Is it really the end of August already? Soon enough, the kids will be back in school and out of our hair – we can almost taste it. But before then, we still have one more three day weekend to look forward to – Labor Day. With childless couples fleeing the city for one last romp in the Hamptons, you can take advantage of the limited crowds (besides the slow walkin’ tourists, of course) in the city and take the family out for a final hurrah before the school year starts. We’ve rounded up some great ideas on how to make the most out of the holiday weekend, so get out there and enjoy it!

1. Skip the trip to your neighborhood playground this weekend and take your kids to a jungle gym they’ve never been to before instead. Pick one from our list of the top ten coolest playgrounds in Manhattan.

2. Escape the city and go on a nature walk with your kids. Whether strolling through a sculpture park is your style or if you’d rather go hiking past waterfalls, we found the perfect path for you.

3. Grab a cold one with your kids in tow at one of the city’s beer gardens that welcomes children.

4. Saturday and Sunday, roll on over to this one-wheeled festival that celebrates a wacky mode of transportation. Stick around for games and competitions featuring world famous riders from all over the globe.

5. There’s nothing like dipping into a refreshing swimming pool to really cool off. Here are some of our favorites pools, all of which are free, so dive in! They shut down after Labor Day so don’t delay.

6. Take a day trip to Staten Island and have a blast at the new amusement park and just-reopened Zoo carousel. Check out our guide to exploring this oft-forgotten borough

7. It’s hard to think that amidst the hustle and bustle of the big city there are secret gardens just waiting to be explored and enjoyed by little nature lovers. Check out these little known garden escapes or more well-known children’s gardens as you spend the day pretending you’re miles outside the city limits.

8. On Monday, take a trip back in time at Prospect Park’s Lefferts Historic House where kids can compete in potato sack races.

9. Maybe a day of indoor play is just what the kids need to expunge some of that extra energy. Head to one of the city’s top indoor playspaces in Manhattan or Brooklyn that don’t require a membership and relax as the kiddos tucker themselves out.

10. Did you know that the Downtown Boathouse offers complimentary kayaking every weekend (weather permitting) through October? You don’t need a reservation or any prior kayaking experience. Be on the lookout for jellyfish in the water!

11. Monday is the day for a back to school bash where you can pick up free school supplies while your kids can have fun creating bookmarks and playing games.

12. Sometimes the cure for the summertime heat is a cold scoop of delicious ice cream. Treat the kids by visiting some of the city’s top ice cream parlors like the brand new, huge, Ample Hills Creamery location in Gowanus.

13. Sail around the city, ride a row boat in Central Park or climb aboard one of the city’s ferries (some are free!) for an unexpectedly awesome view of NYC from the water. We found nine ways to boat around the city that kids will love.

14. Go on a safari, a dinosaur safari that is! Be on the lookout for more than two dozen animatronic prehistoric creatures lurking in the Bronx Zoo including some up to 40-feet long.

15. Inspire your kid’s creativity by checking out one of the summer’s best art exhibits before they’re gone right along with the warm weather. From a giant pile of Play-doh at the Whitney to Madeline at the New York Historical Society, you’re bound to find one that’ll interest your little gallery goer.

16. Battle the summer heat by hanging out at one of our favorite parks in Brooklyn. Just bring a picnic blanket, some munchies, and shade. If it’s a sizzling day, be sure to check out the Water Lab at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 6, one of our 14 favorite splash parks in the city.

What’s your family planning this Labor Day Weekend? Know of any exciting events happening around the city? Share it with us in a comment below. 

photo credit: Hudson River Park Trust, Ed Yourdon, Brian Biggs, & edenpictures