How to Have Fun

War. Recession. Four-dollar-a-gallon gas. And four whole months until the election. We’re not suggesting anybody fiddle while Rome burns. But, damn, you deserve a little fun. Remember laughing till it hurt? Here are 49 ways to get back to that place, just when you need it most

1. Ride a zipline.

Soar through the foliage from 40 feet up — and try not to close your eyes, ya big chicken. Spring ­Mountain, 757 Spring Mount Road, Spring Mount, 610-287-7900,

2. Hit the batting cage.

It’s the bottom of the ninth, two out, two on, the Phils trail 4-2, and Pat Burrell comes to the plate. … City Line Sports Center, 7800 City Avenue, 215-879-3536, Waltz Golf Farm, 303 West Ridge Pike, Limerick, 610-489-5133, South Jersey Golf Center, 312 Salina Road, Sewell, 856-589-2500,

3. Splash in a water park.

That inner tube makes you look 10 years ­younger. Clementon Park and Splash World, 144 Berlin Road, Clementon, 856-783-0263, Celebrating a century of fun. Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, 3830 Dorney Park Road, Allentown, 610-395-3724, Big and bold. Water World, 655 Schuylkill Road, Phoenixville, 610-935-1290, Great for small fry.

4. Eat at a diner.

Blue-plate specials, chicken croquettes, coconut cream pie and a gum-smacking waitress, hon. The Melrose Diner, 1501 Snyder Avenue, 215-467-6644. Mayfair Diner & Dining Room, 7373 Frankford Avenue, 215-624-4447. Cherry Hill Diner, 2341 Route 38, Cherry Hill, 856-667-8255.

5. Ride the bumper cars.

The only socially acceptable outlet for road rage. Bam! Bam-bam-bam-bam-BAM! Dutch Wonderland, 2249 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster, 866-386-2839, The Funplex, 3320-24 Route 38 East, Mount Laurel, 856-273-9666, Surfside Pier and Mariner’s Landing, the Boardwalk, Wildwood,

6. Ride the bumper boats.

As above, but with waves. Our absolute fave: ­Spanking-new Bumper Boat Pond at the Lancaster Barnstormers’ stadium, where the vessels come with water cannons and the course includes a waterfall. Clipper Magazine Stadium, 650 Prince Street, Lancaster, 717-509-4487,

7. Run through the sprinklers.

Just saying the word “Rittenhouse” makes me a little nervous. When I told my landlord I was moving from 11th and Pine to 19th and Spruce, she warned me: “Things are different over there.” The chic, refined uptightness culminates in a grassy epicenter: the Square. Sure, it’s full of folks of all shapes and bank accounts, but they come there seeking orderly recreation. This is a patch of ground with its own gala and steering committee, for crying out loud.
But one September evening, I did my part to let the Square’s hair down. I was newly in love, the stage that makes you do spontaneous, movie-scene-like things, and yet the evening started out so staid. We had a very adult dinner, in very adult attire, at Twenty Manning — I, the pork with pomegranate glaze; he, the braised short ribs — and a very adult discussion with the waiter, who ultimately recommended a very adult bottle of South African pinotage. As we passed through the Square on our walk home, the sprinklers watering the lawns sparkled and flashed in the lamplight. A bottle in, fresh love at hand, they looked especially alluring. I beckoned to my companion. Leftovers were left on benches, along with shoes, purse, wallet. And we ran, like naughty children … through the sprinklers in Rittenhouse Square.
I can’t explain to you the thrill this was — the shucking of grown-up-dom, the grass and mud on clothes not meant for them, and, most of all, the reckless abandon in a park that of all parks calls for, well, a certain decorum. I can tell you that bystanders, dog-walkers, couples on benches, gawked and then cheered. And I can highly recommend that you try it yourself, because life’s too short to be uptight, and the fountain of youth is at a hoity-toity park near you. Jessica Remo

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