Wet weather is a parenting dilemma: You don’t want to go out (soggy kids are a drag), but you certainly don’t want to stay in (whiny kids are worse). Herewith, five when-it’s-pouring indoor ideas that are equally doable when the mercury hits 90.
The Skyscraper Museum
39 Battery Pl.; skyscraper.org
Best for: Ages 6 and up will get the most out of it.
Why it’s cool: What better destination for the spawn of real-estate obsessives? On weekends, the museum creates kids’ play around grown-up exhibitions (there’s currently one on the world’s tallest building, Burj Dubai).
Parental-annoyance level: Zero. This isn’t technically a children’s museum.
Honorable mentions: New York City Fire Museum, New York Hall of Science, Children’s Museum of the Arts, or the Brooklyn Children’s Museum.
UNEXPECTED SUMMER ACTIVITY
Ice Skating at Chelsea Piers’ Sky Rink
Best for: Open to ages 3 and up, but you know your kid.
Why it’s cool: Doing something out of season (if you can find long pants and socks that fit). Also, summer Sundays are free, except for skate rental, between 1 and 3:50 p.m.
Parental-annoyance level: Depends on whether you like to ice skate. If your kids are older, at least you can sit and read.
Honorable mentions: For baking classes that don’t involve turning your oven on and your air conditioner up, check out Mini Chef NYC.
KID-FRIENDLY COFFEE SHOP
232 N. 12th St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn; mamalu.us
Best for: Newborns to age 6.
Why it’s cool: Under one roof, an organic café, food shop, wireless access, and an 800-square-foot play space.
Parental-annoyance level: Low, but be prepared for new-parent chatter about soy milk.
Honorable mentions: Park Slope’s Tea Lounge.
FREE INDOOR “PLAYGROUND”
The Chelsea Market
Enter between 15th and 16th Sts. on Ninth or Tenth Ave. chelseamarket.com
Best for: Toddlers, teens, grown-ups.
Why it’s cool: The Manhattan answer to a suburban mall, in all the good ways. Little ones can zip in and out of the kid-friendly shops or watch bakers knead bread at Amy’s while parents pop into Chelsea Wine Vault for a tasting. Snacks (giant cookies, local milk) abound, as do places to sit. Nannies and their charges line benches during the week. On weekend mornings, it’s hipster-dad central for free live music shows.
Parental-annoyance level: Zero. Most adults would happily move into the Chelsea Market if they could.
Honorable mentions: Essex Street Market, South Street Seaport, Ikea (especially Paramus).
The Sony Wonder Technology Lab
550 Madison Ave., between 55th and 56th Sts. wondertechlab.sony.com
Best for: Ages 6 and up.
Why it’s cool: Four full floors of high-tech whirligigs that invite kids to manipulate photos, add silly sounds to music clips, create video games, and produce television shows. The DIY medical ultrasound demo is pretty spectacular (and potentially useful). Yes, it all comes with a heavy dose of Sony branding—but it’s free.
Can occupy the kids for: Hours.
Parental-annoyance level: Potentially high.
Honorable mentions: The Museum of the Moving Image; Liberty Science Center.