Best way to get excited about food shopping
Belmont's Arthur Avenue
Show your kids that the usually interminable trip to buy groceries can be fun—really! Step one: Pick up fresh pizza dough at Addeo Bakery. Step two: Select bunches of basil, ripe tomatoes and house-made sausages at the Arthur Avenue Retail Market while dawdling long enough to squeal "eww" over the beef feet and brains. Step three: Score cheese at the aptly named Casa della Mozzarella. Step four: Head home and make pizza in your own kitchen—the DIY satisfaction means it'll taste way better than anything your family could order in.
Best surprisingly clean river trip
Bronx River Alliance
Strap family members into their life jackets and get psyched to slide down a sheer rock wall, paddle through a rarely seen part of the borough's botanical garden and hike around urban waterfalls. Yep, you're still in the Bronx. The nonprofit organization's canoe and kayak trips aren't for wusses—your kids are pretty much guaranteed to get splashed—but they're safe. Outings run May through October; most are pay-what-you-wish.
Best place to watch sports the Olympics forgot
Van Cortlandt Park
Thanks to the melting-pot neighborhoods nearby, kids can catch more international sports here than on ESPN2. Cheer for an Irish hurling team at Gaelic Park (located on the southwest corner of Van Cortlandt Park), become a bocce fan or try to understand cricket scoring (good luck!). If your tots would rather run around than watch, Van Cortlandt—our city's third largest park—also offers hiking trails, a swimming pool and a track. For Irish football or hurling schedules, click here. For cricket games, click here.
Best way to combine hokey with haute
Bronx Culture Trolley
One evening a month, families can board the red and yellow trolley at Hostos College and see some of the most interesting art in the city—all for free, thanks to the Bronx Council on the Arts. Stops along the route include the venerable Bronx Museum of the Arts, a sampling of cutting-edge Mott Haven galleries and Bronx Art Space. Pollocks-in-training will be wowed by the exhibitions; younger sibs will still be talking about the trolley ride the next day. Outings run the first Wednesday of most months, plus some Saturdays. Reservations are required by calling 718-931-9500 x33 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best excuse to wear a velvet hat
Riverdale Equestrian Centre
Serious equestrians-in-the-making can expect genteel, English-style riding and the chance to learn dressage, or fancy-pants precision movements, at the 21-acre facility. For true fanatics, the stables even offer an afterschool program with pickup service in Manhattan. It's not cheap: Private lessons start at $55 per half hour. But the opportunity to trot around a tree-shaded riding ring decked out in jodhpurs? Priceless.
Best lesson in biological diversity
The Bronx Zoo
Kids can check out giraffes at just about any big-city zoo, but for face time with truly exotic creatures, the Bronx Zoo reigns supreme. It's the largest zoo in the country and home to some 600 different species, from the cat-like fossas of Madagascar—with their reversible ankles—to the adorable Pygmy marmosets, the world's smallest monkeys (and some of the most disproportionate, at 5 inches tall with an 8-inch tail). Since most of these animals are gravely endangered in the wild, a visit here is also a great chance to learn about conservation—or, you know, just gape at a yellow-eyed sifaka.
For more things to do with kids, visit timeoutnewyorkkids.com.