Trains, Dinos & Heros

25 Ways to Play Princess in New York City

If you have daughters, you know it is hard to shield them from the cotton-candy pink frocks, tulle-filled tutus, sparkly wands, and gleaming tiaras of princesses for long. Of course, many kids, not just the girls, are captivated by the swirl of a princess dress or a blinking fairy wand.

With two daughters at home, we have a closet of dress-up flocks, bins of teeny, tiny princess figurines, and shelves chock-a-block full of Disney DVDs. Playing princess is a constant state of being around here. Sometimes my princesses frolic at home; other times we enjoy a night on the town. But no matter where our princess adventures take us, we always have fun.

So, from my princesses to yours, here are 25 ways to experience NYC in royal style.

All A-Boo! Halloween and Fall Train Rides for New Jersey Kids

Halloween and hayrides go hand in hand, but have your kids ever heard of a "Halloween train"? If you have a junior train conductor in your family, don't miss out on one of these four seasonal NJ railway adventures. Take a seat in a vintage caboose, travel through gorgeous fall foliage, pick pumpkins to bring home, and even trick-or-treat onboard. After the ride, round out the day with autumn activities, from corn mazes to crafts to spooky scarecrows.

Check out our NJ Fall Fun Guide for even more seasonal family fun around the state, and find more cool fall train rides just over the border in Pennsylvania, from a haunted ride to preschooler-friendly Day Out with Thomas.

Pumpkins, Bonfires, & Foliage: Autumn Train Rides for Philly Families

As cooler weather reaches the Delaware Valley, Philly families are reminded of their own autumnal traditions. Perhaps picking apples at a local apple orchard, raking leaves in the backyard, and carving pumpkins on the kitchen table come to mind. This year, consider adding a new experience to your fall 'must do' list by climbing aboard one of the many train rides available throughout our region. From vintage baseball games to pumpkin picking to eating brunch or dinner onboard, there are several unique train experiences that are sure to delight children of all ages. Looking for more trains? Check out New Jersey's Halloween Train list for even more fun.

Be sure to search our Events Calendar for plenty of additional family activities for the fall season.

Take the Kids to the EcoTarium for Indoor and Outdoor Fun

The EcoTarium is a museum about an hour west of Boston that tends to get overshadowed by the Museum of Science. That's a shame, because the EcoTarium is a fun destination for kids, with plenty of indoor and outdoor activities. Located on one of the hills of Worcester, the EcoTarium combines elements of a traditional science museum with flavors of an animal habitat and woodland trail. Anyone with kids heading for the main entrance will likely be delayed by the interactive musical and building-block activities just outside the front door, including a xylophone of sorts made of large plastic pipes (pictured).

Once families do get inside, the first thing they might hear are the screams.

Experience NYC in True Princess Style at the Lotte New York Palace

With a 3-year-old and 7-year-old daughter, princesses long ago took over my home. We've got dress-up clothes, dolls, movies, sing-along-microphones, and multiple tiaras, but never have my girls felt quite as regal as they did on a recent stay at the Lotte New York Palace where we were treated to a truly magical experience as royal guests with the luxury hotel's Palace Princess Package.

Located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, the Lotte New York Palace offers a perfect destination for a staycation (as we enjoyed) to celebrate a birthday perhaps or as a treat for out-of-towners looking to make their visit to NYC extra special for a certain princess. 

Bam! Pow! Zap! This Children's Museum in OC Gives Kids Super Powers

My six-year-old is a longtime superhero aficionado. Over the years, his bedroom has slowly become a shrine to his favorite heroes – Batman, Spiderman, and Iron Man – so he could barely contain his excitement when I told him we were heading to Pretend City Children's Museum to test-drive its new “Super Powers” exhibit. The interactive child-sized city, which includes a make-believe grocery store, farm, art studio and beach, recently opened a brand-new exhibit called Super Powers—a virtual training ground for wannabe crime fighters. If your kiddo also has a closet filled with capes and masks, fly don't drive down the 55 freeway this summer for an action-packed day at Pretend City in Irvine.

Dinosaurs Unearthed: A New Adventure at the Academy of Natural Sciences

If there's one thing we love in my family, it's dinosaurs! If you're anything like us, the idea of life-size animatronic dinosaurs, probably sounds pretty amazing. Dinosaurs Unearthed at the Academy of Natural Sciences features more than a dozen of these massive creatures, and you can see them before you've even walked through the door. Running through January 16, 2017, this exhibit is perfect for the dino lovers in your family.

5 Great Theme Parks For Families in New England

For a memorable family outing jam-packed with fun, head to a theme park. We have some great choices here in New England, and we've rounded up our five favorites for families with kids ranging from toddlers to teens. Some are close enough to Boston for a daycation and others are better suited for a weekend getaway, but they all make for a quick escape from the every day blahs.  

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