While this week's sizzling temperatures might suck the energy out of most of us, the same can't be said for kids. If you've already taken your kids to the best sprinklers in the city, it may be time to cool it down in some air conditioning.
We've scoured each borough for the best spots where kids play while staying cool, so you don't have to break a sweat.
With a treehouse and a massive indoor water play area, the City Treehouse has all the amenities your kids need to enjoy the summer — minus the heat. When they aren't exploring the treehouse or splashing in the water play area, kids can take part in a number of music, dance and craft classes. The only catch is that you need to call ahead before you go, as space is limited. First-time visitors can play for $10 per hour, and other play and class packages are available.
With two ice rinks open in the afternoons, families can bring or rent their own skating gear and swap sand for ice at Sky Rink. All-age entry is $10, and skate rental is $5.
If kids prefer a less physically demanding sport, they can knock pins at Chelsea Piers bowling lanes for less than $10 a game.
Hours of free entertainment await you at this children's center. Kids can take advantage of books, game stations and computers while adults revisit their favorite books in the center's extensive children's literature collection.
Head to the Children's Museum of Art for an array of hands-on art activities that will keep kids from 10 months to 15 years old busy. Entry for visitors from ages 1-65 is $12, and on Thursdays from 4-6pm, all museum guests can pay what they wish.
Just opened in June, this indoor DUMBO play zone offers kids a trove of rope-netting tunnels, slides and wooden structures begging to be explored. The space, which offers drop-in play, is intended for kids ages 6 months to 6 years old, and provides visitors with complimentary Wi-Fi and snacks. The price is $30 for one child and $20 for each additional child. Multiple visit pricing packages are also available.
Another indoor play spot offering drop-in hours, Klub4Kidz is perfect for children of all ages, as its zip lines, crawl tubes, mazes and slides (and a separate, padded room for toddlers) provide hours of fun for kids up to 8 years old. Kids can take a break from play and munch on snacks in the cafe area. $20 per child 1-year-old and up, but multiple-visit price packages are available.
While parents shop, kids can play free for an hour in Smaland, an indoor, supervised "Swedish forest" near the store's entrance. If kids work up an appetite, families can head to the restaurant after for some tasty Swedish meatballs or mac and cheese.
A $9 entry fee will grant your child a respite from the heat wave and it gives them an opportunity to learn about art and science. Better still, on Thursdays from 2-6 pm, admission is free.
For younger children, the New York Hall of Science offers kids age 6 and under an indoor space to play, listen to stories and make art. Afterward, adults and kids of all ages can chill out while taking in more than 450 of the museum's permanent exhibits. Admission for children ages 2 through 17 is $12, and $15 for those ages 18 and over.
Adults and kids can cool off on the cheap at the World Ice Arena in Flushing. For $6 on weekdays and $9 on the weekends (and a $5 skate rental), the rink provides visitors hours of frigid fun. If you end up working up a sweat, you can grab a quick bite at the restaurant or take a break upstairs and watch other skaters on the rink below.
Barely a year old, the Mariners Harbor Library houses 17,000 books, DVDs and periodicals, nearly 50 computers and free Wi-Fi. Families are invited to make use of the library's photo booth, and kids can play indoors during story and craft time. Thanks to its ample skylights and windows, the library's airy, open feel will make visitors forget that they're spending the afternoon indoors.
The Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden offers families 83 acres of gardens, museums and theaters. For $6 at the children's museum, kids can learn about bugs and art, cool off in the game and playrooms. After playtime, families can enjoy a light meal at the museum cafe.
Beyond being New York City's only public indoor skatepark, Staten Island's 5050 Skatepark has the added notoriety of allowing bicycles, scooters and rollerblades into the mix. The park enforces a strict no-bullying policy, and kids under 12 need to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Visitors can pay $12 for a three-hour play session or $20 for a day pass, and must bring their own equipment.
► Pizza and ice cream spots at Arthur Avenue
Dubbed the city's real "Little Italy," families can beat the heat in a number of authentic (but laid back) Italian restaurants. Head to Antonio's Trattoria for a yummy brick oven pizza ($14 for a 16-inch cheese pizza) and a friendly staff, and then to Tino's Delicatessen for some truly delightful gelato ($5.95 for a large).
Kids can have fun and cool down at this City Island gem, which houses a wealth of toys including puppets, puzzles and kites. Afterward, make your way to the Lobster Box for some summertime seafood and kid-friendly service.