Trains, Dinos & Heroes

Polar Express and Santa Trains Near NYC This Holiday Season

The magic of Chris Van Allsburg’s popular Christmas picture book The Polar Express comes to life again this winter with festive holiday trains within a whistle's blow of the New York City metro area. A huge hit with kids and parents alike, these trains spark the imagination and holiday spirit with seasonal snacks, stories, even gifts—not to mention a visit from Santa himself.

These old-school cabooses (some harking back to the 1920s) offer a classic holiday ambience. There's a Polar Express just an hour south into New Jersey, as well as the one-day-only Tri-State Santa Train about 50 minutes away. You could also consider a day trip to the Catskills, or a weekend getaway to Pennsylvania Dutch Country for the Santa's Paradise Express. No matter which Santa Train experience you choose, your family can combine the annual Santa Claus photo op with lasting memories of a sweet adventure.

Remember: these train rides sell out quickly, often months in advance, so book now if you want to go.

Harry Potter: A History of Magic Opens at New-York Historical Society

Harry Potter fans, grab your brooms: The long-awaited Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition is now open at the New-York Historical Society, with plenty of magical lore, historical artifacts, original manuscripts and drawings, and family-friendly programming to rekindle your love affair with the blockbuster books in whole new way.

On view now, the exhibition runs through Sunday, January 27, 2019, and timed admission tickets are selling out faster than a Fizzing Whizbee. Read on for a peek inside the much-anticipated exhibit.

Spooky Fun for Westchester Kids at Lasdon Park’s Halloween Train Show

With so many Halloween happenings in Westchester and the Hudson Valley, it can be hard to narrow down the choices. While many events are clearly geared toward older kids, the Halloween Train Show at Lasdon Park in Katonah is perfect for preschoolers, younger elementary kids or anyone who falls on the lower end of the scare-o-meter. 

The 2018 show is open on Saturdays and Sundays throughout October, plus Monday, October 8, and we have the scoop on what you need to know! Looking for more spooktacular things to do? Consult our Halloween Guide and sign up for our newsletters.

Polar Express and Christmas Trains for New Jersey Kids

Every year, New Jersey's railroads get decked out in their holiday best to offer special Christmas-themed rides for the whole family. Wait—Christmas? We know, it's a bit early to start hauling out the holly, but these rides are a popular holiday tradition, and they sell out fast!

Though these trains don't go all the way to the North Pole, most include a visit with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, along with treats, caroling, and stories. One storybook Santa train invites kids to wear their pajamas and hear a classic Christmas story read aloud on the rails, while another ferries passengers to a Christmas tree farm.

Read on to find out where to take a holiday train ride with Santa Claus, and book your tickets as soon as possible. Then you can put Christmas aside for a while and get back to your fall fun.  

Best Science Museums for Kids in New Jersey and Beyond

With STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) at the forefront of most school curriculums, it makes sense to get kids engaged and excited about these subjects from an early age. Fortunately, the Garden State is home to many museums and science centers where fun and learning collide. 

From mind-blowing minerals to awe-inspiring archeology and astronomy exhibits, with plenty of hands-on learning opportunities for all ages, these destinations are as entertaining as they are educational. Read on for a dozen of our favorite spots in and near NJ.

Halloween's Best Ghost Trains and Spooky Rides for LA Kids

So you've already been to the pumpkin patches, and you're ready to take Halloween to the next level; you're ready, in fact, to put it in motion. Well, we know several deadly ways to take this haunt on the road before it's time to trick-or-treat, with everything from an old-fashioned train ride through fields of pumpkins, to a spooky tour through the bowels of a haunted ship, or even a scream-filled hayride through fields of zombies. Whatever Halloween means to your family, you can make it a ride at one (or more) of these vehicular annual haunts. After all, the family that hunts down armies of zombies together stays together.

Halloween and Fall Foliage Train Rides for New Jersey Kids

Halloween and hayrides go hand in hand, but if you really want to up your game this year, take a trip on a Halloween train! If you have a junior conductor in your family, don't miss out on one of these four seasonal NJ railway adventures—plus one across the Delaware in Pennsylvania.

From spooky to scenic, these rides offer a unique bit of fall fun for the whole family: passengers can take a seat in a vintage caboose, travel through gorgeous fall foliage, visit a pumpkin patch, and even trick-or-treat onboard. After the ride, round out the day with autumn activities like corn mazes, crafts, and a costume party.

Check out our NJ Fall Fun Guide for even more seasonal family fun around the state.

American Museum of Natural History in NYC: What to See with Kids

The American Museum of Natural History may be one of the foremost natural history museums in the world, but a visit here is a rite of passage for all NYC kiddos. The building's imposing footprint and vast collection can make the trip a slightly daunting proposition, especially for first-timers.

Never fear: Not only is AMNH one of NYC's most kid-friendly museums, it's also easy to check out a hall or two on one visit and still leave dozens of other exhibits for a totally new experience on your next visit. Read on for our top sights and kid-friendly tricks for checking out this amazing institution.

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