Summer bucket list for NYC families

NYC is packing in the kid-friendly fun this season, so start working on your family's summer bucket list

Photograph: Courtesy Luciana Golcman Arthur Ashe Kids Day
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If you thought the school year was busy, try cramming the best things to do with kids into two short months. We're here to help make your summer bucket list better than ever, so prepare for an epic July and August. 

From see-it-to-believe-it exhibits, new golf courses and of course, delicious ice cream options, your family is going to have a packed schedule. Don't be intimidated—we're here to guide you through the best summer activities for kids so you know what's worth it and what deserves a pass. Grab your sunglasses and get ready for an adventure! 

While you're planning your itinerary, make sure to pay a visit to NYC's best water playgrounds and family attractions

Summer bucket list for families

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Photograph: Courtesy Governor's Island
News, City Life

Governors Island's new mini golf course

Fore!  Visitors big and small can practice their putts this summer at a brand-new mini golf course making its way to Adventures at Governors Island. On Friday, June 23, the 18-hole attraction—in the backdrop of gorgeous NYC scenery—will open to players, so make your way to the ferry and get ready for a round or two. “Adventures at Governors Island brings affordable, interactive family fun for all visitors,” Douglas Youla, Director of Operation, said in a statement. “Adding an 18 hole mini golf with spectacular views of the New York Harbor and Statue of Liberty will further enhance our guests’ experience.”

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Photograph: Courtesy Tanya Solomon
News, Weird & Wonderful

New-York Historical Society's "Summer of Magic"

Hurry, hurry! Step right up—NYC is in for a magical summer vacation, and you have to see it to believe it! As the warm weather swoops in, so will the can't-explain phenomenons. The New-York Historical Society will welcome the season with "Summer of Magic," a program dedicated to the history mystifying experiences, so don't even try to wrap your brain around these illusions. Until Sept 16, visitors will be able to take a peek at exhibits, shows and workshops that celebrate the whimsical, logic-defying tricks we've come to know and love. On Saturdays and Sundays from June 23–Aug 26, the Family Program will allow magicians young and old to explore the city's magical past—fortune tellers, escape artists and so on. Let your mind be blow (literally) during Parlor Mind Reading on July 24 (7pm, $20). Feeling inspired? If you and your little ones are dying to learn a few tricks of your own, the Magic Workshop on July 17 and Aug 7 (7pm, $25 per person) is the best way to get a hands-on feel for the art. Get ready for your kid to be the hit of the playdate with these impressive moves.  Take a full look at the itinerary here and start planning your summer fun. We'll see you there...or will we? 

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Photograph: Delia Barth
News, Eating

The Pint Shop by the Museum of Ice Cream

If all grocery stores were as intoxicating as The Pint Shop, you would be much more excited to run errands.  For those who are in search of an interactive shopping experience that'll satisfy your sweet tooth and belly, look no further than the Museum of Ice Cream's latest venture, The Pint Shop. This whimsical, inviting space lets you you can pick up a few containers of irresistible offerings such as Vanillionaire, Cherrylicious, Churro Churro, Chocolate Crush and Nana Banana. (Chocolate Crush, I'm coming for ya!) Part shop, part attraction, this new downtown go-to is on everyone's radar and packs a busy calendar. The Pint shop will offer workshops throughout the season, including "Pitch Your Pint," where hungry entrepreneurs can visualize a new ice cream flavor, or "GIFs Galore," which will enable attendees to create stop-motion graphics that are as tempting as the ice cream. If you're feeling really adventurous, don't forget to book a tasting!

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Photograph: Courtesy American Girl
News, City Life

American Girl Place activities

Summer in the city is a blast for all New Yorkers, and everyone—including dollies—need to plan accordingly.  Fortunately, American Girl Place is working to ensure that all visitors make the most out of the season with a slew of entertaining events. American Girl at Wicked (July 25, 2–6pm, $155 per person), offers the chance for families (yep, that includes dolls) to see a classic Broadway show. Following the performance, attendees will be invited back for dinner at the American Girl Place Café, where they will receive a goody bag to take home...and a bit of time to shop around the store.  But Broadway isn't the only destination American Girl dolls will hit. On July 12 (from 11:45am–5pm for $97 per person), families can take in the spectacular views of the city on a Circle Line Cruise, and a delicious dinner at the Café will follow. Make sure everyone (toys included) wears a fancy outfit for the big occasion!  After all the adventure, don't forget to stop by and meet Luciana—the 2018 Girl of the Year. Get the 4-1-1 on Miss Luciana Vega, an aspiring astronaut, by way of interactive science demonstrations and a fun space-themed craft. While supplies last, kiddies will have the chance to score a free shirt, too! This event is free and open to the public on July 27 at 10am at the store. 75 Rockefeller Plaza (877-247-5223, americangirl.com). 

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Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock
Things to do, Literary events

Read summer's best children's books

Adventures aren't difficult to plan—just grab a book. The best summer books for kids have the power to take young readers on incredible journeys with a flip of a page. There's no excuse not to indulge. Fortunately, there are plenty of options for children of all ages to sink their teeth into in 2018. Genres abound—picture books, YA stories, thrillers, fantasies and so on. What's not to love?

More fun for kids

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