Free and Inexpensive Things to Do This Summer on Staten Island

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Planning something to do with the kids everyday is not only difficult but it can become expensive as well. You want to make sure the kids have a fun, memorable summer without breaking the bank. Luckily, Staten Island is loaded with tons of free or inexpensive events all summer long! From concerts to movies, you’ll be able to find something for everyone in the family to enjoy. Be sure to keep checking this page as we will be updating regularly.

Movies, Movies, and More Movies!
Grab a blanket and find a spot under the stars for a family-friendly flick this summer, courtesy of NYC Parks and the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. Movies usually start at 8pm and take place at various parks throughout the city. Click here for the current schedule.

$1 movies are back! The Regal Cinemas Summer Movie Express plays family-friendly movies every Tuesday and Wednesday at 10am for just a dollar, all summer long! Beat the heat in a cool theatre with a movie everyone will enjoy. Click here to see the 2018 summer schedule.

Beat the heat and go bowling! Summer specials include:
Rabs Country Lanes: Two games of bowling, shoe rental, a slice of pizza or hotdog and a soda for only $10 per kid. For $15 per adult, you can bowl with your kids (includes shoe rental). The special is available seven days a week, from 9am to 6pm, for all kids under 18. Rabs is located at 1600 Hylan Blvd.

Showplace Entertainment Center: One hour of bowling, four shoe rentals, and a pizza pie for just $30. Available Monday through Friday, 12-5pm. Showplace is located at 141 East Service Road.

Boardwalk Bike Rides
Cruise your bike amidst the stunning backdrop of the Verrazano Bridge along the FDR Boardwalk. You can even rent specialty cycles, bicycles and other pedal-powered vehicles (ride with your whole family!) from Wheel Fun Rentals. Find them on the boardwalk at Jefferson Avenue or Sand Lane.

Staten Island Public Pools, Beaches, & Sprinkler Parks
When the dog days of summer hit, nothing is as refreshing as a dive in the pool or a sprint through the sprinkler. Staten Island has several public pools that are open free of charge all week long. The 2017 season begins Wednesday, June 27. Can’t swim? the NYC Parks Department offers FREE SWIM LESSONS via lottery for several sessions throughout the summer to children, adults, and individuals with disabilities. Click here to learn more about the lessons and how to register.

Click here for a full list of the public pools, including times and locations.
Click here for a list of parks with sprinklers.
Click here for a list of Staten Island beaches.

And don’t forget to check out the hugely popular 2018 Sprinklerfest at Snug Harbor!

2018 Summer Sunset Concert Series
Sponsored by Borough President James Oddo with City Council Members Joe Borelli, Steven Matteo, and Debi Rose, the Sunset Concert series runs every Thursday until August 24. The concerts will be held at 7pm in various parks and venues on Staten Island. Below are the dates, locations and performances. Click here for the 2017 schedule of performances.

Festivals, Fairs & More
Stay in Staten Island or hop over the bridge to enjoy some of 2018′s most exciting fairs and festivals happening this summer. Most of the events on the Island’s are free to enter. Click here for a list of fairs this summer.

Mini-golf, Go-karts, Batting Cages, Lazer Tag
Staten Island FunPark has go-karts, mini golf, and batting all summer long at their Castleton Corners location. A combo ticket lets you do all three. S.I. FunPark is located at 215 Schmidts Lane.

Rainy day? Try the indoor batting cages at Fun Station, then check out their awesome Lazer Tag too. Fun Station is located at 3555 Victory Boulevard.

Kayaking is so much fun – and you can do it for free all summer long! Kayak Staten Island offers free kayaking to the public on select Sundays throughout the summer. Children under 18 must be with a parent and you can fill out a waiver form at their website. Kayaking is offered at 850 Page Avenue (in Conference House Park) or occasionally at Freshkills Park. Check our calendar for upcoming dates.

You can also try kayaking for free with the National Park Service at Gateway in Great Kills (Hylan Blvd. and Buffalo Street), where you simply show up, sign a waiver, and head out. What a fun addition to your day at the beach! Kids are welcome, but must be with a parent or adult.

Library Programs & Bookstore Programs
The libraries are the unsung heroes of the free event scene,  regularly providing fun and educational programs that are free of charge and cater to every age group. They offer mommy and me play groups, toddler and preschool story time, puppet show and plays, theme parties, comic book fun, homework and reading help, video game time, board game time, family film days, and so much more. Visit every day to find free events at your local library. Click here for a list of library branches in Staten Island. Click here for some fun summer reading programs.

