Theme & Water Parks

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Weekend Getaway: Make a Splash at Great Wolf Lodge, Poconos

At Great Wolf Lodge in the Poconos, families can enjoy an indoor water park that is a balmy 84 degrees every day, even in the middle of winter. The resort appeals to families with toddlers to teens for a quick weekend getaway or school vacation trip. Who needs to splurge on a flight to the Caribbean, eh?

The Poconos family resort's location just completed its first phase of a $15 million renovation that included updating its rooms and adding in new kid-friendly programming. We returned for a visit to get the scoop on all the new attractions, including a Summer Camp-In event offered through Labor Day. Great Wolf Lodge didn't forget about mom and dad when adding new upgrades. The Pennsylvania hotel and resort now offers a "Wine Down" service for parents after a long day at the indoor water park.

14 Outdoor Water Parks With Water Slides and Spraygrounds for New England Kids and Families

Splash pads and swimming pools are fun ways to cool off near home, but in three hours or less by car, families in Massachusetts or Connecticut can get to most of the following outdoor water parks for a wet and wild adventure with kids. Although there's no shortage of big slides at these amusement parks, you don't have to be a daredevil (or of a certain height) to enjoy yourself. There are wave pools, family raft rides, and lazy rivers for preschoolers (and those of us who don't need to plummet a down a very tall slide to have fun). Some of the parks are dedicated to water attractions, and others are part of a larger theme park, but they all offer plenty of chances to get completely soaked. 

Best Carousels in NYC: 13 Merry-Go-Rounds City Kids Love

There's something wonderfully nostalgic about kids getting a thrill from a ride on a carousel. It's the simplest of amusement park attractions, and there are more than a dozen merry-go-rounds in New York City alone. It's easy to stumble upon them on your next park outing.

Each city carousel offers a unique spin on this traditional kiddie ride, from harbor views to a ride inside an iridescent fish. We've rounded up the best merry-go-rounds in all five boroughs.

Best Amusement Parks Near NYC Reachable by Public Transportation

If you're feeling nostalgic for a summer adventure filled with cotton candy and Ferris wheel rides, it might be time for some family-friendly fun at a nearby theme park. There's no shortage of amusement parks and water parks for New York City-based thrill-seekers, but if you don't have a car, some parks can seem out of reach. Fear not, we’ve rounded up the best amusement parks that are easily accessible from NYC via public transportation. Remember the sunscreen—and forget the parking (and rental) headaches.

Find more summer fun in our Theme and Water Parks Guide.

35 Summer Day Trips to Take With NYC Kids

It’s summer road trip season! Once school is finally out, we’re itching to get outdoors to explore beyond NYC’s limits. Lucky for you, our Mommy Poppins reviewers know all the best spots in the tri-state area, from beaches and water parks to cool nature spots and pick-your-own fruit farms.

We’ve rounded up over three dozen of our favorites for summertime, including a few indoor options for (shudder) rainy days, or if you really just need to freeze in the a/c for a bit. All of these spots are less than two hours away, because, well, who wants to day trip for longer than that with kids in the backseat?

Find more ideas in our full Day Trips and Getaways Guide, or try checking off something from our 100 Things to Do with Kids in New York State list.

Historic Carousel and New Ferris Wheel in Forest Park Are Sweet Rides for Preschoolers

Good news for pint-sized thrill seekers in Queens: There's a new ferris wheel just for kids at the preschooler-friendly Forest Park Carousel Amusement Village, now open for the season. This leafy, old-fashioned mini amusement park in Forest Park (located in the park on the bandshell side of Woodhaven Boulevard) has long been a hidden-gem favorite of Queens families, with its historic carousel, rides, and games. The opening of a ferris wheel specifically designed with little ones in mind makes the park the perfect activity for a slow summer's day. Here's what to know before you go.

Jersey Shore Boardwalks and Amusement Parks for Family Fun

Everyone loves a good trip to the beach, but Jersey Shore boardwalks are where the real memories are made. Whether you make it a day trip or have weekend or week-long plans for a summer vacation, one thing you most definitely don't want to miss is time on the boardwalk.

From frozen custard and funnel cakes to rides and mini-golf—and a few that feature water parks and toddler amusements—a boardwalk ups the ante on your usual trip to the beach. Boardwalks and the Jersey Shore go hand-in-hand, but if you are making only one trip this year, make sure it's to one of the best!

Victorian Gardens in Central Park Is a Just-Right Amusement Park for Preschoolers

Manhattan's only outdoor amusement park, Victorian Gardens, is now open for the 2019 season. It's one of those annual summer attractions you think all New York City families know about and go to—until you realize a bunch of your friends have never even heard of it.

Victorian Gardens is especially wonderful for younger children, which is why we included it in our roundup of best theme parks for preschoolers, although elementary schoolers will enjoy themselves, too. The rides are contained in a small, enclosed space so you don't have to worry about kids wandering off (like at Coney Island), and there's little walking between attractions. Most of the rides are gentle (a few have height requirements), and there aren't any teens rushing through the crowd. Plus, you can't beat the location at Wollman Rink in Central Park, just steps from the zoo, Heckscher Playground and the carousel.

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