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Summer in NYC always poses a problem for us moms.  School’s ended, it’s hot and friends are on vacation so playdates are few and far between.  What’s a mom to do!?  Over the last few years, I’ve conjured up some creative outtings to pass the time and keep it interesting for my little guy too.

Gavin & Mommy’s Day of Fun….Top 5 Picks

#1 Turtle Back Zoo:  if you haven’t been to TBZ in West Orange NJ, then rent a Zip Car and get over there!  It’s a great escape from the city heat and it’s perfect for smaller kids.  Animals range from monkeys and bears but the main attraction is the train that circles a large reservoir, the Tarzan-like playground and the merry-go-round.

#2 Ikea Red Hook:  get some shopping done, have a cheap lunch with great views and take a free ride around the NY Harbour.  Spend $10 or more and your receipt is proof to ride the Water Taxi for free.  Cruise from the South Street Seaport and back again for a 20 minute view of Governors Island and the Statue of Liberty.

#3 Picnic in Brooklyn Bridge Park:  The newly renovated Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO is a weekday favorite.  Find a spot on the grass and watch the ferries and tankers roll by with the Statue of Liberty & Brooklyn Bridge as the backdrop.  Bring a frisbee or a kite and enjoy the open air and lack of crowds.   And don’t miss Jacques Torres’ Ice Cream Shop on Water Street (open only in summer) for some deluxe cones and take a ride on Janes Carousel.

#4 Metropolitan Museum of Art:  my 4 year old loves and surprisingly grasps the idea of the art at the MET.  It’s a great way to introduce them to classics like van Gogh, Monet and even Jackson Pollock.  Make sure to pick up some books designed for kids in the gift shop to continue the learning at home.  And the cafeteria has an affordable kids menu and serves it up in a NYC Taxi box…did someone say free souvenir?

#5 Big Toot:  who needs the Circle Line when you can ride a vintage US Navy Launch boat instead.  Every weekend Big Toot departs from the World Financial Center and circumnavigates the Statue or Liberty and Ellis Island on a 1 hour tour oriented for kids.  $10 for adults  / kids ride free… and they provide the kiddie life vests too.  Just hold on tight…because it can get bumpy when the big guys roll through and make waves.

As you can tell, we like boats, the NY Harbour and some iconic landmarks.  But really who doesn’t?  Tourists travel from all over the world to see what we can  in an afternoon!