Parks & Playgrounds

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Socrates Sculpture Park: A Hidden (and Free) Gem in Queens

It’s a total cliché to say something is a hidden gem, but in the case of Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, Queens, it’s hard to find a description that’s more apt. For years, I drove right past the park, which is somewhat concealed behind a tall fence on Vernon Boulevard and Broadway, on the way to my daughter's school. Finally, my family decided to investigate.

We weren’t expecting to find a five-acre, open-air art park with amazing views of the East River and Manhattan. The artwork on display changes regularly, and visitors can easily spend a day here wandering among the sculptures, sunbathing, reading, or strolling the gardens.

Best of all, Socrates Sculpture Park is totally FREE, and is open year-round for amazing waterfront views, public art, and cool family-friendly programs and events. Read on for even more reasons why you should go. 

Top Family-Friendly Spots on NYC’s Upper East Side

Featuring New York's most iconic park, world-renowned museums, some of the city's most unique play spots, and eateries for all, the Upper East Side has easily earned its spot as a family favorite. Watch Avery, a Kids Access Press student reporter, take us on an action-packed video tour of the fun-filled neighborhood. Then read on below for more details about some of the area's best spots for kids.

Thanks to our sponsor 180 E 88th St for making this video possible. 180 E 88th is a luxury building in the heart of everything that makes NYC’s Upper East Side a perfect fit for families. Take a peek at the stunning full- and half-floor residences, complete with 14’+ ceilings and sweeping views of Central Park, plus the 8 floors of amenities, including a wine room, game room, indoor basketball court and soccer pitch, and a playroom conceptualized by the Children's Museum of the Arts.

The Ultimate Guide to Philly Area Playgrounds for Toddlers

Everyone knows that going to a playground with a toddler can be treacherous. Everything is a little too big and you find yourself helicoptering your kids' every move. That's why tot lots are perfect for the smallest kiddos. With fun interactive areas, smaller steps and slides, and baby swings, kids can have a little more independence (and so can you). If you’re looking for fun, safe playgrounds ideal for younger kids, we've got a list of some great tot lots in the Philadelphia area. 

Nature Walks on Long Island to View Fall Foliage

Long Island is at its peak beauty in the fall as the leaves change. And you're in luck, Nassau, Suffolk, and the East End have some of the best nature trails around, ideal for looking at that gorgeous fall foliage. These lovely backdrops lend themselves to great family photos that will put you ahead of the game for upcoming holiday cards. Strike a pose and take some candid shots of the kids. Fall on Long Island is perfect for memory-making. 

So, strap on your hiking shoes, pack a few snacks and head out to one of these destinations for fresh air and splendid fall oranges, reds, and yellows. For more kid-friendly activities, be sure to check out our Fall Fun Guide.

The Proud Bird's Aviation Park: a New Airplane Playground by LAX

When you have a kid like mine (obsessed with airplanes, grilled cheese, and curvy slides at playgrounds) then a well-timed trip to the new Aviation Park at The Proud Bird is an afternoon dream come true. We were excited to attend the new playground's recent opening day festivities, featuring models of life-size fighter planes, a view of the jets landing at nearby LAX, face painting, snow cones, and lots of playtime. Whether you're already heading to LAX to pick up the in-laws, flying off for vacay, or desperate for a new park to break up the after-nap routine, The Proud Bird is definitely worth a visit.

10 Things to Love About Northern Central Park

My family has long thought of Central Park as our backyard. And while we've romped across most of its 843 acres, and enjoy an occasional visit to the zoo or our favorite playground on the southern end, we're just as happy to leave that portion of the park to the tourists.

Instead, you'll find us exploring above 100th Street, in the northern reaches of the park, which are just wooded enough to make you forget the urban jungle for a bit. A recently-announced $150 million dollar renovation project will update the aging pool and skating rink at Central Park's Harlem Meer, while creating new trails and restoring the landscape—but there's no reason to wait until that project's estimated 2024 completion date to enjoy this beautiful parkland.

From a babbling stream, to renovated playgrounds, rolling meadows, perfectly manicured gardens, and the wild of the North Woods, here are 10 things to love about Central Park's northern edge.

9 Easy Fall Family Hikes in NYC

It finally feels like fall in New York City, which means my family is headed to the hiking trail. At least once a quarter, usually coinciding with the change of seasons, someone in the family decides it's time to escape to the woods for a little urban relief. And really, there's no need to head upstate or to the 'burbs to get that outdoors fix.  

Did you know that our fair city is home to over 300 miles of hiking trails through 10,000 acres of unencumbered Mother Nature? We have sampled enough parks around NYC to confidently share this list of trails that vary in length, scenery, and difficulty (including those just right for little legs), and that reward hikers with views of water, bridges, and yes, that gorgeous fall foliage. Whatever borough you call home, my boy, who helped to compile this list, and I hope you will have a blast lacing up and hitting the trails. Note: He is too young to share mommy's byline. 

5 Reasons to Visit the New Shirley Chisholm State Park in Brooklyn

Shirley Chisholm State Park opened to the public July 2019, bringing over 10 miles of new biking and hiking trails to the shores of south Brooklyn. New York City's newest state park transforms a former landfill into a lovely waterfront destination accessible from the Belt Parkway or the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Canarsie and East New York. For a look at the new park and a peek at what's next, read on.

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