Cheap and easy playdates for kids in NYC
Your child's next playdate is booked. Now it's time to plan the afternoon. We have tons of inexpensive ideas that will get you and your charges out and about.
Mon Apr 18 2011
Carl Schulz Park
16 Frozen yogurt sundaes on the UES
Is it just us or does it seem like there's a new self-serve yogurt shop on every corner of the city? At 16 Handles (1569 Second Ave between 81st and 82nd Sts; 646-863-2522, 16handles.com), kids choose from, you guessed it, 16 flavors of frozen yogurt and an assortment of toppings (strawberries, bananas, chocolate-covered pretzels, caramel sauce). Since you pay by the ounce, keep an eye on what the kids are piling in their cups—it can add up quickly. A good-size portion for anyone (trust us, you'll want a cup too) should run you about $5.
Once the kids have eaten their treats, take a stroll to Carl Schurz Park (E 86th St at East End Ave). An amazing view of the East River and the Roosevelt Island Lighthouse, plus the Catbird Playground, awaits.—Rory Halperin
17 Play on a replica of the Staten Island Ferry
Located right on the water, the Seaside Wildlife Nature Park in Staten Island (Nelson Ave at Tennyson Dr, nycgovparks.org) opened last October to rave reviews from local parents. At the nautical-themed playground, kids can make their way through a fake shipwreck, climb on a Staten Island Ferry play unit and enter a magical lighthouse. In keeping with the theme, native seaside and salt marsh plants are everywhere. Food options nearby are sparse (the closest restaurants are on Hylan Boulevard), so bring snack packs from home.—RH
18 Science, scones and a sky ride in midtown
You don't have to be a tech geek to swoon over the Sony Wonder Lab (550 Madison Ave at 56th St; 212-833-8100, sonywondertechlab.com). Kids can control a robot and take a stab at open-heart surgery—all for free. (The spot gets crowded, so make an advance reservation.)
Then, steel your nerves and enter FAO Schwarz (767 Fifth Ave between 58th and 59th Sts; 212-644-9400, fao.com), where you can marvel at life-size Lego creations, pry little fingers off mega stuffed animals and watch professional piano-hoppers play music with their feet (kids can even try it themselves). Refuel by picking up scones ($3 each) from Alice's Teacup (156 E 64th St at Lexington Ave; 212-486-9200, alicesteacup.com) to share while you're waiting for a round-trip sky ride on the Roosevelt Island tram ($4 per person).—NCK
We want to hear from you! E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your favorite playdate ideas