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Best Summer Activities For Kids In NYC

First Discoveries

Looking for something fun to do with the kiddos this summer? We've got you covered. Here are eight of our favorite activities for kids (or the kid in you). By Carly Petrone.

Hudson River Park
(credit: Facebook/HudsonRiverPark)

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Make your way to Hudson River Park on Friday nights and watch a movie under the stars. Hudson RiverFlicks is back for the summer along Pier 46, and they'll be showing family-friendly movies like Minions (July 8), The Peanuts Movie (July 15), Shaun the Sheep (July 22), Kung Fu Panda 3 (July 29), Penguins of Madagascar (August 5), Goosebumps (August 12) and The Princess Bride (August 19). Plus, who can say no to free popcorn? Admission is free and movies begin at dusk.

Wild Wednesday

Bring the kiddos to the High Line on Wednesday evenings from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and have them learn about the ways animals and plants at the park make homes and help each other. From experimenting with the different ways that seeds find a place to live, to how butterflies and ladybugs help people -- there's always a fun topic to learn about. These hands-on activities are a great way for kids (ages 4 and older) to interact with nature right in the heart of the city. Wild Wednesday goes from July 1 – August 26. Check website for more details. No RSVP required.

First Discoveries

More: Guide To NYC's Best Botanical Gardens

Let your toddlers (ages 2-4) discovery all that the Brooklyn Botanical Garden has to offer every Tuesday from 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m. Starting July 7, kids can do fun things like plant a carrot seed, touch a wiggly worm or create a unique nature craft at special Discovery Garden activity stations designed for toddlers. Those who love books can nestle into a meadow nook and read a story. All programs are outdoors and no RSVP is required. The best part? It's free with Garden admission. Help your little one discover and explore everything from nature to their own artistic ability. First Discoveries for Toddlers runs through August 25.

Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

More: Best Public Pools In New York City

Now that summer is here it's time to hit the pool! Outdoor NYC public pools officially open on June 29 and that means you can enroll your child in a free Learn to Swim program. Toddlers ages 1 1/2 - 5 years old and kids ages 6 – 17 can take swim classes during one of three sessions: July 7 – 21, July 23 – August 6, August 10 – 21. Adults can also sign up for specialized water aerobics classes, a great shallow water workout that is both fun and refreshing during the hot summer months. Thinking of bringing floaties to the pool? It's actually safer to just stick to the shallow end until your kids know how to swim. Make sure to bring a lock when you head out for the day – it's always best to lock up your valuables. Pool hours are from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. with a break for pool cleaning from 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. Check website to find your closest pool and start swimming!

(credit: Brooklyn Children's Museum)

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There's a lot going on at the Children's Museum of Manhattan this summer! Stop by and check out Frolic!, a new interactive rock 'n' roll-themed pop-up play space that offers children ages 0-5 a unique set of music, movement and imaginative play experiences that support emotional and physical development. Kids can enjoy a replica of a paint-splattered 1970's Volkswagen minivan, a Rolling Stones-inspired tongue slide, a mini-performance stage and ticket booth, and an interactive video music wall. Have them crawl around the soft foam butterfly and whimsical mushrooms, or mix it up at a baby sensory music mixer. There's even a Saturday Summer Concert Series and plenty of daily workshops, like "My Five Senses" yoga and Parachute Games. They'll love it so much they may not want to leave.

Chocolate Break at Max Brenner

Max Brenner
(credit: Max Brenner)

If you're looking for a place to take a break, stop into Max Brenner for a chocolate snack. Choose from fun options like a Melting Marshmallow Crepe (with gummy bears from the Sweet Forest, milk chocolate canyon chunks, a mountain of vanilla ice cream and warm chocolate falls) a Sugar Star Landscape waffle, even a chocolate pizza! And if you really want to earn the title of coolest Mom/Dad/Babysitter ever, you may want to order the Huge Chocolate Shot: chocolate potion you can squirt directly into your mouth. You can also stop in for breakfast to enjoy Chocolate Pancakes and Waffle Trampoline Nets, with bouncing strawberries, clouds of cream, and raindrops of chocolate. What kid wouldn't want to start out their day with some chocolate?

Camp History

(credit: New-York Historical Society)

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Middle schoolers can sign up for Camp History at the New-York Historical Society Museum & Library. Starting in August, campers can immerse themselves in a historical era by exploring related NYHS collections, meeting with Museum staff and creating incredible projects to showcase their new-found expertise. This summer's agenda includes all things Alexander Hamilton. Small groups of campers will learn all about Hamilton's world with tours of the galleries, exploration of rare documents and images in their library, meetings with Hamilton experts, and 18th and 19th century crafts and activities. The week-long camp will end with a special Friday presentation, where kids can present their creative writing pieces (poems, songs, stories, and skits) that are all about Hamilton's life and adventures. Camp is for rising 6th, 7th, and 8th graders and goes from August 22nd – August 26th. See website for more details.

Museum of the Moving Image

(credit: Museum of the Moving Image)

Kids seven and up can drop into the Moving Image Studio at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens most Saturdays this summer. Young visitors can engage in hands-on creative work, make projects ranging from flipbooks and thaumatropes (hand-drawn optical toys) to stop-motion and computer animations and video games. They'll also get to explore the inner workings of moving image technology such as projectors, film strips and video tape, video game consoles and more. This fun-filled day is free with museum admission. Learn more here.

For the latest on all of the Tri-State's events and happenings, follow us on Twitter!

Carly Petrone is a freelance writer living in New York City.

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