Best day camps in New York
Thanks to the fantastic Wildlife Conservation Society-backed zoos (and aquarium) in NYC, families have the opportunity to see animals from across the globe without leaving the city. The Bronx Zoo—as well as the Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo and the New York Aquarium—all invite kids to learn about numerous species through hands-on summer programs. Offerings are slightly different for each location, but youngsters are guaranteed to get up close with all sorts of creatures, explore cool exhibits, conduct science experiments and learn from the zookeepers. Campers of all ages (starting at 12 mos) get to visit exhibits, solve animal mysteries and enjoy the fun. All ages.
The 200-acre camp is perfect for exploring the great outdoors. Kids get their hands dirty roaming and working in the farmland, gardens, fields and ponds—plus they master valuable farm skills such as harvesting crops and taking care of cute little chickens. Art projects, noncompetitive sports, hiking, music and a hilarious storyteller further round out the experience. Farm and Garden Days offer your children even more opportunities to help with the harvest and animal work. Ages 4–16.
Supplied with their imaginations and a “junkyard” playground filled with discarded plastics, ropes, tires and other unwanted items, campers are given the freedom to play, create and build at this Governors Island camp. Children call on each other and the dedicated instructors for help when stacking items and handcrafting unusual multimedia materials. For the first time this year, Girls Week will take place from July 23–27. Ages 6–13.
Little ladies will embrace their inner power thanks to a summer spent at Mischievous Goddess, where they're learning all about various goddesses and cultures while crafting, meditating, dancing, learning new yoga poses and more. It'll be fun, empowering and a wonderful way to meet friends. Ages 5-7.
Little ones can try their hand at a variety of sports this summer thanks to Temple Israel. One day they'll be swinging a bat, the next they will be shooting hoops or kicking field goals. But these summer activities are not limited to sprots; campers will also get to participate in story times and DIY arts and crafts projects. An outdoor version of the camp is offered at Randall's Island from June 4–20 and costs $750 per week. Ages 2.5–9.
It might be titled "Soap Box Summer Workshop," but the whole goal of the camp is to get kids to think outside of the box. What seemed like an ordinary piece of metal or an item that could be discarded might actually be the part that's required to build a car to complete in the Derby. Kids will work together to build their masterpiece and compete at the end of the summer in the big race on Aug 25. On your mark, get set, go! July 16–20 (10-14 year olds); July 23–27 (7–12 year olds); July 30–Aug 3 (7–12 year olds); Aug 6–10 (7–12 year olds); Aug 13–17 (7-12 year olds); Aug 20–24 (10–14 year olds). Ages 7–12
With two huge locations—the original five-and-a-half-acre Upper East Side campus and the 52,000-plus-square- foot Battery Park City location— active children can look forward to a summer filled with every sport under the sun at Asphalt Green. Plus there are event ways to show off their creative sides with circus arts, theater, music, yoga, creative writing and arts and crafts. Kids who think of themselves as more shark than human will be in an aquatic paradise, as each day includes two swim sessions, one with instruction and another for free-swimming. Young’uns also show off their camp spirit during special events like talent shows, crazy hat day and color war, while older campers can sign up for field trips such as seeing the Mets play at Citi Field. Ages 4.5–13.
Regardless of your childrens' interests, LREI is a wonderful place for them to grow and explore what they love. There is no shortage of options, and the program offers a wide range of activities such as sports, tech, theater and crafts, among others. A second location at 40 Charlton St also hosts various programs. Ages 4–13.
Step right up and get ready to star in your own amazing three-ring circus. Young acrobats will swing on the trapeze, flip the day away on the trampoline and balance on a tightrope. They'll learn the techniques of real-life action hero (and Macarthur Grant winner) Elizabeth Streb, whose motion lexicon Pop Action combines stage and street performance art. Campers 6–13 years old: July 9-13, July 16–20, July 23–27, July 30–Aug 3, Aug 6–10, Aug 13–17; Campers 3–5: Aug 20–24, Aug 27–31. Ages 3–13.
It might only be 20 minutes outside of NYC, but this Pearl River campsite will make little ones feel as though they're in a different world. The lineup at the 50-acre grounds includes something for everyone—swimming, sports, fine art, music and more. Ages 5-12.