Planning Your Kid’s Best Summer Ever

1
Come Sail Away

A scavenger hunt, an expedition to Horseshoe Island and a chance to explore Binney Creek. These are just some of the adventures that await kids who sign up for the specialty programs offered through Greenwich Community Sailing. Each one-week course includes equipment rentals and instruction. Young children especially love the adventure kayak classes, while stand-up paddleboarding and intro to catamaran sailing are geared toward an older crowd.

$295 (10% DISCOUNT FOR OGYC MEMBERS). DAILY BOAT RENTALS (HOBIES, LASERS, BUGS AND MORE) RANGE FROM $20 TO $48 PER HOUR. 203-698-0599; GREENWICHSAILING.COM


2
Mini van Gogh

Remember when art class meant sticking your fingers in a pot of paint and then smearing them across a piece of construction paper? Local artist Felicity Kostakis channels kids’ playful sides during her Friday afternoon class at Action Arts in Old Greenwich, while teaching them the fundamentals of painting and drawing. Kids four and up learn about mixing colors, brush strokes, and how light affects a subject, while working in a variety of mediums—acrylics on canvas, watercolors and pastels. On weekends, Felicity hosts art-oriented birthday parties, too.

EIGHT-WEEK SESSIONS $300, PLUS $10 A WEEK FOR MATERIALS. 242 SOUND BEACH AVE., 203-637-2685; ACTIONARTSCHOOL.COM


3
Take a Hike

In days gone by, families used to go out for Sunday drives. Why not revive the tradition, but go for a walk instead? The Second Sunday Hike series at the Audubon of Greenwich is a fun way for families to learn about local flora and fauna. Under the guidance of Audubon’s Jeff Cordulack, each one-and-a-half-hour hike moves along at a moderate pace with plenty of time for photo ops. Groups meet at Kimberlin Nature Education Center for a 9:30 a.m. start, and routes vary from month to month.

FOR NONMEMBERS STANDARD TRAIL FEES APPLY ($1.50 CHILDREN AND SENIORS, $3 ADULT). 613 RIVERSVILLE RD., 203-869-5272; GREENWICH.AUDUBON.ORG


4
Splish Splash

Summer and sprinklers go hand in hand. And what could be cooler—literally—than the YWCA’s outdoor playground where the water comes from all directions—spraying upward, sideways and even dumped from overhead. Fenced for safety and open to kids who attend the Y’s summer camp, this awesome play space can also be booked in one-hour time segments from noon to 1 p.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. on weekdays, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. There is no charge for YWCA full members, a $10 per person per hour charge for affiliate members; $15 for nonmembers.

259 EAST PUTNAM AVE., 203-869-6501, EXT. 100; YWCA.ORG


5
Getting Crafty

Call it the Etsy phenomenon, but what was old is new again—especially if it’s hand-knit, hand-sewn or hand-crocheted. Marcia Jean Fabric and Craft Shop in Old Greenwich is a snug boutique where children from seven on up can learn basic sewing and knitting skills. Marcia carries all kinds of fabrics and yarns, bits and bobs. Youngsters especially love her crafting workshops where they learn to bead, make felt animals, and create their very own decoupage treasure boxes.

TWO-HOUR WORKSHOP FOR UP TO FOUR KIDS $65 PER PERSON;
30-MINUTE PRIVATE LESSON $30. 177 SOUND BEACH AVE., 203-990-0688; MARCIAJEANFABRICANDCRAFT.COM


6
Rockin’ Out

Who can resist a good dance party? Especially when it’s outdoors. Held at the walled Seaside Garden overlooking Greenwich Cove, the Friends of Greenwich Point’s children’s concerts are fun for kids and adults. This year’s schedule features the popular Bossy Frog Band (July 29), known for its fun and funky interactive style, and musician Graham Clarke (August 9), whose sing-along dance tunes are guaranteed to get everyone on their feet. Concerts start at 5 p.m. Be sure to bring chairs or blankets, refreshments and, of course, parking permits and beach passes.

FRIENDSOFGREENWICHPOINT.ORG


7
Go Inside and Play

There’s no shortage of terrific indoor play spaces in these parts, but it’s worth traveling the extra mile to Weezee World in Chappaqua. The 18,000-square-foot facility is intelligently designed, with an emphasis on sensory development. But with a host of cool options—everything from a mechanical surfboard and a climbing wall to a zipline and basketball hoop—we think it’s just downright fun. Sign up for a weeklong summer camp program, or pay as you play; buy a group of 5-, 10- or 20-visit sensory play packages, and show up when you want. Monthly memberships are available, too.

