We’re halfway through summer, which means the heat is at its highest and ideas to keep the kids busy are running thin. You’ve soaked up the sun at the beach, met up with friends at the swim club, and lounged in any air-conditioning that you could find, but there are still some local activities that you may have missed. From getting in touch with nature to getting wet and wild, here are five don’t-miss things to do with your children before Labor Day. (You’ll probably enjoy them, too!)
1. Get wild at a water park
Take a trip to Fishkill’s SplashDown Beach. It’s filled with slides and attractions like the Arctic Plunge Racer, Cowabunga Falls and Pirate’s Plunge — not to mention a lazy river, wave pool, and the new Bob the Builder children’s area.. Between racing into the water and relaxing on some sand at Rock Beach, everyone will have fun at “America’s Biggest Little Water Park.” Details: 16 Old Route 9W, Fishkill. 845-897-9600, www.splashdownbeach.com.
2. Let them dress up
The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival is back again, and one of this year’s shows is perfect for children. “The Three Musketeers” is the timeless, action-packed tale of bravery, treachery and honor, focused on a team of swashbuckling swordsmen aiming to defend the queen. Better still: there’s an opportunity for kids to dress up as the characters. They can dive into the trunk of props and racks of costumes, then make their way to the “Portrait Palace” where you can take photos of your little one in 17th-century garb. Tickets for the show range from $26 to $58. Details: 140 Main St., Cold Spring. 845-265-9575, www.hvshakespeare.org.
3. Head to a concert
No need to worry about tweens getting lost in a huge arena. They can head to their first pop concert right in Westchester. Rye Playland offers shows throughout the season, featuring bands that kids obsess over (even if you’ve never heard of them!). R5, a pop band made up of four siblings (including Ross Lynch, the star of Disney Channel series “Austin & Ally”) and a friend, will perform July 27. KIDZ BOP Kids, a group of children singing family-friendly Top 40 hits, are schedules for Aug. 10, followed by an appearance by hip-hop artist Jake Miller on Aug. 23. Enjoy a day at the amusement park and then head over to the stage. All shows are free with park admission, although you can buy tickets for reserved seating. Details: 100 Playland Parkway, Rye. 914-813-7910, www.ryeplayland.org.
4. Hang out with butterflies
The Greenburgh Nature Center’s annual butterfly exhibit, running through Aug. 4, allows kids to get up close and personal with these beautiful critters. Visitors walk through a hoop house on the meadow — a more natural environment for these insects — where children can learn about the various colors, shapes and sizes of adult butterflies. (If you’re lucky, a few will land on you!) You can also take in one of the center’s many other summertime activities, including the return of the annual Story Walk; through Sept. 29, naturalist John Mancuso leads you along a woodland trail to enjoy the story of “Chipmunk at Hollow Tree Lane.” Open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; closed on Friday. Admission: $7 for adults; $6 for seniors and students; $5 for children 2 to 12; free for children under 2. Details: 99 Dromore Road, Greenburgh. 914-723-3470, www.greenburghnaturecenter.org.
5. Take in an outdoor movie
You’ve seen the summer blockbusters in theaters, but what about watching some fun flicks under the stars? Every Friday through mid-August, Ossining presents themed movie nights at various parks: For example, take in an Aug. 9 viewing of “Jaws” on the beach at Louis Engel Waterfront Park. (For details, visit www.celebrateossining.com.) The animated hit “Rio” will screen outside at Kensico Dam on July 31 (914-328-1542, www.parks.westchestergov.com), as will “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” at Orangeburg’s Veterans Memorial Park on Aug. 2 (845-359-5100, www.orangetown.com). And on Aug. 16, view “Oz: The Great and Powerful” at Philipse Manor Hall in Yonkers (29 Warburton Ave., Yonkers. 914-965-4027, www.nysparks.com).
Stephanie Smith, The Journal News