Sprinkler Season at NYC Playgrounds: When it Starts and Other Important Info

When does the city turn on the sprinklers in NYC parks? That's a question we get asked every year as the weather starts to heat up. It's getting to be that time when going to the playground can pretty much guarantee getting wet. All of those sprinklers, fountains, rivers and other cool water features will be spouting soon. In fact, we were surprised to find the water already on one hot day recently at our favorite play spot. I had no towel or change of clothes for my son, but try explaining that to a 1-and-a-half-year-old.

Now it's no big deal for kids to play in their diapers, really. But to spare you having to strap a soaking wet toddler into a stroller as I did, here is some information that can help prepare you for sprinkler season.

Beach Clubs In or Near New York City

We're always writing about great things to do during your NYC staycation and we want to add a new one to our ever-growing list: Join a beach club. All of these clubs offer members similar amenities: massive swimming pools; organized kids' activities like sports and arts and crafts, and sometimes even a day camp; spas, restaurants and lounges; and, of course, access to pristine private beaches, so you have plenty of space to spread out.

Beach clubs sell seasonal memberships from Memorial Day to Labor Day, which give you access to their facilities. Most also offer optional rental accommodations like bath cabins or cabanas. (Yup, just like The Flamingo Kid). Many are on Long Island’s South Shore and are most easily accessible by car, but we found one in Brooklyn you can take the subway to.

One World Observatory: Breathtaking, Panoramic Views & NYC History for Kids & Families

My husband and I trekked to the top of the Empire State Building following our City Hall wedding, and we've hauled our entire family up to the Top of the Rock. So when the Freedom Tower unveiled One World Observatory, I jumped at the chance to be among the first to check out its stunning panoramic views.

Mother Nature seemingly didn't share my excitement, however, for we arrived at 10am to see that the top of One World Trade wasn't visible from the ground. Despite this downer, my toddler and I still headed for the entrance and all the way to the top.

Best Kids' Storytimes in the Hamptons & North Fork

Bookstores and libraries abound on the North and South Forks, and some of our country’s most popular writers have called the region home. But while our children may not yet be able to appreciate Truman Capote or Nelson DeMille, kids' storytime sessions offer them an introduction to age-appropriate literature—and a fun one at that. Almost every East End library hosts some manner of children’s storytime, but a handful offer their own unique approaches. We've rounded up our favorites. And for more activities in the area this summer, check out our Hamptons & North Fork Guide.

Surf NYC: Surfing Lessons for Kids at Rockaway Beach

Of all the cool things you can do in NYC, surfing is probably not the first one that comes to mind. But that's what we love about living in New York: It seems like you can do just about everything in some nook or cranny of the five boroughs, including catch a wave.

New York City actually offers 14 miles of beach, more than many more obvious beach destinations, and a population of surfers to rival any of them. While surfing is still illegal at most NYC beaches, thanks to an overturned law in 2005, Rockaway Beach has become the surfing mecca of the city.

Read on to find out where kids can take surfing lessons, rent equipment or sign up for surfing camp, plus learn the ever important Surfer's Code, without having to leave the five boroughs.

Sahara Sam's Oasis: New Jersey's Indoor Water Park

So, your kids are longing for swimsuits, sprinklers and slides. Make their dreams come true, whether the weather is cooperating or not. Load up the iPod, the towels and the kids and take a short road trip to Sahara Sam’s Oasis in West Berlin, N.J. This (mostly) indoor water park is less than two hours from New York City and the 286,000 gallons of water keep 11 rides and tons of kids wet and wildly entertained, rain or shine!

We traveled with four parents, three boys and three girls ranging from 2 to 8 years old, so believe me, the place was well-tested. The kids were awed into silence (SILENCE, I SAY ) as we stepped through the door. But after those two seconds, they immediately got busy.

Weekday Event Picks for LA Kids: Free Museums, Doughnuts, and LEGO, June 1-5

When a new month starts, chances are lots of things will be free. First Tuesdays, in particular, offer many gratis admissions. There is nothing wrong with paying for the activities we enjoy with our children; sometimes you have to, and sometimes it is truly worth it. Sometimes, though, if you plan well, it is possible to pay for nothing.

The library is almost always free and often has something fun scheduled, like the Pajama Storytime in Silver Lake on Monday. The first week of the month also brings no-cost LEGO fun and free admission to some of our fabulous museums, like The Huntington. Finally, and this only happens a few times a year: on Friday Krispy Kreme is giving away doughnuts. Believe it or not, this is a national and significant holiday. May the culture surpass the calories.

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