101 FREE (or cheap) OUTDOOR New York City Things to Do with kids: SUMMER 2010 Edition.
|41. Indulge in innocent old fashioned fun like rolling down hills and playing hide and seek at Wave Hill. On Weekends, also do a nature-inspired art workshop.|
|A teenager rolling down a hill, smiling and laughing was the first thing we saw at Wave Hill. If Edith Wharton herself had been at the gate to greet us, that couldn’t have been more iconic of the pleasure this unplugged, serene, manicured garden sanctuary brings to visitors.Overwhelmed parents wanting to give their kids a healthy dose of drowsy outdoorsy adventure (e.g. watching dragonflies, picking pine combs, rolling down hills) are just a few miles from salvation. Wave Hill is the easiest and most inexpensive way for New York City families, especially Manhattanites, to escape into the myth of a simpler time (see our list of advantages below).
Back in days when a million dollars wasn’t middle class, 1843 to be exact, a wealthy New Yorker built Wave Hill house as his country home. Subsequently it was rented and visited by dignitaries across many fields including Mark Twain, Theodore Roosevelt, and Arturo Toscanini. One of JP Morgan’s partners, George Perkins bought it in 1903, and subsequently expanded it to include much of what you see today. In 1960, the family gave it to the city of New York where it’s mission is “celebrate the artistry and legacy of its gardens and landscapes, to preserve its magnificent views, and to explore human connections to the natural world through programs in horticulture, education and the arts.”
The best time to visit with kids is on weekends. We suggest bringing a picnic and arriving around 11:30 am. This gives kids time to explore the greenhouse with its indoor cacti, walk through the herb garden, check out the fish in the Aquatic pond, roll down the two big (but safe) hills, run along the trails, play in the gazebos, pick pine combs, explore the wildflowers, hide in the pergolas, enjoy the views and then get nourished.
At 12:50 head over to the Kerlin learning center where the kid’s art workshop will begin. Their workshops are very highly ranked by KidCity because they understand kids. Weather permitting, they begin outdoors with a chance to observe nature, sketch, and let kids formulate what they might like to focus on for that day’s project. Following they go into the center and have a brief instruction period (we are talking less than 5 minutes) and then let the kids do their thing–all the while being there to encourage and support them. They are incredibly flexible and understand the inherent needs of kids with short attention spans, lack of manual dexterity, and plenty of imagination. There are no rules here, this is sort of the anti-museum art program. Kudos to Wave Hill!
No other place in the 5 New York City boroughs has ALL these advantages:
Ten Things for Kids to Do At Wave Hill:
Wave Hill is unquestionably the easiest, closest way for New Yorkers to experience real tranquility. Not tranquility like Central Park–with all the news and police helicopters. But, complete and total silence, natural
Sit on a bench at Wave Hill, under the protective arm of a giant beech tree, watching sailboats head up the Hudson River.
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