Theme & Water Parks

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Theme Park Haunts and Halloween Fun Near Philly

Summertime visits to an amusement park often mean dealing with long lines and sweating through your sunscreen. Fortunately, many parks around the Philadelphia area extend their seasons into the cooler fall months with Halloween-themed attractions. This can be a fantastic off-peak day trip for thrill-seeking families looking to enjoy a Halloween experience beyond the local parades and festivals. Several of the theme parks have kid-friendly attractions during the day, then transform into frightening tween-and-above entertainment zones at night. There are often trick-or-treat opportunities and costume contests, so children (and even some adults) can gather candy goodies and show off their Halloween disguises. If your family is seeking some over-the-top Halloween fun ranging anywhere from silly to downright scary, check our list of amusement parks sure to provide excitement.  

Looking for more Halloween fun? Don't forget to check out our Halloween Guide.

Go-Kart and Slot Car Racing Destinations for LI Kids

Want to go for a spin? Then check out one of Long Island’s go-kart or slot car tracks.   

Parents of kids who love being in the driver’s seat will love what these high-speed destinations offer. Inexpensive and thrilling, they’re ideal for kids who refuse to take a back seat to anyone. Gentlemen (and ladies), start your engines. 

For more indoor fun, see our guide to play spaces and fun zones. If your kids prefer to pedal, our guide to Long Island biking trails offers great rides in Nassau, Suffolk, and the East End.

Day Trip to Point Pleasant Beach and Jenkinson's Boardwalk

Point Pleasant Beach has long been a family-friendly Jersey Shore destination, and with good reason. About an hour's drive from New York City and Philadelphia, this picturesque stretch of sand lies between the beaches of Monmouth County and the craziness of Seaside Heights. Jenkinson’s Boardwalk plays host to many kid-friendly attractions, including an aquarium, arcades, mini-golf courses, a ropes course, and an amusement park with a whole section that’s just right for toddlers and preschoolers.

I spent many summers here in my youth, and this summer, with my own 4-year-old in tow, I headed down to exit 98 to spend the day at this popular Shore spot.

Looking for more warm-weather fun? Check out our Summer Fun Guide and Jersey Shore Family Guide for ideas. 

Buccaneer Cove: OC's Pirate-Themed Water Park Cools off Little Kids

Aarrgghh! Beating the heat is no easy feat when SoCal temperatures can rise well into the hundreds. Luckily, little pirates can stay cool all summer long at Buccaneer Cove. This Orange County pirate-themed water park, located just off the 405 freeway in Irvine, is the perfect spot to introduce mini swashbuckling adrenaline junkies to the rush of riding water slides. It's great for younger children, is easy to navigate, and doesn't plunder as much treasure as other water parks–so parents won't feel like walking the plank after paying the entrance fee.

How to Have a Blast at Schlitterbahn New Braunfels With Kids

We know everything is bigger in the Lone Star State, including our water parks. Schlitterbahn New Braunfels, Texas' OG water park, spans over 70 acres filled with 51 attractions. And it. is. a. BLAST. Schlitterbahn has something for water park enthusiasts of all ages. Nervous about venturing out with little ones? Fear not - we did just that and have plenty of tips and tricks for a smooth ride.

25 Ways to Cool Off with NJ Kids in the Dog Days of Summer

If you're suffering from hot-weather burnout, don't sweat it: New Jersey has tons of cool activities to help the whole family chill out when the temperatures soar. From beaches and splash parks to blissfully air-conditioned bowling alleys and indoor mini-golf, we've got the best ways to beat the heat during the sizzling second half of summer. Check out even more refreshing activities in our New Jersey Kids Summer Activities Guide. Stay cool, NJ!

Summer Streets Brings New Water Park and Epic Slide to NYC

Citi Summer Streets, easily one of our favorite NYC seasonal festivals, returns for its 10th anniversary of car-free Saturdays on August 5. This year it's debuting something totally new, and yes, a little whacky near Central Park: an inflatable water park from LG with a dishwasher theme. Expect "massive slides in the shape of cutlery," hanging glide rails that lead to the pool, and a "3rd rack" section.

The annual Summer Streets event gives New Yorkers three consecutive August Saturdays of car-free fun to enjoy a seven-mile stretch of city streets from the Upper East Side to the Brooklyn Bridge. VitaCoco will bring back its epic water slide in lower Manhattan, and the always-popular zip line—rising 30 feet above the urban landscape and spanning a distance of 165 feet—returns as well for 2017.

Most all of the interactive stations like the dishwasher water park (will there be soap bubbles??) are 100% FREE but some require advance registration. Read on for all the details for this ultimate summer street fest.

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