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The best kid-style fun for grownups

Grab a juice box, strap on that knapsack and follow our guide to that fountain of youth

Photograph: courtesy Shutterstock
Ah, New York City—that magical land where arrested development is not just encouraged but celebrated. Go ahead and take a slurp from the fountain of youth with our guide to the best kids' activities for grownups. NYC invites you to pair skee-ball, shuffleboard and ping pong with booze at its many bars with games. Or how about an adult sleepover (no, not that kind of adult sleepover) in one of our cool NYC parks? Or perhaps you'd like to embrace your inner-child by chowing down on Nathan's Famous hot dogs and riding the Cyclone—two of the best Coney Island attractions. NYC really is a true playground for adults. Recapture some of that youthfulness with these great activities.

Get tanked and watch toons at Nitehawk Cinema

Remember those Saturday mornings when you’d wake up early just to watch DuckTales and munch on Lucky Charms? Relive those blessed days at Nitehawk Cinema’s monthly Spoons, Toons & Booze series, which screens animated favorites from the ’30s through ’90s and serves all the tooth-decaying, marshmallow-filled, chocolaty cereal you can eat. One perk of not actually being a kid: You can slam some very adult beverages while you watch. 163 Metropolitan Ave between Berry St and Wythe Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-782-8370, nitehawkcinema.com). Next up: Aug 16,  17 at 11:45am; $16.

Roller-skate in a park

Grab those tattered old skates, and attempt to remain upright for a few laps around the Central Park Skate Circle (cpdsa.org), just northeast of Sheep Meadow at about 70th Street. The circle is open only sporadically depending on scheduling of other events in the park, but most Saturdays, Sundays and occasional Mondays from 2:45 to 6:45pm, you’ll be able to do your thang to DJs spinning house music and more. Brooklyn cruisers should opt for the 16,000-square-foot rink at LeFrak Center at Lakeside Prospect Park (lakesidebrooklyn.com; $6), which has adult-only, tunes-fueled skates on Friday nights at 8pm through August 29.

Team up for Skee-Ball at Full Circle Bar

Rally two of your most baller friends for the upcoming Skee-Ball season at Williamsburg watering hole Full Circle Bar, which kicks off its next ten-week tournament in October. You’ll have plenty of time to practice: On Tuesdays and Thursdays till September, the Skee-Ball lanes are free, and you get gratis hot dogs with your drink. Win-win, playas. 318 Grand St between Havemeyer St and Marcy Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (347-725-4588, fullcirclebar.com). $100 per player.

Bowl at the Gutter

Remember all those bowling parties you went to as a kid? You know, greasy pizza, gutter guards and that one kid bawling his eyes out after dropping a ball on his foot? Relive the good ol’ days with a few beers and a few games amid the ’70s-style wooden decor at Williamsburg bowling bar The Gutter. Bowling is cash only and runs $7 per game (or $40 to $45 per hour), plus a $3 shoe-rental fee. Yeah, you still have to wear the shoes. Just consider it athletic normcore. 200 North 14th St between Berry St and Wythe Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-387-3585, thegutterbrooklyn.com)

Drink and play Ping-Pong at SPiN

Full disclosure: Our fabulous guest editor-in-chief Susan Sarandon is co-owner of the Gramercy/Flatiron Ping-Pong haven SPiN, because she realized the same thing we all did in college: Ping-Pong and alcohol are a match made in heaven. We recommend savoring, rather than chugging, the diverse selection of domestic and imported craft brews ($8–$12). Walk-in rates for an hour of table time start at $30 before 6pm on weekdays, and increase in the evening and on weekends. 48 E 23rd St between Madison and Park Aves (212-982-8802, newyork.spingalactic.com)

Kayak around NYC's waterways

There are more options than you’d think to kayak for free in NYC. At the New York City Downtown Boathouse (Pier 26, Hudson River at North Moore St; downtownboathouse.org; Mon–Fri 5–7pm through Sept 5, Sat, Sun 9am–6pm through Oct 12), you and a pal can cruise during 20-minute sessions, which is how long it’ll take for your arms to get tired. Feeling (slightly) more ambitious? Row on the East River for a cool half hour at Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse (Brooklyn Bridge Park between Piers 1 and 2, Furman St at Old Fulton St, Dumbo, Brooklyn; bbpboathouse.org; Thu 5:30pm, Sat 10am; through Aug 31), but show up early, because everyone and their cousin wants to paddle around the charming view of the Brooklyn Bridge. Feel like peeping some art while you row? Kayak alongside outdoor sculptures at Long Island City Community Boathouse. 46-01 5th St between 46th Ave and 46th Rd, Long Island City, Queens (718-228-9214, licboathouse.org). Sat 1pm; through Sept 13.

Play shuffleboard at the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club

Perhaps the ultimate old-school conduit between grandparents and grandkids, shuffleboard can also
be a great bonding activity for you and your drinking buddies (aww). The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club is 21-plus and features a full bar, so millennials can pound cocktails and push the biscuit (no, that’s not a euphemism) without making the trip down to Boca. Courts are available on a first-come, first-served basis for $40 per hour. 514 Union St between Nevins St and Third Ave, Gowanus, Brooklyn (347-223-4410, royalpalmsshuffle.com)

Check out arcade games at Barcade

In our day, we had to walk 20 miles to school in the snow—and we didn’t have any of those fancy Xboxes or high-speed Internet. We’d just go down to the arcade and play Donkey Kong for a quarter. Thankfully, that bygone era has returned anew at the understandably popular Barcade. Except it’s better now: There’s beer! In fact, the rotating selection of domestic craft brews on tap is almost as extensive as the more than 50 available classic gaming options (only 25 cents per play), which include classics like Frogger and Punch-Out!! 388 Union Ave between Ainslie and Powers Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-302-6464, barcadebrooklyn.com)

Join the Brooklyn Kickball league

Kids these days, with their grade-school games. And why the hell not?!? On Sundays, Brooklyn Kickball rallies up to 35 teams on two separate McCarren Park fields—and it’s always looking for new players. Just sign up for its nifty Free Agent Player list via its website and find yourself the perfect team, or start one of your own. It’s a real kick. (We know—so childish.) McCarren Park at Bayard St to Nassau Ave between Leonard and North 12th Sts (brooklynkickball.com). E-mail fun@brooklynkickball.com to join and for more information.

Create stop-motion animation at the Museum of the Moving Image

Cartoons are for grown-ups too, and it’s never too late to engage your inner animator at Behind the Screen,” the Museum of the Moving Image’s flagship exhibit. There, you can create ten-second stop-motion animations using colorful cutout figures. You can also overdub your own dialog, sound effects and music over scenes from iconic films and TV shows like The Wizard of Oz and The Simpsons. Ever wanted Dorothy to make a fart joke? Now’s your chance, you class act. 36-01 35th Ave at 37th St, Astoria, Queens (718-777-6888, movingimage.us). $12, free Fri.

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