It's summertime! School is out and the weather is warm. You are just itching to do things with the family. Here is a list of fun places we have gone to or will be going this summer. If you are in the New York area, check them out. If not, there is likely an equivalent in your area.
1. The Zoo:
We've been to the zoo twice so far this year and we will definitely be going several more times. The zoo is one of our favorite places to go as a family. There are so many things to do and animals to see. They also regularly have activities for the family. We love it so much that we have a membership so we don't have to pay for parking, or admission, or the rides each time we go. Membership also provides discounts for food and merchandise. It really makes economical sense if you wish to go more than once a year. I have a whole post about zoo trips which you can find here.
2. The Botanical Garden:
My mom just so happens to work at the NY Botanical Garden. Between volunteering and paid jobs, my mom has been involved there practically my whole life. They have lots of fun activities for the kids and nature to explore. A lot of the time, my son just wants to chase the squirrels and chipmunks and birds. He'll also stop to check out the pond and hear the frogs and smell the flowers. In the Everett Children's Adventure Garden they have nature activities and puppets and books, toys, and plants to explore. We have passes to the botanical garden as well due to my mother's relationship with the location. It a great place to bring the kiddos over the summer. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy nature.
3. Sesame Place:
We have not been there yet this year, but we will definitely be going this summer. Sesame place is so much fun and my son, at 3 years old, is at the perfect age. They have tons of water rides and chances to meet the Sesame Street characters. When it gets too hot, you can stop into one of the air conditioned shows. They have lots of things to do for small kids unlike many theme parks that have a tiny kids area but are mainly geared for teens and adults. It is small enough that you can do a day trip but big enough to get a weekend out of it too. Busch Gardens in Virginia also has a Sesame Street area which we went to last summer. T really enjoyed that as well.
4. Outdoor Movies:
Outdoor movies are great fun for kids of all ages. In our area several malls have outdoor movie showings. They often show a mix of recent movies and classics. Last year we saw Big Hero 6 at an outdoor screening. We brought folding chairs and snacks and watched the movie out on the lawn. If you follow me on Facebook, you know that my son is obsessed with the original Willy Wonka movie. In August they will be showing that as an outdoor movie in our area. We will definitely be attending that showing as well as one or 2 others.
5. The Park:
Just heading to a local park is a fun outing over the summer. Some parks have sprinklers that they turn on in the summer for the kiddos. Otherwise you can stick to the classics: swings, slides, and jungle gym. Invite other kids to meet you there as well. We try to bring Tyler to the park regularly to play with his cousin Bradley. They love to go on the slides and climb the jungle gyms and just run around. It's also a great way to get their energy out. This one is also free, so you can go as often as you like!
6. Local Theme Park:
I love to go to local small theme parks with the family. They have a bunch of cute rides and games. It's also not as overwhelming as some of the major theme parks. In our area, we have Rye Playland which is the perfect size for small kids. They also have dance shows and costumed characters which Tyler loves. On Friday nights they have fireworks throughout the summer. At the same boardwalk they have a beach, Tiki Restaurant, and a children's museum.
7. Children's Museum:
Some days are just too hot to play outdoors. This is the perfect time to head to the local children's museum. They have lots of interactive exhibits and often have special events over the summer. At the Westchester Children's Museum they have lots of interactive exhibits including a music making areas, and tumbling area, and a place for making shadows. The exhibits are made for kids so you don't have to worry so much about kids touching things they aren't supposed to. We took T to the children's museum over 4th of July weekend and he had a blast. We were there until closing and he still didn't want to leave.
8. The Beach:
This is not really my husband and my favorite place. Given the option, we'd much prefer to swim in the pool. I hate sitting in sand and getting it in my shoes and bathing suit. However, my mother in law has a beach club membership and Tyler loves it. We took Tyler there on July 3rd and he had a ball. He loved building sandcastles, swinging on the tire swing, and playing with the other kids. It was another night where he didn't want to leave.
9. Local Festivals and Fairs:
Take some time and research local fairs and festivals in your area. So far Tyler and Hailey have been to two such events this summer. We went to a local fair with games, food, and small rides in June. This was T's first time going on a ride by himself. He had a great time and was so proud of himself! Today we went to a Hot Air Balloon Festival in upstateNew York. They had a petting zoo, bounce area, walking into a hot air balloon, a maze, a train ride and much more. This was located at the same farm where we go apple and pumpkin picking in the fall. With each new activity we found, Tyler thought he found the best thing. That is until we moved on to the next thing. If you want to tire your kids out, fairs and festivals are a great way to do it. If it's a good distance away from home, you can tire them out and let them fall asleep in the car on the way back. If you pack food and drinks, it doesn't have to be too expensive either.
10. Renaissance Faire:
This is a staple that we try to get to every summer. There is so much to see and do between the various shows, shops, animals, and activities. This one can get a little expensive especially if you are a sucker for artisan goods. This summer will be Tyler's third time going and Hailey's first. This is one of those places where there is something for everyone, so make it a family affair. Bring the grandparents and the aunts and uncles. Just be aware, it's a lot of walking.
Some other places that we will try to get to include the aquarium, Coney Island, and Central Park. I only have 2 weeks left of leave and then. Few long weekends in August, so we will try to fit everything in. The first 10 are definite though. With 6 out of the 10 already done, I know we will get to all of those.
Do you have any favorite places to go with the kids in the summer? Let me know in the comments!