Barnes & Nobles offers free themed storytime to the younger crowd every Saturday and Tuesday at 11am. Visit them at 2245 Richmond Avenue.

Boogie Woogie Wednesdays at the Staten Island Children’s Museum
Put your dancing shoes on and get ready to boogie on down! Boogie Woogie Wednesday at the Staten Island Children’s Museum are back! All summer long admission is FREE every Wednesday from 5 to 8pm in July & August, beginning Jul 11. The fun includes storytime and crafts at 5:30, snacks at 6:30pm, and the dancing kicks off at 7pm. Each week includes a different cultural dance theme. More information on each event can be found in the calendar

Cool Zoo Summer Series
The Staten Island Zoo offers free admission every Wednesday after 2pm (donations welcome). Zoo admission is just $5 for kids, $8 for adults, and FREE for kiddies under 3. Parking is always free and easy too! Check out their Cool Zoo Summer Series featuring different events on select Saturdays or Sundays throughout the summer! All Cool Zoo activities are free with admission. Here’s the 2018 lineup:
Breakfast with the Beasts  • Saturday, June 30 • 9:30-11am
Jenkinson’s Penguin Visit • Sunday, July 8 • 12pm, 1pm & 2pm
Sky Kings Raptor Show • Saturday, July 28 • 12-3pm
Zoolympics • Sunday, August 12 • 12-3pm
Serpent Day • Saturday, August 25 • 12-3pm
More information on each event can be found in the calendar.

CityParks Summer Sports
The CityParks Foundation will be offering free sports instructions all summer long for kids, golf, tennis, soccer, and track & field, and Get up & Go, which will include activities like obstacle courses, relay races, and kickball. Programs will be offered throughout the summer at the following parks: Silver Lake Park, Skyline Park, Wolfe’s Pond Park, and Corporal Thompson Park. Click here to see the complete summer schedule and to link to registration forms.

Museums incorporate learning with fun. Since the learning is in short supply over the break, it’s the perfect time to visit local cultural institutions with your family. Many museums are low-cost, free, or accept donations only.

Click here for a list of museums that offer free days or times.
Click here for information on local museums, including a list of all the ones in Staten Island and a bunch over  the bridge, plus ethnic museums, museums you may not have tried yet, and more.

Kids in Motion
Kids In Motion gets children in NYC off the couch and into playgrounds. Kids in Motion staff lead four to seven hours of free activities for children per day, including organized sports, games, fitness demos, guided walks, board games, water games and more. It’s FREE to join and no registration is required. Just head to the playground during the listed hours of operation. Click here to see Staten Island dates, times, and locations for the 2017 season.

Over the course of seven weeks each summer, PAL (Police Athletic League) closes roughly 15 public areas in New York City neighborhoods suffering from high rates of crime and poverty to create supervised and fun-filled places for children ages 6-16 to play in safety. Each PLAYSTREET has fun athletic and recreational equipment, as well as arts and crafts, to make a fun experience for the kids. All PLAYSTREETS are staffed with a Site Director, an Arts Specialist, and a Sports Specialist, providing adult mentors and supervision. Click here to learn more.

Free Summer Meals
School is out, but hunger doesn’t break for summer. The Summer Meals Program has returned this year, providing free, healthy breakfast and lunch to all children ages 18 and under at hundreds of locations around the City until September 2 (Note: there is no service on July 4). The Summer Meals Program is available at various public schools, community pool centers, New York City Housing Authority complexes, libraries, and other locations around the city. Children do not need to register or show any kind of documentation or ID to receive their free meal. To find a Summer Meals location near you, text “NYCMEALS” to 877-877, call 311, or link to their website here. And like most things nowadays, there’s an app for it. Download the “SchoolFood App” in the App Store or Google play to easily find a location near you.

If you haven’t yet applied for your free IDNYC card, what are you waiting for?? All IDNYC cardholders are eligible for a free year-long membership to over 40 participating cultural institutions around New York City. It doesn’t matter when you signed up, as long as you haven’t been a member at the institution since January 1, 2014. Here in Staten Island, participating institutions are: The Staten Island Museum, Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden, St. George Theatre and the Jacques Marchais Center for Tibetan Art. Click here to see the complete list of participating cultural institutions around all five boroughs.

In addition to museum memberships, IDNYC cardholders have access to exclusive discounts on movie and Broadway tickets, top attractions, sporting events, New York based organizations, stores, classes and more. Click here for more information on the many benefits to being an IDNYC cardholder. Click here for more information on the application process.