NYC Destination Playground: The Imagination Playground

When the Imagination Playground near South Street Seaport opened eight years ago, the concept was revolutionary. The brainchild of famed architect David Rockwell, the unique play space was the product of years of Rockwell's own research, inspired by parenting his city kids. Rockwell's flagship destination playground has since inspired other indoor play spaces and outdoor playgrounds, including a second Imagination Playground in Brownsville, Brooklyn, featuring those iconic, oversize blue building blocks.

What makes the Imagination Playground different? Unlike many city playgrounds, this one wasn't designed for the usual swinging, climbing, sliding, and wild romping. Instead, its figure-eight shape encourages creative play in distinct play areas that offer different experiences. It's not quite the free-for-all of NYC's only adventure playground on Governors Island, but it does include some DIY fun.

Father's Day Weekend in New Jersey: Skimmer Festival, Circus, Tri-County Fair

Dad's the VIP of this mid-June weekend. Our roster is loaded with events that Dad, and the whole family, will enjoy. Head down the shore for games and amusements, with freebies for fathers at Seaside Heights' Casino Pier, Morey's Piers in Wildwood, and Jenkinson's in Point Pleasant. Bring a hungry Dad to Father's Day Brunch at Alstede Farms, a Father's Day BBQ at Grounds for Sculpture, or a Father's Day Luau at Bellview Winery. And don't miss our list of 25 ways to celebrate Dad with kids for even more ideas.

This busy weekend also features circus and carnival fun, with the Kelly Miller Circus coming to town in Little Ferry and the four-day Tri-County Fair in Rockaway.

Check out our Summer Guide for New Jersey Kids for more options for family fun, including Great Amusement Parks for Preschoolers and Toddlers in New Jersey. And look to our event calendar and June GoList for a complete listing of happenings this weekend and beyond.

Swimming Lakes Near NYC for a Family Dip

New Yorkers are lucky to be surrounded by water: When we get the urge to take a dip on a hot summer day, there are plenty of family-friendly beaches a short drive or subway ride from NYC. But for families with little kids, the ocean can be intimidating, with its choppy waves and miles of hot sand without an inch of shade.

Sure, there’s always the local pool, but if you’re itching to get the kids out of the city to enjoy a swim in the great outdoors, what better place than one of our area’s beautiful, placid, freshwater swimming lakes? We’ve rounded up the best lake swimming spots within a two-hour drive from the city.

Find more fun things to do this summer (and ways to cool down) with our Beaches, Pools, and Water Parks Guide for NYC kids.

Registration for Apple Camp, Apple's FREE Three-Day Summer Camp, is Open Now!

If you've got an 8-12-year-old interested in STEM or movie-making, you'll want to act fast; Apple has just opened registration for its free three-day camps. Located at Apple store locations throughout Los Angeles and Orange County, these special annual camps and are 100% free—and they will fill up fast, so we wanted you to be the first to know!

For more camp information and ideas, check out our Camp Guide and Directory.

Summer Camps with Availability for Westchester Kids

Summer vacation may be staring you in the face, but there's no need to panic—we've rounded up a dozen camps that still have spots. Whether you're looking for a day camp for your preschooler or a sleepaway camp for your tween, you'll find it here! And to make your life even easier, many of them actually offer door to door transportation. Sign up for the whole summer, or just one week, depending on the camp and your needs. (After all, you might want to leave time to work your way through all the activities in our Summer Fun Guide.)

You can find even more camps in our Westchester Summer Camp Guide, or in our Directory.

Free Outdoor Summer Concerts for Long Island Families

Not all summer entertainment on Long Island comes with a hefty price tag. In fact, some shows don't come with a price tag at all.

We've rounded up a host of FREE local outdoor concerts—all parents need to do is grab a lawn chair or picnic blanket and get ready to shimmy, shake, and smile with the little ones.

For more seasonal fun, be sure to check out our ideas for outdoor summer games and our picks for the best beaches for Long Island families. Our summer fun guide offers more ideas for getting the best out of the summer months. Enjoy.

Mostly Free Outdoor Summer Concerts for LA Families

They say music soothes the savage breast, but it's also pretty good at entertaining the easily bored child. Free (or almost free) concert series fill Los Angeles and Orange County open spaces all summer long, so odds are you won't have to travel far to find an under-the-stars event. Throw down a blanket, spread out the snacks, uncork the wine, and watch the kids boogie the evening away as you sway to breezy melodies.

This year offers many returning favorites, plus a few changes. La Habra's Let Move and Canoga Park's Children's Performance Series are in new locations; Arcadia Summer Concerts and Summer Movies are joining for a combined event. La Mirada's summer concerts add a night market to the mix. The Downtown Stage concerts in Pershing Square are now offering reserved tickets online; but don't worry, they're still free! Santa Monica's Twilight Dance Series is moving to the fall—perhaps a result of its overwhelming popularity—and of course there are plenty of free outdoor movies all summer as well.

Click through for complete details, including dates and bands. And check back often, because we continue adding concerts throughout the season!


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