Weekend Fun: Bastille Day, FREE Music, Kite Fest, Star Trek

This weekend is packed with awesome events for NYC kids, including seven of our top event picks for the month—four of which are FREE. Celebrate French culture at the annual Bastille Day Festival on the Upper East Side, enjoy an alfresco dance lesson at Lincoln Center's Midsummer Night Swing: LC Kids Dance, get in the game at the Get Out & Play Family Day on Governors Island, and take in an outdoor concert by kindie rock mainstay Justin Roberts and other top-notch entertainment at SummerStage Family Day in Central Park.

Plus the long-awaited Star Trek anniversary exhibit opens at the Intrepid Air and Space Museum; TADA! Youth Theater mounts its new show based on the works of famed Brooklynite Ezra Jack Keats; a kid lit festival descends on Queens Museum, while kites take over Socrates Sculpture Park; and the Whitney Museum of American Art hosts a summer family day.

These are just a few of the many great happenings taking place this weekend. All of our best bets are below. You can find additional options in our Event Calendar and our Summer Fun Guide.

Don't forget to check out our 50 Ways Kids Can Stay Cool in NYC as the summer heat kicks in this week, plus all the great FREE movies and concerts taking place this month outdoors. And it's not too late to plan a summer day trip or weekend getaway to the Jersey Shore! Read up on our favorite boardwalks with aquariums, mini golf, funnel cakes, toddler rides, and even water parks.

Best Jersey Shore Boardwalks for Family Fun Down the Shore

Everyone loves a good trip to the beach, but Jersey Shore boardwalks, with carnival games, kids' rides, and even water parks, are where the real memories are made. Whether you make it a day trip or have weekend or week-long plans to visit the beach, one thing you most definitely don't want to miss is time on the boardwalk.

From ice cream and funnel cakes, to rides and mini-golf—and a few that feature water parks and toddler amusements—a boardwalk ups the ante on your usual trip to the beach. Boardwalks and the Jersey Shore go hand-in-hand, but if you are making only one trip this year, make sure it's to one of the best!

Free Summer Concerts and Outdoor Concert Series in LA and OC

If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Or better yet, get out of the house. Summer in the Southland means outdoor concerts galore (and many are free!) at a host of local parks, museums, and public spaces from the coast to the hills to the Valleys. Go on, get out. Throw down a blanket, spread out the snacks, uncork the wine, and watch the kids boogie under the evening stars as you sway to some cool and breezy melodies.

10 Swimming Pools and Splash Pads in the Lower Hudson Valley

It’s full-fledged summer and we know you’re looking for ways to cool off. We’ve already directed our Westchester-residing residents to the swimming options at the county parks, but what about the rest of the Lower Hudson Valley? Fear not because we’ve got those areas covered as well. 

We’ve gathered up a list of great swimming pools and splash pads in Rockland, Orange and Dutchess counties. While some town pools are open to residents only, the ones on this list offer daily passes (at a minimum) to everyone—so pack a lunch and take a day trip somewhere new! 

Weekend Fun for NJ Kids: Blueberries, Maplewoodstock, Fairs

Hope you love blueberries because this weekend is jam-packed with blueberry festivals galore, including Blueberry Bash, Blueberry Festival and BlueBeary Blast & Celebrate New Jersey. Have historical fun this weekend at Jersey Cape Foodways Weekend and Victorian Family Festival. And take advantage of weekend freebies, including a free Twinkle & Friends concert and free ice cream at Mini Cone Madness. For more options, take a look at our full Event Calendar, July GoList, and our Summer Fun Guide.

Blueberry Picking in Connecticut: Pick Your Own Farms

Come and pick 'em folks! The following is a list of Connecticut farms that grow pick-your-own blueberries. Look at the map to the right to find one in your area. Here's a yummy blueberry pie recipe that will make all tummies happy, and make use of the plethora of fruit you are surely to have fun picking.

Fresh blueberries are in their prime from mid-July through mid-August. When picking, select berries that are firm, dry, plump, smooth-skinned, and completely blue. The fruit is often covered with a light white coating called "bloom," which helps prevent deterioration. Water on blueberries accelerates rotting, so don't wash them until you are ready to use them. If you store freshly picked berries in the refrigerator, unwashed and covered, they should last up to two weeks. Freezing is always a good option, too. For raspberries and other fresh picked fruit - check out our Pick Your Own Fruit Farm Guide.

15 NYC Restaurants with Backyards for Kid-Friendly Dining

Great outdoor dining makes summer in the city tolerable, at least in my book. An hour sitting on a shady patio, sipping a cold drink, steels me for the rest of the week on sweaty NYC subways and dog-pee-scented streets. Of course, eating out with kids is never as simple as that, so we’ve selected not just sublime outdoor dining spots but ones with enough room to roam. Hopefully, these family-friendly restaurants give you a few more minutes to soak in the ambience before you have to dart. 

These Manhattan eateries, from the Battery up to Inwood, will make you forget you are in New York City with that backyard living life, even for those of us whose apartments are too small and too dark with nary a leaf to be seen. We’ve also covered the best backyard outdoor dining in Brooklyn and Queens. See all our restaurant recommendations in the Mommy Poppins NYC Kid-Friendly Restaurant Guide.​

Summer Volunteer and Community Service Opportunities for Teens

School is out and, for some, summer boredom may have already set in. Volunteering and giving back to the local community is a rewarding and enriching way to keep teens busy and fulfilled all summer. Community service keeps kids active, and it's always free. It also looks great on a college application. Summer is a perfect time for kids to log some great community service hours instead of lounging around on the couch. And, of course, volunteering isn't limited to summertime; many of these opportunities are available during the school year on weekends and evenings as well. We've compiled a list of a few great opportunities in the area.

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