While Manhattan island gets tons of love, followed closely by Brooklyn, Queens, then Staten Island, it was time to explore and give some love to Manhattan’s fifth borough: The Bronx. Sure, it’s home to the world-famous Bronx Zoo, but there indeed other family-friendly attractions the whole gang can enjoy one afternoon. Here’s a round-up of some non-zoo hidden gems up in the Bronx.

Yankees1

photo: New York Yankees

Yankees Stadium
Naturally, the whole family can watch the great American pastime live here, but the stadium also holds youth games and special events. Teens/kids 14 and younger–accompanied by an adult–are eligible for same-day, half-price tickets in designated seating locations for weekend games this summer; just go to the Yankees Ticket Windows. (For more info about this, click here and look under: Youth Games) Additionally, the Yankees Museum and Monument Park are open to all ticketed fans (regardless of seat location) as soon as gates open. Note: The line for Monument Park fills quickly, so head there right when gates open. You can also watch a batting practice if you like; gates open two hours prior to first pitch. During game time, kids can also play corn hole near the Guest Relations booth located inside Gate 6.

Yankees Stadium
1 E 161st St.
718-293-4300
Online newyork.yankees.mlb.com

 

Birding Walk

photo: courtesy Wave Hill

Wave Hill
Wave Hill is a beautiful public garden with adorned with lovely flowers, an alpine house (an unheated greenhouse that grows alpine plants), greenhouses, cultural center, and more. It’s the perfect place for families to explore, play, and learn. Nature-inspired activities held on weekends (except in severe weather), include Family Art Project, Family Nature Walks (ages six and older welcome with an adult), Summer Birding Walks, Butterfly Walk, a Crickets, Katydids and Cicadas Walk, and more. Kids can also listen to nature tales during Stories in the Garden; on Wednesdays at 2:00 p.m. in July and August, join a Wave Hill educator as they read popular stories, lead sing-alongs and more. There’s also an on-site café with high tea times.

Note: All family programs listed here are free with admission to the grounds. Register, when required, online or onsite at the Perkins Visitor Center.

Wave Hill
1 W 249th St. and Independence Avenue
718-549-3200
Online: wavehill.org

YonkersPottery3

photo: Handmade clay valentines; courtesy Yonkers Pottery

Yonkers Peace Pottery Studio
Located just north of the Bronx is Yonkers Pottery, a fantastic space for the little scuptor or craftsperson in your life. Many Bronx kids — from toddlers to teens — come to Yonkers pottery for birthday parties, private lessons (which you can take with mom and dad), and Clay Camp during the summer and longs school breaks. Yonkers Pottery encourages creativity, problem-solving and vision-building. During Clay Camp, students are guided through projects and explore hand-bulding techniques, sculpting and using the pottery wheel, or if they prefer, they can execute their own ideas.

Yonkers Peace Pottery Studio
379 McLean Ave, Yonkers
646-316-0554
Online: yonkerspottery.com

 

BCM  photo: Sarah Schuman

Bronx Children’s Museum
Beep, beep! Keep an eye out for this museum on wheels. Founded in 2005, the Bronx Children’s Museum (BCM) is actually located inside a bus–really! The Museum on wheels has temporary exhibits and sponsors ongoing programs throughout the borough. It’s one of a few cultural institutions in the Bronx geared toward young children, especially those children and families who cannot afford ― or would not normally visit ― a museum. The bus stops by public events, often with the Rivers On the Go! Exhibit, which is housed literally in the colorful Museum bus. Additionally, the Museum is developing a larger site in a more formal museum format, to be called The Kids’ Powerhouse Discovery Center, slated to open in 2017. Fun fact: The BCM published a book for children, written by Sonia Manzano, AKA “Maria” on Sesame Street.

