Special Occasions

Best Spots for Tea Parties or High Tea with Los Angeles Kids

While I miss the days of my son's impromptu tea parties, these days his (and our) tea party tastes are far more grown-up. Forget make-believe beverages and fake cakes—we're now in the market for three-tiered trays of pastries and little sandwiches with the crusts cut off (because why not?). Lucky for us, we have many options in and around Los Angeles for pretending we're in an episode of The Crown or Downton Abbey. So here's a toast (with pinkies raised) to the best afternoon tea spots in the Southland.

A Day at the Races: Is Santa Anita Park a Place To Bring Kids?

Kids love horses; this we know. We can indulge their fascination with a quick round on the ponies at Griffith Park or a stint at horse camp—or we can think outside the box and remember there are more ways to appreciate horses than sitting on one. How about cheering them on as they run? If hanging out at the track is not part of your world, you may not think horse racing sounds like a family activity, but guess what? It absolutely can be. Not only that, it can be totally free.

Family Friendly New Year's Eve Fun in Houston

While typically considered a holiday largely for adults, ringing in the new year isn't solely for the 18-and-up age group. In fact, Houston has quite a few festivities lined up for kids and the whole family on New Year's Eve. Whether it's making a special trip down to Kemah Boardwalk to watch fireworks over the water, or heading to the ever-popular Children's Museum of Houston to enjoy a more traditional balloon drop and "Noon" Year's countdown, there's something for everyone on this list of family-friendly New Year's Eve activities. 

11 Fun Things to Do on Christmas Eve With Kids in Houston

Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the Christmas season. I know a lot of people have holiday traditions that they enjoy throughout the month of December, like seeing a favorite play or visiting the same Santa for photos each year, while others have special activities reserved for Christmas Day, like enjoying a meal out with family or driving around to see the holiday lights and displays one last time. But to me, there's always been something magical about the night before Christmas. Growing up, that was the day we opened all of our presents from family members, attended the candlelight church service, and listened to Christmas carols while sipping hot chocolate and eating holiday treats, so I guess it's no surprise that I find myself wanting to make the day just as special in our house now that I have my own family. Luckily, there is no shortage of fun things to do with the kids on Christmas Eve.

ChocXO Chocolate Tour: Is There a Willy Wonka Factory in Orange County?

Sadly, this location has closed as of 2019.

The answer to this tantalizing question is yes and no—but mostly yes.

Down the 5 freeway, in a nondescript Orange County strip mall past the Irvine Spectrum, is one of SoCal's best-kept secrets. ChocXO is a bean-to-bar chocolate factory, complete with direct trade cacao beans, organic chocolate, and an on-site retail store that whips up steaming mugs of decadent hot chocolate. But most remarkable of all is that your kids can go behind the scenes and witness for themselves the magic that turns those little beans into the most revered food in their diet. It's the closest thing to Mr. Wonka's factory this side of Hershey.

Ice Cream and Cereal Bar Spoons Opens on Long Island and OMG

Your family may have eaten cereal hundreds, even thousands, of times in your life, but have you ever spooned down a bowl of your favorite childhood brand mixed into a serving of velvety decadent soft-serve ice cream? Well, this isn't just a kid's dessert fantasy. It's a reality at the recently opened Spoons in Seaford on Long Island.

The cereal bar-ice cream shop offers a small express window behind a slew of stores off of Merrick Avenue. It's dishing up tons of brand-name cereal varieties and more cool toppings for ice cream. So, of course, we did the hard work and tasted-tested the new ice cream spot. Read on for our review.

Find more sweet treats at these area candy shops, or check out our guide to Family-Friendly Long Island Restaurants.

NOTE: Spoons is closed for the season. Reopening in April 2018. It also expects to open a second location in 2018!

Best Ice Cream Shops in the New London Area

There is a delicious solution to the long, hot, and humid days of summer: ice cream! The sweet treat is a quick way to cool off a bit and share a smile. We've made finding the best ice cream shops in the area a mission. Stand by for some of the best frozen treats you'll find in New London County...and if you happen to be in Fairfield County, check out our favorite ice cream shops there.

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