I love taking my kids to playgrounds. But in the summer? More than anything, I love taking them to playgrounds with water. Here's a list of public playgrounds with spray parks, sprinklers, and other water play opportunities.
Fireman's Memorial Park (Ninth Street and Palisade Avenue, Union City)
Come to this park ready to get wet! I hear that even the grown-ups should wear their swimsuits. In addition to Manhattan views, there's a full-size pool, a wading facility as well as plenty of sprinklers, which have a fire-fighting theme of course. Be prepared to walk a bit, parking can get crowded.
Pier C Park (Sinatra Drive near 4th Street, Hoboken)
This park has an extensive playground as well as a water play area, a fishing pier, a promenade and even a rookery (for the birds). Not to mention the views of New York City.
Ponderosa Park (1600 Cooper Rd., Scotch Plains, NJ) (shown on right)
This newly opened park has 20 acres, which includes a spray fountain.
Spray Park at Town Hall Park (Delafield and Valley Brook Avenues, Lyndhurst)
This park is beautifully new, with a playground and water area, including the main attraction "spray tunnel." While it has been reported that the park can get crowded, staff are there to help provide assistance.
Veterans Park (61 Avenue K, Monroe Township)
This park has a great sprayground, as well as a large traditional playground and plenty of picnic tables.
And if you're up for a trip to New York City, there are lots more parks and playgrounds with water there. My personal favorite is Teardrop Park, and it's walking distance from the Hoboken to NYC Ferry Stop in Battery Park City.