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With temperatures on the rise, families across New York City are on the lookout for enjoyable, inexpensive ways to stay cool and refreshed throughout summer.
Fortunately, Manhattan has plenty to offer in terms of parks and playgrounds that feature not only sprinklers but a variety of play structures, fountains, water jets, wading pools and more.
Here are five great places around the city’s five boroughs where you can go to beat the heat.
Central Park’s Ancient Playground
Located at 85th Street and Fifth Avenue, near the Metropolitan Museum, this activity-packed playground has plenty of water features, along with pyramids, sand, swings, forts, and slides. Running water streams at kids’ feet as they traverse bridges, or they can frolic under a mini-waterfall. There also are water jets and nozzles set in the walls that spray water to cool off youngsters.
Chelsea Waterside Park
Situated between the West Side Highway and 11th Avenue at 23rd Street, this outer space-themed park has a reputation as one of the best places for families to visit on a hot summer day. Stop by and discover three cool fountains that sprinkle water skyward, small wading areas and spouts in the back wall spraying water at kid-height. There is no way to avoid getting wet, but the park includes other features, as well, such as climbing structures, a sandbox and “access for all” equipment.
Hudson River Park at Pier 51
This exciting playground, located in Greenwich Village along the Hudson River, has water galore in the form of kid-activated giant geysers, buckets and a tiny replica of the Minetta Brook (the real one runs underground now). There is no shade at the park, but there are sand, brass animals and fun playground equipment that offers an abundance of interactive play.
Lakeside Splash Pad
This Splash Pad, located at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside Prospect Park in Brooklyn, is a popular recreational destination year-round. That’s partly because, during the summer, one of the Lakeside ice skating rinks converts into a fantastic outdoor play area with 21 jets spraying water out of the walls. Nearby are the Prospect Park Zoo, Zucker Natural Exploration playground and Bluestone Lakeside Cafe. The Splash Pad runs 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday and will be open through Sept. 4.
Perhaps lesser known than its counterparts, Teardrop Park in Battery Park City is a more tranquil environment that still offers water features perfect for kids. There is a mega-slide that gets wet and slippery when the sprinklers go off, as well as water jets and naturalistic rock beds around the water area. One benefit of Teardrop Park is the shade-producing foliage. Also located at Battery Park City is the Rockefeller Park Playground with water features separated by age group, such as a sprinkler area for older children and a gently dripping bird sculpture for toddlers.
Looking for a park with sprinklers or other water features that’s closer to where you live? The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation complies a list of areas with spray showers so you can find the perfect park or playground near you. In general, spray showers are operated when the temperature gets to 80 degrees or higher.
Looking for something a little more private? Consider buying or renting in a building with outdoor space and a pool to stay cool all summer long.