Governors Island

Best Fall Festivals for NYC Kids in September

Kick off autumn at one of these fun-filled (and mostly FREE) fall festivals in NYC. Annual family favorites abound this month, including top September GoList picks such as the Richmond County Fair and the annual Queens County Fair. For more futuristic fun, make sure you hit up the Maker Faire at the New York Hall of Science. There are also plenty of cool under-the-radar events you may not have heard of, including a marine science fest in Tribeca, a sweet honey fest in Rockaway Beach, and Italian fairs in the Bronx and on Staten Island, which are both a lot less crowded than San Gennaro.

So banish the back-to-school blues by hitting one (or more) of these kid-friendly fetes this September.

Governors Island Will Stay Open Through Halloween

The good news keeps rolling in on our favorite (formerly summer-only) destination: Governors Island is expanding its season through October 31. Last year it closed up for the season in late September, and previously, Labor Day weekend had been its typical closing date.

The news, announced by the Trust for Governors Island on Tuesday, July 18, comes on the heels of the isle opening a month early this spring, meaning the 2017 season now runs a full six months giving visitors a chance to enjoy an entirely new season and more rich programming on the island.

The mega green space is slowly creeping toward its goal of year-round fun. Read on for details of what's in store for its fall programming, including a cool Halloween event that we're sure is going to rocket to the top of every New York family's must-do list for October, plus a pumpkin patch.

Best Summer Festivals and Fairs for NYC Families in July

So far this summer, we've posted about FREE outdoor movie screenings, FREE children's concerts, FREE kayaking, and FREE things to do every day with kids in New York City. Now we're rounding up our favorite and (mostly) FREE family festivals and city street fairs going on in this month.

Two of our favorite NYC annual fests take place this month, including the big Bastille Day street fair on the Upper East Side and City of Water Day on Governors Island. If neither of those tickles your fancy, we've rounded up several other options, including Come Out & Play Family Day and Boogie on the Boulevard. Still making your July 4th plans? We've got the details on that holiday, including where to see the fireworks.

So go get your calendar! Here are the best sizzling summer fests for New York City families.

9 Play Fountains Where NYC Kids Can Get Totally Soaked

While all three of my kids love to go for a dip, heading to one of NYC's public pools requires advance planning and me donning a bathing suit. Often, our summer fun is more spontaneous. For those hot summer days when we're out and about or need a last-minute distraction, I keep this list of play fountains in the back of my mind.

A more immersive experience than standard sprinkler parks, these play fountains feature shallow pools of water for wading, plus jets shooting H2O sky high. They're the perfect place for kids to frolic and get completely doused without mommy having to go all in—literally. Best of all? It's all completely FREE.

Here are nine fun play fountains in NYC where kids can get absolutely soaked. Most open for the season over Memorial Day weekend, though some start flowing earlier if temperatures hit 80 degrees.

Adventures at Governors Island: Zip, Climb, and Get Lost (for Fun!)

Every summer, the activity-packed Governors Island seems to become even more of a family fun zone. Its latest kid-centric destination is Adventures at Governors Island, a trio of thrilling outdoor attractions that debuted over the Memorial Day holiday. My tween and her friends were so excited to check out the 300-foot zip line, the 25-foot climbing tower, and the 3,600-square-foot maze that we decided to brave opening weekend. Overall we had an awesome experience (yes, even the parents), but we have some important tips to help your family get the most out of your Adventures.

Raring to ready, set...summer? Make the most of these sunny, warm days with our Summer Fun Guide and Parks & Playgrounds Guide!

Free Kayaking, Canoeing, and Rowboat Options in New York City

With all the water surrounding New York City, it's no wonder there are so many sightseeing cruises and fun ferry rides to great kid destinations. For times when you want to be your own captain, there are many seasonal opportunities for NYC families to get out on the water by themselves with kayaking, rowing, and canoeing. Much of the fun kicks off Memorial Day weekend or early summer.

We've rounded up 11 great New York City organizations that offer boating sessions on our wonderful waterways—and they're all FREE. Ahoy!

Zip Line and 25-Foot Climbing Tower to Open on Governors Island

Governors Island has long been one of our favorite places to play and the summer fun is about to get a lot more thrilling on the isle.

Adventures at Governors Island, a new high-octane entertainment zone boasting a zip line, 3-D climbing wall, and maze debuts this Memorial Day weekend (weather dependent), and we can't wait to check out the exhilarating attraction. Its opening will double the number of zip lines in NYC—to two.

Enjoy Free Boat Rides on New York Harbor at City of Water Day

We live in a city surrounded by water, but when's the last time you and your kids enjoyed a day out on New York Harbor? Taking a boat ride in NYC is fun and exciting, and gives you a fresh perspective on our city and its majestic waterfront. While there are lots of different kinds of NYC sightseeing cruises in summer, some may feel a bit touristy for us natives, and others cost a pirate's booty! That's why I always mark the annual City of Water Day on my calendar. It's one of the few times you can go on a New York Harbor boat tour for FREE.

This day-long celebration of our waterfront lands on Saturday, July 15, 2017 and features a slew of water-themed activities in and around Governors Island and other locations. As you can imagine, the FREE boat rides are extremely popular, so it can be tricky to snag tickets for them. We've got the scoop on what your family needs to do to enjoy a no-cost cruise and everything else you need to know about City of Water Day.

Governors Island: Playgrounds, Mini Golf, Early Open in 2017

Governors Island opens to the public for its summer season on May 1 this year—nearly a month earlier than ever before—and its season, which runs through October 1, promises plenty of family-friendly fun.

The opening of Governors Island is an event we anticipate every year as the island seemingly reinvents itself with new attractions annually in addition to returning favorites. While there's nothing quite as big as last year's opening of The Hills, there are a few noteworthy additions to the isle in 2017, including a new zip line, and its calendar is, as always, jam-packed with family-friendly events like the Figment arts fest.

Read on for the scoop on the very best things to do on Governors Island with kids, plus important visitor tips.

A Dozen Miniature Golf Courses for NYC Kids

For many families, mini golf is a quintessential spring and summer activity that they look forward to every year. My son loves it, so we've tried just about every putt-putt course in the tristate area.

While there are plenty of courses on Long Island and in New Jersey, you don't need to head out of town for putt-putt golf. There are currently a dozen places to play mini golf right here in New York City. And as sports go, it's typically fairly inexpensive—often as little as $5 a round for kids. Another bonus is that it's one of those rare activities that parents and kids can play together. You can even host a birthday party at most of these spots.

Read on to find out where to play mini golf with the kids in the city, and I'll see you on the green!

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