Happy First Day of Summer! Here are 25 Things to Do in Van Cortlandt Park This Summer (in no particular order). Get out and explore VCP this Summer! Photo by Asa Aarons.
1.) Take a Rowboat Out on Van Cortlandt Lake
Fridays June 30th to September 1st from 4:30pm to 7:30pm-New Start Date of June 30th.
Village Community Boathouse will provide FREE rowing in their fleet of traditional wooden rowboats. Children under 18 years old need a parent present to sign waiver. Enter the park at Van Cortlandt Park South & Bailey Ave. Meet near the Lake.
2.) Visit the Oldest Building Still Standing in the Bronx
The Van Cortlandt House Museum, this Georgian style house, begun in 1748, was built of fieldstone by Frederick Van Cortlandt on the plantation that had been owned and farmed by his family since 1691. Visit www.vchm.org for more information.
3.) Volunteer at our Garden & Compost Site
Tuesdays, July 11th- August 22nd from 10am-1pm
Help care for our vegetable beds and compost bins. Bring water and sunscreen. Held at Friends’ Compost & Garden Site. Enter the Park at Broadway & Mosholu Ave.
4.) Play a Round of Golf on a Historic Course
The Van Cortlandt Golf Course opened on July 6, 1895, as the first public golf course in the United States. Visit golfnyc.com for more info.
5.) Kick Your Shoes Off and Dance
Join the VCP Conservancy on Thursday evenings through August 3rd for Barefoot Dancing on the lawn of the VC House Museum.
6.) City of Water Day
Saturday July 15th from 10am to 1pm
The Friends of Van Cortlandt Park monitor the water quality of Tibbetts Brook, a freshwater stream that flows through Yonkers and the Bronx. While monitoring the health of the brook we also look into the benthic macroinvertebrates living in the water. Please join us on City of Water Day to get your hands wet and learn more about what is living in the waters of Tibbetts. Meet in front of the Van Cortlandt Park Golf House- enter the Park at Bailey and Van Cortlandt Park South.
7.) Go for a Nature Walk with the Nature Group
Dates to be determined. The Nature Group of VCP has monthly weekend nature walks. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org to be on the email list.
8.) Learn to Ride a Horse
The Riverdale Stables offers academy lessons every day of the week. Visit riverdalestables.com for more information.
9.) Take a Hike
With over 20 miles of hiking trails, VCP is Where NYC Hikes. There are many options for hiking (see the Park Map) if you are unsure where to start give us a call at 718-601-1553.
10.) Walk the Path of the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail
Within Van Cortlandt Park is a segment of the 41 mile long aqueduct that brought water from the Croton Dam to NYC. The large stone building along the route is a weir which maintained the flow of water and controlled air pressure.
11.) Play 9 Holes at the Mosholu Golf Course
Yes, there are two Golf Courses in VCP. This 9 hole course will hopefully have a newly renovated Driving Range and Golf House in the near future. Visit www.mosholugolfcourse.com for more info.
12.) Join a Summer History Camp
Spots still available for August 21st to 25th visit www.vchm.org to register. Kids play fun activities focusing on the history of those who lived and worked here during the Colonial and Revolutionary War era.
13.) Go Fishing
There are fish in the lake- we promise. Catch and Release Only and a NYS Fishing License is required. Join the Rangers on Sunday August 13th at noon for a free fishing program.
14.) Go See the Grand Central Stones
This is an exciting renovation project for the Friends which will be completed in the fall but check out what’s been done so far. These 13 stone pillars were installed as test stones when Grand Central Station was being built over 100 years ago. They can be found along the Putnam Trail.
15.) Go for a Run!
The Cross Country Course is a nationally renowned course. Need some running advice or looking for people to run with then talk to our friends at the Van Cortlandt Track Club.
16.) See Where the City Documents Were Hide During the American Revolution
At the onset of the Revolutionary War, City Clerk Augustus Van Cortlandt, James’s younger brother, was told by the Provincial Congress to find a safe place to secure the city records for fear that they might be destroyed during the British occupation of New York. He hid them in his family’s burial vault which we now know as Vault Hill.
17.) Learn to Ride a Bike
Bike NY is offering free summer camps that offer the basics mechanics of riding a bike. Pre-registration is required at http://www.bike.nyc/education/programs/summer-camp/
18.) Go for a Swim
The Van Cortlandt Pool opens on June 29th and is open through the summer every day from 11am to 3pm and 4pm to 7pm. They also offer learn to swim programs, call 718-760-6969 ext. 0 for information.
19.) Learn to Play Tennis
For Beginners: From July 3rd to August 11th from 9am to 12pm at Indian Field Courts. Call 718-760-6999 to register.
20.) Go Camping with the Rangers
Visit nyc.gov/parks/rangers/register to enter a lottery for your family to go camping in Van Cortlandt Park. Upcoming dates: Sunday July 16th (register on July 5th) and Saturday August 19th (register on August 9th).
21.) Take an Art Class
Join the Arts Students League of New York on Tuesdays from 2-3:30pm on July 19th to August 9th at Woodlawn Playground for Painting Nature and on Fridays until August 25th at 6:30pm meeting at the Nature Center for Twilight Hike & Draw.
22.) Go Bird Watching
Meet Audubon experts on Saturday mornings at 8am at the VC Nature Center through July 29th for guided bird walks.
23.) Ride Your Bike Up the Putnam Trail
This trail follows the remains of the New York Central Railroad’s Putnam Division and is 1.5 miles long within Van Cortlandt Park. However, if you have the energy, you can keep going on the South County and North County bike trails up through Westchester County.
24.) Have a BBQ
There are 3 areas of the Park which you are allowed to BBQ in: At Broadway and W. 242nd Street south of the Pool, outside of Sachkerah Woods Playground at Gun Hill and Jerome Avenues and at Shandler Recreation Area off of Jerome Avenue south of E. 233rd Street. Please respect the park and park users by following the rules found here: https://www.nycgovparks.org/facilities/barbecue
25.) Watch a Cricket Match
Van Cortlandt Park was the first place in the U.S. where cricket was played. Head over to the Parade Ground to watch a match this summer.