New York City

11 Queens Water Playgrounds and Sprinkler Parks

Let’s face it, sometimes you just don’t want to live by the schedule of open swim hours at your local NYC pool. Sometimes you just want to tire your kids out so they sleep until 6 (or even 7) in the morning. And sometimes you just want to relax outdoors with iced coffee and a book, but your children aren’t as into that idea as you are. This is why water playgrounds were invented...we're pretty sure, anyway.

While we already have profiled some of the top water playgrounds in other parts of the city as well as some of the top fountains for splashing, we realized we had neglected our Queens families. So in the interest of parenting solidarity we’ve put together a list of eleven spraygrounds or water playgrounds in Queens. They’re all FREE, and as an added bonus most usually have an ice cream truck in the area—for the children, of course, totally for the children. 

Check out our NYC Beaches, Pools, and Water Parks Guide for more summer splashing, or our Summer Fun Guide for more seasonal activities for the kids.

25 Fun (and Educational) Things to Do for Free with Kids this Summer

Summer is all about going to the beach, eating ice cream, exploring the outdoors, and having family-friendly fun—no "reading, writing, and arithmetic" allowed...Right? Well, it turns out that there's a whole world of educational fun to be had while your family enjoys summer, from exploring marine habitats at the beach to learning about science while making your own ice cream.

Whether your summer vacation takes you to the forests of Yosemite or the beaches of Mexico, here's a list of 25 ways to keep kids learning—while having fun—all through their school vacation.

Best Children's Museums for Families to Visit in New York City

New York City doesn't lack for world-class museums and cultural institutions. While I've been to The Met more times than I can count (and still haven't seen it all) and can while away an afternoon at The Whitney no problem, sometimes my kids need something with a little more action.

That's where New York City's many family-friendly children's museums come in. We've rounded up a dozen of our favorites, ranging from totally interactive playspaces to spots for making art, studying history, and much more. All of NYC's kid museums provide plenty of fun things to do, and are great indoor activities whether you're beating the summer heat or escaping winter's chill.

20 Easy (But Gorgeous) Hiking Trails To Do with Kids and Babies

By Shanti Hodges

Looking for a hiking trail near you? Great walking trails top our picks for fun summer activities and fall outings with kids. A hike is an opportunity for quality family time, exercise for kids, and of course, discoveries small and large, from bugs to waterfalls.

These getaway-worthy, family-friendly hiking trails are just a sampling of my favorite trails, highlighted in my new book, Hike it Baby: 100 Awesome Adventures with Babies and Toddlers. As founder of Hike it Baby, a nonprofit dedicated to helping families get on the trail with kids, I’ve been fortunate enough to sample nature trails across the country, including at our best national parks and campsites, and even those extra-special, smaller local parks that often offer the best hikes for toddlers and families with little kids.

Now I’m sharing 20 of my favorites, from Connecticut to Florida to Washington state, that are perfect for your next day trip or family vacation. Most are easy loop paths, but I’ve included some moderate trails and top destinations, such as Mt. Rainer and the Badlands. Many of these hikes are FREE, too. The list also highlights family-friendly perks like bathrooms, and benches for a rest or a nursing mom.

5 Inspiring Firefighter Museums Near New York City

Kids love firefighters. And who can blame them? Brave men and women who drive around in shiny red trucks—and actually save lives—are kind of like real-life superheroes. And a chance to try on equipment, climb aboard fire trucks, and have questions answered by some of these superheroes themselves could be your little firefighter fan's dream come true. Luckily, the New York area is home to several museums dedicated to firefighters that are great for the whole family.

If you're looking for fun indoor activities to help you beat the heat (or the rainy day blues), here are some of the kid-friendly firefighter museums in our area where you and your kids can learn how firefighters do their jobs, plus how to prevent fires in your own home, and how to act in a fire emergency. 

11 NYC Neighborhoods to Visit With Your Family This Summer

Whether you're a New York native, a day-tripper, or a tourist from way outta town, summer is the perfect time to explore this action-packed city. And since there's certainly no shortage of warm-weather adventures for kids of all ages, we partnered with the Big Apple pros over at NYCgo to share some of the top can't-be-missed 'hoods worthy of a visit while the sun's out this season.

From sharks to new parks, make it a summer of adventure with these hot, family-friendly neighborhoods across all five boroughs!

Visiting Sandy Hook Beach with Kids

There is no shortage of options for NYC beach-goers. We have the Rockaways, Coney Island and Jacob Riis all within city limits, plus the Jersey Shore and the often-overlooked beaches in Staten Island within day-trip distance. Each beach has its own special vibe and its own reasons to put on your flip flops and head to the ocean.

Sandy Hook is another kid-friendly beach destination that's just a short ride away from NYC on the Jersey Shore. And best of all: No car? No problem! A ferry can take you right to Sandy Hook beach from Manhattan. Bring your boogie boards and beach blankets and make your way to Sandy Hook for an unforgettable afternoon at the seashore: Here's what to know before you go.

New Splash Pad at Jones Beach is Sure to Delight

Let your kids spray away the heat and sprint away their energy against a sapphire horizon studded with beach umbrellas at Jones Beach State Park’s new splash pad. The facility is located at the Central Mall area by Parking Field 4 and opened in late June.

Toddlers, school-aged kids, and tweens will revel in their ability to push the round buttons and send water cascading through stalk-shaped pipes and pattering to the ground, where it gurgles up around their feet. 

This showery diversion is a great addition to Long Island's top sprinkler parks for kids and another reason why Jones Beach, in central Nassau, is one of our favorite Long Island beaches for families.

Weekend Fun: City of Water, Beach Fest, Disability Pride, Bastille Day

Some weekends it feels like all the summer fun is happening at once—not that we're complaining! There's so much going on it would be impossible to do it all, even though it would be fun to try...

Saturday brings City of Water Day to the Seaport and Roosevelt Island, plus Open Garden Day in all five boroughs, Bastille Day in Downtown Brooklyn, the Caribbean Festival at the Brooklyn Children's Museum, a FREE indoor (read: air-conditioned) interactive concert, and a magical scavenger hunt and firefly picnic in the Bronx.

On Sunday, cheer the Disability Pride Parade from Madison Square Park to Union Square, head to Governors Island for its annual Family Fun Day, or allez-y vites to celebrate Bastille Day in Midtown East. Plus you can learn some Second Line moves at SummerStage's Family Day in Central Park.

Staten Island's Midland Beach hosts Back to the Beach all weekend, with live music, rides, and fab food—and it's a snap to get there from Manhattan. This weekend you can also rev your engines at the NYC E-Prix in Brooklyn, or conjure feats of magic at the New York Historical Society's Houdini Weekend

And that's just the tip of the calendar iceberg: Check out free outdoor movies, the best pools for toddlers and kids, a whopping list of 31 great summer day trips, and our boredom-busting rundown of 100 free things to do with kids this summer.

Rockaway with Kids: 25 Things to Do at the Beach and Beyond

Why schlep to the Hamptons? Thanks to its weekend-getaway vibe, Rockaway, Queens, is a popular family staycation destination in summer, and with the Rockaway ferry making daily round-trips, it's easy to get to.

Rockaway's beautiful beaches have soft sand and formidable Atlantic Ocean waves—it's the only shore in NYC where you're allowed to surf. Although this area was ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, the boardwalk and Rockaway Park have been renovated with amazing playgrounds and water play areas. Read on for all you need to know to get to and enjoy this NYC summer favorite. 

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