Summer in New York City: Ideas to Keep Kids Cool and Happy

Photo of Lasker Pool by Joe Shlabotnik on Flickr

For many New Yorkers, the summer is their least favorite season with children because the city is hot, humid, and empty. Many of our daughter’s friends evacuate NYC as soon as school is finished. We love to travel during the summer, but we also enjoy our relatively quiet city. I have found many ways of entertaining Charlotte and Lily in inexpensive ways.

One of our favorite sprinklers is at the Catbird Playground in Carl Shurz Park on East End Avenue. They have a large asphalt pit with plenty of side sprinklers. Last time we were there, we spotted Brangelina’s brood splashing around! If we are in the mood to travel, we hop on the subway down to Madison Square Park where they have a pinwheel which dumps water on the kids from overhead.

Chelsea Piers is an amazing indoor play land for kids. This 28-acre athletic facility provides an oasis on the Hudson. There is a great indoor playground, which is perfect on a rainy day. There is also ice skating at the Piers in the summer for kids ages 3 and up.

Believe it or not, there is actually a pool in Central Park! It’s a bit of a secret, but it exists. Located between 106th and 108th Street mid-park, you’ll find Lasker Pool. The pool opens July 1st and closes after Labor Day. Admission is free. Keep in mind the pool can be crowded on the weekends, so weekdays are a better option.

Photo of gorillas by Andrew Yee on Flickr

The Bronx Zoo is a regular summer outing for us. The girls love the gorillas and all of the shady walkways help keep them comfortable. The tigers are also a big hit and the summer is a good time to spot them cooling off in their watering holes. On Wednesdays, admission is by donation all day.  Tuesday mornings at the Zoo are considered “Toddler Time”— parents and toddlers through age 3 receive free entry to the Children’s Zoo.

One of our favorite summer time activities is going for gelato. In our neighborhood, the Ciao Bella Café has some of the best ice cream around town.  It’s located at 27 East 92nd Street between Madison and Fifth. We often wander over to the Cooper Hewitt Museum on 91st Street between Fifth and Madison after we eat. They have one of the best gardens the city has to offer and it is very kid-friendly. We often bring a ball or an art project to enjoy while we are there. The design exhibits are an excellent way of gathering ideas for our art projects if we decide to do a bit of exploring.  Up until July 5th, the museum is showing “Doodle 4 Google: What I Wish for the World,” which presents 39 of the thousands of entries submitted to the design competition from children K-12.

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