Parks & Playgrounds

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Explore the Past and the Great Outdoors at Allaire State Park

Growing up in Monmouth County, I visited Allaire State Park frequently with my family as a child. Those day trips were filled with playground time, train rides, and old-fashioned candy purchased at the village’s general store. Now I take my own kids there, just like my parents took me.

Allaire is easily accessible from the Garden State Parkway, close to the Jersey Shore, and bursting with outdoor fun like family-friendly hikingbike riding, picnicking, and camping. But what sets this New Jersey state park apart from other bucolic green spaces are its historic village and working steam train.

With 3,000 acres of nature, a rich history, and lots of fun activities and seasonal events, Allaire continues to be a popular destination for NJ families. Read on for the highlights.

Essex County's New Accessible Playground Lets All Kids Play Together

All children can benefit from outdoor play in a park or playground, and lucky for us, there's a new accessible playground in Bloomfield, NJ, designed with the needs of kids with physical and developmental disabilities in mind. 

Watsessing Park's all-access playground opened at the end of July after a seven-month, $4 million renovation. This new addition to the 69-acre Essex County park, located at the intersection of Bloomfield Avenue and Conger Street, boasts inclusive features such as wheelchair-friendly surfacing and ramps, a seated merry-go-round, special swings, and much, much more—all in delicious, candy-colored hues.

Already fans of Watsessing Park's splash playground, my 6-year-old and I spent a perfect summer afternoon at this updated play space where all kids can play together and have fun. Read on for the scoop.

Ennis Playground Gives Gowanus a Freshly Updated Playspace

We're suckers for a destination-worthy playground, but we also have big love for NYC's smaller neighborhood playgrounds. In a city like ours, a playground doesn't necessarily need an elaborate theme or deluxe play features to be a huge boon to the neighborhood. The newly renovated Ennis Playground in the heart of fast-changing Gowanus is one such gem. Ennis Playground reopened last month after an 11-month, $2.9 million renovation—here's a look at what's new.

Central Park's Top Playgrounds Ranked for NYC Kids and Visitors

When out-of-towners ask me how I have managed to stay sane with three kids in Manhattan, my answer is always easy: Central Park. It's been our family playground for more than a decade. My son's first steps were taken there, and every day of elementary school in our house has started with a trek across the urban oasis. Our afternoons just don't feel quite right without a stop at the East 110th Street Playground, where my daughter finally conquered the monkey bars.

Central Park is our family's collective happy place, thanks in large part to its diverse array of playgrounds, which always keep us coming back for more (sanity-saving) playtime. In the spirit of our posts ranking the playgrounds in Prospect Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park, we present our top playground picks for Central Park.

Easy Waterfall Hikes for Families in Northern NJ

There's a lot more to East Coast waterfalls than the iconic Niagara Falls in Upstate New York. New Jersey has plenty of beautiful waterfalls—many of them accessible via an easy hike or walk. From the roaring Paterson Great Falls—the second-most-powerful waterfall east of the Mississippi—to the charming Hemlock Falls in the South Mountain Reservation, we've rounded up a handful of waterfall hikes in northern NJ that you can tackle with even the littlest trekkers. 

Waterfall hikes are great for goal-oriented kids and anyone who needs a reminder that sometimes the best adventures are in our own backyards. Read on for our picks.

Roosevelt Island: What to Do with Kids After Taking the Tram

New York is a city of islands. Many of them, like Governors Island, City Island, Randall's Island, and even the infamous Rikers Island, get lots of attention, while low-key Roosevelt Island manages to slip under the radar. It’s time to get cozy with this narrow, 2-mile long sliver of land in the East River nestled between Manhattan and Queens.

The Roosevelt Island Tram is a familiar sight for many New Yorkers, and the aerial ride alone is great fun for kids, but what about when you disembark on the isle? Over 11,000 people call this peaceful community home. The vibe is urban, but there are open spaces perfect for rambling. Self-contained Roosevelt Island has its own school, newspaper, and library. My family and I found plenty of cool things to keep us entertained and we've pulled together our top picks for things to do on the isle. 

Destination Playground: East 110th Street Playground Is a Central Park Gem

As a Harlemite, the northern edge of Central Park has always held a special place in my heart. It's a little off the beaten path, far from the tourist draws in Midtown, but it's still teeming with activity and attractions, including one of our very favorite playgrounds, the East 110th Street Playground. This playground, which was completely rebuilt in 2013, is a prime romping spot for school-age kids, whether they are uptown residents or visitors to this scenic edge of the park.

Tween GoList: Amusement Parks, Water Parks, and More Things To Do With LI Kids

Bounce house boredom setting in? A tween eager for new interests and engagement offers parents exciting possibilities for family fun on Long Island. Here are some of our favorite destinations and activities for that hard-to-define age between young childhood and these teenage years.

Added bonus: These activities are guaranteed to get your tween off the couch and away from the electronics.

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