Memorial Day Weekend in NYC: Festivals, Beaches, Family Fun Day

Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer, is here! We know it's been one of the coldest Mays in memory, but that's changing fast. No matter what, New York City's big seasonal attractions open on Saturday, like local beaches, or Victorian Gardens in Central Park. Plus, if it reaches 80 degrees, the city's destination playground sprinklers might be on, too.

While beaches and playgrounds are open all summer, events like Fleet Week ship tours, Governors Island Family Fun Day, Memorial Day in Prospect Park, and a bunch of parades are on tap this weekend only.

Thinking about a last-minute getaway? We've pulled together great family day trips on Long Island, including cool lighthouses, and Westchester and Hudson Valley, as well as our favorite nearby beaches like Fire Island's Ocean Beach and those a bit farther down the Jersey Shore. When you're there, use our Jersey Shore Family Guide. You might also try one of the nearby water parks or amusement parks, many of which open for the season on Saturday. Also, don't forget that many local farms in the greater NYC area are open for strawberry picking with the kids, beginning this weekend. 

Stay local and finally visit the mesmerizing CHIHULY glass sculpture display at New York Botanical Gardens, the FREE Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens, floating food forest Swale in Brooklyn, or the brand-new zip line and 25-foot climbing tower opening on Governors Island this weekend. Our NYC Parks and Playgrounds Guide is always a safe bet for staycations, too, as is our Indoor Play Spaces Guide, including fun places parents and kids can play together in NYC.

Read on for our best bets for Memorial Day weekend events for kids in NYC. Oodles of family fun can also be found in our Event CalendarSpring Fun Guide, and our fresh-out-of-the-oven Summer Fun Guide.

However you spend the three-day holiday weekend, we hope you have a blast! 

Memorial Day Weekend Fun for Westchester Kids: Zerbini Circus, Parades

For those of you staying in Westchester for Memorial Day weekend, there's no shortage of events!

Many towns and villages throughout the county celebrate the occasion with their own parades and ceremonies. Standouts include the Memorial Day Races & Fair and Memorial Day Parade and Hudson Park Event.

The three-day weekend is also a great time for animal encounters, with For Shear Pleasure and Memorial Day Dog Parade & Show heading the pack. A couple of the many seasonal festivals we previously told you about also take place this weekend, and there’s a performance by the The Zerbini Family Circus—especially good news after the closing of Ringling Bros.

So let everyone else deal with the traffic and hassle of heading out of town; there’s plenty to do right here at home! Read on to see all of our top weekend picks and consult our Event Calendar for even more options to choose from.

Don't miss the last chance to help us choose our Besties and be entered to win one of two terrific prizes: a  a two night stay for four at the Great Wolf Lodge in the Pocono Mountains or a family four-pack of admission tickets to Quassy Amusement Park and Waterpark in Middlebury, Connecticut.  Vote today!

Best Water Playgrounds and Splash Pads in New Jersey

When the heat becomes unbearable with the kids this summer, you might be yearning to bust open a fire hydrant. Before you do, consider one of New Jersey's splash pads and sprinkler parks, many of which are located in local parks and playgrounds.

We've rounded up some of our favorite water playgrounds around the state, organized by region. Remember, these are not water parks, so you won't find a ton of bells and whistles—though some do offer interactive features like dumping buckets or whimsical designs like water spouts in the shape of cattails (Van Saun Park!); animal fixtures (Bridgeton); or basketball sprayers (Manalapan). But the best part? Most of these splash zones are completely FREE.

Visit our Best NJ Water Parks article to go all in for theme park fun. Or strap on those water shoes, pack the towels, and read on for some of New Jersey's best water playgrounds and spray parks in your neighborhood. 

Memorial Day Weekend for LI Kids: Air Show, Parades, Street Art

This Memorial Day weekend head over to the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park, where you'll see an all-star lineup of civilian planes and the Air Force Thunderbirds. Farther east, the Community Mosaic Street Painting Festival in downtown Riverhead features a fine arts and crafts fair, live music, dance, theater, and more.

There are fireworks this weekend, loads of parades to recognize the fallen, and even family carnivals.

Celebrate the unofficial start of summer with our roundup of the best family beaches on Long Island. And if you're up for a little traveling time, see our day trip ideas for the holiday weekend.

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The Bestie Awards are coming to town and we need to know who you love. The Besties is a reader voting contest celebrating small local businesses that make parenting on Long Island awesome. Help us choose our finalists by shouting out your favorite places to make, do, eat, learn, and play. Nominate your Besties now.

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

A rainy winter has erased many drought restrictions, and families are looking for water, water everywhere in the summer. 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 handy, 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 still be in effect.

28 Festivals, Fairs, and Carnivals for Philly Families this June

As the school year comes to a close and extracurricular activities wind down, the festival, fair, and carnival season is just getting started! We've compiled a list of all the great festivals and fairs happening this June. From the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to annual traditions, there is something for every member of the family. So, get out your calendar and be sure to make time for the array of fun that awaits Philly families this month!

Fairfield County Letterbox Trails for Kids

So maybe you've heard about it but you're still not really sure. What is letterboxing anyway? Well to start, it is really like the ultimate scavenger hunt. You are given a set of clues and then you head out into the woods and go on a hunt in search of secret hidden stamps in the forest. Sound fun? That's because it is! Even my three year old is a letterboxing-enthusiast.

This fun family adventure is great for all ages and for all cities located across the country. There are about 90,000 active letterboxes hidden in North America alone. So what exactly is a letterbox? Letterboxes are small weatherproof boxes that typically contain a hand-carved rubber stamp, a log-book to keep a record of visitors, and occasionally an ink pad. Letterboxer's will leave an imprint of their own personal stamp in the letterbox's log book. We've rounded up six kid-friendly letterbox trails in Fairfield County. Happy Trails.

Zip Line and 25-Foot Climbing Tower to Open on Governors Island

Governors Island has long been one of our favorite places to play and the summer fun is about to get a lot more thrilling on the isle.

Adventures at Governors Island, a new high-octane entertainment zone boasting a zip line, 3-D climbing wall, and maze debuts this Memorial Day weekend (weather dependent), and we can't wait to check out the exhilarating attraction. Its opening will double the number of zip lines in NYC—to two.

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