Outdoors

Water Feature: 15 Water Playgrounds and Parks with Splash Pads in LA

Remember those great summer afternoons running through a sprinkler with the neighborhood kids? Over in New England and Nebraska that’s probably still happening, but in parched SoCal we really can't be turning on the hose to while away a lazy afternoon. Instead, packs of puddle-loving Angeleno kids splash through the heat at parks with free and fabulous water features, like the ones below. So if a pool or a water park sounds like too much work today, cool those kids down at a splash pad! After the rainy 2016-17 winter, all of these should be fully operational this summer with no more drought restrictions.

Where to See Cherry Blossoms and More Blooms on Long Island

After what felt like an extra-long winter, spring arrives and colors burst all over Long Island. These are perfect days to explore some of the Island’s family-friendly gardens and state parks, where displays of vibrant, eye-popping cherry blossoms—along with a host of other springtime trees and flowers—are in full bloom.

From the the Arbor Day Family Festival (April 28) at Planting Fields Arboretum to the annual Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival (May 6) at Stony Brook University, your kids get to experience the natural beauty of the season, explore the outdoors, and even learn about different cultures. 

Have you Visited Connecticut's only National Park Site?

Tucked in the bucolic countryside of Fairfield County, Weir Farm is the only in the National Park Service dedicated to the arts.  Also listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Weir Farm has inspired generations of visitors on 60 acres of painterly pastoral paradise. You'll love the peace and serenity Weir Farm brings, your kids will love the pastels. 

Brooklyn and Queens Beer Gardens Where Kids Are Welcome

New York City is overflowing with family-friendly restaurants, but how about bars? Chasing a toddler through a dimly-lit room that's crowded with tables probably isn't your idea of a successful happy hour. When you're looking to grab a drink with the kids in tow, beer gardens are a better option, with plenty of space for little ones to roam around and menus packed with hearty fare that's sure to please picky palates.

Turns out that Brooklyn could give Bavaria a run for its money when it comes to kid-friendly beer gardens. A few even offer special activities for tots like sing-alongs and playgroups during daytime hours. So whether you're celebrating a birthday, or just making it through the day without a meltdown, here are some of NYC's best beer gardens and halls where families can raise their glasses. We've even thrown in a couple of Queens spots, too.

Remember to call ahead or check the weather if you're looking to sit outside. Some beer gardens are just seasonal, or will close all outdoor seating in cold temperatures.

Zip Lines, Ropes Courses, and Outdoor Adventure Parks Near NYC

We all need a little excitement in our lives. For some, any of these 13 carousels around New York City will deliver all the excitement in the world. For others, the idea of zip-lining through the air ranks high on their to-do list. Of course, adventure parks aren't for everyone, but there's proof they help children learn problem-solving and collaboration skills. Plus, it's just plain fun to play together as a family and create unforgettable memories.

New York City may not be the epicenter of adventure parks, but it's making strides, especially with the new Adventures on Governors Island, the Bronx Zoo's Treetop Adventure, and a seriously high-flying outdoor zip line in Queens. Meanwhile, just outside the city limits, there are dozens of rope and zip line courses.

We've rounded up a handful of our favorite outdoor adventure parks either in the city or reachable within a quick day trip. Also make sure to see our brand new guide to 25 outdoor adventures in the city for NYC kids.

Lush Arboretums and Gardens To Explore with New Jersey Kids

New Jersey is teeming with amazing outdoor places to take active kids—everything from nature centers to Jersey Shore lighthouses offer a multitude of fun events for little ones. But our beautiful state arboretums and gardens are often overlooked. These fabulous green spaces offer a great opportunity for children to see nature up close. Many locations also host educational and engaging programs, featuring activities such as gardening, hiking, and scavenger hunts.

As spring shifts into high gear, gather the kids and head to these beautiful local gardens. We're not known as the Garden State for nothing!

New NJ Spray Park Will Provide Fun for Kids of All Abilities

Construction of a new spray park in Toms River was recently announced, and kids of all ages and abilities have something to celebrate. The park is slated to be all-inclusive, meaning accessible for children with disabilities. “We are focused on all abilities being able to interact with each other at this splash pad,” says Erica Cirillo, co-president of Fountains of Hope, the organization fueling the project.

Exploring Sands Point Preserve: Dino Trail, Castles, and Hikes

Dare to compare footprints with fantastic beasts who roamed the Earth long before us at the Dino Trail at Sands Point Preserve.

It's one of six trails ripe for strolling, hiking, jogging and exploring at this sprawling Gold Coast estate turned public sanctuary. And that's not all: There's so much more to explore, including 200 acres of trails, a pond, beachfront, woods and native habitats.

There are so many sweet spots to soak up nature on Long Island. Get out and get exploring. Looking for more North Shore shenanigans? Check out our Mommy Poppins visitors guide to nearby Port Washington, a family-friendly Long Island destination.

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