Summer Sand Pail List

Ahhh… summertime!  What a sweet, sweet word that conjures up images of lazy days, ice cream, feet- in- the- sand- kind of feelings.  School has just ended for most kids and it is time to get our vacationing on.  Many kids we know are going to summer camp.  My kids will not.   This is our special time together.  But I have decided that I will not jump into this special time without a plan and a budget.  So, we made a bucket list of 25 things that we would like to do with the kids this summer (okay, most of the stuff on the list was my idea, but the kids had a few of their own too):

  1.  Take a trip to Montreal – we are trying Airbnb this year and found a place just outside of the city of Montreal.   I’ll let you know how that goes when we get back.  We also used TripAdvisor to help plan some of our activities while we are there, like the Hop-on Hop-off Bus.
  2. Visit the Statue of Liberty
  3. Go to Muscoot Farm
  4. The Bronx Zoo – We go a lot during the summer,  having a yearly membership is definitely worth it.  Plus, part of the membership is tax-deductible (bonus!).  And we can’t wait to see the newest attraction this year, Nature Trek!!!
  5. Central Park Zoo – Once you get a membership to the Bronx Zoo, it also gives you access to the Central Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, and the New York Aquarium
  6. Visit the Chihuly Exhibit at the Botanical Gardens
  7. Wave Hill – Family membership is $90 (tax-deductible).  Wave Hill which overlooks the Hudson River, has picturesque gardens and even an aquatic garden.  The kids love trying to spot the fish in the water.
  8. Westchester Children’s Museum  –  I think this is probably one of the best deals for your money.  This discovery museum is totally interactive and is a terrific way to spend a few hours with the kids exploring gadgets and activities, especially on a rainy day when you need to get out of the house and don’t want to spend a small fortune to go to the movies.
  9. Visit the Little Red Lighthouse under the George Washington Bridge
  10. Go to the Planetarium at the Hudson River Museum  The Hudson River Museum is open Wednesdays to Sundays.  The Planetarium is only open on Saturdays and Sundays.  However, Friday and Saturday nights there is a free show at 7 pm on through September.  We are looking forward to catching the Sesame Street show “One World, One Sky”, the kids have been fascinated with the solar system since they did a study in their Pre-K classes.
  11. Go to Untermyer Park, Yonkers – Free.  See the beautiful Persian-inspired gardens.  Last year we discovered the steps that lead down the hill, closer to the river and the views were spectacular.
  12. Visit the Lenoir Preserve in Yonkers
  13.  Take a hike at Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan – Free.  196 acres located at the very top of Manhattan, you can see the top of the Harlem River, the last natural salt marsh in Manhattan,and Spuyten Duyvil.  Sometimes you can see Columbia University crew team practicing there and often the tour boats that circle Manhattan. Once, we followed the trails and discovered that some of them will take you to the other side of the Henry Hudson Parkway to a beautiful park where you can practically dip your toes in the Henry Hudson River and imagine life when the Lenapes inhabited this area.  On Monday, July 10th from 6:00 pm -6:30 pm there will be a drum circle at Inwood Hill Park.  Bring your own drum (if you have one) and join in.
  14. Take a train ride to Grand Central Station, Manhattan – There is much to explore in GCS itself – see the mural on the ceiling with the constellations, the whispering hall, the transit museum, and the shops.
  15. Visit the Science Boat in Yonkers – suggested donation $5, this is a prototype of a sustainable urban farm with hydroponic greenhouse that operated completely off-grid with solar panels, wind turbines, and biofuels.  Last summer when we visited, we got to pot a basil plant and bring it home for free.
  16. Philipsburg Manor, Sleepy Hollow
  17.  Walk the Highline in Manhattan
  18. City Island, Bronx – nothing like an ice cream cone from Lickety Split, the tiny ice cream shop that houses big homemade taste.
  19. Katz’s Deli – Famous for the pastrami on rye, it’s something everyone should experience at least one in their life.
  20.  Walter’s Hot Dogs – so famous that I recently heard about someone having them come to their wedding.
  21. Palisades International Park – As New Yorkers we have spectacular views of these steep cliffs that line the Hudson River.  I want to share with the kids the rich history behind the Palisades, including the duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr in 1804 (right now, my son is fascinated with the presidents of the the US).
  22. Grimaldi’s Pizza and the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory – Brooklyn – have you noticed that I have mentioned ice cream places a few times in the list?  I come from a long line of ice cream fanatics, my dad even had a special bowl reserved when we were kids.  No one touched it, it  was “Dad’s Ice Cream Bowl”.  It was really just a large plastic bowl, no frills, but it could hold a lot of ice cream.  Even now, the running joke between the grand kids and Pop Pop is he had “too much ice cream”.
  23. South Street Seaport – As a kid, my favorite thing about South Street Seaport was the coffee shop on the ground floor which had barrels of coffee beans with their heavenly aroma enveloping you as you read descriptions of each type of coffee that made you dream of far off, exotic locales.
  24. Grants Tomb,Riverside Park, Manhattan – Remember Trivial Pursuit?  We always thought it was funny when we got the queston, “Who is buried in Grant’s Tomb?”  General Grant National Memorial is open Wednesday through Sundays, admission is free.
  25. Visit a cat cafe – I’ve seen several articles lately about these cat cafes.  Apparently, many of the cats are also up for adoption, a great alternative to a shelter since the cats are giving space to roam, climb and interact with people.

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