Bronx Children’s Museum
347-971-2155
Online: bronxchildrensmuseum.org

NYBotanicGarden

photo: Michael Anthony Farley

New York Botanical Garden
This is all part of the NYBG’s major, Garden-wide exhibition, Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life. Frida’s Flora and Fauna.  Kids can visit the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden to experience the inspiration Mexican artist Frida Kahlo found in the natural world that can be seen and appreciated in her artwork. Throughout the Adventure Garden, kids can investigate plants and animals growing and living in New York City, using their senses as well as scientific tools to discover their own creative muse.

New York Botanical Garden
2900 Southern Blvd.
718-817-8700
Online:
nybg.org

BRONXRIVER2

photo: Bronx River Arts Center

Bronx River Arts Center
The Bronx River Art Center (BRAC) is a  non-profit organization that provides support for local artists–both young and older–encouraging youth to transform creativity into vision. It was founded in 1987 to bring professional arts programming to a culturally underserved population and currently offers a variety kid’s classes in Animation, Cartooning, Drawing, Painting and more. The Bronx River Art Center building, which was recently renovated, has classrooms, studio spaces, a computer lab, and more.

2064 Boston Rd.

CastleToys

 

photo: Amaryllis R. via Yelp

Castle Hill Toys and Games
Generations of fans have been shopping at this East Bronx neighborhood toy store and bike shop for decades. (Some former kid customers now have children of their own!) Not only does this space double as a place to buy bikes, they’ll also repair your ride here. Inventory ranges from from school supplies, to video games to action figures, and puzzles for kids of all ages.

Castle Hill Toys and Games
1375 Castle Hill Ave.
718-863-7221

Kalidescope

photo: Kaleidoscope Gallery

Kaleidoscope Gallery
One of New York’s best kept secrets is City Island, a small community at the edge of NYC located just beyond Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx. It’s surrounded by the Long Island Sound, and has a rich nautical history. If you make your way there one day, swing by Kaleidoscope Gallery, an amazing boutique that sells gifts for kids such as kites, balsa wood planes, light-up items, puzzles, puppets, sporting equipment and more. They also support the work of local artisans and you can shop the store online, too.

Kaleidoscope Gallery
270 City Island Ave.
718-885-3090
Online: kaleidoscope280.com

Spuyten

photo: Spuyten Duyvil playground/Rachel Sokol

Public playgrounds for everyone
The Bronx houses some large, scenic parks and playgrounds with bike paths, jungle gyms and more. Smaller parks include Spuyten Duyvil, Van Cortlandt Park (home to an awesome Tortise and Hare statue), Riverside Park, Pelham Bay and many more. Spuyten Duyvil has a swings of all sizes to accommodate children—and adults—of all ages. Seton Park is where most Little Leagues play baseball on weekends if you want to support a local team of budding Yankees. While Bronx Park is best known as the home of the Bronx Zoo and New York Botanical Garden, it also has many recreation areas, playgrounds, courts, fields, and more.

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photo: via Riverdale Stables Facebook page

Riverdale Stables
Riverdale Stables has an active equestrian program for budding riders. Kids start as young as age six in a regular lesson program, which consists of half-hour private lessons. The stables offer an Intro to Riding package of three,  half-hour privates lessons which you can share with friends or family. Once kids gain a little more experience they are welcome to join Riverdale Stables’ group lessons, after-school programs, or Summer Camp (which is typically attended by kids ages seven to 12).  Group classes teach both horsemanship and riding, and help foster a sense of community. (Unfortunately, at present time, the stables do not offer trail rides.)

Riverdale Stables
254th Street and Broadway
718-548-4848
Online: riverdalestables.com

Paul's Park

photo: Rachel Sokol

Paul’s Park
This is a special little community park built mostly for toddlers. It’s equipped with swings and a jungle gym and sandbox, but the stars here are the many mobile, plastic ride-on toys that have been donated by the community. It’s named after Paul Cymerman, a local man who voluntarily spruced up this play space designated for kids who are just starting to climb, walk and explore. Open to the public and very quaint, it’s part of the spacious Henry Hudson Park and is best for the littlest of playground goers.

Paul’s Park
Kappock Street at Independence Avenue.

What’s your favorite Bronx Destination? Tell us in the comments below! 

—Rachel Sokol