Free things to do over the Fourth of July weekend with NYC kids

Celebrate Independence Day on a budget of zero.

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By Time Out Kids editors |
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Sat July 2

FREE International African Arts Festival
Sat Jul 2 10am--9pm. Commodore John Barry Park, Navy St between Flushing and Park Aves, Fort Greene, Brooklyn (718-638-6700, iaafestival.org). Subway: N, Q, R to DeKalb Ave.
What better way to celebrate our country's melting-pot heritage than to swing by the 40th annual International African Arts Festival? The four-day fest stages an eclectic lineup of performances, including jazz, gospel and reggae concerts, dance, storytelling, arts and crafts, face painting, rides and a massive African marketplace. All ages.

FREE TriBattery Pops: Independence Day Weekend Celebration
Sat Jul 2 at 2pm. Zuccotti Park, Liberty St between Broadway and Church St (rivertorivernyc.com). Subway: 4, 5 to Wall St; N, R to Rector St.

The downtown volunteer community band celebrates the Fourth of July with an eclectic set, including tunes that range from the obvious (Sousa) to the quirky (Gaga). All ages.

FREE Stories at the Statue
Sat Jul 2 11am--noon. Hans Christian Andersen Statue, Central Park, enter park from Fifth Ave at 72nd St (hcastorycenter.org). Subway: 6 to 68th St--Hunter College.
The Hans Christian Andersen Storytelling Center has been showcasing summer tales for more than 50 years! This week, listen to two Andersen classics recounted by Julia Della Torre and Ken Setterington. Ages 6 and up.

FREE Eagle as Icon
Sat Jul 2 noon--5pm. Prospect Park Audubon Center at the Boathouse, enter park from Ocean Ave at Lincoln Rd, Brooklyn (718-965-8999, prospectpark.org). Subway: Q, Franklin Ave S to Prospect Park.
Little conservationists can enjoy this presentation on the bald eagle and the role the bird has played in shaping our national identity. All ages.

FREE Kayaking on the Hudson
Sat Jul 2 10am-5pm.
*Riverside Park at 72nd St (downtownboathouse.org). Subway: 1, 2, 3 to 72nd St.
* Pier 40, West St at Houston St (downtownboathouse.org). Subway: 1 to Houston St.

It's no fun being taken for a ride...unless, of course, it's a free family boat trip. The New York City Downtown Boathouse is offering complimentary kayaking every weekend through October at three Hudson River docks. There's no need to make a reservation; just walk right up and wait on (a bit of a) line. Don't worry if you've never kayaked before: The nautical experts provide the equipment and the know-how—although they do ask that you sign a liability waiver. Now's a good time to review your swimming skills. Kids under 16 must be accompanied by an adult in the same boat. All ages.

FREE Saturday Sculpture Workshops: Wearable Works of Art with Lina Puerta
Sat Jul 2 noon--3pm. Socrates Sculpture Park, 32-01 Vernon Blvd at Broadway, Long Island City, Queens (718-956-1819, socratessculpturepark.org). Subway: N to Broadway, then walk eight blocks to the East River.
Tykes can bring along their own recyclables or search the park for natural materials to transform into jewelry. Ages 4 to 14.

FREE Dumbo Kite Flying Society
Sat Jul 2 10am--12pm. Brooklyn Bridge Park, Main St at Fulton Ferry Landing, Dumbo, Brooklyn (718-222-8500, galapagosartspace.com). Subway: A, C to High St; F to York St.
Dumbo's Galapagos Arts Space takes kids on a high-flying adventure with a free cloth-kite clinic. Don't worry if your little one is more Charlie Brown than Ben Franklin—they provide loaner gliders and lessons. All ages.

Sunday July 3

FREE Kayaking on the Hudson
Sun Jul 3 10am-5pm.
*Riverside Park at 72nd St (downtownboathouse.org). Subway: 1, 2, 3 to 72nd St.
* Pier 96, Twelfth Ave at 56th St (downtownboathouse.org). Subway: A, C, D, 1 to 59th St--Columbus Circle.
* Pier 40, West St at Houston St (downtownboathouse.org). Subway: 1 to Houston St.

It's no fun being taken for a ride...unless, of course, it's a free family boat trip. The New York City Downtown Boathouse is offering complimentary kayaking every weekend through October at three Hudson River docks. There's no need to make a reservation; just walk right up and wait on (a bit of a) line. Don't worry if you've never kayaked before: The nautical experts provide the equipment and the know-how—although they do ask that you sign a liability waiver. Now's a good time to review your swimming skills. Kids under 16 must be accompanied by an adult in the same boat. All ages.

FREE Freedom Strut
Sun Jul 3 1--4pm. Lefferts Historic House, Flatbush Ave at Empire Blvd, Flatbush, Brooklyn (718-965-8999, prospectpark.org). Subway: Q, Franklin Ave S to Prospect Park.
Slavery was abolished in New York State on July 4, 1827, and for years afterward, African-Americans annually celebrated their emancipation at parades and fancy dinners on July 5. Museum educators will be on hand to help little ones decorate their clothing as former slaves once did on this occasion by inscribing inspiring messages on their sleeves. All ages.

