Family fun in the neighborhood
By Shirley Roberts
When we think of NYC, our minds typically go to the sightseeing, the abundance of bars and restaurants and the fact that it’s one of the world’s top economical hot spots. However, New York can be way more kid-friendly than some might imagine. In our neighborhood alone, you’ll find so much to get the kids (and may I say, the adults as well) excited about, whether it’s recreational, educational or flat-out silly.
Zumbini Dance Class
Joana Da Silva is the lovely instructor behind this Zumba-style dance class for kids. It’s the perfect way to help children shake off some of their energy while having a great time. Classes take place every Saturday morning at Sol Dance Center and incorporate music, instruments and movement to stimulate the kids’ senses. This style of dance is particularly beneficial for babies/young toddlers and their every-growing development. Don’t want to commit right away? Just call Joana to reserve a spot and come to a trial class for $25.
Sol Dance Center / 30-16 Steinway St. / 718.496.0645
Direct Line to Instructor
Studio @zumbiniofficial | @soldancecenter
This should be the highlight of summer for every Astoria-based family! It’s the best public pool for miles around and comes with free admission. It’s larger than your average city pool and the location is prime, wedged right between Astoria Park and the mighty East River. It remained closed last summer but is expected to have a grand opening this season (with limited capacity). An even more enticing perk: they offer free swimming lessons for children! So, get those floaties and bathing suits ready and dive into a perfect summer day!
Astoria Pool at Astoria Park 19th St. & 23rd Dr. | 718.626.8620
Citi Bike Rental
What’s not to love about a leisurely bike ride? This is an ideal activity for kids ages six and up and gives them a chance to discover new gems around town. How about a trip to 47th Avenue? There’s an office building called “The Factory” which is home to “the coolest elevator in NY.” Filled with 3D artwork and optical illusions galore, this pitstop is guaranteed to impress any kid complaining of boredom! End the ride on a high and tasty note with some ice cream from Ample Hills on 30th Avenue. There’s no wrong turn; only excitement and family bonding. The best part about it? It’s outdoors and as safe as can be during COVID times. Citi Bike stations are to be found on most major streets and avenues.
The Factory 30-30 47th Ave.| 718.361.7633 | @thefactorylic
Ample Hills Creamery 34-02 30th Ave. | 347.507.0770 | @amplehills
Astoria Heights Playground
Although typically unusual for a parent, it’s easy to spend several hours at this playground without noticing the lapse of time. This particular one offers picnic tables, awesome climbing and sliding options for various ages and even a grab-and-go library stand. In addition, there’s a spacious section of sprinklers where the kids are free to splash their way into naptime in the summer heat! With older kids, you can run the track on the adjacent field, opt for a round of tennis, basketball or soccer or simply lay out and catch a tan.
Corner of 30th Rd. & 45th St. | 212.639.9675
Indoor Play Centers
For colder or rainy days, consider taking your kids on an indoor play adventure. There is an abundance of indoor playgrounds to choose from, two of our favorites being Peek-a-Booo and Kanga’s. Peek-a-Booo is the most recent addition to the neighborhood with some magical elements to be found inside. Both compete for throwing exceptional birthday parties, but they have one big thing in common: fun, fun and more fun for the kids!
Peek-a-Booo: 4707 34th Ave. | 718.685.2283 | @peekabooo_lic_
Kanga’s Indoor Playcenter & Café: 32-15 37th Ave. | 718.606.2216 | @kangaslongislandcity