Parks & Playgrounds

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Awesome Water Theme Parks Near Philadelphia

The theme of summer is always: keep cool. And what better way to stay cool and have fun than visiting a nearby waterpark. Slides, lazy rivers, surf simulators, whirpools, and even swim-up bars for the adults; we've got a list of great waterparks not too far from the Philly area. So grab your bathing suits and towels, and get ready for an adventure.

Top Playgrounds for Kids in Westchester and the Hudson Valley

Beautiful parks are plentiful throughout Westchester and Lower Hudson Valley—and while picnicking, hiking, and gorgeous views are great, what kids tend to care about most is the playground

It's generally easy enough to find a playground nearby, but sometimes it's worth heading out past your neighborhood park for a playground that packs a little more punch. We've rounded up seven fun spots that are worth the drive. All boast imaginative play structures, shade, and other amenities that add up to a day of fun for the whole family.

Best Water Playgrounds and Sprinklers for Kids in NYC

When we were growing up, New York City playgrounds had sprinklers. Now parks and playgrounds across the five boroughs have "water features"—fountains, geysers, rivers, pumps, and beautiful spraying statues. Kids just love them, and we parents prefer these newfangled playgrounds because they're pretty and cool, and make us feel as if our exorbitant NYC housing costs are justified.

Sprinkler season in NYC parks kicks into gear when the temps reach 80 degrees, although some parks may turn on water features earlier. There are hundreds of water features in NYC parks, and we've highlighted some favorites by borough: the best in Brooklyn, best of Queens, and best of the Bronx. Some are cooler (literally and figuratively) than others, and more amazing ones seem to open every year. When we first published this article in 2008, we had five favorite splashing spots. Now we're up to 27 fancy playgrounds where kids can get wet in NYC. See if your favorites made our list.

10 Underrated NYC Parks You (Probably) Haven't Visited Yet

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. But did you know that according to the NYC Department of Parks and 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. With months of outdoor play weather ahead of us, check out this list and visit some of the city's best hidden gems.

Splash Parks, Sprinklers, and Water Playgrounds in Orange County Parks

When summer finally hits, Southland families are looking for water, water everywhere. There's hanging at the beach or playing in a pool, but fun places with splash pads and water features rank pretty high on a summer bucket list. Little kids, bigger kids, and even the occasional parent (yes, you!) can cool off on a hot day without tons of planning or tons of waste. Let's face it: playing in the water is just plain fun—and if you keep an extra towel in the car, you're always ready.

Check out some of these free water play parks and sprinklers around Orange County. Most are open Memorial Day to Labor Day, though we recommend calling to confirm before heading out, as water conservation efforts may sometimes be in effect.

Top Long Island Playgrounds for Toddlers

Toddlers seem to have endless energy and the power to play all day. They might want to do all that older kids can, but with wobbly legs and arms that can't quite reach, they require special playgrounds.

From Nassau to Suffolk counties and all the way to the East End, designers of Long Island's parks have been thoughtful in creating play spaces for our littlest residents. So as the weather gets warmer, why not take your toddlers to a spot designed with their needs in mind?

We have done the legwork and scouted out the top toddler playgrounds across Long Island. Be sure to check our full list of parks and playgrounds on Long Island, then get out there and enjoy these beautiful days.

17 Splash Pads and Spray Grounds to Beat the DC Summer Heat

DC isn't called a swamp just because it was built in a flood-heavy area. Anyone who lives in or has visited the DC area during the summer months knows that DC weather is hot, humid, and sticky! And while heading indoors to explore the area's many museums or indoor play spaces is a great option on those swampy days, jumping into some water is the best way to keep cool. But time doesn't always permit for a daylong excursion to one of DC's many public pools so splash pads and spraygrounds offer a welcome and quick cool down and some summer fun.  

To help you locate one in your area, we've put together a list of our favorite splash pads and spraygrounds in DC, Northern Virginia, and Maryland. Check out our picks and escape the swamp-like temps and enjoy outdoor fun with the entire family!

Remember: Unless noted, all splash pads listed are open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and are free. Always check venue website for additional information, such as rules of play and closures.

10 One-Mile-or-Less Hikes to Take with Your Preschooler Around Boston

Being a parent to a little one doesn't mean you need to hang up your hiking boots. Boston boasts plenty of tree-lined walking paths that accommodate strollers, and even more short, easy hiking trails to suit kids who've become a little more sure-footed. Along with the many short, winding routes that snake through Blue Hills, just outside city limits, these 10 hikes are well-maintained, close to Boston, and offer just the right amount of challenge for preschool-age trailblazers. 

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