There is something to be said about parks in walking distance from your home. I think we have five in reasonable walking distance. But I've always enjoyed discovering new parks in different parts of town.
There is nothing better on a hot summer day to put your kids in their bathing suits and head out to a park to play in the water. Not wanting to brave the thunderdome like atmosphere at DUMBO's Pier 6, we went to the Triassic Playground in Flushing Meadows Park.
My kids call it the alligator park because the slide looks like an alligator. And I guess alligators could come up through the tall marsh that surrounds Meadow Lake which forms one boundary to the playground, Jewel Avenue and the Van Wyck are on the other sides.
Even without the water area which is designed like a watery oasis with Palm trees and plenty of room for water balloon fights, the park is really fun. They have two sets of swings and there are three sets of climbing and sliding areas. One for smaller children and the other two for slightly older kids. My son likes to take his scooter on the one that is basically a long ramp and scoot all the way down. He's going all Led Zeppelin driving motorcycles inside the Chateau Marmont hotel in LA, and I'm having a heart attack.
It's a nice park, never too crowded and the breeze off the water is really nice.
Shade - Not so much
Water feature - Yes, a large area in the middle of the park with fake palm trees (that water shoots out of) and fountains that shoot from the ground.
Bathrooms - Yes.
Sand - No.
Grass - Very little in playground itself, but the the park is surrounded by grass and the banks of Meadow Lake.