Happy Summer Solstice. We hope you will be spending some of your summer in Van Cortlandt Park and to help you plan what to do- here are 25 Things to Do in Van Cortlandt Park during the Summer of 2018 (in no particular order). Get out and explore VCP this Summer!
1.) Take a Rowboat Out on Van Cortlandt Lake
Fridays June 22nd to August 24th from 4:30pm to 7:30pm 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.) Play Golf at One or Both of the Courses in the Park
Play 18 holes at the Van Cortlandt Golf Course, which opened on July 6, 1895, as the first public golf course in the United States. Or head over to the eastern side of the Park and play 9 Holes at the Mosholu Golf Course.
3.) Learn about Insects with the Friends
The Friends have three upcoming workshops that will focus on the various insects of the park: Benthic Macroinvertebrates on Saturday June 24th, Athropods on Saturday June 30th and Pollinators on Tuesday July 17th. Visit our Events page for more details.
4.) 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.
5.) Kick Your Shoes Off and Dance
Join the VCP Conservancy on Thursdays from 6:30 to 8pm until August 2nd at the 246th Street and Broadway entrance for Barefoot Dancing.
6.) Volunteer at our Garden & Compost Site
On Tuesdays, July 10th- August 21st 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.
7.) Go Bird Watching
Meet Audubon experts on Saturday mornings at 8am at the VC Nature Center through July 21st for guided bird walks.
8.) 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.
9.) 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.
10.) Learn to Ride a Horse
The Riverdale Stables offers academy lessons every day of the week.
11.) Enjoy the Bronx Arts Ensemble Perform
The Bronx Arts Ensemble will have FREE concerts at Rockwood Drive at 2pm in Van Cortlandt Park on: Wednesday July 4th, Sunday July 15th and Sunday July 29th.
12.) Take a Deeper Dive into the History of the VC House Museum
The Museum is offering Deeper Diving – Guided Tours of Van Cortlandt House Museum on Wednesdays July 11, 18, 25 2– 4pm. On these special tours, for $10, you will learn more about the history of the family and the famous people who are associated with this New York City landmark. In August, kids can join the Adventures in Time Summer Camp. Kids play fun activities focusing on the history of those who lived and worked here during the Colonial and Revolutionary War era. For more information and to register for these programs visit www.vchm.org.
13.) See a Movie at Dusk
Saturday June 30th at Kingsbridge Green: Justice League
Saturday July 28th at Sachkerah Picnic Area: Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Weds. August 29th at Lawn Behind Nature Center: A Wrinkle in Time
Friday September 14th at Woodlawn Playground: Black Panther
14.) Go See the Grand Central Stones
This was an exciting renovation project for the Friends which was finished last year. 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 who host a Summer Series of Races in the Park.
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 27th 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.) 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 12th at noon for a free fishing program.
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: Saturday July 15th (register on July 4th) and Saturday August 18th (register on August 8th).
21.) Take Your Dog to the New Woodlawn Dogrun
VCP has a new dogrun with a separate runs for small and large dogs that just opened in the Woodlawn Section of the Park along Van Cortlandt Park East near Oneida Avenue. The Park has two additional dogruns- along Broadway at the Northern end of the Parade Ground and along Gun Hill Road just west of Jerome Avenue.
22.) 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.
23.) 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.
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.