Parks & Playgrounds

10 Underrated NYC Parks You Don't Want to Miss

Central Park, Prospect Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park—even if you only just arrived in NYC, we probably don't need to tell you that these are all must-see green spaces. Yet, according to the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, 14 percent of the city is parkland—that's more than 30,000 acres!

So if you're looking for a new-to-you outdoor destination to explore, we've got 10 off-the-beaten-path parks worth putting on your NYC family bucket list. Some are massive and boast a wide array of attractions for all seasons; others are small but picturesque and host popular annual events for families. Don't worry if you can't make it to all of these before school starts—we have at least a few more months of fair weather ahead!

5 Places to Watch Airplanes on Boston's North Shore

I met a fella recently who was stationed with binoculars on the border of East Boston and Winthrop, gazing at the planes lift off from nearby Logan Airport.

“It's beautiful to watch. It's almost mystical,” he told me.

A handful of youngsters also peered at the planes, which, depending on the wind direction, buzzed right overhead with a thunderous roar as they headed to destinations unknown.

If you have kids who are into aircraft, there are some great spots on the North Shore to watch the planes come into and leave the airport. Here are top viewing choices, along with other nearby activities – including the beach, restaurants, and playgrounds – to enjoy:

Bronx Park with Kids: Playgrounds, Zoo, Gardens, Skate Park

Bronx Park might not be the borough's largest park (that honor goes to Pelham Bay Park), but we think it probably has more fun kid stuff to do per square foot than any other. It boasts 700-plus acres and features several of the city's very top family attractions, including the Bronx Zoo, New York Botanical Garden, the Bronx River, and plenty of playgrounds, green space, and bike paths to keep kids entertained. The park is accessible by car or public transit, making it an ideal location for a day trip or afternoon outing, especially in the summer but really, anytime. Visitors might be surprised by just how diverse Bronx Park is, but locals know it's truly a hidden gem. Read on for the best things to do in Bronx Park with kids.

End-of-Summer Programs to Help Kids Re-engage With School

While the past few months may have been filled with camp activities, vacations and carefree days, the lazy, hazy days of summer are coming to an end and that means the kiddies need to get used to school again. Beat summer brain drain with these educational and inspirational events and activities to help get those wheels turning again. Be sure to check out our Summer Guide for more warm weather ideas.

Secret Parks of Orange County: 5 Hidden Gems Only Locals Know

Tired of visiting the same old parks? If your local jungle gym has recently lost its luster, be grateful that you live in (or are visiting) Orange County, where you can take your tykes to explore one of the hidden gems below. From giant Legos to beachfront slides to fountains and duck ponds, there are plenty of captivating playgrounds to explore throughout Southern California, but it takes a real OC native to know all five of these boredom-busting tot lots. Pick any one of them for an outing the whole family can enjoy.

South Mountain Reservation for Kids: Swings, Zoo, Fairy Trail

For an easy day hike with the kids, New Jersey’s local “reservations,” essentially mini state forests and parks, are my family’s go-to. The 2,110-acre South Mountain Reservation in Essex County is one of our favorites. The recreation complex includes hiking trails, but also a zoo, mini golf, and a fantastic playground.

Read on for our best family bets for this Jersey green space, or check out some of our other favorite NJ reservations like nearby Watchung, or day trip ideas.

A Review of Longwood Gardens' Nightscape

On August 3rd, Longwood Gardens’ latest evening spectacular Nightscape opened to the public. The trippy, amazingly choreographed sound and light extravaganza is definitely not your run of the mill evening out with the family- especially not for my family, as my husband and I have a three-year old son. Starting off with the fact that we were out way past bedtime (the light show in August doesn’t start until 9 PM when it is well past dark), this experience was easily going to go one of two ways: amazement and giggles or...well, you’re parents, you know the rest.

Bronx Water Playgrounds and Sprinklers to Cool Off the Kids

Although the kids might beg, not every summer day can be a pool day. Still, water play is essential to summer survival in NYC. Enter playgrounds loaded with water jets and refreshing splash pads for instant relief. Kids (and their grown-ups) can frolic in sprinklers and spray showers, many with nifty features like footbridges, geysers, and themed settings. We've told you about some of our favorite playgrounds with water features citywide, but we know the Bronx needs a shout-out all its own. Read on for details on seven of our favorite splash pads in NYC's northernmost borough.

Find more water fun in our Beaches, Pools, Water Parks Guide, or cool NYC activities in our Summer Fun Guide

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