Parks & Playgrounds

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7 Easy Fall Family Hikes in NYC

It finally feels like fall in New York City, which means my family is headed to the hiking trail. At least once a quarter, usually coinciding with the change of seasons, someone in the family decides it's time to escape to the woods for a little urban relief. And really, there's no need to head upstate or to the 'burbs to get that outdoors fix.  

Did you know that our fair city is home to over 300 miles of hiking trails through 10,000 acres of unencumbered Mother Nature? We have sampled enough to confidently share this list of trails that vary in length, difficulty, and scenery, including those just right for little legs and spots with water, bridges, and yes, that gorgeous fall foliage. Whatever borough you call home, my boy, who helped to compile this list, and I hope you will have a blast lacing up and hitting the trails. Note: He is too young to share mommy's byline. 

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.

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.

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.

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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