Free Activities

10 Underrated NYC Parks You Don't Want to Miss

Central Park, Prospect Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park—even if you only just arrived in NYC, we probably don't need to tell you that these are all must-see green spaces. Yet, according to the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, 14 percent of the city is parkland—that's more than 30,000 acres!

So if you're looking for a new-to-you outdoor destination to explore, we've got 10 off-the-beaten-path parks worth putting on your NYC family bucket list. Some are massive and boast a wide array of attractions for all seasons; others are small but picturesque and host popular annual events for families. Don't worry if you can't make it to all of these before school starts—we have at least a few more months of fair weather ahead!

What Ages Get in Free to NYC Museums, Zoos, Amusement Parks

How's the old adage go? The best things in life are free. But for families in NYC, that may sound like crazy talk. From housing to classes to entertainment, everything here seems to cost so much money...or does it?

The fact is, there's plenty of FREE fun for kids in New York City. And even top family attractions that charge entry fees like museums, zoos, amusement parks, and water parks offer no-cost admission for children under certain ages, and those savings can really add up, especially when you have preschoolers or toddlers

So, we decided to make a list of when the freebies end for kids at New York City's best family destinations, from tourist hot spots like the Statue of Liberty to all of the children's museums and zoos. Yet another reason to wish your children could stay young forever! We've even included a few of our favorite picks in nearby locales, too.

Note: The cut-off ages imply that once kids reach that age, they no longer qualify for free admission, and some places may ask for proof of age. Looking for a 100% FREE outing? Check out our roundup of no-cost admission hours at NYC museums.

South Mountain Reservation for Kids: Swings, Zoo, Fairy Trail

For an easy day hike with the kids, New Jersey’s local “reservations,” essentially mini state forests and parks, are my family’s go-to. The 2,110-acre South Mountain Reservation in Essex County is one of our favorites. The recreation complex includes hiking trails, but also a zoo, mini golf, and a fantastic playground.

Read on for our best family bets for this Jersey green space, or check out some of our other favorite NJ reservations like nearby Watchung, or day trip ideas.

20 Free Things To Do in Orange County this Summer with Kids

Today's kids lead busy lives; from school to sports to playdates, practically every moment of the school year is scheduled. So when summer finally rolls around, we can't think of a better way to take advantage of the downtime than to play together as a family—for free! Premium passes to Disneyland may not be in the cards for everyone, but there are still plenty of ways to stave off boredom in Orange County this summer.

From outdoor movies to free bowling to concerts at the park, The OC has plenty of ways to keep kids entertained, all without spending a dime. Here are 20 of our favorites.

Summer Streets Set to Return in August with a Giant Water Slide

Summer Streets is on the horizon, giving New Yorkers three consecutive Saturdays in August of car-free fun to enjoy a seven-mile stretch of city streets from the Upper East Side to the Brooklyn Bridge. Summer Streets arrives with a big splash as last year's main attraction, the three-story water slide, returns to Foley Square in downtown Manhattan.

Surrounding the giant 270-foot water slide will be an urban beach sponsored by Vita Coco. The always-popular zip line—rising 30 feet above the urban landscape and spanning a distance of 165 feet—returns as well. New in 2016 is the addition of Citi as a title-sponsor, as the event is now dubbed Citi Summer Streets. Read on for details on this beloved summer event, including how to score your FREE ticket to the water slide.

10 Summer Festivals for NYC Kids This August

Many families flee the city in August for end-of-summer vacations, but it's actually one of my favorite months to be in NYC. With summer staples like swimming, play fountains, Governors Island, and hundreds of free summer fun, there's plenty to do if you stick around. Plus, only-in-August favorites like Summer Streets and Arthur Ashe Kids' Day really pack in the fun. So we've rounded up 10 FREE family-friendly festivals happening throughout the Big Apple in August to help you get the most out of NYC with kids during the last month of summer.

25 Mostly Free Outdoor Movies, Concerts, and Festivals in Fairfield County

Many Nutmeggers plan their family vacations for August, but it's actually a fabulous time for a staycation with so many outdoor movies, concerts, and festivals that you can have a brand new adventure almost every day--from evening movies in Mill River Park to lunchtime concerts on Sherman Green.

We've collected some of our favorite events in Fairfield County this August. All events are family friendly, but some movies and concerts may be more appealing to kids than others. Most of these events are free, but some--especially those on the beach--charge for parking if you do not have a resident sticker. In the event of rain, check individual websites for information regarding rescheduling or changes in venue. We have listed many more great events happening this August across our state in our August GoList.

Have fun!

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