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5 Fun Things To Do in August With Kids in New York City

Two young kids playing on skateboards in their bathing suits at Warm Up! in New York City

The kids are done with camp… the beach-house vacation is over… the playground sprinklers and such are getting more than little tired… and there's still WEEKS to go before school starts again. What to do with your hot child in the city? Summer Streets, Fete Paradiso, Warm Up!, any of the Brooklyn Flea/Smorgasburg/Smorgasbar iterations… these are all excellent options. And here are five more:

A father and his daughter standing on the side of a river fishing at Harlem Meer

Go Fishing at the Harlem Meer

One of the prettiest sections of Central Park lies to the north, centered around the lovely body of water known as the Harlem Meer. But because sitting still and gazing upon beautiful vistas usually doesn't cut it with kids, there's also the Dana Discovery Center up there, which manages the free "catch-and-release" fishing program. They give you a pole and some bait, your child does the rest. My kids never actually caught anything the times we went, but it always made for a nice adventure. Bonus: take a walk to the Upper West Side afterwards via the dense woods of the Loch, complete with waterfall, one of the only places in Manhattan where you can't see a single building. [Photo by Emily Mason.]

Two women taking a river cruise on the East River Ferry which takes them we cruise downriver under the Williamsburg, Manhattan, and Brooklyn Bridges

Take a "River Cruise" Beneath Three Bridges

As our friend Josie Girl points out in her first-rate blog, the East River Ferry goes to lots of places these days, but one of the best trips is the Williamsburg-to-DUMBO journey. My family plan is usually this: we go on a weekend and do the Brooklyn Flea or Smorgasburg in Williamsburg; then we cruise downriver under the Williamsburg, Manhattan, and Brooklyn Bridges; then we disembark and take a ride on Jane's Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park. And get more snacks and treats because why not.

People on the beach of Coney Island for the great Sand Sculpting Contest

Gawk at Astounding Sand Sculptures on Coney Island

There are sand castles (the blobby mounds that I make) and then there are sand castles (the astonishingly intricate sculptures built by people with lots of talent and hours of patience). The former are on display every time I go out to Coney Island; the latter only once a summer, which this year means August 17, as part the great Sand Sculpting Contest. Take a ride on the Cyclone, check out the insane Scream Zone (or the more sedate Luna Park or Wonder Wheel), eat some fried food, marvel at the elaborate, ephemeral creations. [Photo by Asterio Tecson.] 

A dinosaur popping out the trees at the Bronx Zoo's Dinosaur Safari for kids

Embark Upon a Dinosaur Safari in the Bronx

The Bronx Zoo has tons of amazing animals of course (including the sooooooo cute new baby rhino and lemurs), but perhaps none so awesome as the two dozen animatronic beasts you'll see on this summer's Dinosaur Safari. They roar! They gnash their teeth! They spit water at you! An easy kid-pleaser? Absolutely. But the Dinosaur Safari is also apparently pretty rigorous in its science, so maybe everyone will learn a thing or three as well as shrieking in delight.

Governor's Island Labor Day activities for the NYC Unicycle Festival. Here are three images of people riding unicycles at the event

Catch All The Fun at the NYC Unicycle Festival

If you're around on Labor Day weekend, head back to Governors Island for everything that's been there all summer PLUS the great NYC Unicycle Festival, happening August 31 and September 1. There will be races, tricks competitions, and demonstrations of several unicycle sports including unicycle basketball and hockey. Watch in wonder or give it try yourself with one of the dozens of unicycles on hand. Check out the Governors Island ferry schedule for transportation!

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