Jody Mercier

Jody Mercier

Jody Mercier's picture

When asked to illustrate her career goal as a first grader, Jody drew a picture of a mom with one kid on each hip and another clinging to her leg. All these years later, that is her reality, raising three kids in this crazy city. Since her dream job only pays in hugs and kisses, she has spent her professional career as an editor at SI.com, espnW.com and SportsonEarth.com, and also freelanced for Care.com.

Latest posts by Jody Mercier

Summer Bucket List: 30 Things to Do in NYC Before School Starts

With August upon us and the start of a new school year looming, my kids and I are in a panic about all the things we haven't yet crossed off our NYC summer bucket list.

Sure, we've had a lot of fun tooling around the city, enjoying our local swimming pool, reigniting a love for some favorite playgrounds, and soaking up all the FREE entertainment. There are plenty of great activities we haven't gotten to, though.

So as a reminder to us, and to you, we've crafted this list of 30 things to do before summer ends. Some are summer-only events happening all month; others are one-time-only affairs, so read on and get ready to dive in before the summer sun sets!

5 NYC Day Trip Itineraries Perfect for Preschoolers

New York can be a big, intimidating place for anyone to visit, but especially our smallest kids like preschoolers. Thankfully, the City That Never Sleeps offers plenty of opportunities to entertain even the most pint-sized of visitors.

Of course, you can visit our top zoos and amazing gardens, the mega stores for a special treat, or our top-notch museums like the American Museum of Natural History. These are all great choices and included in our 100 Things to Do In NYC Before Your Kid Grows Up list of the absolute best children's activities in NYC.

But we wanted to come up with something a little different, and a little more mellow for those preschoolers visiting from out of town, or even locals wanting to check out a new-to-you neighborhood—something that respects the limits of a preschooler's emotional and physical mileage. So we've rounded up five mom-tested itineraries that give you and your kid a glimpse of the city without totally wearing everyone down.

Planning ahead? Check out what special events might be taking place during your visit with our always-up-to-date NYC Event Calendar.

NYC Destination Playground: Nelson A. Rockefeller Park Has It All

In New York City, there are playgrounds—the kind you can step out the front door and find in your local neighborhood—and then there are playgrounds—these go beyond the basic jungle gym and include things like super-sized climbing structures, expansive sandboxes, or fancy water features. But, get this: Nelson A. Rockefeller Park has all that and some extra special features that make it truly destination worthy in my family's book.

Located in Battery Park City this playground provides enough entertainment for your whole family to while a day away, no matter your ages. Find more great playgrounds in our NYC Parks & Playgrounds Guide.

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.

Summer Streets Brings New Water Park and Epic Slide to NYC

Citi Summer Streets, easily one of our favorite NYC seasonal festivals, returns for its 10th anniversary of car-free Saturdays on August 5. This year it's debuting something totally new, and yes, a little whacky near Central Park: an inflatable water park from LG with a dishwasher theme. Expect "massive slides in the shape of cutlery," hanging glide rails that lead to the pool, and a "3rd rack" section.

The annual Summer Streets event gives New Yorkers three consecutive August Saturdays of car-free fun to enjoy a seven-mile stretch of city streets from the Upper East Side to the Brooklyn Bridge. VitaCoco will bring back its epic water slide in lower Manhattan, and the always-popular zip line—rising 30 feet above the urban landscape and spanning a distance of 165 feet—returns as well for 2017.

Most all of the interactive stations like the dishwasher water park (will there be soap bubbles??) are 100% FREE but some require advance registration. Read on for all the details for this ultimate summer street fest.

Times Square with Kids: What To Do Beyond The Usual Tourist Spots

New Yorkers often dismiss Times Square as too crowded, touristy, and overpriced, but if you look a little closer, there is plenty of kid fun to be found around this NYC hub—even for the most jaded urban dwellers.

We're not talking about expensive tourist attractions such as Madame Tussauds, the Hard Rock Cafe, and Ripley's Believe It Or Not. Instead, we've got the scoop on 15 cool, reasonably inexpensive things to do with kids near Times Square whether you're killing time before a Broadway show, entertaining out-of-towners, or just find yourself in this NYC neighborhood.

Visiting NYC with kids? Check out more top attractions in our Vistors Guide for Families.

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.

50 Ways To Cool Off in NYC with Kids This Summer

As summer weather begins to sizzle, there's no denying that the heat and humidity can get under the skin of even the most tropical-weather-loving New Yorker. To beat the heat, my kids (and my inner child) insist any outing includes water, industrial strength air-conditioning, or sweet frozen treats.

While we enjoy hitting our local public pool and running around the sprinklers (oh yes, I get in there, too), lately we've been longing for more diverse destinations. That inspired us to round up our favorite ways to cool off in New York City.

Our list includes a variety of destinations; some are brand-new, while others are old standbys. The list includes outdoor spots like extra-special water playgrounds, awesome pools, and splashy boat rides, and indoor havens such as kid-friendly museums. Many of our suggestions are FREE and we even included exceptional frozen-treat spots, so you can indulge in ice cream and more. So strike while the weather's hot: Here are our top 50 ways to cool off with kids in NYC this summer.

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