Free Outdoor Summer Concerts in Westchester (Sunsets Included)

Grab a beach chair, blanket, picnic dinner and maybe event a glass of wine because whether you go to work or drive the camp carpool, a free concert in the park is just the thing to end your day on a relaxing note. Here in Westchester, we're lucky enough to have many of our parks on the waterfront, and you'd be hard-pressed to beat that view at sunset.

This summer, towns around the county are hosting bands playing everything from rock to jazz to country to Cuban, Peruvan, Irish and even Arabic music. How's that for variety? Kids don't need to know the tunes to have fun. While you keep the beat with your fingers and toes, they'll have fun dancing and maybe even making new friends. Parents and kids: happy together.

Looking for more summer fun? Consult our Event Calendar and our Summer Activity Guide, and be sure to sign up for our newsletter.  

Top 30 Things to Do in the Adirondacks with Kids

The Adirondacks region is one of the most idyllic family vacation spots around. The enormous, pristine natural setting features numerous lakes and quaint towns sprinkled across gorgeous mountains. Visitors find the best of outdoor adventures as well as family fun attractions. My family stayed in Schroon Lake, a cute lake town that's a little more laid-back than nearby Lake George and centrally located to explore the region. We visited all the family-friendly attractions to pick the best things to recommend.

Of course, you could spend all your time hiking, boating, and enjoying whatever outdoor activities your family likes. There are tons of outfitters that will help you do those things so I only made a few recommendations for those types of activities. The below list is the best of the best for other family fun attractions in the Adirondacks. We really enjoyed Fort Ticonderoga, the Wild Center, and the Adirondack Museum, but if I had to pick just one must-do it would definitely be Ausable Chasm. The gorge is just phenomenally beautiful, and we really enjoyed walking and boating through it.

Find more family vacation ideas in our Adirondacks, Catskills & Hudson Valley Family Travel Guide.

4th of July Fireworks Shows - Where To Watch in LA & OC

Who's ready for some rockets' red glare? LA and Orange County's many communities compete for sky space on July 4th, launching fireworks willy-nilly at the stroke of 9pm. From the mountains, to the valleys, to the ocean, Angelenos have plenty of directions to look on Independence Day. Whether your plan is to book a fireworks cruise, to lay a blanket in a park, or to close all the windows and try not to wake the baby, it helps to know where those firecrackers are being aimed. Below is a list of locations lighting up the night sky on the 4th of July (plus one on June 25).

Awesome Water Theme Parks Near Philadelphia

The theme of summer is always: keep cool. And what better way to stay cool and have fun than visiting a nearby waterpark. Slides, lazy rivers, surf simulators, whirpools, and even swim-up bars for the adults; we've got a list of great waterparks not too far from the Philly area. So grab your bathing suits and towels, and get ready for an adventure.

Fourth of July in New Jersey: Small Town Celebrations

Sure, you can go big'n'splashy for the 4th, but why not try a celebration in a small NJ town? They may not have Macy's fireworks, but the charm, the history, the food and the Americana feel may more than make up for the loss of crowds, noise and, well, crowds. Check out some of these local celebrations in Southern NJ that come complete with parades, fun runs, antique car shows…. so much more than just fireworks! And for more summer awesomeness, check out our New Jersey Kids Summer Activities Guide!

Dinosaurs Return to New Jersey at New Field Station

Calling all pint-size paleontologists! New Jersey’s outdoor dinosaur-themed adventure park, Field Station: Dinosaurs, once homeless, has again found a spot for its T-Rex and 30-plus other animatronic dinos.

The seasonal kiddie attraction skipped over from its old location in Secaucus, New Jersey, to a flat, sunny field not far from the George Washington Bridge for the summer of 2016. The new digs in Overpeck County Park in Leonia, NJ, are temporary and so, the set-up is probably not as impressive as what past visitors will remember, but my two little kids (ages 3.5 and 1.5) had a blast during our recent visit.

Finding Dory: How Does It Measure up to Finding Nemo?

You certainly can't accuse Disney•Pixar of rushing things. The sequel to the 2003 animated classic Finding Nemo was 13 years in the making, so evidently the studio was more interested in getting it right than in making a quick buck. That philosophy shows in every aspect of this movie, from its breathtaking underwater visuals to its cute, quirky characters to its moving story, which flips the Nemo plot and has Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) searching for her long-lost parents. Although the heroine suffers from short-term memory loss, anyone who saw Finding Nemo will find the proceedings very familiar. The result is immensely enjoyable for both children and adults, with heartfelt messages about family, self-reliance, and perseverance.

But before you start pushing your stroller to the nearest cineplex, be warned: the PG-rated Finding Dory is a bit darker than its G-rated predecessor (notwithstanding the latter's Bambi-esque death of the mom sequence). Dory and her pals are frequently lost and stuck in scary situations. Can your preschoolers handle it, and—if you have older kids—is it worth splurging on IMAX 3D? No need to go on a fishing expedition: we've got watertight answers.

5 Ways to Decide Which NYC Pre-K Is Right for Your Child

New York City's universal pre-kindergarten plan is a boon for parents in many ways, offering FREE education a bit earlier to all of the city's 4-year-olds. But it can also make picking a school that much trickier. 

NYC parents must apply for spots at their preferred schools, often going on multiple tours, sitting on wait-lists, and then wading through multiple decision rounds to accept or reject offers. (We hear middle school selection is even more fun, by the way.) Last year wait-lists and assignments were fluid through August, so parents might even still have time to consider the right fit for their 4-year-olds for this fall, or get a jump start on next year. After all, those applying for private preschool for 2017 need to start the touring process in September, so there is no better time than summer to narrow down what you’re looking for.

We wanted to help parents stay sane through this process, and possibly even make your decision a bit clearer. Read on for five key considerations in determining which pre-K is right for you and your child.

Still sorting through options? Check out our NYC Preschool Guide and Listings for pre-K and nursery options.

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