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iPlay America is New Jersey's Largest Indoor Boardwalk

The rollercoaster whizzes down the track, the sweet smell of funnel cake fills the air, and an orchestra of buzzers and whistles plays from a nearby arcade. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think you were enjoying an evening on the Jersey Shore boardwalk, but this is iPlay America, a nearly four-acre indoor amusement park and fun center in Freehold, New Jersey that's open all year round.

NYC Playgrounds with Shade: Shady Park Benches and Equipment

While kids can always cool off in NYC's many sprinklers, we parents are stuck baking in the sun all day during the heat of the city's summer as we supervise outdoor play. It's a problem our readers know too well—each summer we get requests for recommendations of shady spots to play.

Although we know of a couple playgrounds that offer exceptional amounts of shade—Hippo Playground in Riverside Park and Discovery Playground in Fort Washington Park come to mind—we decided to ask our readers if they knew of any super-shady playgrounds in New York City. After clarifying that we were talking about shelter from the sun's rays, not sketchy parks, they came through with a number of great suggestions.

Please keep in mind that the name of the game here is comfort on a hot summer day; though we have visited plenty of destination playgrounds, with a few exceptions, these shady suggestions tend to be neighborhood standbys and small playgrounds that have plenty of shade, but perhaps not too many bells and whistles.

Soak Up Some Sun (& Family Fun) at Surfside Beach

When you mention beaches near Houston, everyone's first thought typically trends toward Galveston. However, Galveston's many beaches are not the only ones close enough for a day trip, and while we've trekked down there plenty of times, it's definitely not the end-all-be-all. In fact, one of our favorite spots is the quiet town of Surfside where the beach is clean and full of sand (not seaweed).

10 Seafood Spots for Dinner after a North Shore Beach Day

We're blessed to have so many stellar beaches around Boston: You and the kids can have your your toes in the sand and the sun shining on your faces in under an hour. But while beach days with the family can be blissful, they are also a lot of work. Once you've packed lunch, towels, toys, and the umbrella, navigated seaside traffic, parked, and then hauled your kids and gear to your spot in the sand, who wants to think about cooking dinner? Fortunately, not far from some of Massachusetts' best beaches are classic, casual seafood restaurants to cap off your day trip. The North Shore in particular has a high concentration of clam shacks, lobster lodges, and seafood shanties with everything from clam strips to grilled cheese, ensuring even the pickiest of beach bums will find something they like on the menu.

So sit in your beach chair a few minutes longer, watch the sun dip a little lower on the horizon, and let someone else do the cooking.

Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Parlors Long Island Kids Will Love

Is there ever a bad time to enjoy ice cream? Of course, with summer upon us, it’s the perfect time to take the family out for a scoop, a sundae, or a shake—and all of these definitely will taste better when made with homemade ice cream.

So we’ve rounded up some of Long Island’s best ice cream parlors that everyone is sure to love. These destinations create their yummy flavors from scratch and have a nostalgic feel that make the experience extra special.

For more dining inspiration, check out our roundup of LI restaurants where kids can eat free. And for more family fun, see our Event Calendar, our guide to summer fun and even our list of 100 must-do things with LI kids

Wondrous, Wild Waterfalls Waiting for You in Connecticut

Waterfalls are amazing creations of nature that astound even the hardiest hiker and outdoor lover. The water pounding on the rocks, the splash of the spray, and the shallow wading pools leave the kids with lasting memories. Connecticut is lucky to be home to hundreds of waterfalls; many of them are accessible with just short walks and a little effort for all ages. Of course, please exercise caution at all of these sites as rocks are slippery when wet! If you are looking for more outdoor adventures, go hiking at one of these Hartford area spots and check out our list of ropes courses in Connecticut!

This Weekend's Fun for LA Kids: Superhero Day, Sandcastle Building, and Impossible Science

Summer’s not even close to over, and here’s how I know: a whole bunch of summery event series are just now getting started. So it can’t be the end if it’s the beginning (unless that’s some kind of circle of life metaphor). Big World Fun, the multicultural music and dance series for kids at the Ford, starts now. Movies on the Green, Warner Center's free weekly movie series, starts now. Several summer events just started last week (Sound in Focus, CCPT Children's Theatre in the Park, Orange County Fair). Others have yet to make their seasonal debut: We have to wait for Santa Monica’s Jazz on the Lawn, the second half of Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival (Two Gentlemen of Verona), the Getty’s Garden Concerts for Kids (did they really get Dan Zanes this year?!), and whatever Shakespearean nonsense the Actor’s Gang comes up with in Culver City (it will be hard to top last year’s Pokemon Romeo & Juliet!)

Also new this weekend: Impossible Science LIVE at Discovery Cube OC, All Star Comedy Festival featuring shorts from Hollywood's Golden Age, Comic Con 2017 (a tad far but worth the trip), and summery festivals in Santa Monica, Norwalk, and Cypress. There's a Back to School party at Toys R Us and a Back to School Health Fair in Pacoima... School?! No. Just no.

It is summer, burning bright like the stars in the sky, and its end is nowhere in sight. For a couple of weeks at least.

Keep reading for our favorite summer-is-still-going-strong picks for this weekend...

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