FREE International African Arts Festival
Sun Jul 3 10am--9pm. Commodore John Barry Park, Navy St between Flushing and Park Aves, Fort Greene, Brooklyn (718-638-6700, iaafestival.org). Subway: N, Q, R to DeKalb Ave.
What better way to celebrate our country's melting-pot heritage than to swing by the 40th annual International African Arts Festival? The four-day fest stages an eclectic lineup of performances, including jazz, gospel and reggae concerts, dance, storytelling, arts and crafts, face painting, rides and a massive African marketplace. All ages.

FREE JCC Rooftop
Sun Jul 3 noon--4pm. JCC in Manhattan,, 334 Amsterdam Ave at 76th St (646-0505-5708, jccmanhattan.org). Subway: B, C to 72nd St; 1 to 79th St.
The Big Apple has some great public play spaces, but the JCC's is tops—and not just because it's nine stories above street level. Every Sunday in July, the UWS institution opens its 3,000-square-foot playground to nonmembers. Kids can play on the jungle gym, in the playhouse, and on a slide, seesaw, cars and trikes. Ages 2 and up.

FREE Eagle as Icon
Sun Jul 3 noon--5pm. Prospect Park Audubon Center at the Boathouse, enter park from Ocean Ave at Lincoln Rd, Brooklyn (718-965-8999, prospectpark.org). Subway: Q, Franklin Ave S to Prospect Park.
Little conservationists can enjoy this presentation on the bald eagle and the role the bird has played in shaping our national identity. All ages.

FREE SummerStage Kids' Bronx Family Day
Sun Jul 3 at 3pm. St. Mary's Park, 146th St at St. Anne's Ave, Bronx (212-360-8290, cityparksfoundation.org). Subway:
Subway: 2, 5 to Third Ave--149th St.
This blow-out festival features top-name performers including Grammy Award-winning storyteller Bill Harley, kid-friendly rapper Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, local latin-infused band Moona Luna and Illstyle & Peace Productions, a multicultural dance company this melds tap, beatboxing and more. Kids can also check out art workshops and puppet shows. Ages 3 and up.

Monday July 4

FREE Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest
Mon Jul 4 at noon. 1310 Surf Ave at W 10th St (718-946-2705, nathansfamous.com). Subway: D, N, F, Q to Coney Island--Stillwell Ave.
Celebrate the great American pasttime of overeating by cheering on participants in this annual contest. In recent years, this competitive-eating challenge has been a two-man showdown between Joey Chestnut—who was the wiener winner in 2009 with 68 franks—and six-time champ Takeru Kobayashi, who only managed 64. All ages.

FREE Kayaking on the Hudson
Mon Jul 4 10am--5pm.
*Riverside Park at 72nd St (downtownboathouse.org). Subway: 1, 2, 3 to 72nd St. 
* Pier 40, West St at Houston St (downtownboathouse.org). Subway: 1 to Houston St.

It's no fun being taken for a ride...unless, of course, it's a free family boat trip. The New York City Downtown Boathouse is offering complimentary kayaking every weekend through October at three Hudson River docks. No need to make a reservation; just walk right up and wait on (a bit of a) line. Don't worry if you've never kayaked before: The nautical experts provide the equipment and the know-how—though they do ask that you sign a liability waiver. Now's a good time to review your swimming skills. Kids under 16 must be accompanied by an adult in the same boat. All ages.

FREE International African Arts Festival
Mon Jul 4 10am--9pm. Commodore John Barry Park, Navy St between Flushing and Park Aves, Fort Greene, Brooklyn (718-638-6700, iaafestival.org). Subway: N, Q, R to DeKalb Ave.
What better way to celebrate our country's melting-pot heritage than to swing by the 40th annual International African Arts Festival? The four-day fest stages an eclectic lineup of performances, including jazz, gospel and reggae concerts, dance, storytelling, arts and crafts, face painting, rides and a massive African marketplace. All ages.

FREE Declare Independence
Mon Jul 4 1--4pm. Lefferts Historic House, Flatbush Ave at Empire Blvd, Brooklyn (718-965-8999, prospectpark.org). Subway: Q, Franklin Ave S to Prospect Park.
Little ones will fashion a plumed hat to wear as they lend their John Hancock to a reproduction of the Declaration of Independence. All ages.

FREE Eagle as Icon
Mon Jul 4 noon--5pm. Prospect Park Audubon Center at the Boathouse, enter park from Ocean Ave at Lincoln Rd, Brooklyn (718-965-8999, prospectpark.org). Subway: Q, Franklin Ave S to Prospect Park.

Little conservationists can enjoy this presentation on the bald eagle and the role the bird has played in shaping our national identity. All ages. 

FREE 35th Annual Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks
Mon Jul 4 at 9pm. Best viewing: Twelfth Ave between 23rd and 59th Sts (212-494-4495, macys.com/fireworks).
We hear this year's explosive presentation will boast more than 40,000 bursts of color and light for your family's pyrotechnic amusement. This year's performers include Beyonce, Brad Pisley and Nick Lachey. Grab a blanket and portable radio (you can catch the show's original soundtrack on 1010 WINS), find your favorite spot and delight in the crackling. All ages.

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