Weekday Picks for Philly Kids: Dinosaurs, Harry Potter, Museums June 20-24

Summer camp, road trips, and water play are all ways Philly kids can look forward to spending the lazy, hazy days of summer. In addition to these traditional opportunities, children can experience some unique events this week as our Events Calendar is overflowing with fun.

Take a day trip to Reading Public Museum for an afternoon of dinosaur fun or Strasburg Railroad to visit Thomas the Tank Engine and his best pal, Percy. Explore the creek for wildlife at Norristown Farm Park or offer some community service at Riverbend Environmental Education Center. For a truly spectacular sight, admire local landmarks such as Glencairn Museum as they shine in beauty at night. And, for a truly spectacular sound, listen to the Philadelphia Orchestra as they pay homage to Harry Potter.

Continue reading for our top weekday picks, but be sure to browse through the entire calendar and June GoList as well. Enjoy the week ahead.

Weekday Fun: Make Music NY, Swedish Fest, Free Activities

Celebrate summer in NYC this week with Make Music New York, a truly unique music festival, hosted throughout all five boroughs. Other weekday highlights include free admission to the Brooklyn Children's Museum and the Swedish Midsummer Festival celebrating the summer solstice.

In case you haven't heard, there's a wonderful new exhibit at Brookfield Place. The Swings: An Exercise in Musical Collaboration is definitely worth checking out. We've also rounded up 10 things to do on Long Island City's waterfront, and we've got the inside scoop on the new water exhibit at the Children's Museum of Manhattan. Enjoy outdoor eats at these kid-friendly Brooklyn restaurants with spacious yards, patios and other alfresco table options to round out the day. And don't forget to pick-your-own strawberries at a nearby farm before those red berries are gone.

Our top picks for the week are below—all of which are FREE! Also, be sure to check out our June GoList to help you round out the month. As always, you can find additional options in our Event Calendar and our Summer Fun Guide.

Thomas Land Theme Park: A Magical Day on the Island of Sodor

The kids and I had the pleasure of being invited back to Thomas Land for opening day of this summer. For those who already know Edaville, this brand new section of the theme park is absolutely worth a trip back. Twelve years in the making, Thomas Land – right in our backyard in Carver, MA – is the only one in the United States. The other park is in England, and ours is bigger!

Thomas Land is a treat for the young and the young at heart; the creators have done a great job of making the park fun for all ages. Here are some newly scouted highlights, plus a few tips along the way. All aboard!

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!

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