New York City

Ice Cream Bucket List: 10 Over-the-Top Shops To Try This Summer

Ah, August in the city! You've probably got your routine down pat at this point: art exhibits, subway-accessible beaches, and Summer Streets are all regulars in your summer schedule. As are trips for cool treats. If your neighborhood ice cream shop is feeling a tad too familiar at this point in the summer, it's time to step it up—and step it out of your 'hood.

We’ve rounded up 10 over-the-top ice cream establishments that are a little more under the radar than say Black Tap, but are the perfect way for you and your kids to enjoy before summer's over. Get ready to be blown away (and say goodbye to Mister Softee, for now): There’s rolled ice cream, innovative soft serve, make-it-yourself ice cream, and cutting-edge ice cream sandwiches. Go forth and enjoy, and check out our NYC Restaurant Guide for more great family eats.

Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden Is Worth The Trip

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you actually got off the Staten Island Ferry when you arrived? I know, it seems like a radical idea, but Staten Island actually has plenty for kids to do, making it well worth your while to exit on the other side. Recently, my family and I took a day trip to Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden. We were all pleasantly surprised that this little nook in Staten Island holds so many treasures in one location.

Weekday Fun: Hip Hop, Architecture, Board Games

This week, events for New York City kids include architecture in Tribeca, free alphabet hip-hop in Brooklyn, and free board game fun during live, South American music in Sunnyside, Queens. On Wednesday, August 9, you can cut a rug to two drum-influenced bands in Richard Tucker Park near Lincoln Square. See our roundup of great kids' music going on this summer. 

On Friday, little theater-goers can check out All of Us at the Children's Museum of Manhattan. Also, see our lowdown on great summer theater options for kids, some of them free. Looking for more deals? See our new local DEALS page and grab some fresh discounts on camps, classes, birthday party packages, and more NYC services.

Never forget: our August GoList, our Summer Fun Guide, and our Events Calendar will never let you down when it comes to planning your fun-filled summer. 

Birthday Freebies in NYC: Where Kids Eat Free and Get Gifts

In the era of rent-out-the-whole-museum and hire-a-marching-band kid birthday party, it's nice to find a freebie.

Of course, there are plenty of at-home, DIY ways to celebrate your child's birthday for FREE, from mirror notes to playing hooky. But it's also the one time of year that you can take advantage of all those corporate birthday clubs that promise to make your kid's big day even more special with fun freebies like complimentary gifts, food, and other deals.

We've rounded up a mix of local spots, with a lot of national chain restaurants and play spots thrown in, which all offer birthday goodies. Some are specific to kids, though some you can snag, too, and most will require some sort of email-list sign up. 

Find more fun for their big day (maybe even a marching band) in our Birthday Party Guide and Directory for NYC families.

17 Things To Do with Kids in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

Lehigh Valley, comprised of Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, is chock-full of entertainment for the kids. From crayons and caverns to music, science, and more, the Lehigh Valley has something to offer everyone in the family year-round.

With so much to do, and its proximity to Philadelphia and NYC, this pretty Pennsylvania region makes for the perfect place for a long weekend getaway with the family, or even a day trip

Take the Kids Back in Time at the New York Renaissance Faire

The New York Renaissance Faire descends on Sterling Forest once again this August and September, an annual festival that transforms the state park in Tuxedo into a 16th century village complete with period costumes, music, theater and crafts.

The massive 65-acre "Renn Faire," as locals call it, has been taking place since 1977, and it kicks off again on Saturday, August 5, 2017. This year is the festival's 40th anniversary, and we have the scoop on what's new for 2017. Read on for details on what to see there with the kids, tickets discounts, and more.

Looking for fun in the Hudson Valley? Take a look at our Family Day Trips Guide and sign up for our newsletters.

Weekend Fun: A Water Park in Central Park and Family Dance Parties

The summer is by no means winding down for New York City kids. Proof? Two words: Summer Streets. For three straight Saturdays in August, beginning August 5, Manhattan blocks traffic on an unbroken route from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Upper East Side and replaces it with fun outdoor activities—even a water slide and a zip line—at stops along the way. See our full lowdown on Summer Streets.  

Away from streets, on the rivers, you have the Hindu Lamp Ceremony in Dumbo, on the East River, and the Silent Summer Dance Party on the Hudson in Rockefeller Park. Then head further into nature at Forest Park, in Queens, and investigate coyotes. You can even catch a look at the Mars rover concept vehicle this weekend at the Intrepid during its Space and Science Festival.

Whether you're looking for 50 things to do with toddlers, or 50 ways to keep kids of any age away from screens this summer, take advantage of our August GoList, and Summer Fun Guide, all bursting with cool stuff to do, including how to get to the beach in a hurry, water park day trips, and even FREE splash pads.

Turn to the Event Calendar for your daily plans, while our brand-new local DEALS page can score you discounts on camps, classes, birthday party packages, and more NYC services.

Crayola Experience Pennsylvania: A Day Trip for Doodlers

There are few sights more satisfying than a quietly coloring, fully focused child. Entering the four-story Crayola Experience in Easton, Pennsylvania, does not exactly replicate that peaceful scenario (it's busy with excited families!), but there’s no doubt that it’s a kid doodler’s paradise.

Part creators’ studio, part indoor playground, this 65,000-square-foot kid entertainment center is bedecked in bold primary colors with smiling crayons beaming at you from every corner. It offers more than two dozen art-making stations using the full spectrum of Crayola materials—paints, clay, markers and yes, crayons—as well as more active entertainment like a multilevel play, bounce and climbing structure, toddler section, a water table with boats, and a “Cool Moves” dance-like crayon-themed game.

It debuts a brand-new attraction, Adventure Lab, with an immersive and interactive quest-style game. Read on for the full Mommy Poppins review, and find more day trips and hot kid destinations in our U.S. Travel Guide for Families.

Indoor Swimming Pools in NYC That Offer Day Passes

There are plenty of FREE swimming pools in NYC for kids during the summer months, but if you're looking for year-round options, or less crowded waters, the options are a bit limited. We've rounded up the best bets, from private pools offering day passes, to off-the-beaten-path community spots. All are kid friendly and welcome families for swimming and other water fun.

Read on for where to get swimming in NYC now, and don't forget to check out how to score FREE swim lessons in the city, too.

Best Summer Festivals for NYC Kids This August

Many families flee the city in August for end-of-summer vacations, but it's actually one of my favorite months to be in NYC.

With summer staples like swimming, play fountains, Governors Island, and hundreds of free summer fun, there's plenty to do if you stick around. Plus, only-in-August favorites like Summer Streets and Arthur Ashe Kids' Day really pack in the fun.

So we've rounded up 11 FREE family-friendly festivals happening throughout the Big Apple in August to help you get the most out of NYC with kids during the last month of summer.

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