480 NORTH BEDFORD RD., CHAPPAQUA, 914-752-2100; WEEZEEWORLD.COM


8
Book ’Em

With school soon to be but a distant memory, why not encourage your kids to pick up a book for fun—and win an awesome prize to boot? The Perrot Library’s summer reading club runs from June through August. To sign up, just contact one of the teen volunteers at the desk in the children’s wing. Participants may read and report on up to two books at a time. There are no written papers, no awards. The library keeps a record and gives out theme-related prizes for the first, third and fifth book read. (This year’s theme is Out of This World!)

90 SOUND BEACH AVE., 203-637-8802; PERROTLIBRARY.ORG


9
Join the Crew

Rowing is having its moment in the sun, and there’s no better
place for youngsters to get their feet wet than at Greenwich Crew’s summer programs. Open to boys and girls from sixth to twelfth grades, each two-week session runs three hours a day, Monday through Friday. After getting a thorough indoctrination into the basics, kids climb aboard eight-man training shells. Besides the allure of being on the water, it’s a great way to learn about teamwork.

$650 PER TWO-WEEK SESSION; PRIVATE LESSONS ARE AVAILABLE. 49 RIVER RD., 203-661-4033; GREENWICHCREW.COM


10
Star Spotting

Astronomy has come a long way since the Hubble Telescope was launched twenty-five years ago. But you don’t need to be a NASA engineer to get a good look at the summer sky. The Bowman Observatory’s new, state-of-the-art Carbon Fiber sixteen-inch-diameter Ritchey-Chretien telescope takes Greenwich stargazing to new heights. Operated by members of the Astronomical Society of Greenwich, the observatory is open to the public free of charge on the first and third Wednesday of the month. Summer hours are 8:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. (clear nights only), and for special celestial events.

180 EAST ELM ST. (ON THE GROUNDS OF THE JULIAN CURTIS SCHOOL); [email protected].


11
Lego Mania

Ask any kid and they’ll tell you: Legos are a world and a language all their own. Don’t believe us? This summer, the YMCA and Play-Well Teknologies have teamed up to offer three Lego Robotics clinics for kids in kindergarten through fifth grade. Choose from the Lego Core Engineering program; Lego Super Hero Engineering, where the focus is on everyone’s favorite caped crusaders; and Ninjaneering, which introduces kids to the super-cool fantasy world of Lego Ninjango.

ONE-WEEK PROGRAM $200 MEMBERS, $300 NONMEMBERS. ONE-DAY PROGRAMS $75 MEMBERS, $100 NONMEMBERS. 50 EAST PUTNAM AVE., 203-869-1630; GREENWICHYMCA.ORG


12
A River Runs Through It

In the woods off Cognewaugh Road, a unique system of mountain bike trails—single-track and old carriage roads—winds through the woods of Mianus River Park. Known locally as the Mianus Maze, the terrain is best suited for beginners and intermediates, though there are plenty of options and obstacles—logs, rocks and steeps—to keep even more advanced riders on their toes. The nearly 400-acre park is also ideal for lazy walks, though weekends tend to be crowded. It’s a wonderful spot for dog walking, though leash rules are in effect, trout fishing (in season), birdwatching (everything from woodpeckers and warblers to herons and egrets), even geocaching. A downloadable trail map is available on the website.

MIANUS RIVER PARK, 450 COGNEWAUGH RD. FRIENDSOFMIANUSRIVERPARK.ORG


13
Summer Sweets

For a sweet summer treat, look no further than Méli-Mélo on Greenwich Avenue. Kids love chef Marc’s gluten-free sweet and savory crepes (the fresh fruit and banana Nutella crepes are perennial favorites), homemade macarons, ice creams, sorbets and juice bar smoothies. The red berry and banana smoothie, loaded with plump fresh berries, is the ultimate summer thirst quencher.

362 GREENWICH AVE., 203-629-6153; MELIMELOGREENWICH.COM


14
Slow-Moving Fun

With its old-fashioned gazebo, walking paths and perennial gardens, Binney Park is an idyllic spot—even the resident turtles would agree. From atop the stone bridges that span the duck pond, kids love to watch the hard-shell reptiles swim and warm their backs in the sun. The stream on the east side of the park boasts a large number of turtles, too. Pack a picnic and enjoy the view of weeping willows and cherry trees, Frisbee-throwing teenagers and mallards floating lazily by the water’s edge.

BINNEY PARK (ENTER AT SOUND BEACH AVE. AND ARCH ST.)


15
Gone Camping

Summer camping is easy when you take the ferry from the Arch Street Ferry Dock to Great Captain’s Island or Island Beach for a fun, overnight getaway. The islands have showers, bathrooms, pavilions, playgrounds and grills for cooking (burgers, dogs and s’mores, anyone?). Once the last ferry leaves for the afternoon, it’s just you (groups of up to twenty-five) and the seabirds nesting on the nearby conservation land. Open to the public for camping from June 12 through September 13 (except Mondays), by reservation only. There is a $40 fee to secure the site, and an $18 per person charge covers parking and the ferry ride.

