Zoos & Gardens

The NYBG Holiday Train Show Returns with Tons of Updates in 2017

We may still be a few weeks away from Halloween, but the trappings of the holiday season have started to creep onto store shelves, and we're already anticipating one of our favorite seasonal traditions: the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden.

In 2017, the iconic skyscrapers of Midtown Manhattan take center stage. The show, which opens to the public on Wednesday, November 22, debuts all-new replicas of the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, General Electric Building, and St. Bartholomew's Church.

Boo at the Zoo: New Thrills and Attractions at the Bronx Zoo's Halloween Event

Fall has arrived in New York City and with it, a fantastic array of seasonal activities that make saying goodbye to summer feel more like a celebration than a somber farewell. And with Halloween just around the corner, one of my family's favorite Halloween-themed outings—the Bronx Zoo's annual Boo at the Zoo—is already underway!

For years, we've enjoyed donning our costumes and exploring the zoo, joining the Halloween parade, marveling at the pumpkin carving demos and displays, and, of course, visiting and learning about the majestic resident animals. This year, we're particularly excited to visit as the zoo has revamped its programming with new activities and attractions, including a Haunted Forest geared at older kids, a hayride, and a corn maze. Read on for all the details on returning favorites and new offerings, including price details and best times to visit.

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NYC's High Line: The Best Sights and Events for Families

Like many native New Yorkers, I get caught up in my daily routine and forget what this amazing city has to offer families. It wasn’t until my gig at Mommy Poppins that I started exploring some of these overlooked, and even mega popular tourist destinations, such as the High Line. The abandoned track of elevated railway, forgotten for decades, but finding new life as a public park, has always intrigued me. It's owned by the city, but maintained by the nonprofit Friends of the High Line in coordination with the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation.

The truth of the matter is, I was wrong in my first assumption that The High Line was for tourists. It's an amazing site AND a community builder, with wonderful year-round programs for locals. So whether you’re visiting from overseas, the suburbs, or Queens (like myself), The High Line on Manhattan’s west side is a gem—and FREE.

Here, all the must-see spots at this unique outdoor park for children and kid-friendly events to add to your calendar.

Halloween Events at Zoos Around Boston

How do you possibly make Halloween even more fun for children? By adding some real live animals in the mix! Zoos in New England are getting into the Halloween spirit and inviting guests to visit in costume to trick or treat with the critters who live there. Halloween events at all zoos are even included with the price of admission...and costumes are highly encouraged, of course.

What Ages Get in Free at Philly Museums, Zoos, Gardens, Amusement Parks

Let's be honest, having kids can be expensive. Entertaining kids can be even more expensive. Museums, zoos, and amusement parks can be fun and even educational, but not always economical. Sometimes the best time to go is when the littlest ones can still get in with free admission. Maybe you can even check a few things off of your bucket list. To make it easy, we've created this list of which places offer free admission for what ages. We've even included some more obscure museums so you can broaden your horizons and try some place new! So hurry up and plan that outing while the kids are still little.

Spirit's Promise: A Horse Farm and Rescue on LI's East End

It's My Little Pony turned real life at Spirit’s Promise Equine Rescue and Rehabilitation, a facility for abused, neglected or unwanted farm animals. It offers animals a renewed lease on life while providing a rewarding and educational destination for visitors. 

Want to get up close and personal with other animals? Peruse our list of animal farms and petting zoos on Long Island. Looking for more East End fun? Check out our guide to the Hamptons and North Fork.

See NYC's Only Corn Maze and More Fall Fun at this Queens Farm

There aren't many better ways to get the family excited for the fall in NYC than taking the kids for a tour through a three-acre corn maze in the middle of Queens and letting their imaginations run wild. The Queens County Farm Museum's Amazing Maize Maze opens for the season September 23, and it's just one of the quintessential fall activities happening at this New York City institution.

The Amazing Maize Maze is the only corn maze in the city. My family and I have conquered lots of these mazes and can happily say that the one at the Queens County Farm Museum is just as much fun as its country counterparts. We made it through in just about one hour—even with a pair of 8-year-olds leading the way. That left us plenty of time to enjoy other farm fun. We've got some tips for how to make the most of your visit to the farm and the corn maze. But no, we aren't giving you the route. You'll still need to figure that out yourself!

Free Times to Visit NYC Museums, Gardens, and the Zoos

Many of New York City's top museums, zoos, gardens, and cultural institutions offer FREE or reduced admission on certain nights, days, or hours at least once a month—a city perk that no busy, cash-strapped parent should miss out on! Plus, many of the "grown-up" museums let kids in for free year-round.

It can be hard to keep track of when and where these freebies are available, so we've compiled an exhaustive list of reduced or FREE admission days at all of your favorite NYC cultural spots from the Bronx Zoo to the Brooklyn Children's Museum.

As always, you can check our Events Calendar for more budget-friendly kid activities every day or peruse our Free in NYC Guide. Try our Museum Guide or Zoos and Gardens Guide for more on the latest kid-friendly art and exhibitions in NYC.

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