Last Day of School
The Last day of school is June 26th. Dismissal is 11:20 a.m.
The NYC Summer Reading book lists are created by librarians from the three public library systems (Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library, and Queens Library) and the Department of Education's School Library Services office. Students will have a good chance of finding these books at the library because we have many copies available.
You can read what you like this summer, but for tips on great books, try our recommendations:
|Booklists online||Downloadable lists (PDF)||LARGE PRINT lists|
For culturally curious kids and their moms and dads on a budget, these family-friendly institutions—all of which offer specific days or hours of free entrance—provide inspiring educational outings.
Brooklyn Children's Museum
Free Thursdays, 2–6pm.
Spend a few hours at this Crown Heights institution, home to around 30,000 artifacts and objects (plus a few live creatures) with an emphasis on hands-on learning. There's even a special section, Totally Tots, for children 5 and under—a testament to the museum's education-for-all-ages mentality.
Children's Museum of Manhattan
Free every first Friday of the month, 5–8pm.
Little museumgoers dance, run, solve problems, design and make music at this Upper West Side spot. Exhibitions focus on health, diversity and just plain fun things like cartoons, while workshops and special events serve to captivate visitors whenever they choose to visit.
Museum of the Moving Image
Free for kids under 3 and free Fridays, 4–8pm.
Budding cinephiles can head to Astoria for the country's biggest collection of moving-image artifacts. This interactive institution pays tribute to all aspects of movies, television shows and digital media, from technology to social impact.
New York Hall of Science
Free Fridays, 2–5pm, and Sundays, 10–11am.
Kids get hands-on with science and technology at this Queens institution that features more than 450 exhibitions. There are a few worthwhile things to spend money on during your visit: a round of Rocket Park Mini Golf, a turn in the 60,000-square-foot Science Playground and a screening inside the 3-D theater.
Queens County Farm Museum
Grounds free daily (check to see if a ticketed public event is occurring).
Take the kids to this working farm and check out goats, hens and pigs; the orchard (from which you can purchase apples on October weekends); and old farm buildings.
Waterfront Museum and Showboat Barge
Free Thursdays, 4–8pm, and Saturdays, 1–5pm.
Come tour this history wooden barge that is moored down on Brooklyn's Red Hook, not far from the Fairway Market. Check to see if a performance is taking place—perhaps a magic-, music- or history-related event that may cost money.
Zoos and Gardens
Explore NYC's animal kingdom and plant habitats without spending a dime. Many of the City's nature spots offer free or pay-what-you-wish admission. Get close to the creatures at the Staten Island Zoo, gaze at fish at the New York Aquarium or wander through Wave Hill's colorful grounds.
Suggested donation on Wednesdays.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Free weekdays November 1–February 28; free Tuesdays all day and Saturdays, 10am–noon, March 1–October 31.
New York Botanical Garden
Grounds only: Free Wednesdays, 10am–6pm, and Saturdays, 9–10am. Note that you'll still need to pay admission to access the areas that generally appeal most to families, including the children's garden and the conservatory.
Queens Botanical Garden
Free November 1–March 30; free Wednesdays, 3–6pm, and Sundays, 4–6pm, April 1–October 31.
Staten Island Zoo
Free Wednesdays, 2–4:45pm.
Always free for kids under 6. Free Saturdays, 9am–noon; free Tuesdays, 9am–noon.
NYC is a wonderful place to get in tune with nature, and if you're skeptical, look no further than Brooklyn Bridge Park. The waterfront venue is extending its free kayaking services to three days a week. There's no excuse not to make your way to Pier 2 this season. Those families who are ready to embark on an adventure can head over to the park on Thursdays from 5:30–6:45pm (the newest day to hit the schedule), Saturdays from 10am–3pm and Sundays for Kayak Polo from 11am–3pm (the kids' session for those 11 and up takes place from 12:30–1:30pm). Mark your calendars: The season will kick off on May 31, and you're definitely going to want to arrive as early as possible.
Let your kids rocket through the sky on a zip line or brave an elevated adventure course (all for free) on Sundays with the help of this exciting offering from Alley Pond Park. This year, the Adventure Course Sunday series runs from May 6–Oct 18, and each event is free and available to kids ages 8 and up.
Manhattan's westside waterfront park is taking its 20th anniversary bash seriously by offering a slew of free activities for New Yorkers big and small. Families have a lot to look forward to, particularly with the new addition to the lineup, "Science Saturdays." On June 2 (at Pier 45), July 14 (at Pier 84) and Aug 11 (at Pier 25) from noon–4pm, families are invited to experiment with in hands-on activities in the coolest classroom in NYC. What better place to participate in nature DIYs and examine microscopic findings than the great outdoors? Hudson River Park’s Estuary Lab backs the programming, so prepare for an ecological-focused itinerary such as touch tanks, performances from Mad Science and even catch and release fishing, among other activities.
With sunny days finally here to stay, it’s time to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible. Summer in the Square returns to Union Square Park with a line-up of free family-friendly activities and entertainment. Head on over every Thursday for children’s shows, books to read, coloring activities, games, kids yoga and fitness classes, sing-a-longsand dancing with kids bands like Hot Peas n’ Butter, Story Pirates, Josh & The Jamtones and more. All ages.
If you want to escape the bustle of the city without straying too far, Governors Island is waiting for you. The island features open lawns for kids to run through and trees to provide shade, should you need a little relief when you picnic. The tots can speed down Slide Hill, interact with art installations, explore adventure park The Yard, bike on the car-free roads or swing around in Hammock Grove. Don't forget to take in that gorgeous view of lower Manhattan!
Museums in NYC are filled with awesome exhibits, but the cost of visiting them can start to add up if you’ve got the whole troop in tow. This is why NYC families are lucky that many museums open their doors for free on select days and times (the Brooklyn Children's Museum on Thursdays, MoMA on Fridays). Expose the little ones to as much arts and culture as possible without having to shell out money for admission.
NYC is your theater this time of year. Head to a local park with a folding chair or picnic blanket and enjoy classics and new releases while the city serves as your backdrop. Moana is showing on May 25 at 8:30pm on Randall's Island and Thor on June 1 at 8pm at Willowbrook Park, to name a few
Waterholes in all five boroughs provide kids plenty of spots to splash around at no cost. Some of the best swimming pools for kids happen to be in parks or right by the best playgrounds, making it super easy to draw up an itinerary for a few family summer day trips! Why not follow up a trip to the pool with a picnic on the park's lawns?