4th of July Weekend: Parades, Lobster, Sailing, and Fireworks

Independence Day weekend - a feast for the senses: barbecue, gooey s'mores, flags dancing in the summer wind, and fireworks booming throughout the state. If seeing the night sky light up is a must for your family, visit our comprehensive list of 4th of July celebrations in CT (but be sure to check venue websites for possible last minute schedule changes).

Of course there are many other activities happening this weekend. For a more leisurely pace, enjoy Summer Music Sunday at Mystic Seaport, trek with dinosaurs at the Southington Drive-in, or unleash your inner artist while exploring the bucolic Weir Farm, our state's only national park. Raspberry lovers can start picking at these farms  (it's raspberry season!), and our Connecticut Beaches and Water Fun Guide will help you cool down in the best places.

Check the Mommy Poppins calendar to see what else is happening this weekend (and beyond!). For the latest and best family-friendly events, subscribe to our weekly newsletter and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

July 4th Weekend in NYC with Kids: Fireworks and More Free Fun

Happy Fourth of July! This weekend is always a highlight of NYC summers. From Macy's 4th of July Fireworks to Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest, there are many spectacular ways to celebrate! Head to Harlem to participate in the annual children's parade, hit the South Street Seaport for the FREE outdoor kiddie concert (and stick around to see the sparklers later that evening), or celebrate old-school style at Historic Richmond Town's big celebration.

Maybe you want to skip the organized July 4th events and hit one of our favorite local pools, water playgrounds or beaches—all 100% FREE—or splurge on a trip to a local amusement park, the Jersey Shore, or the Hamptons.

Desperate for air-conditioning? Check out the exciting new Ghostbusters attraction in Times Square, enjoy the kick off to the Summer of Hamilton at the New-York Historical Society or watch Liberty: A Monumental New Musical that tells the tale of the Statue of Liberty's arrival in New York City.

All of our best bets for the July 4th weekend are below. You can find additional options in our Event Calendar and our Summer Fun Guide. If you're looking to plan ahead, our July GoList features the absolute best things to do with kids throughout the month in NYC.

Happy Independence Day!

July GoList: Best Things To Do with LA and OC Kids this Month

Summer has crept in under cover of June Gloom, and there are so many ways to enjoy it, in town or out. Already free summer concerts are rockin'; free summer movies are rolling, and the beaches are beckoning. Read on for the best of July in LA, Ventura, and Orange County. We'll keep adding to our calendar daily, of course, and sending our weekly newsletter in time for each weekend, but here's your chance to book ahead for some July favorites.

Click through to the full listings, and you can automatically add them to your personal calendar.

14 Free Concerts for NYC Kids This July

Thought there were a lot of FREE family concerts in June? Well, NYC's no-cost kiddie music scene really heats up as summer continues. For July, we've rounded up 14 complimentary concerts for families that are worth the time, energy, and effort. The entertainers range from big names to local bands who reflect the diversity of our city.

Most of these performances take place in NYC's attraction-filled parks, meaning you can make a day out of it. So pack a picnic, stake out a spot, lay down a blanket, and soak up some no-cost culture. You can find more family fun in our jam-packed Summer Guide or our list of 100 Free Things To Do This Summer in NYC.

July GoList: Best Things to do with Long Island Kids this Month

School's out for summer. Camp season is in full swing. Sure, the kids are busy, but summer is even more enjoyable when a little bit of fun is sprinkled into their day. From fireworks to festivals, there is so much to do on Long Island this month. We've put together a list of family-friendly events and activities to enjoy in July. For more events, don't forget to check out our event calendar. And for additional inspiration, take a look at our Summer Fun Guide.

July GoList: The Best Things To Do With NJ Kids This Month

Hmmm, what to do in July, besides eat barbecue and watch fireworks? Oh, so much... Every month, we select a handful to two handfuls of our favorite events and this month, there are blueberries to be picked (and eaten), theater to be seen, sandcastles to be built,  and a huge ballooning festival with hundreds of hot air balloons floating heavenward. Have a great, fun, not too hot July, NJ!

July GoList: Best Things To Do with Philly Kids This Month

School's out and summer is in full swing. Whether you're heading down the shore, going on a road trip, or taking a staycation, you'll need a few things to do with the kids to keep them occupied. Warm July weather is great for hiking and camping. Waterparks are open and perfect for staying cool, or head out to one of the city's beer gardens or pop-up gardens. If you're on a tight budget, check out our list of 100 Free Summer Things to do with kids. If you're still not sure what to do, or need a few more ideas, the month of July has so many great events and activities to offer! We've gathered some of our favorites here, but head over to our event calendar for a full listing of nearby events.

What to Do at Franklin Park Zoo in Just Two Hours

It was a gauntlet thrown down at my feet as much as my family's: Let's tour Franklin Park Zoo in under two hours.

Why set the timer at two hours? It seemed the like reasonable window to make our way through the zoo without getting tired while also keeping up a good pace. My pre-zoo strategies included feeding everyone lunch beforehand and packing enough food to avoid the snack shacks within the zoo that could eat away at our time. 

Here's a brief journal of how we met our two-hour challenge at Franklin Park Zoo on one recent summer afternoon.

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