Top Long Island Playgrounds for Toddlers

Toddlers seem to have endless energy and the power to play all day. They might want to do all that older kids can, but with wobbly legs and arms that can't quite reach, they require special playgrounds.

From Nassau to Suffolk counties and all the way to the East End, designers of Long Island's parks have been thoughtful in creating play spaces for our littlest residents. So as the weather gets warmer, why not take your toddlers to a spot designed with their needs in mind?

We have done the legwork and scouted out the top toddler playgrounds across Long Island. Be sure to check our full list of parks and playgrounds on Long Island, then get out there and enjoy these beautiful days.

Ocean City: Family-Friendly Summer Fun on the Jersey Shore

Summertime at the Jersey Shore means beach days and boardwalk rides, mini-golf and arcade games, topped off with fresh seafood dinners or pizza and ice cream. Shore towns from Sandy Hook to Cape May offer the best bets for family vacation fun, and Ocean City, a classic family beach destination at the southern shore, is one of our favorites.

Nicknamed America's Family Resort, Ocean City draws families from across New Jersey and Pennsylvania to enjoy its wide beaches, kid-centered boardwalk, and family events. Read on for details about visiting Ocean City with kids. And for more beach vacation ideas, check out our inside look at southern shore gems Wildwood and Cape May

Destination Dino: Dinosaurs Arrive at the Franklin Park Zoo

My kids are always excited for a trip to the Franklin Park Zoo; I mean, who isn't awed by lions, gorillas, or those gorgeous, roaming peacocks? But when we learned that some new animals were taking up temporary residence in Franklin Park this summer—life-sized, moving, roaring dinosaurs, no less—our curiosity was piqued even more than usual. So, on a quiet Wednesday afternoon in June, my 6-year-old played hooky from kindergarten and we went into Boston to take in Destination Dino, on display at the Franklin Park Zoo through September 3. Here's what we saw—and what to know before you go.

Father's Day Weekend for LA Kids: Pasadena Chalk, Bowl Opening, Rodeo Drive

Settle down, padre; we get it. It’s Father's Day. This weekend it’s all about you. Dad’s choice from sunup to sundown: make way for baseball (with or without a game), BBQ and buffetsanimated superheroes, and Bond, James Bond. Or, if you prefer, JoJo Siwa and faeries. As long as you’re happy, we’re happy. Yep, whatever it takes, no expense spared...

Psst: Moms and kids! Did you know there's a ton of cool stuff going on this weekend that you can take Dad to for freeLuxury cars on Rodeo Driveno-cost concertsmovies by moonlightfestivals, and celebrations. You can even make him a variety of from-the-heart gifts. All without dipping into the trust fund. There are also things you can do that cost money, if you're into that. (And we have a feeling some of it Dad will be very into!)

Whichever way you go, it's sure to be the bestest weekend ever, if you get to spend it together. Hey, look! Next week it's summer!

Keep reading for the father of all weekends...

Fathers Day Weekend Fun for CT Kids: Dinosaurs, Drive-In Movies, and Cardboard Box Forts

It's Fathers Day Weekend, and time to show Dad how much you appreciate his lawn mowing skills and groan-inducing pun-filled jokes. This weekend take some time to participate in some classic Dad-oriented activities like building a cardboard box fort (really, this is a thing). Is your Dad into vintage automobiles? Check out car shows this weekend in Norwalk, New Canaan, and New Britain. If cars aren't his thing, how about dinosaurs?

This weekend is also a great time to head to the International Festival of Arts and Ideas, with events happening all weekend long at various sites throughout New Haven. Finally, cap the weekend off with cheeseburgers and malted milkshakes at the drive-in.

For even more options, check out our Event Calendar, which is constantly updated with new listings from across the state. To keep up with everything going on in CT, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Have a fabulous weekend!

Swim Lessons and Classes for New Jersey Kids

Looking for a way to introduce your child to the pool? Parent-child swim classes are a great way to help kids develop a love of swimming and instill confidence around the water. These programs teach water skills in a safe and age-appropriate way, and most allow children as young as 6 months to participate. Once your little one gets the hang of it, you can take the family to the pool, beach, or water park with confidence. And most programs continue to offer lessons for kids up to age 12 and beyond.

For more kids' classes, be sure to check out our Guide to Classes and Enrichment Programs.

Father's Day Weekend: Big Bounce, Clearwater Fest, Children's Day

It’s time for Dad’s special day, and we’ve combed Westchester and the Hudson Valley to find the best ways for families to honor the important men in their lives. Sure, a nice dinner or sporting event is often the just-right excursion, but in case you’re looking for something more, we’ve got lots to choose from.

The big headliner of the weekend is the Clearwater Great Hudson River Revival, a two-day outdoor event celebrating environmental protection on a grand scale with a vast and impressive lineup of music, exhibitions, assorted entertainment, an instrument “petting zoo,” wholesome food, and more. This is just one of several summer festivals taking place this weekend; others include the Yonkers Ukrainian Heritage Festival.

Another musical highlight is Caramoor's Family Concert, when the illustrious venue presents a performance tailored to younger audiences. Fans of inflatables, this one’s for you: The Big Bounce America is bringing 20,000 square feet of jumpy fun to the Hudson Valley, including assorted variations on the bouncy theme. There also are a couple of kid-focused historical events this weekend, including Family Fun Day at the Piermont Railroad Station Museum, which offers particular appeal for young fans of locomotives.

Read on for all of our top picks, and check out our Event Calendar for even more options to choose from. Our June GoList can help you plan the remainder of the month, and signing up for our FREE weekly newsletters keeps you in the know! 

Have a very happy Father’s Day!

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.

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