Thursdays in the summer for free selections from Broadway and off-Broadway.  Performers from the shows sing at lunchtime in July and August.

Madame Tussauds New York is perfect before or after the theater. The Times Square museum lets visitors vamp it up with Captain Jack Sparrow, Marilyn Monroe and Justin Bieber. Although Hollywood and TV stars are the big draws, so many Broadway stars are in movies and television that theater-obsessed kids might just be happy to see celebrities. There are also sports stars and politicians. Just be sure to explain to your kids that while they can pose with the wax figures, if they encounter a real celeb, he might not be as accommodating.

The annual costume exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is also a must see for any kid who likes to play dress up. This year, the Met exhibit, Alexander MdQueen: Savage Beauty (through Aug 7), celebrates the late fashion designer. The exhibit is not suited for kids under age 5, and strollers are not permitted.

While you are at the Met, be sure to also visit the roof garden (open, weather permitting, through October 30). This year, the roof features sculptures by Anthony Caro.