TOWN OF GREENWICH RECREATION & PARKS DEPARTMENT, 203-662-7700; GREENWICHCT.ORG


16
Breakfast of Champions

Pssst! At Sound Beach Pizza in Old Greenwich, early birds get the… donut? Choose from classic plain and sugar-coated, made fresh daily and ready to go by 8 a.m. For a beefier breakfast, the snug Sweet Pea’s Bakery has a kid’s menu (scrambled eggs and toasted white pain de mie and silver dollar pancakes with blueberries or chocolate chips) that includes a drink and cookie for $8.50.

178 SOUND BEACH AVE., 203-637-1085, SBPIZZA.COM; 212 SOUND BEACH AVE., 203-990-0008, SWEETPEASCT.COM


17
Planes, Trains and Automobiles

A great way to explore the area? Hop a train. Think Greenwich to Old Greenwich, for example, with a stroll around the village and a stop at Rosie’s, the new yogurt shop in town. A little farther afield, the second floor of the main terminal at the Westchester County Airport is a terrific spot to watch planes come and go. Or make a day of it and zoom up to Lime Rock racetrack in the picturesque town of Lakeville. Home to the Skip Barber Racing School, the gravity-defying track is open six days a week (no racing on Sundays). Kids twelve and under get in for free.

METRO-NORTH, MTA.INFO.ORG; WESTCHESTER COUNTY AIRPORT, WESTCHESTERGOV.COM; 60 WHITE HOLLOW RD., LAKEVILLE, LIMEROCK.COM


18
Natural Wonder

Budding naturalists and explorers can sign up for the Junior Ranger Program at Greenwich Point. Designed for children ages four to thirteen, the program has a detailed list of requirements to fulfill; in the process, children learn about habitats, wildlife and the importance of preserving the park’s fragile ecosystem. When they’re finished, newly minted rangers receive a certificate of completion and a cool Junior Ranger Patch. Download the workbook and get started. (During the summer season, hard copies will be available at the Seaside Center at Greenwich Point.)

GREENWICHCT.ORG OR FRIENDSOFGREENWICHPOINT.ORG


19
Anchors Aweigh

In summer, the graceful silhouette of SoundWaters’ eighty-foot teaching schooner is a familiar sight to beachgoers at Tod’s Point. But did you know the boat has public sails at designated times throughout the summer? Families in particular love the two-hour afternoon cruises offered on Saturdays and Sundays from late June to early October. Besides the thrill of sailing aboard a three-masted schooner, kids get to learn about the diversity of the marine environment, sample and test water quality, and help raise the sails.

$35 FOR ADULTS AND $20 FOR CHILDREN AGES 5-12. 203-323-1978; SOUNDWATERS.ORG


20
Great Park, Tricky Name

You know about all the great parks around town, including the new one in Cos Cob, but what parent isn’t looking for a change of scenery? Kosciuszko Park in Stamford is tucked away behind the Pitney Bowes building and sits on a beautiful spit of land just past Harbor Point. It’s got all the bells and whistles including a first-class playground, athletic fields, a waterfront pavilion and easy walking trails.

200 ELMCROFT RD. (DYKE LN.)


21
Kiss the Cook

Imagine coming home from work and finding that your child has gotten dinner on the table. Sound too good to be true? Not if your little one is a graduate of Aux Delices’s popular summer cooking camp. Designed for children eight years and up, the program teaches basic kitchen skills and techniques—everything from carving a roast to icing a layer cake. Each day is devoted to a specific theme; this time of year it’s all about casual outdoor living: Pool Party, Lazy Summer Brunch and—the hand’s-down favorite—Bakery Bash. The best news for parents? The kids get sent home with a giant Aux Delices bag full of food.

FIVE-DAY SESSION $295, OR $65 PER CLASS. 203-326-4540, EXT. 108, [email protected]; AUXDELICES.COM


22
At the Art of It All

Imagine throwing ceramic pots, creating puppets, and crafting dinosaurs and mummies, trolls and ogres. All this and more is available to children ages six to fifteen during the Clay Art Center’s clay and mixed media summer camp program. In July and August, twenty-eight themed half-day sessions are offered Monday through Friday. Younger kids focus on sculpting skills, while older kids get to experience the potter’s wheel. A maximum of twelve students per session guarantees lots of individual attention. Families are welcome during Saturday drop-in classes from 2 to 4 p.m.

CAMPS $250 MEMBERS, $270 NONMEMBERS, 40 BEECH ST., 914-937-2047, PORT CHESTER; CLAYARTCENTER.ORG

 

 

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