There are ENDLESS things to do in and around Brooklyn with our families during the hot summer months! Here is a list of 17 of our favorite ideas for July, including a family dance party at Greenwood Park, a Poetry Festival at Governor’s Island, and a Dinosaur Safari at the Bronx Zoo!
1) Fireworks Show, July 4th at Coney Island
Enjoy singing karaoke with family and friends on the Coney Island Boardwalk in front of Deno's Wonder Wheel, and then watch the fireworks illuminate the sky! Happening Fridays from June 21 through August 30, 2019, weather permitting. The party starts at 7pm and goes on till 11pm. Fireworks show is at 9:30pm.
2) NYC Poetry Festival , July 27-28 at Governor’s Island
Wordsmiths of all ages flock to the scenic Governors Island for an annual festival dedicated to rhythmic stanzas and gorgeous ballads. The Poetry Society of New York welcomes visitors to the bucolic landscape to enjoy performances, readings, vendors, artwork and even a Youth Poetry Festival that jumpstarts kids' interest in the genre. All ages.
3) Smorgasborg, Every Saturday and Sunday in Prospect Park
The venerable epicurean extravaganza spends Sundays in Prospect Park. No matter your preference, there's a little something for everyone. While kids can delight in sweets like fried cookie dough, those with a more expansive palate can opt for offerings such as seafood from Lobsterdamus, Boutros' pork shawarma tacos or PopdUp brewed teas, among seemingly hundreds of other dishes. This year, the new Pizza Cupcake and Fluffies Soufflé Pancakes will be on hand to wow visitors! Note that admission to the food fest is free, but each vendor charges various prices. All ages.
4) Story Time at Books are Magic in Cobble Hill
Each Saturday and Sunday, this enchanting independant kids bookstore in Cobble Hill hosts a story time. Authors read from their dazzling picture books, that can be incredibly funny, heart-warming, educational or all of the above. Be sure to check out all of the store's unique special events for children and young adult readers, too. Check out the lineup here. All ages.
5) Le Carrousel Puppet Show, July 6th in Bryant Park
For those who appreciate a flair for the dramatics and love taking in a show at the best puppet theaters in NYC, stop by the park on Saturdays from June 8–July 6 from 2–3pm for a grand presentation from WonderSpark Puppets. Goldilocks & The Three Bears, The Lion & The Mouse and other fun performances are on the roster this season.
6) Le Carrousel Magique, Saturdays Starting July 13th in Bryant Park
Now you see it, now you don't! If you little ones have a burning curiosity to uncover what's hiding in the magician's hat, take them to the park's weekly magic shows for kids on Sundays from June 9–Aug 4 from 2–3pm. Loonie Louie, Silly Billy and other tricksters are on the list of performers!
7) Bronx Zoo Dinasaur Safari at the Bronx Zoo (open daily)
Advertised as the "biggest, most realistic dinosaur ride in America," the new attraction shuttles families (with narration) through a wooded area packed with 40 ultra-realistic (read: gigantic) animatronic dinosaurs. One of the most notable features will certainly be the two towering Tyrannosaurus rex—as well as the vegetarian Omeisaurus that stretches an impressive 60 feet long. And to make things as realistic as possible, the Bronx Zoo teamed up with a paleontologist from the American Museum of Natural History—Don Lessem even served as an advisor on the original Jurassic Park! The experience is topped off with an ADA-accessible fossil dig area for kids to play in, plus some additional dino-themed activities around the zoo. All ages.
8) Splash Pad at Lefrak in Prospect Park (all summer)
One Brooklyn’s coolest summer spots, the Splash Pad is designed for children under 12 and their parents and care-givers. With over 20 water jets, the Splash Pad provides state-of-the-art water play and admission is free to the public.
