It’s officially summer this weekend, and it looks like the clouds might give us a break for the occasion. Here’s how to celebrate:
1. Every self-respecting New York kid should watch—or, better yet, march in—the annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade at least once. This Saturday is your family’s chance. Take the subway (parking is a nightmare) and camp out on the boardwalk to watch the jellyfish, mermaids and mermen, seaweed creatures, sharks, and King Neptune and Queen Mermaid (Arlo and Nora Guthrie this year) float by. Beware or delight in the crowds and topless participants.
2. Garden, cook, dance, and salute the sun (remember that orange thing that used to hang out in the sky?) at the weekend-long Summer Solstice at the Garden at the New York Botanical Garden.
3. Introduce the kids to Shakespeare at a free performance of Hamlet at Castle Clinton in Battery Park. The shows start at a family-friendly 6:30 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday evenings. If the matricidal action becomes too much, you can always escape to the Sea Glass Carousel, which stays open until 10 p.m.
4. Accept the One Block Challenge (create anything you want out of a three-inch wood cube using saws, files, sandpaper, and hot-glue guns) at the New York Hall of Science, then stay for the Queens International Night Market.
5. Go on a tasting tour of weird and wonderful ice cream flavors all around the city. What kid wouldn’t love a squid-ink scoop or a matcha shaved ice?
6. Bee helpful at the inaugural BeeBlitz at Governors Island on Saturday by counting and photographing the pollinators all around the grounds and in the brand-new bee sanctuary.
8. Climb into a black hole (no, not your child’s backpack on the last day of school) at a pop-up planetarium in Chelsea, designed to interest the selfie set in space. Spend the whole day in the nabe with our family plan.
9. Check out Viewfinding, a large-scale public sculpture and queer poetry collaboration situated in a scenic spot in Riverside Park (at 67th Street). The Pride celebration here on Saturday will feature poetry readings, live music, and performances, 2–5 p.m. Grab dinner afterward at the Boat Basin Cafe.
10. Rock climb, skateboard, fence, shoot arrows, throw axes, and eat Ample Hills ice cream in the Brooklyn playground that is Gowanus.