Trains, Dinos & Heroes

8 Kid-Friendly LIRR Stops for a Fun Day Trip

Let’s face it. Traffic on Long Island is no picnic. In fact, sometimes the thought of taking a day trip to another part of this beautiful island makes us cringe when we think of the hours on the road and the challenge of keeping the kids in the backseat entertained.

But there is a another way to get from here to there…the LIRR! Taking the train is a convenient, fun way for families to get around the Island without the hassle of driving. From beach communities to charming downtowns to family-friendly museums, there are plenty of LIRR stops where families can hop off and explore the area for the day.

We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite family day trips reachable via the LIRR, highlighting the best attractions and sights in the area. All aboard!

The Long Awaited CTrail Hartford Train Line Opens This Weekend!

After several years of anticipation, the CTrail Hartford train line to Springfield opens Father's Day weekend. Spend a fun day on the train with your train enthusiast. You can hop on the train in New Haven and go all the way to Springfield with stops in Wallingford, Meriden, Berlin, Hartford, Windsor, and Windsor Locks on the way. The Hartford Line will provide you with an opportunity to check out some of the coolest places at each stop including bakeries, museums, mini-golf, and more. In celebration of opening weekend, all rides are free! Check out our suggestions on what to do at each stop. Some locations that we recommend may need an uber to get to them. Many are within walking distance. And make sure to check out our post on fun CT train rides to take with your preschooler.

Destination Dino: Dinosaurs Arrive at the Franklin Park Zoo

My kids are always excited for a trip to the Franklin Park Zoo; I mean, who isn't awed by lions, gorillas, or those gorgeous, roaming peacocks? But when we learned that some new animals were taking up temporary residence in Franklin Park this summer—life-sized, moving, roaring dinosaurs, no less—our curiosity was piqued even more than usual. So, on a quiet Wednesday afternoon in June, my 6-year-old played hooky from kindergarten and we went into Boston to take in Destination Dino, on display at the Franklin Park Zoo through September 3. Here's what we saw—and what to know before you go.

9 Must-See Dinosaur Theme Parks and Attractions for Kids

If your kid is fascinated by dinosaurs, chances are everything in your home revolves around the prehistoric creatures, including your family vacations. Your nearby natural history or kids' science museum is a great bet for a quick trip to study major fossil displays. For an even bigger thrill, families might want to check out one of the many outdoor dinosaur parks, from full amusement parks to nature walks and mini fossil digs.

We've rounded up a list of 10 great places for dinosaur lovers across the country. These dinosaur-themed attractions offer up-close encounters with lifelike creatures, thrilling rides, impressive fossils, and more fun things to do and see for kids, including dino-theater.

For more family vacation ideas—that may, or may not, involve dinosaurs—check out our United States Family Travel Guide.

6 Destinations for Train-Obsessed Kids on Long Island

All aboard! If your little one loves trains (and what kid doesn't?), you're in luck because Long Island is home to some of the coolest places for kids who want to explore everything about them. From model trains to small-scale rideable trains and even historic train cars, there's something for every enthusiast here. Kids young and old can get hands on and learn all about trains as well as the history of railroads on Long Island. For models and miniatures, check out some local model railroad clubs at FREE open house events held several times a year. 

Don't forget, you can always take a quick excursion on the Long Island Rail Road, where kids 4 and younger ride for FREE. Some sites below are open seasonally, so be sure to call or check the location's website before heading out.

And if your child loves learning, why not check out these historic sites on LI sure to delight children. Or visit an outdoor classroom, where natural history springs to life. For more fun in the area, check out our Long Island Events Calendar.

Medieval Times: Knightly Dinner Theater with a Dose of Girl Power in Orange County

While nearby Disneyland has sucked me in repeatedly over the years, the truth is that watching jousting and eating chicken with my hands at Medieval Times has always inspired a hard pass. That said, when the opportunity to play pretend princess in a "real" castle came up recently, my daughters were over the moon—and I was on the hook. As the saying goes, let the games begin. 

Fearless Girl Statue Set to Move to New NYC Home

Fearless Girl, the bronze statue put up in NYC by an investment firm last year ahead of International Women's Day, is about to get a new, long-term home in the city. The guerilla-style art installation was meant to bring attention to the lack of women in senior-level management positions and became an instant selfie magnet for women and girls of all ages.

It has spent the past year staring down the Charging Bull in Bowling Green Park on Broadway. She will be moved just north from the skinny Bowling Green median to a pedestrian-only spot directly in front of the New York Stock Exchange in the Financial District.

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.

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