Father's Day Weekend: Mermaid Parade, Brick Fest, Superheroes

Dad's the king on Sunday, but families can celebrate Father's Day in NYC all weekend long with a wide variety of fun family outings. Choices for Saturday include Coney Island's iconic Mermaid Parade, Hunts Point's similar but smaller Fish Parade and Summer Festival and the extreme sports fest Adventures NYC in Central Park. On Sunday, catch free music and dance performances at SummerStage Family Day in Red Hook or the cultural mash-up Eggcream, Egg Rolls and Empanadas on the Lower East Side. Play with Legos at the New York Hall of Science's epic Brick Fest, or enjoy superhero-themed activities at Brooklyn Children's Museum. Plus, a pair of seasonal performance series kick off in Central Park, and the Parks Department holds its lottery for free summer swimming lessons.

These are just a few of the great things going on this Father's Day weekend. All of our best bets are below. You can find additional options in our Event Calendar, our Summer Fun Guide and our other article outlining 25 Ideas for Celebrating Father's Day in NYC.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!

4th of July Fireworks In and Around Philly

Nothing says Independence Day like a great fireworks display. Philadelphia knows how to celebrate the birth of America. Start with what's being billed as the largest free concert in the United States with Party on the Parkway, where part of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway will be shut down and a lineup of great bands will play before a spectacular fireworks display above the Philadelphia Museum of Art. If being one of the thousands celebrating in the streets isn't your idea of a perfect 4th of July, there's a spectrum of events in many of the suburban towns around Philly like the Narberth Fourth of July Celebration and Fireworks. Whether enjoying a local band and fireworks in your nearby park or joining the throngs on the Museum Mile, don't forget to bring your chairs, blankets, coolers with snacks, and a few activities to keep the kids entertained until the sky turns dark.  

Father's Day Weekend: Cars, Cockpits, Festivals, and a Stampede, June 18-19

It's here! It's here!! Put on your sun hat and officially welcome summer and everything it brings: family cookouts, fairs and carnivals, beach outings, park adventures, pick-your-own fruit, and time spent by the water. School vacation has begun and Sunday is Father's Day, so there's lots to celebrate this weekend and plenty of free opportunities to do so. 

If your family is looking to dote on dad, check out our roundups of Father’s Day fun in Connecticut and also specifically in the Hartford area. A Father's Day Barbecue Picnic at Lyman Orchards, open cockpit tours at the New England Air Museum and East Haven trolley rides are just some of the activities on tap. Of course, who doesn't like food? The New England Food Truck Affair in Guilford is sure to satisfy. 

If you're headed to a big city, let our regional Boston and New York City sites help you make the most of your trip.

For more ideas throughout the state, be sure to check out our Event Calendar. And if you're still figuring out summer, peruse our list of camps with availability or our Summer Fun Guide. To keep up with everything happening in CT, subscribe to our free newsletters, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Father's Day Weekend in NJ: Trains, Fishing, Ponies, Berries

Time to celebrate that special guy in your life, whether it's dad, grandpa or another person you hold near and dear! New Jersey is always bursting with fun during the month of June and Father's Day weekend is no exception. Celebrate dad with a Father's Day necktie craft at Imagine That! Children's Museum, a Father's Day Excursion Train Ride at Whippany Railway Museum or the Freshwater Fishing Derby for the whole gang at Turkey Swamp Park. For more family fun, round up the troops for the Strawberry Harvest Festival at Alstede farms, the Pony Up! Festival at the United States Equestrian Headquarters or bring your blankets and cozy up during an outdoor Play in the Park performance of The Little Mermaid.

For more options, take a look at our full Event CalendarJune GoList, and our Summer Fun Guide.

Best Spray Parks and Water Fountains for Preschoolers in Boston

Boston has a lot of cool fountains that can be great fun for families in summer. But I've learned the hard way that not every fountain is suited for preschoolers. 

A few years back, when one of my sons was 4, I took him and his brothers to the Christian Science Plaza fountain along Huntington Avenue. To me as a parent, it was a wise selection: awesome fountain, I didn't have to walk far from the parking spot, and bathrooms were nearby in the Prudential Center. But my 4-year-old kid was horrified by the fountain and how big it was. It took him a half hour to even wander up to the where the water shot out of the ground, and soon after he got soaked and was freezing. It was not the best choice for a young child. 

With that thinking in mind, here are some gentler, preschooler-friendly fountains and spray parks in Boston:

Best Outdoor Dining in Brooklyn: 10 Kid-Friendly Restaurants with Backyards

Brooklyn boasts its share of restaurants with sidewalk tables, but those of us with kids enjoy those eateries with more spacious outdoor dining seats. A backyard, picnic tables, or sometimes even a bit of grass? We're sold!

Just in time for summer, we've rounded up 10 of our favorite spots from across Brooklyn that feature spacious backyards, gardens, patios, or roof decks. These places serve delicious food and welcome families with children. If you're in the mood for variety, we've included a mix of cuisines: Japanese, Mexican, Cuban, Southern comfort and of course, pizza and New American.  

Headed to Queens? We rounded up our top 10 outdoor eateries in our sister borough, too. 

Free Outdoor Summer Movies for NJ Families

Not only is watching movies under the stars a wonderful way for the family to bond, but how cool is it to watch your favorite flicks outside at no cost? Below is a list of parks in New Jersey that show outdoor movies all summer long. So bring your own chairs, munchies and blankets, and savor the magic of FREE alfresco films. For more summer awesomeness, check out our Summer Fun Guide.

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