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Free Outdoor Movies for NYC Kids This Summer: Hundreds of Them!

New York City will screen hundreds of FREE outdoor movies this summer, many of them just for kids and families. The popular Movies Under the Stars series, which debuted with screenings in parks and at playgrounds in all five boroughs last year, returns along with many of our favorite annual series. 

A few outdoor movie series, such as RiverFlicks for Kids in the West Village, are aimed specifically at children. But even grown-up series, such as those in Bryant Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park, include a family-friendly screening or two. Movies usually begin between 8 and 8:30pm, but plan to arrive early: The well-known series fill up fast. Sometimes there is even pre-movie entertainment.

So grab your calendars and start plotting your FREE summer of entertainment now. Find more seasonal activities in our Summer Fun Guide.

Newport Green Park: An Urban Oasis and Playground in Jersey City

Nestled between two urban downtowns is a gem of a play area known as Newport Green Park. Created in 2012 as part of Jersey City’s revitalization, this peaceful oasis boasts an imaginative playground, the Hudson River’s only man-made beach, and a walkway to Hoboken, all with the Manhattan skyline as a backdrop. This day trip–worthy park is also home to a carousel and splash pad.

Socrates Sculpture Park: A Hidden (and Free) Gem in Queens

It’s a total cliché to say something is a hidden gem, but in the case of Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, Queens, it’s hard to find a description that’s more apt. For four years, I constantly drove past the park, which is somewhat concealed behind a tall fence on Vernon Boulevard and Broadway, on the way to my daughter's school. Finally, my family decided to investigate.

We weren’t expecting to find a five-acre, open-air art park with amazing views of the East River and Manhattan. It was built on a landfill and unofficial dumping ground 30 years ago and has a free-wheeling bohemian vibe reminiscent of the '60s or '70s. Artwork changes regularly, but the people who visit are invariably engaged in the same activities: wandering among the sculptures, sunbathing, reading, taking in the city views or gardens, or just having old-fashioned conversation. (In all seriousness, it's one of the few places I can think of where I rarely see someone absorbed in a cell phone.)

A Dozen Fun Things to Do with Kids at Duke Farms in Hillsborough, NJ

If biking, hiking, and learning about nature sounds like great fun for your family, plan a trip to Duke Farms. Open to the public since 2012, this 2,740-acre ecological treasure located in Hillsborough offers diverse wildlife, hiking trails, and interesting educational programs. This park is perfect for exploring the outdoors in all seasons. Here are a dozen ways to take it all in at Duke Farms.

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