Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Strawberries, JPL, Museums of the Arroyo, and Bugs

One of the things I have learned as a parent is not to give too many options when presenting a choice. It's "do you want waffles or French toast?" not "choose from any potential foodstuff consumed by man or beast." Well, this weekend is a full-menu, free-for-all-at-the-mega-mart, you-name-it-you-can-have-it kind of weekend. This weekend, your options are all the things.

First up is the open house at JPL, doorway to the stars and window on the origins of the universe (though if you don't already have tickets you're probably not getting in). For your number one choice this weekend, go under the sea to Hollywood, for a Gleeful live-to-screen performance of a Disney classic. Also first up is the Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Fest, the pickingest pick there is (that's a pick pun). Your other first choice is the Bug Fair at the Natural History Museum, because if there is one truism about moms, it is that we love bugs. (And trash, we love that too!)

You can edumacate your offspring on scienceliterature, and history, then learn 'em about art and opera and long ago things. You can tour the Southland by landby sea, or by Cozy Coupe.

And, like all first choice weekends, your best pick is anything that involves play, fun, frivolity, and festivity. (And because we're moms: cleaning up after yourselves.)

Wondering what your other first choices are? Keep reading for our choicest picks for the weekend, all tied up in a bow...

Weekend Fun: Spring Festivals, Car Shows, and the Sound of Music; May 18-19

Well, it can't rain forever. Can it? As we wait for May-like weather to finally come 'round, we look forward to a weekend with some sunshine in the forecast. That would be perfect for the beginning of spring festival season. In Stratford, there is the Lordship Spring Fair and the Boothe Park Classic Car Show this weekend. Just a quick shot north on the Merritt Parkway will bring you to Massaro Farm in Woodbridge, where you can celebrate all things spring. Bethany will host the fourth-annual outdoor music and art festival known as Locapalooza this weekend. For a quieter activity, check out the Barnes Nature Center, where you can make a fairy or gnome garden.

Of course, if you're wary of planning an outdoor activity (who could blame you), there is plenty of indoor fun to be had this weekend. Start in Bristol with a celebration of children's literature. Head to Guilford for a free-admission Sunday at four different state museums. End your weekend in Hartford for an all-new production of the family classic Sound of Music

Weekend Fun: Flowers, Kites, and Grilled Cheese; May 18-19

It really must be spring with all of the flower and kite (or kite and bike)-themed festivals this weekend. Not so into flowers? How about grilled cheese? In the spirit of outdoor living, families can also design their own treehouse and have an (indoor) garden party. This quintessential Boston spring event lets Bostonians get out on the water of the Charles, followed by a BBQ by the river. Our spring fun guide and May GoList serve up even more ideas for enjoying the nicer weather, so be sure to check those out when mapping out the weekend. 

Weekend Fun: Spring Flings, Dance Parades, Food Fests, Ninja Turtles

Spring fling takes on a whole new meaning this weekend at Saturday's spectacular 13th Annual Dance Parade, plus Brooklyn's Spring Fling in Prospect Park, and the bound-to-be-wild Swamp in the City Cajun Family Dance in Red Hook. Speaking of swamp things, the Paley Center's new Teenage Mutant Ninja celebration may be right down your manhole—er, up your alley, with giveaways and a meet-and-greet with the rad reptiles on Saturday.

Fairs and festivals are everywhere, of course. The 9th Avenue International Food Festival takes over the west side all weekend—though vegetarians might want to detour to 18th Street for the Vegetarian Food Fest. Truck afficionados can touch their fill at PS 295's Touch-a-Truck extravaganza, and the Bronx Kid Fest promises deep sea VR fun in addition to the usual kids' activities.

On Sunday, don't miss Brooklyn's Fabulous Fifth Street Fair, the Annual Fleece Fest at the Prospect Park Zoo, and the National Museum of the American Indian's annual Children's Festival. Ferry to Ellis Island for the Asian American & Pacific Islander Fest. Or get your barbecue on at the Essex Street Market Block Party.

Looking for evening entertainment under the stars? Shakespeare in the park kicks off with an abbreviated, female-led Hamlet: Princess of Denmark in Bryant Park. Bring blankets and other critical movie-watching paraphernalia to FREE evening screenings of Sing in Queens, Ralph Breaks the Internet and Teen Titans Go! to the Movies in Brooklyn, or Incredibles 2 on the Upper East Side, in the Bronx, and in Brooklyn

Planning ahead? Today would be the perfect time to sign up for a 4th of July cruise to maximize fireworks fun (before they all sell out!).

Meanwhile, the MommyPoppins events calendar continues its breakneck buildup of spring and summer events. Dig in! 

Top Kid-Friendly Resorts in and Near New Jersey

The very best family vacations are the ones where there's something fun for every family member to do, and kid-friendly resorts offer just that. If you can locate a destination that's within an easy driving distance, even better!

Fortunately, the Garden State and surrounding areas offer plenty of spots where you can rest, recharge, and enjoy a little recreation without the hassle of long-distance travel. Whether you want a beachy getaway down the Shore, or indoor/outdoor adventures in the Hudson Valley or the Poconos (including lots of water park fun), we've rounded up a dozen close-to-home holiday havens that all but guarantee a great time for the whole crew.

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