Weekend Events for NYC Kids July 31 - Aug 2: Free Plays, Movies, Dance Festivals, Animal Discoveries, Storytellings and More

Is it August already? We may say this every year, but this year it really feels like the summer is just passing us by. If you haven't already, start (or continue!) taking advantage of all the free, fun and only-in-NYC unique activities that are going on in all of the five boroughs, every day. And with a free performance of Willy Wonka, African and Caribbean dance, an evolutionary adventure and animal discoveries, this weekend is as good as any to get out there and start exploring.

Get Locavore at U-Pick Farms in New Jersey

They don't call it The Garden State for nothing. New Jersey is a great place to go to pick your own summer fruit and veggies. Whether it is strawberries, peaches, or peas, you can find plenty of u-pick farms in New Jersey.  Picking your own produce is great thing to do, especially with kids. Not only does it help you eat locally with farm fresh produce, but it's important for kids to learn about where their food comes from and make that connection with the farm. Plus it's lots of fun.

The NJ picking season starts end of May for strawberries with other berries and peaches coming in season end of June through end of July and apples, pumpkins and other vegetables available through the Fall.  Here are some of our favorite farms close to New York City for picking your own fruits and vegetables. Click through to each u-pick farm to find out what they have ripe for u-pick now, plus hours and directions, but also call ahead before you go to make sure they aren't picked out.

Sag Harbor: New York's Non-Hampton Family Beach Vacation

[UPDATED: September 12, 2012]

There is another great Summer vacation spot out East on Long Island, and it is a great place to visit for a weekend or a long day with your family. Thanks again to our friend Jill for sharing her ideas on the can't miss spots in Sag Harbor.

Sag Harbor is a great little Hampton town that doesn’t feel like you are in “the Hamptons”. It is an old whaling village that still retains its old style charm. Most of what you want to see is right on Main Street or on some of the smaller side streets – all within walking distance. It is best to find parking and just walk around. To me, the walk itself is very soothing as the town is so quaint it makes the perfect escape from bustling New York City. There are great stores to do some shopping ranging from clothing to toys to surf shops and book stores to antiques and even art galleries; Sag Harbor offers something for everyone.

Five Summer Art Adventures for Kids in New York City

New York City is full of art, sure, but taking kids to an art museum can either be totally cool or a total nightmare. I wanted to know what's going on this summer in the art scene that my kids will enjoy and not turn into a whine-fest. Who better to ask than Natasha Schlesinger. Natasha is the founder of ArtKids, classes that take children into NYC museums and galleries and makes looking at art fun, exciting and acccessible for kids ages 3 to 12.

Here are five recommendations for cool art outings in New York City this summer from the founder of ArtKids, Natasha Schlesinger.

Hang Out with Your Kid's Favorite Entertainers at Little Airplane Cafe

There's a great new little venue for kids concerts and other children's entertainment in Lower Manhattan. Little Airplane Cafe isn't actually a cafe at all. It's the production studio of the animation company that makes children's television favorites like The Wonder Pets. For the past year Little Airplane Productions has been giving NYC families in the know free tours of their studio so kids can see what goes into making Lenny, Tuck and Ming Ming come to life.

Now Little Airplane has opened a small performance space with some great shows. The space is incredibly intimate. Seeing Laurie Berkner in the space's inaugural performance feels like hanging out with your favorite kids artists in their living room with a back-stage pass for everyone. Everyone sits on the floor and the space was a little bit overfilled, but the kids could not have been more thrilled. After the show there was a radio interview where Laurie answered kids' questions and then she hung out and said hi to everyone who hung around. Kids got their pictures taken and lots of hugs were shared.

Weekend Events for NYC Kids July 24-26: Free Musuems, Festivals and Circus Fun, A Sandcastle Competition, Boat Rides & More

If you're in town this weekend you could score free admission to a hip museum and get your and the kids' hands dirty in some art, make instruments, build a kick-butt sand castle in the beaches of NYC, enjoy free boat rides, learn about life in the City pre-Mr. Hudson, hang with some batty creatures, or watch an old-fashioned (and super cheap) circus. And if you are looking to flee, here are our top 30 day-trips  to get you started. 

