NYC’s 5 Best Family Friendly Summer Activities

June 25, 2014 6:00 AM

Ahh summer has finally arrived. The weather is warm, the birds are chirping, and the kids are out of school. The Kids. Are. Out. Of. School! If you’re scrambling for things to keep your little ones busy this summer, consider these five family friendly activities in New York City.

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Bronx Zoo Lion Cubs

Four lion cubs out in the sun at the Bronx Zoo on Thursday, May 1. (Credit: Bronx Zoo)

The Bronx Zoo

2300 Southern Boulevard
The Bronx, NY 10460

If your kid loves critters both big and small and you’re looking for a low-cost day trip to keep them occupied, the Bronx Zoo certainly fits the bill. This past fall the zoo welcomed the arrival of several adorable lion cubs, but the cubs recently had their first formal debut in the popular African Plains exhibit just last month. The zoo offers plenty of other attractions to keep kids of all ages enthralled until closing time, including the Astor Court and Sea Lion Pool, the Baboon Reserve, camel rides, penguin feedings and, of course, an array of animal exhibits. For an additional $5 each you can check out attractions such as the Butterfly Garden, Congo Gorilla Forest, JungleWorld, Wild Asia Monorail and Dinosaur Safari. While general admission is only $16.95 for adults and $12.95 for children. You can also pay an upgraded $29.95 for adults and $19.95 for children up to 12 years old, which includes zoo admission along with unlimited access to the special rides and attractions listed above.

(credit: Make Meaning)

(credit: Make Meaning)

Make Meaning

1501 3rd Ave
New York, NY

Get your kids away from their computer screens with some hands on fun. Make Meaning is the ultimate creative destination where children can create memories and mementos with over 50 creative experiences ranging from cake decorating and candle making to jewelry design, soap creation and ceramics. Visit Make Meaning’s two NYC locations on the UES or UWS for fun classes and events as well as private party rooms to host a fun birthday celebration for your little ones.

(credit: Liz Ligon)

(credit: Liz Ligon)

Stargazing On The High Line

High Line between West 13th & West 14th streets
New York, NY

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Bring your aspiring scientists stargazing with astronomers on the High Line every Tuesday throughout the summer for free. You’ll enjoy gazing at the stars, planets and Moon through the high-powered telescopes of the Amateur Astronomers Association, while encouraging your kids to chat with the experts. Stargazing at the High Line takes place every Tuesday, beginning at dusk until Tuesday, October 28. Stay for dinner and dessert on the High Line after checking out the celestial sites with choices like tacos and gelato, as well as offerings from Terroir at The Porch, a full-service, open-air café serving beer, wine and small plates.

(credit: The New York Botanical Garden)

(credit: The New York Botanical Garden)

The New York Botanical Garden

2900 Southern Boulevard
Bronx, NY

Take advantage of the season’s sunshine at the New York Botanical Garden. Embark on an exciting adventure with your little one by exploring the world of plants and taking part in some of the Botanical Garden’s family friendly programs. Enroll your little horticulturist in the Children’s Gardening Program, where they can plant, tend, and harvest vegetables while learning the basics when it comes to having a green thumb. If you’re looking for something for your little explorer to do, check out the Family Adventures: Focusing on Nature program. Children learn to observe nature through a new lens and explore how technology has changed the way we view it.

File photo of Central Park (credit: Getty Images)

File photo of Central Park (credit: Getty Images)

Central Park

New York, NY

Central Park may be an obvious one to add to this list but it’s not without reason. Manhattan’s most famous park is filled to the brim with summer activities for the old, young and everyone in between. From park tours to performances, playgrounds, a fitness circuit and tons of free events all summer long there’s enough to keep the kids entertained until the school bell rings once more. Keep the park’s events calendar handy for ideas at a moments notice.

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Sarah Shaker is the founder of the blog Bright Lights, My City.

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