We’re in the home stretch of summer, and New York is hosting tons of free events for kids to help you and the family squeeze every last drop of fun out of the season. From free festivals, puppet shows, and open city streets, to fishing, camping, dragon boats and more. Check out these awesome free kid-friendly August events all around NYC, and go have some fun in the sun!
Free Carousel Rides in Prospect Park
Enjoy free rides on the iconic carousel at Prospect Park every Thursday this August. Kids can simpy pick their favorite pony and hop on!
Every Thursday in August
The Carousel in Prospect Park
Near the Flatbush Ave. entrance
The Uni Project at the Marcus Garvey Park (and others)
Cozy up and read a book together in this pop-up reading room, presented by the Uni Project. And visit the website for information on other pop-up locations, including more book events as well as free Lego building, drawing, and lots more!
Every Wednesday in August
10:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
Marcus Garvey Park
6316 Mt. Morris Park W.
Family Astronomy Nights on the Intrepid
Stargaze from one of NYC's most unique locations: aboard the Intrepid. Free entry to the floating museum will be accompanied by star viewing on the deck, and a presentation about life on Mars by NASA astrobiologist Laurie Barge. While preregistration is strongly encouraged, be prepared to stand all night, as seats are very limited.
Fri., Aug. 3
Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum
West 46th Street
Astronomy at Owl's Head Park
Gaze at the stars in this evening full of science and space. Urban Rangers lead a discussion about our Solar System and the science and mythology that surrounds it. Binoculars and telescopes are provided.
Sat., Aug. 4
Owl's Head Park
Colonial Rd. & 68 St.
Take to the streets for this annual celebration of the great outdoors in the city. With nearly seven miles of activities and family-friendly fun, there's something for everyone. Zipline, climb, dance, draw, watch live performances and oh so much more over three Saturdays in August that are completely packed with events and activities.
Visit the website for more event information and be sure to keep in mind the five rest stops available along the route for when the kids need a breather!
Sat., Aug. 4, 11, & 18
7 a.m.-1 p.m.
Chambers St. through 72nd St., along Park Ave.
Fishing in Central Park
Kids can try their hand at freshwater fishing in Central Park, while learning about ecology and their environment. All equipment and instruction is provided by Urban Rangers for this hand-on, catch and release fishing event.
Sun., Aug. 5
12 p.m.-1:30 p.m.
Harlem Meer in Central Park
110th St. and Lenox Ave.
Shark Files at High Rock Gate
It's shark week at the Greenbelt! Kids ages 6 and up are led through a presentation and an activity that explores the wonders of sharks. Although the program is free, advance registration is required.
Sun., Aug. 5
High Rock Park
200 Nevada Ave.
National Night Out Against Crime
Take a bite out of crime at this community bbq, organized in celebration of the city's men in blue. Expect good food, great neighborhood feel, and plenty of children's activities, from arts and crafts to performances.
Tues., Aug. 7
Beach 17th St. and Seagirt Blvd.
Camping in the City Parks
If you haven't gone camping yet, now's your chance! For a few nights in August, certain city parks will be open for registered campers. Enter the drawing by registering your family, and if you win the lottery selection, you'll get a chance to camp out in Central Park, Alley Pond, Van Cortland, and other locations throughout the boroughs!
Registration opens on August 8.
Various times and locations
Mad Science at Crocheron Park
Mad Science presents "Spin, Pop...Boom!", a show for kids full of science, chemistry, and (safe) explosions. The show makes science fun by presenting it like magic: a series of experiments will draw genies from bottles, create huge foam towers, and more educational fun.
Fri., Aug. 10
33rd Rd. & 214th Pl.
Dragon Boat Festival in Flushing Meadows
Although this event consists mostly of corporate teams and visitors, it's a nice way to spend the day for the whole family. Watch the dragon boats race, cheer on the rowers, listen to live traditional performances and stories, and participate in free games and events for small prizes.
Sat. & Sun., Aug. 11-12
Hours tbd (most likely begins @ 10:30 a.m.)
Flushing Meadows Park
Plastic Couture at the Socrates Sculpture Park
Hone your Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling skills at this free event at the Socrates Sculpture Park. Turn old plastic bags into beautiful new handbags with a method easy enough for little fingers to master, while the adults can help the little ones iron the pieces into place.
Sat., Aug. 11
Socrates Sculpture Park
32-01 Vernon Blvd.
Long Island City
Puppets in the Park
Fairy tale characters get together to try and change the Big Bad Wolf into a good one in this free puppet show. Visitors are encouraged to bring a blanket or chairs to enjoy the show.
Tues., Aug. 14
11 a.m.-12 p.m.
Flushing Meadows Park
111th St. & 53rd Ave.
Sand Sculpting Contest at Coney Island
During the sand sculpting contest, Coney Island beach is transformed into something out of a fairy tale. Visit and marvel at the intricate details and impressive creations of the competitors. Visitors can walk around and view the entries, and kids can have fun making their own castle creations.
Sat., Aug. 18
Coney Island Beach
W. 10th - W. 12th. on the Beach and Boardwalk
Boogie on the Boulevard
Get your dance on with this celebration of the Bronx! Part three of the four month event is coming up in August, with eight streets completely closed off to traffic for the festivities. Visit to experience live music, creative art experiences, fitness events, and more!
Sat., Aug. 20
Center lanes of Grand Concourse, btwn. 162nd & 170th St.
Jubilee Festival at Brighton Beach
Come out and play to the 42nd annual Brighton Beach festival! Drawing crowds of over 125k, the jubilee is a festive event featuring live Russian music, delicious food (for a price), booths, events, and general fun for kids and adults. Be on the lookout for the bird man, a personal favorite of this writer. Just be aware: this festival gets loud and crowded!
Sun., Aug. 26
10 a.m.-6 p.m.
From Corbin Pl. to Coney Island Ave., along Brighton Beach Ave.
Unicycles aren't just for the circus anymore — bring out your best uni moves, or just come to watch! The four-day celebration of unicycles will take place in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Governor's Island, although the main event will be held on the Island on the final two days.
The fest will include free lessons, fun sports events like unicycle hockey, basketball, and sumo, and various other fun shows and events.
Thurs., Aug. 30 - Sun., Sept. 2
Various times and locations:
Governor's Island, Battery Park to Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge to Coney Island
Nature Center Adventures in NYC Parks
If none of the events above tickle your fancy, look no further than your local NYC park. The Nature Center Adventures opens the doors to local park centers to anyone curious about nature and ready for adventure. Visit the NYC Parks website to see what's happening near you.
Various times and locations