Crystal Springs Resort: Two NJ Hotels Host Mountains of Family Fun

Sometimes, it's all about the location when you travel. Exploring new areas of your state or country are exciting. But other times, it's all about the amenities. When you pack two sister resorts full of skiing, snow adventures, water play, and spa options, there's really no need to go past the grounds—which is the case with Crystal Springs Resort in northern New Jersey.

Read on to discover everything you need to know about Grand Cascades Lodge and Minerals Hotel, and if they're right for your family.

Find more vacation destinations in our Family Resort Guide, which is packed with reviews.

Weekend Fun: The Gruffalo, Maple Sugaring Fest, Blue Comet Day

This last weekend of the month is packed with fun February freebies. You can ride the rails back in time at Blue Comet Day, listen to stories at the Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss Storytime, take a Winter Waterfowl Walk, and check out all kinds of free fun at Westfield Area YMCA's Kids Expo—all at no cost!

It's also a great weekend to see a show—catch Charlotte's Web Live at Forum Theatre Arts Center, The Gruffalo at the Theater at RVCC, and Turtle Dance Music at bergenPAC. Both The Gruffalo and Turtle Dance Music offer sensory-friendly performances.

Plus, it's a weekend of celebrating. Celebrate Black History Month at America We Served: Three Centuries of African American Soldiers, or celebrate Clean Ocean Action's Birthday with an Under the Sea Family Brunch.

Check out our Guide to Indoor Play Spaces for more options for weekend family fun, including where to find Free Indoor Play Spots. And look to our event calendar and February GoList for a complete listing of happenings this weekend and beyond.

Robots, Rockets, and Explosions Wow Kids at NORY STEM Camps

Summer is a time when kids should be trying new things, asking crazy questions, and exploring wild possibilities, even if it sometimes means failing along the way. At least that’s what the two dads who founded NORY believe.

NORY is a summer camp for New York City’s youngest innovators. Kids ages 3-12 can sign up for STEM-focused programs with weekly themes that are totally worth geeking out over, like wood working, kitchen science, and chemical engineering and explosions. The 5 to 1 ratio of curious campers to inspiring instructors helps to keep kids totally engrossed in the hands-on curriculum. And it’s clearly doing the trick, because the popular camp is expanding to three main campuses in FiDi, Midtown East, and the Upper West Side this year.

These Bakeries Make the Best Birthday Cakes in Los Angeles

"Good things come in small packages" - or so my mother told me. And though she's always right, I'd argue that good things from bakeries come in large packages: as in, I'd take a whole cake over a cupcake any day, wouldn't you? If your little guy or gal has a birthday on the horizon, have a look at our long list of delectable bakery possibilities below, including vegan and gluten-free options. And just a heads up: though we've all been told that "good things come to those who wait," don't feel you must wait for a birthday to take home a confection! Oh go ahead, let them eat cake!

12 Books that Make Kids Proud to be Bostonians

Boston is a city steeped in history, and one of the best ways to learn about all of its famous landmarks and residents is through books. Next time you head to one of our city's great libraries or bookstores, look for one or more of these 12 great children's books, including a brand-new, beautifully illustrated story about the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. From landmark lore to rich biographies, these great reads will inspire hometown pride in Boston kids in different, age-appropriate ways.

Theaters with Sensory-Friendly Performances for NJ Kids

Taking littles to the theater opens up opportunities for exposure to the arts, building social skills, and learning about appropriate audience behavior. For children with autism, developmental disabilities, or sensory sensitivities (such as difficulties with bright lights, loud noises and sudden, surprising bursts of volume or activity), the theater can be an intimidating place.

Luckily, NJ is home to several performing arts spaces that offer exclusive performances for kids with special needs, so the entire family can experience the arts together. These sensory-friendly performances often include accommodations such as lowered volume and raised lighting, the ability to move about the theater freely, dedicated quiet areas, and trained staff to lend a helping hand should the need arise.

Read on for a list of theaters and upcoming performances where you can know that your child will feel welcomed and loved, just as they are. We hope you enjoy the show!

Kids' Happy Hour Activities in NYC to Keep 'Em Busy Until Bed

Even for the most innovative parent, the gap between late afternoon and bedtime can be challenging to fill—especially during bad weather. When it's too cold and dark for the park, the "witching hour" can feel like an endless desert of time. Most play spaces, libraries, and museums close the doors before 6pm, so it's hard to justify schlepping across the city for a short window of playtime, especially when getting everyone fed is a factor. What's a parent to do? Well, check out our borough-by-borough breakdown of kid-centric locales that are open "late!" to keep your kids (little and big) busy till bedtime. 

Philly by Bike: 12 Parks, Paths, and Trails for C ity Kids to Ride Safely

Riding a bike, that quintessential childhood experience that somehow harkens both innocence and adventure. For so many kids, bikes mean freedom! But while riding a bike brings joy, it is also something that city parents sometimes think can't be done for their kids. Sure, Philly has bike lanes, but even for an experienced rider, those can be a hazard. But if you know the right trails, parks, and open spaces, there are plenty of places you can go together for regular rides! To that end, we've gathered up some of the best spots in the city for kids to safely bike.

Wild West Meets Wine Country at this Southern California Guest Ranch

Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort is just a two-and-a-half hour drive from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, but it feels like vacationing in another world. While it's possible to go horseback riding around Los Angeles, this quiet escape in the heart of Santa Barbara wine country takes that a step further on a 10,000-acre ranch boasting 50 miles of riding trails, a 100-acre lake, two 18-hole championship golf courses, tennis courts, and a heated pool and spa.

10 Free Ways to Keep Boston Preschoolers Busy this Winter Break Week

With so much going on this week for the big kids enjoying their school break, we can't forget about the little guys (our preschoolers!) and how to keep them entertained too. While many kid-friendly events happening this week welcome youngers siblings, there are a bunch that are designed with them in mind. Best of all—these activities are all free, so you can save your money for a fun breakfast or a hot chocolate outing one day.

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