Tweens & Teens

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.

Sony Wonder Technology Lab

We recently visited the newly renovated Sony Wonder Technology Lab and by the end of the visit this great venue had shot up to the top of our list of must visit spots for kids in New York City. The Sony Wonder Technology Lab has always been a great find, with free movie screenings and a fun children's museum with interactive exhibits. But the new renovation and exhibits leap-frog the Sony Wonder Technology Lab to the forefront of NYC children's museums for kids.

New York is full of great children's museums, but the Sony Wonder Technology Lab does one thing really, really well that none of the other children's museums in New York City currently do: it teaches kids about the stuff they want to learn about most, technology.

Quidditch Game and Scavenger Hunts Bring Harry Potter to Life for NYC Fans

If you have a Harry Potter fan at home, these are some pretty exciting times. What with the new Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince movie out now and the final book in paper back. But for New York City kids, of course, there are always more ways to get involved in any passion than just viewing it through mass media. If you are a Harry Potter fan in New York, Harry Potter can come to life for you in lots of fun ways.

Here are some upcoming events for Harry Potter fans:

Kids Go Free to Cole Bros Circus Where Old Fashioned Circus Fun Meets Cirque Nouveau

Another circus is coming to Long Island, Brooklyn and Staten Island. We just heard about the Cole Bros. Circus – which is surprising since it has been around for 125 years. So we did a little research and found it's something you might want to check out.

Since this is their 125th Anniversary, they are celebrating with a special performance reprising legendary circus acts of the past along with showcasing the talents of cirque nouveau artists.  There is a 7-man pyramid on the high wire – these acts always amaze me as I really feel for the guy on the bottom holding all these people on a high wire no less; also gymnastic routines, circus daredevils (with “the Globe of Death and Giant Gyro Wheel”) and of course clowns for a little comic relief.  And,  no circus would be complete without the animals, and there are elephants, camels, dogs, ponies and a mule. It is a fast paced two hour show – with something for everyone.

Even Kids Love The Bard at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival

If you read our recent post on free outdoor Shakespeare performances and loved the idea, but worried your kid couldn't handle it, we've got another recommendation. The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival is doing performances of "The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged)" that are so entertaining and funny that we had three kids (ages 5-10) at rapt attention for the entire show, laughing hysterically and (literally) quoting lines from Shakespeare the next day.

One of the geniuses of Shakespeare has always been that it works on so many levels. While we may think of Shakespeare's plays as the high brow and somewhat inaccessible, they are actually filled with lots of very low-brow humor, potty language and puns (the lowest form of humor), couched in flowery talk. Of course, The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged) is a parody of Shakespeare's works, but they're working with some very rich material.

Top 5 Free Summer Programs for Kids

Our Summer Activity Guide is already filled with hundreds of fun free things to do with kids in New York City this summer, like free music in the parks, free outdoor movies and Free Summer Sports Activities, but the free stuff just doesn't stop. Until now, I just haven't had time to write up some of our favorite free summer programs. There's the free movie clubs, free children's theater, free bike rentals, free bowling, and more. Let FREE-dom ring!

50 Things to Do with Kids in New York City This Summer (mostly free)

I don't know about you, but this summer we've pared back on camps and vacations in an effort not to spend money we don't have. But our loss is your gain because, instead, what we're going to be doing this summer is exploring New York City and all the fun stuff we don't always have time to do during the school year.

To get organized for a full summer of fun NYC style (and 62 scarily empty days), I planned out an activity for just about every single day in July and August, 'cause, as my son would say, "that's what me do."

The following list is not comprehensive. These are the things I'm looking forward to doing this summer. These are the coolest family events coming up this summer, plus some great places I've just been meaning to get to. And most of them are free.

The Hamptons isn't all that, hang with me right here in New York. It's gonna be a blast (and don't forget to check out our Summer Activity Guide for even more great things to do with kids in NYC this summer).  I hope to see you there.

50 Things to Do This Summer With Kids in New York City:

Bayville Adventure Park-the Perfect One Day Amusement Park Vacation on Long Island

Around my house, these few weeks before my kids’ Summer camps officially start can be tough. The Summer weather seems to have arrived finally and the kids are anxious to take advantage of it. With plenty of beach days ahead, I wanted to do something special to celebrate today being the first official “day I don’t have to go to school” this Summer.  So, we  headed to Bayville this afternoon and hit the best mini-amusement park on Long Island-the  Bayville Adventure Park. 

For young kids, really, nothing could be better. First of all, there are lots of parking spaces right up front or just across the street, and you don’t even have to take a train to get into the park, like you do at Disneyland or those other big amusement parks. There is just enough activities to keep them from getting bored, but also the right amount to squeeze into the average young child’s visit without missing any (which I’d say is a few hours). 

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