We also have weekly listings for Long Island events and New Jersey events on their respective pages (whether you live there or are looking for a day trip). And of course, our event calendar is jammed with even more things to do, and don't forget to enter to win a dinner for 10 in our Summer Activity Guide.

Weekend Events for Kids on Long Island, July 24-26: Cool and Unusual Family Events: An Indian Pow-Wow, Family Barndance and more

We've been writing a lot about some of the great concerts and carnivals Long Island plays host to during the Summer months. Seems this weekend offers a break from tradition. We found some really unique ways for you to spend the weekend if you're out on the Island:

Being an Islander, chances are your kids are like mine and they love to watch boats. The 33rd Annual Around Long Island Regatta is being held this weekend. Whether you are a sailor or not, you might notice loads of sailboats off the coast  the South Shore if you visit Jones, Robert Moses or the Fire Island Beaches on Saturday.  The race starts Thursday evening and most boats finish sometime Sunday afternoon on the North Shore in Sea Cliff at the Sea Cliff Yacht Club. If you're not a member of the exclusive Yacht Club, one great place we've learned to watch the boats finish is The Sea Cliff Village Beach. Nestled up on the North Shore, the Village of Sea Cliff is really charming and makes a great day trip from just about anywhere on the Island or in the city.  Along the Boulevard, the Sea Cliff Village Beach is just steps away from the Yacht Club. For a daily beach fee, you can enjoy the view of the finishing boats and a day of beach play. There is a great snack shop which offers beachy food and drinks, and of course ice cream. If you can, stay for dinner and stroll through the Village afterwards. Click here for information on the Village Beach and fees. 


July 26th

Sea Cliff Village Beach

on the Boulevard, Sea Cliff, NY



On the West End, the Queens County Farm Museum is hosting the 31st Annual Thunderbird American Indian Mid-Summer Pow-Wow. Now, I've lived out in the Wild West and believe it or not, catching a pow-wow isn't all too uncommon, but if you've never seen one, you should check this out. A spectacle of colors, dance and native music, the kids will be engaged in History and Art. This happens to be NYC's oldest and largest pow-wow and includes art, crafts, and jewelrr for sale, not to mention some great foods. Their is a pow wow each say, but check the schedule for exact times. 

July 24, 25, and 26

Queens County Farm Museum

73-50 Little Neck Parkway

Floral Park, NY 



Out East, you can kick up your heels at a Barn Dance being held to support Suffolk County's 4-H programs. Cornell University's Suffolk County Branch is holding the dance in an actual barn and the night includes live square dance calling, games, crafts, wagon rides, and ice cream sundaes. The event is designed for the entire family, and if you show up as a family, it will save you money: $25 per family of 4, $10 per person. For more details, click here. 


Suffolk County Farm and Education Center

350 Yaphank Avenue

Yaphank, NY 


Hope you get a chance to enjoy some of these unique and cultural events! Happy Weekend! 






NJ State Fair: Farm Fun and Rides Just a Short Ride from NYC

We love state fairs. With all the animals, games, rides and junk food, they are full of old-fashioned fun for the entire family. While we've written about all the New York State and County Fairs and that post is in our Summer Activity Guide, but we also love the New Jersey State Fair, which is opening in the end of July.

The NJ State Fair was started in 1821 and retains an old-fashioned charm today. Just one hour’s drive from NYC, the NJ State Fair is filled with a slew of animals rivaling Noah, a fairway full of rides, pig races, butterfly exhibits, bee-keeping exhibitions and a food court offering everything from home-made baked-potatoes to blooming onions and corn-dogs—your kids’ll be enthralled.  And did we mention a wine-making competition and a beer tent?  And there's even free parking.

News: Preschool Admissions, NYC Celebrity Tours, Contests, End to Classroom Aides, and Too Heavy Backpacks

It's that time of year again when parents with children of a certain age need to start panicking about getting their kids into preschools. Find out about resources to help you get through it, plus this other news: Parents can't pay for classroom aides, Celebrities are giving City tours, how to know if your child's back pack is too heavy and what can you do about it. And there's some fun contests going on that could win you a free birthday party or some cash. And of course, don't forget to enter our Dinner Party Giveaway. We've given away three dinner parties for 10 and we've got 7 more to go!


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