Low-Cost Summer Camp Lottery from NYC Parks Opens March 1

NYC Parks Department Offers Low-Cost Summer Camp Option for City Kids
NYC Parks Dept. summe camp lottery opens March 1st! Photo by Daniel Avila for NYC Parks

Summer is on the horizon and that means parents are scurrying to finalize summer camp placements. While we've got plenty of options in our Summer Camp Guide and Directory, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better full-summer deal than that offered by the New York City Parks Department, which is set to open it's low-cost camp lottery on March 1.

Read on for more details on this option that's budget friendly for mom and dad, yet full of over-the-top-fun for kids.

The New York City Parks Department Camp runs from Monday, July 9 through Friday, August 24, 2018 at 19 locations citywide. All applications are done via a citywide online lottery system, which runs from Thursday, March 1 to Sunday, March 11. In order to be considered, children must be between the ages of 6 to 13 on the first day of camp. The Parks Department tells us it receives an average of 2,000 applicants for the 965 slots available annually. 

Sessions run from 9am–5pm Monday–Friday; though some sites offer the option for extended day, which runs from 8am–6pm. If your child is selected, cost for the summer-long program is $500 for regular day; $575 for extended day.

Camps are housed at select recreation centers, but campers spend plenty of time exploring the city all summer long. When they're not hanging at the centers doing arts and crafts or picking up computer skills, there are plenty of field trips, tons of time in the summer sun playing organized sports and field day games, hanging with Urban Park Rangers, and more.

Lottery winners will be notified of their status the week of March 11 and will be required to complete registration by visiting the site where their child has been selected by Saturday, March 17 to complete their application, present their child's birth certificate, and make the initial $100 payment. A second payment of $250 and completed medical form is due on Saturday, April 7, and the final payment is due by Saturday, April 28. All payments are non-refundable.

To enter the lottery, visit the registration page during the above period. Don't forget that another session of FREE swim lessons is coming up from NYC Parks, too (lottery opens March 12). 

Top photo by Daniel Avila/NYC Parks