Parks & Playgrounds

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Silver Lights Festival Adds Sparkle to the Season

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, gorillas swung from trees, playful penguins surrounded an igloo, and a seal put on a rooftop show. Technically, the time is now, the land is the not-so-distant city of Meriden, and the adorable creatures are more than 300 characters featured during the Festival of Lights. This annual and very family-friendly holiday lights event in the New Haven area is not to be missed due to its charm, great photo opportunities, and affordable price tag (umm, it's free!). 

Natural Beauty & Stellar Play Areas at Houston's Bay Area Park

Nestled on the edge of the Armand Bayou Nature Preserve in Southeast Houston, is a beautifully shaded park with newly renovated playground equipment for children of all abilities, two dog parks, a canoe launch, and plenty of ducks to feed. Bay Area Park is also home to a host of wildlife living in natural marsh lands, making it a great place to visit for nature lovers. The park even has its own designated campground for scout troops. Whether you're fishing or hiking, playing ball or picnicking, this park is sure to delight. This 64-acre park is a mere minutes away from our home now, but with so much to do here, we found ourselves frequenting the park even when we didn't live nearby. Take a look at what makes Bay Area Park is one of our favorites in the Bayou City. 

Lyndhurst Municipal Park: A Playground for NJ Kids of all Ages

Squeeze in some outdoor recreation before the winter hits by spending the day at Lyndhurst Municipal Park. This sprawling park sits parallel to the Lyndhurst train station, offering parents who commute into Hoboken or NYC a great junction to say goodbye to their little ones or greet them at the end of a busy day. Live out of town? Ride the rails with your kiddos and make a day trip out of it.

The park features an amazing playground with equipment for kids of all ages. During the summer months, the neighboring splash pad is a great way to cool off!

34 Free Places to Play in Houston This Fall

Fall is the perfect time of year to explore all of the amazing play areas that the Houston area has to offer. The weather is starting to cool off, so exploring outdoor playgrounds is at the top of our to-do list. But for those drizzly days, we do know of several amazing indoor gems to head to. Take a look at our favorite FREE places to play all around the Bayou City this fall. No matter what part of town you're in- we've got you covered!

New Hot Spots for New Jersey Kids and Families

These recently opened destinations for kids and families in New Jersey deserve a place on your family’s bucket list.

Two Essex County playgrounds have recently undergone major transformations, with brand-spankin’-new play equipment just waiting for your kids to try out before the weather turns cold. If you're looking for a birthday gift, skip the big-box store on the highway and shop local at a cool toy store in Maplewood. Read the day away in a cozy children’s indie bookstore, like the one you’ll find in Bayonne, and when your family is ready for some action, head to Woodbridge for the grand opening of NJ's first Dave & Buster’s. Or get the kiddos out of the house on a rainy day and burn off some serious energy at a new indoor trampoline park in Milltown.

And here's one that's worth a trip into the city: American Girl's flagship Midtown store is relocating to a new location on November 11, just in time for the holidays.

Read on to learn more about these new NJ hot spots, and find even more things to do in our Fall Fun Guide.

The Ultimate Guide to Philly Area Tot Lots

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. 

A Dozen Easy Fall Hikes in NJ for Families with Small Children

Hiking with small children can be fun for the whole family, if you choose the right trails, pack enough snacks, and build in some break time for little legs. Autumn in New Jersey may be the ideal time to get the family outdoors for a nature walk or easy hike, when trees are ablaze with fall colors and temperatures are just right.

Read on for our list of short, family-friendly hikes with scenic vistas and shady picnic spots. As for the snacks, try letting kids make their own trail mix before a nature walk: set out some bowls of nuts, pretzel sticks, dried fruits, and chocolate chips or M&Ms, and let the kids fill a plastic baggie with their favorite fuel. Before setting out, make sure everyone dresses in layers and wears comfortable shoes, and don't forget to pack sunscreen, bug spray, and plenty of water.

For more outdoor adventures, check out one of the state's many nature centers, which offer a host of family-friendly activities as well as hiking trails. Happy hiking!

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