9) Luna Park and So Much More at Coney Island (all summer)
New for 2019, Luna Park is debuting a brand-new, circus-themed section, with plenty of high-flying, ropes-course style fun, while the new-in-2018 home for certain sharp-toothed aquarium residents are sure to draw continued crowds, too. You can also enjoy the old-school favorites like the carousel and Deno's Wonder Wheel, visit the Coney Island Museum or Circus Sideshow, and scarf down a Nathan's Famous hot dog. Luna Park also has a bunch of family-friendly rides, including the Seaside Swing and the Tea Party spinning teacups. The new Rope Circus provides multiple zip line courses for all ages, plus stunning views of the boardwalk, beach, and beyond. The beautifully restored B&B Carousell is also a Coney Island must-see, though it's located outside of Luna Park, off the boardwalk. Tickets can add up, so purchase ahead of time online if you can.
10) Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 6 (all summer)
Situated on a pier that just a few years ago was considered no-man’s-land, this park has changed the Brooklyn waterfront incredibly. It’s Brooklyn’s new go-to destination for families! It has awesome amenities, including the Water Lab, a stone-strewn area with water underfoot to splash in, water tables and a spinning water wheel, and Sand Village, a huge sandbox with molecular-looking climbing structure and flanked by two long metal slides. Add to them clean bathrooms, a food court where families can find the likes of fresh milk shakes and hot dogs, and even spots for fishing and beach volleyball and there’s not much room for improvement—especially when views of downtown Manhattan, the Brooklyn Bridge and New York Harbor are included.
11) Brooklyn Bridge Pop-up Pool (all summer)
Brooklyn Bridge Park's new pop-up swimming pool not only offers families a free and fun way to cool off but also one of the best views in the city—plus the option of morning kids' swimming lessons during the week ($125 per week-long session). Slated to remain in the park for five years, the swimming hole is 30 by 50 feet and 3.5 feet deep and holds a maximum of 60 people, so keeping an eye on the littlest swimmers will be easy. After a dip, families can dry off on one of the 25 lounge chairs dotting the artificial sand beach while marveling at their proximity to the Brooklyn Bridge.
12) Ice Cream at Ample Hills Creamery in Gowanus (all summer)!
Always the most amazing ice cream, they are now offering a limited edition flavor...if this doesn’t get you planning your next ice cream outing, I’m not sure what will! Ample Hills is celebrating Walt Whitman’s bicentennial with a limited release of their Brooklyn Bridge Park shop-specific flavor, I Contain Breakfast Foods. A sweet cream ice cream with a touch of cinnamon, pieces of chocolate donuts and coffee cake crumble, I Contain Breakfast Foods is named after a line in Whitman’s “Song of Myself” and features his favorite breakfast treats.
13) Best Beaches for Families (all summer)
Warmer weather is upon us, but thankfully you can beat the heat at tons of places in NYC this summer including the many beaches. From Coney Island and the Rockaways to even some spots along the Jersey Shore, this list of beaches offer a full day of sun, surf and sand for families.
14) Big Bounce America, July 26-28 at the Aviator Sports & Events Center in Brooklyn
The Big Bounce America, which holds the Guinness World Record for the largest bounce house in the world, will provide a summer experience like no other. The Bouncer is a massive, multi-colored castle complete with inflatable basketball hoops, slides, a ball pit and more exciting features. All ages.
15) Famajam Dance Party, July 20th at Greenwood Park
FAMAJAM is a monthly summer-long, outdoor, family dance party on Greenwood Park Beer Garden's new 50ft tented lawn. Enjoy dancing, music, food, contests, prizes, games, activities and more. Kids (and their grownups!) can enjoy a cold Frose on a warm summer's day, dance outdoors to great music with the entire family, and have an outdoor afternoon lunch or snack at Greenwood Park. Dance the day away under the new, tented, 50ft Greenwood Park Lawn, rain or shine.
16) PSP Summer Fridays, July 12th and 26th at Prospect Park
Bring the kids, a blanket or chair, some snacks, and enjoy the live music. There will also be giant bubbles, rainbow face paints and a different musical performance every week. 3-5pm.
17) BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn Concert Series at Prospect Park
BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival celebrates its 41st season with 29 performances, running through August 10. The programming, reflective of Brooklyn’s eclecticism and diversity, will feature a wide array of free, world-class performances at the Prospect Park Bandshell. Stroller Parking will be available on the 9th Street side of the venue.