Parks & Playgrounds

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Exploring the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center

The first time I went to the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center was to attend a wedding when I was almost nine months pregnant. I couldn't believe that this fairytale forest setting existed within the concrete jungle of Houston. The 155-acre nature sanctuary is on Memorial Park's west side, and it is a nonprofit facility that features five miles of walking trails as well as interactive exhibits and habitats.

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Me Too! 10 NJ Outings to Appeal to Siblings of Different Ages

The wants and needs of toddlers versus teens couldn’t be more different. One is begging for toy cars while the other is eyeing up the keys to your SUV. When it comes to spending quality family time together, everyone can agree that day trips must be fun for siblings of all ages. Luckily, New Jersey has several destinations on the docket that will have your whole family cheering for more.

Terrific Trampoline Parks in Connecticut

Much as it pains me to admit, my kids have outgrown playgrounds. The slides and swings and zip lines that used to entertain them are now, as they say with rolled eyes, "Boooooring." Be that as it may, they have not outgrown the need to have some fun moving their bodies, and this summer when it was oh so hot outside, we had the pleasure of exploring the new generation of trampoline parks that have cropped up all over the state, from Fairfield County to Hartford and beyond. Keep in mind that parks tend to be particularly crowded on weekends and school breaks, and where advanced reservations are possible, we recommend them in order to avoid disappointment. Be warned that if you are bringing your child's friends, they will need to have signed waiver forms from their parents (most of the parks named below have the forms on their websites) . For more fun indoor play ideas check out our Connecticut Indoor Play Guide.

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Best Places to Fly a Kite on Long Island

With an average wind speed of 12.2 mph, did you know that New York falls within the top 20% of windiest cities in America? With Long Island's expansive shoreline, the wind is even stronger in many parts of the 516/631/934.  Set your sights on the sky with these kite-flying hot spots on Long Island. You'll have the wind blowing through your hair as your family (and casual bystanders) admire colorful kites soaring through the air. Check out this map from Long Island State Park HQ and fly with others at the Long Island Maritime Museum's annual Kite Festival on Sept. 18.

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Must-See NYC Fall Art: Garbage Trucks, Outer Space, Politics

New York City museums seem to always offer plenty of wonderful art collections, but this fall families in the five boroughs will find interesting exhibits on math, history, and more. Fittingly during this election season, a few museums have focused on past and current presidents.

While you might think kids would find exhibits about our country’s leaders and current events a bit boring, these museums have curated displays that ought to spark curiosity. Plus, if your child is at all like mine, this election has been a surprisingly hot topic among friends, which only proves New Yorkers of all ages love a good political debate.

Whatever your child’s interests, you’re sure to find something on this list that appeals and educates. After all, to quote a karaoke favorite, "the children are our future." (Sorry about the earworm.)

Six Perfect Picnic Places in Fairfield County

The days may be getting shorter, but the cool, crisp, fresh air of fall is the perfect time to have a picnic.  If you are looking for a picturesque country setting, Fairfield County offers some wonderful locations to park your basket and unroll your blanket. Picnics are a perfect way to take advantage of a sunny day and get together with family and friends.

Some of Fairfield County’s best parks and beaches are also great places to have a picnic. Whether you are a history buff, want a little adventure, or just want to enjoy the bucolic setting of Connecticut estates and lakes, there is something on this list for you.

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NYC's Best Playgrounds: 14 Parks Worthy of a Subway Schlep

Playgrounds may be as much a part of childhood as potty training and the tooth fairy, but to city families, finding a go-to playground is a real sanity saver. When you live in tiny apartments, the neighborhood park is akin to a backyard and while New Yorkers are lucky to have many awesome local play spots, some are a cut above the rest.

These spots offer plenty of space to romp and enough outdoor entertainment to make them worth a schlep on the subway. Without further ado, read on for more than a dozen of the best playgrounds—our NYC playground hall of fame.

100 Things to Do in New York State with Kids Before They Grow Up

We might be biased, but we think New York state has it all for families. From the gorgeous Hamptons beaches to the rugged state forests, serene lakes, and deafening Niagara Falls to the culture and arts found in New York City on up through the river towns and beyond—we feel pretty lucky.

Plus, we’re pretty good at making delicious food items from ramen burgers and bagels to ice cream, and even wine at family-friendly vineyards on Long Island and through the Finger Lakes. There are children’s museums galore. Kids have no shortage of water and theme parks, cool playgrounds, zoos, outdoor art, and nature, of course.

And yet, the thing about childhood is that it’s finite. The kids grow up, maybe move away. Sniff, sniff. We want to soak up every moment. So we put together this list of 100 of our favorite things to do around New York, from upstate and the Adirondacks to Long Island and NYC. We collected suggestions from the many Mommy Poppins contributors, past and former, to fuse it all together just for you (OK, for us, too). Whether you're planning a long-weekend getaway or a family day trip, you're sure to find some ideas here. Enjoy!

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