Best New Jersey Arcades To Visit with the Kids

"When I was your age..." This phrase could lead to droll talk of land-line telephones and paper maps—or it could yield a bit more enthusiasm when a kid actually enjoys rather than mocks their parent's childhood experience. A good arcade makes this possible. At these indoor fun spots, kids and their parents can enjoy vintage attractions like Skee-Ball, Donkey Kong, Asteroids, Space Invaders, Ms. Pac Man, air hockey, and pinball—plus check out new games, updates of old faves, and even virtual adventures.

We've rounded up a few of the best arcades in New Jersey, from Game Vault in Morristown to Silverball Museum Arcade in Asbury Park, where you can have fun and lose track of time together.

Summer Must-Dos: 33 Things to Do in NYC Before School Starts

With August upon us and the start of a new school year looming, my kids and I are in a panic about all the things we haven't yet crossed off our NYC summer bucket list.

Sure, we've had a lot of fun tooling around the city, enjoying our local swimming pool, reigniting a love for some favorite playgrounds, and soaking up all the FREE entertainment. There are plenty of great activities we haven't gotten to, though.

So as a reminder to us, and to you, we've crafted this list of 33 things to do before summer ends. Some are summer-only events happening all month; others are one-time-only affairs, so read on and get ready to dive in before the summer sun sets!

Get Up Close with Kids' Favorite "Things that Go"

With Touch-A-Truck events, Philly kids--and kids at heart--can get up close with their favorite "things that go." From fire trucks and backhoes to new concept cars and monster trucks, these events are fun ways to hop inside vehicles you might not otherwise get a chance to see. Often, they help support local charities, township programs, and first responders so you can feel good about having fun and helping out some great causes, too. 

If you have a car, truck, or ambulance lover in your family, check out our list of local Touch-A-Truck events happening nearby. For more ideas of things to do, head on over to our events calendar.

NYC Playgrounds with Shade: Stay Cool With Shady Park Benches and Equipment

While kids can always cool off in NYC's many sprinklers, we parents are often stuck baking in the sun all day during the heat of the city's summer as we supervise outdoor play. It's a problem our readers know too well—each summer we get requests for recommendations of shady spots to play.

Although we know of a couple playgrounds that offer exceptional amounts of shade—Hippo Playground in Riverside Park and Discovery Playground in Fort Washington Park come to mind—we decided to ask our readers if they knew of any super-shady playgrounds in New York City. They came through with a number of great suggestions.

Please keep in mind that the name of the game here is comfort on a hot summer day; though we have visited plenty of destination playgrounds, with a few exceptions, these shady suggestions tend to be neighborhood standbys and small playgrounds that have plenty of shade, but perhaps not too many bells and whistles.

9 Makerspaces Where Boston Kids Can Be Creative

Looking for ways to reboot kids' brains as the school year approaches? Consider a makerspace visit. For parents not familiar with makerspaces (also known as hackerspaces), think of them as similar to art classes—with an engineering twist. People go to create something through free expression with tools they otherwise don't have, but instead of oil-based paints and canvases, makerspaces provide 3D printers, computer-aided design software, and other technology.

Although folks of all ages can participate in makerspaces, the best ones for kids have an emphasis on youth-based STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning. Here is a rundown of fun and kid-centric makerspace options in the Boston area.

Island Living at Sherwood Island State Park

Your Connecticut license plate gets you more than the privilege to drive on our roads - it is also your FREE ticket to Connecticut’s State Parks as part of the “Passport to Parks” program. Located in Westport, Sherwood Island is Fairfield County’s only coastal state operated facility. With over 238 acres of shoreline to explore, swim, fish, hike, or relax in, it is no wonder that Sherwood Island is a gem of Fairfield County.

The Best Zoos and Aquariums in NYC

Ever think you would spot a seal in Manhattan, or a giraffe in The Bronx? Did you ever hope you'd be surrounded by sharks at Coney IslandNew York city zoos offer families the chance to get up close and personal with animals from all over the world.  Each borough boasts its own unique zoo experience. Whether your children are big or small, there is a zoo somewhere in NYC suited to their age, interests and attention span. Best of all, access to these creatures doesn't have to break the bank. Free admission can be as easy as picking the right afternoon to visit. Check out our insider tips for making the most of New York City's zoos.

Six Flags NJ: An Amusement Park with Big and Little Thrills

Braving the thrill rides at Six Flags Great Adventure & Safari in Jackson, NJ, is practically a rite of passage for kids who live in and around the Garden State. Perhaps for this reason, I wasn't 100-percent sure my young children (ages 2, 5, and 7) were old enough to fully enjoy it—but we decided to test the waters. And as I did my planning, I realized, "Holy cow! There's a ton of things to do at Six Flags!"

New Jersey's largest theme park, Six Flags is known for heart-dropping roller coasters like Nitro and Kingda Ka (the world's tallest coaster)—but there are also plenty of attractions geared toward the smaller set and those who enjoy tamer thrills. You can see zebras, giraffes, and other cool creatures on the Safari Off-Road Adventure; ride the Porky Pig Ferris Wheel in Bugs Bunny National Park; make a splash on the Saw Mill Log Flume; and much, much more. You also might want to set aside another day for Hurricane Harbor, Six Flags' massive water park.

Read on for details of our visit, along with tips for making your trip super-fun for kids of all ages. 

Kid-Friendly Wineries on Long Island's East End

With so many wineries on the East End welcoming children and even pets, Long Island wine country has become a huge destination not just for couples and bachelorette parties, but for families, too.

From picnic areas to live music and annual events, we’ve rounded up a host of vineyards—many of which are family-owned and operated—that offer the most family-friendly experiences. In addition to wine, most tasting rooms offer light snacks and nonalcoholic beverages, and some allow outside food and drink in designated picnic areas. Of course, kids must be supervised and pets must be on leashes. Be sure to check individual websites for specific rules. And be responsible if driving.

Summertime is the perfect time to visit an East End vineyard. And while you're out that way, check out some other family-friendly spots on the North Fork, including Lavender by the Bay, a family-friendly lavender farm in East Marion; Greenport village; and the Long Island Aquarium

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Garden Concerts, Superhero Shakespeare, and Surf Fest

Can you believe it's August already? The summer's almost over. Last call for school break fun, cause we'll be back in school before you know it!

Oh, hey, look at that: the Actors' Gang free summer Shakespeare for kids is starting up this weekend. The Gang is doing an Avengers tinged Much Ado About Nothing, quite a Marvel if you ask me. Nothing like your kids quoting Shakespeare when they go back to school, which they will be doing shortly because the summer is practically over...

Oh, hey, look at that: The Getty Garden Concerts for Kids are starting up this weekend. It isn't summer until the Garden Concerts have started, I'll tell you that. Jazzy Ash gets things going with her fun, New Orleans inspired jazz. You can dance or chill on the Getty Center Lawn to this family favorite. And then after that you can turn in your swim fins and sunscreen, because the summer is just about over...

Oh, hey, look at that: the Ventura County Fair is starting up this weekend. Nothing says summer like funnel cakes, carnival rides, and pig races. And then the summer is over for most intents and purposes, so maybe we should all be buying ski garb and looking into Christmas trees. 

Oh, hey, look at that: There's a new Disney movie coming out this weekend. I say "summer"; you say "blockbuster"!  I say "Winnie", you say "Pooh"! And we both say that maybe there's a little bit of summer left after all.

Keep reading for our best picks for what is clearly another awesome summer weekend.

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