Weekend Fun for LI Kids: Earth Day, Spring Celebrations

Celebrate Mother Nature this Earth Day weekend with a visit to one of Long Island's bountiful nature centers or take a stroll along one of these family-friendly hiking trails

There's plenty to do, from eco-friendly carnivals to farm events, conservation programs and more. Enjoy a day of fee-free family fun at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site or celebrate spring and the outdoors in Stony Brook.

Hop over to our April GoList to find more seasonal entertainment, and pad your wallet with a list of FREE family activities this month.

Of course, our Event Calendar is loaded with fun, daily happenings for Long Island kids. Don't see a great event listed here? Add it to our Event Calendar yourself. 

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Weekend Fun: Earth Day Fests, Cherry Blossoms, Pen World Voices

This time of year, the Mommy Poppins calendar literally begins to explode. It gets so big and juicy that a mere "Roundup" cannot do it justice. So we're reminding you up front this week to check it out. This article is packed, but the calendar is MORE packed.

For example, Earth Day. NYC does it big, with over 25 major family-friendly happenings around town this weekend. Highlights include the celebration at the NY Botanical Gardens, Earthfest at the Museum of Natural History, the National Grid Earth Day fest in Brooklyn, and an Earth Day public dance performance determined to earn a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. Plus, Saturday is Car-Free on Broadway, uptown Manhattan, and downtown Brooklyn.

After a winter that would-not-let-go, what better remedy than festivals celebrating cherry trees? Those glorious buds are happy to leave wind and snow behind (knock wood, ha!), and you can hug, or dance under one, on Saturday on Randall's Island, where the celebration includes paper flower making, face painting, kite flying and more, or the fest on Roosevelt Island, or the annual Sakura Matsuri extravaganza in Flushing.

The Pen World Voices Festival is also in town this weekend, rife with cool literary opportunities. The editor of Kazoo, a new magazine for girls, teaches kids how to create feature articles that pop. Take a lesson in Freestyle Rapping with Toni Blackman, an award-winning artist. A personal favorite, making books with 826NYC, also has spaces still available as we go to press.

Other awesome happenings include the soccer mad NYFest in Brooklyn, the High Line's season kickoff, CultureFest, the Bronx Zoo's BoogieDown, and the dragon-filled St. George Day on Staten Island.

Meanwhile, be sure to take full advantage of our April GoList, check out a local day hike or a destination sandbox, and don't forget to bookmark our well-curated list of the best NYC Spring Festivals

Ten Things My Preschooler Loves at the California Science Center

We've talked before about our teen and tween favorite features at the California Science Center, but there are at least as many things to fascinate preschoolers and toddlers at LA's oldest, freest science museum. Never underestimate the appeal of science to the preschool set, and amazingly, with the exception of IMAX films and special exhibits, the California Science Center is free and open to the public 7 days a week, 362 days a year. 

Don Your Dresses and Crowns for a Medieval Fantasy Ball at the Please Touch Museum

On Sunday, April 22, Please Touch Museum is hosting a magical celebration with its annual Storybook Ball- Medieval Fantasy. This enchanted event transports guests back to the time of knights and ladies, princes and princesses. Step into a storybook ball and meet your favorite medieval characters like Sleeping Beauty, Maid Marian, and even a real knight in shining armor!

16 Great Parks and Playgrounds for NYC Kids' Birthdays

Savvy DIYers know that during the warmer months, New York City's parks make a stunning (and inexpensive) backdrop for a birthday bash. Granted, this type of party requires more work than booking one of those all-inclusive packages, but you get to control most of the details, including the cost (though sadly not the weather).

Find more party spots in our NYC Birthday Guide, including inexpensive room rentals for when bad weather threatens the fun.

Exploring Sands Point Preserve: Dino Trail, Castles, and Hikes

Dare to compare footprints with fantastic beasts who roamed the Earth long before us at the Dino Trail at Sands Point Preserve.

It's one of six trails ripe for strolling, hiking, jogging and exploring at this sprawling Gold Coast estate turned public sanctuary. And that's not all: There's so much more to explore, including 200 acres of trails, a pond, beachfront, woods and native habitats.

There are so many sweet spots to soak up nature on Long Island. Get out and get exploring. Looking for more North Shore shenanigans? Check out our Mommy Poppins visitors guide to nearby Port Washington, a family-friendly Long Island destination.

Weekend Fun: Earth Day, Cirque du Soleil, Disney Junior Dance Party

Two big events bring fun, FREE festivals to New Jersey this weekend: Earth Day and Healthy Kids Day. Earth Day events include the Jersey City Earth Day Celebration, Party for the Planet at Turtle Back Zoo, and Daffodil Day at Reeves-Reed Arboretum. And YMCAs throughout the state will promote healthy lifestyles with their Healthy Kids Day festivities at locations including Scotch Plains, Summit, and Red Bank.

There's plenty to do indoors this weekend as well, with theatrical events like Phoenix Productions' Annie, State Theatre's Milk and Cookies: Tahira's Folktale Fun, Paper Mill's The Lightning Thief, and Disney Junior Dance Party at Mayo Performing Arts Center. Plus, Cirque du Soleil's new show, VOLTA, opens this weekend at Meadowlands Racetrack. 

Check out our Spring Fun Guide for New Jersey Kids for more options for weekend family fun, including visiting baby animals at family-friendly NJ farms. And look to our event calendar and April GoList for a complete listing of happenings this weekend and beyond.

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