Hudson Valley Day Trip Swimming: Lake Taghkanic State Park

Lake Taghkanic State Park in Columbia County has just about everything required for a successful summer day trip with kids. Clean water and attentive lifeguards? Check. Picnicking area? Check. Decent playground? Double check.

My family has visited this park as day-trippers and overnight campers many times over the last decade and we always enjoy ourselves, whether we're staying for the day or an entire weekend. To help make the most of your trip, we have what you need to know about visiting this Lower Hudson Valley summer destination.

Looking for more day trip ideas? Check out our Summer Activity Guide and sign up for our newsletters.  

It's Date Night! Drop-Off Daycares and Play Spaces with Date Night Specials

You have been rocking it as a parent lately. Checking off all the top things to do with your little ones since they started summer break, hitting up the best spray grounds and splash pads, seeing the latest movies, and taking day trips to the beach. You've even managed to make fun nights out a little more adult friendly. But now it's time for a little break and a good old-fashioned date night. Fortunately, even in the summer, there are plenty of options for a parent's night out that won't break the bank! This roundup will give you a Friday night to enjoy with your sweetie while your kids have a great time and make new friends. 

Playland Park: Old-Fashioned Amusement Park Fun in Rye

New Yorkers often bemoan rapid changes to old-school spots such as Coney Island, where recent “upgrades” seem to have wiped away the grit and charm of old Gotham. Anyone who yearns for the New York of yesteryear needs to head directly to Playland in Rye, New York. Somehow, the amusement park in southern Westchester, in operation since 1928, has managed to revitalize itself with modern standards while maintaining the original charm of the last century. It’s among the most underrated gems for summer fun in the area and definitely one of the best amusement parks if you have a preschooler.

Aether Game Cafe Opens in Hoboken

I love board games, so imagine my excitement when I spied a new venue in Hoboken: a cafe devoted entirely to sitting around and playing Scrabble. And Pictionary. And Clue. And... well, you name it, and the Aether Game Cafe has it. Read on for my review of this delightful spot for gathering, eating snacks, and playing Monopoly. And Dominion. And Dungeons and Dragons. And... well, you get the idea.

12 Books to Help Talk About Race and Activism with Your Kids

By Gwen Glazer, a librarian in the Readers Services unit of the New York Public Library.

It’s been almost impossible for adults to process the acts of violence in the U.S. over the last few weeks amid rising racial tensions, let alone explain them to our children. But we can’t let that powerlessness trickle down to the next generation—and books can help.

From simple stories for toddlers about recognizing and accepting our differences to young-adult novels about fighting racism, this reading list offers a few selections for children of all ages to read and talk about with their parents. These aren’t historical books about the Civil Rights movement and school integration, although many excellent book lists include those topics. Instead we've rounded up a dozen books to address social justice and race, with a focus on African-Americans. We hope these titles pave the way for open conversation and empowering us to change our own communities.

The NYPL recently issued its Summer Reading Challenge and Contest, urging kids to read 20 minutes a day, along with an Anti-Summer Slide Guide in partnership with Mommy Poppins to keep kids engaged during the school break. We think these books would make great additions to your summer book bag.

Weekday Picks for LI Kids: STEM Storytime, Movies on the Harbor, July 18-22

There's a good mix of indoor and outdoor activities going on this week, so you're covered no matter what is going on outside. Enjoy STEM storytime in Bellmore, watch a Movie on the Harbor, participate in an archaeological dig at the Maritime Explorium and meet Peppa Pig at Le Play Cafe.

There's even more going on this week, so be sure to take a look at our Long Island events calendar and our Summer Fun Guide. You can also get the best events of the week sent directly to your inbox each week if you sign up for our newsletter.

Weekday Picks: Last Call for Grunion, Cooking at Leonis Adobe, Toy Story, July 18-22

One treat of summer in Los Angeles is something we didn’t have when I was growing up Angeleno: outdoor cinema. Technology has turned what used to be a blurry, difficult to hear experience into something most spectacular. There is nothing quite like enjoying a yummy picnic, followed by a favorite movie. Many of these events are free, and practically every community in the greater LA area has an outdoor movie event. This week, a classic that never disappoints kids or their adults, Toy Story, plays at the Brentwood Country Mart.

The Leonis Adobe in Calabasas dates back to the 1800s and offers a genuine glimpse at our rural days of yore with its Lil Ranchers Days summer activities for kids. This week's edition, “Cooking on the Ranch,” offers more than just food related fun: kids can feed livestock, experience an authentic blacksmith demonstration, and explore the grounds. Sagebrush Cantina, conveniently located next door, has a free lunch for any kids with a coupon from the Adobe.

And this week marks the final run of the season for grunion at Cabrillo Marine aquarium. Something every resident or visitor to our city should experience at least once, a grunion run is a one-of-a-kind natural, nighttime, phenomenon. While grunion can be spotted elsewhere on our shores, the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium’s accompanying movie and egg hatching presentation are worth the drive to San Pedro.

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