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.

The "New Bruce": Kid-Friendly Changes Coming to Greenwich, CT Museum

Situated in gorgeous Greenwich next to a great playground, the Bruce Museum has long been a magnet for Fairfield-area families, despite its small size and sedate vibe. But parents will be thrilled to know that the Bruce will soon be bigger, better, and way kid-friendlier. Exciting renovations began last month, and will include a transformation of the main gallery space to focus on hands-on science exhibits, an update to the Art Wing, and most exciting of all, a brand-new Education Wing devoted to interactive children's programming. Read on for more exciting details about the "New Bruce" below, and see our Connecticut Museum Guide for more enriching day-trip ideas.

Peek Inside the New Hunters Point Library in Long Island City

The highly-anticipated Hunters Point Library in Long Island City is now open to the public, with a lovely waterfront location, a sunny children's section, a packed calendar of family programming, and that delicious "new library smell." (Just kidding. Sort of...)  

An estimated 15 years in the making, the $41.5 million Queens architectural marvel is now welcoming visitors of all ages. So if you’re looking for an indoor adventure and the allure of your local library has worn off, here's a peek inside NYC's newest literary jewel box.

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 train rides for the whole family. Wait—Christmas? We know, it's a bit early to start hauling out the holly, but these Christmas trains 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 Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with treats, caroling, and stories. The popular Polar Express in Whippany 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 Christmas train ride with Santa, and book your tickets as soon as possible. Then you can put Christmas aside for a while and get back to your fall fun.

Polar Express: Christmas Train Rides for Kids Near Philly

There is something about trains that evokes nostalgia at Christmastime. For some, it stirs up childhood memories of building a model train set under the twinkling tree lights. For others it may be a simple reminder of that "coming home for the holidays" feel, where folks would arrive at the train station, arms filled with Christmas packages for family at home. Whatever the reason might be, many railroads in the tri-state area hold events to bring back that old-fashioned holiday tradition. At many of these special outings, families can ride a real locomotive with Santa Claus, hear Christmas stories, sing carols, sip hot chocolate and admire the views of the passing countryside. Children are even invited to wear their pajamas at some of these events!  

We have rounded up a list of railroads hosting holiday-themed trains of all kinds. Some of these are located more than an hour's drive from Philadelphia but can make for a fantastic holiday outing. So climb aboard for some Christmas fun!

New Art of the Brick Exhibit Dazzles at New York Hall of Science

Lego maniacs in the five boroughs now have an alternative to making a trek to Westchester (or awaiting the opening of the Legoland Resort coming next year to the Hudson Valley) if they want to commune with huge piles of colorful building bricks. The New York Hall of Science's spectacular Art of the Brick exhibit is on view now through January 26.

Using more than a million bricks, artist Nathan Sawaya created over 100 pieces for this exhibition, from recreations of iconic pieces of art to original sculptures including a stunning T. Rex. In collaboration with photographer Dean West, the exhibit also showcases an innovative multimedia collection of Lego art photography. For more details about the interactive play stations and installations, read on.

Family-Friendly Sukkot and Simchat Torah Services and Events Across Westchester

These days, synagogue services aren't the only way for families to celebrate the Jewish holidays! From fall festivals complete with petting zoos, crafts, and sukkah decorating to meaningful volunteer opportunities for all ages, there are so many ways to mark this sacred time of year surrounding the High Holidays.

Together with UJA-Federation of New York, we've created a calendar to help connect families to services, programs, and free events across the Westchester area. Below, you'll find a number of kid-friendly opportunities to celebrate Sukkot and Simchat Torrah 2019. Take a look at the complete calendar for Shabbat services, special yoga classes, and more.

Museum of Ice Cream Returns to NYC This Winter

Clearly someone was listening in on our dreams. The Museum of Ice Cream, an imaginative pop-up experience celebrating everybody's favorite frozen dessert, is returning to NYC later this year, with a new location in Soho, new installations, and a bigger-than-ever "sprinkle pool." Tickets went on sale yesterday, and if previous incarnations of the museum are any indication, the timed entry slots will go fast. Read on for the scoop...or the double scoop with chocolate sauce.

Things To Do in LA this Weekend: Farmers Market Fall Fest, Depot Day, and Lots of Halloween Scares

The weekends around here have been Halloweeny for a while now, but they're starting to get a little...scary. And I don't just mean because you realized that your kid's desired costume is on backorder til Christmas so you may have to make one yourself. I mean honest to goodness, Momma's too old for this, scare the bejeebus out of you, old school nightmare-inducing terror.

Thank heavens for the light side. The pumpkin paths with a little extra, the fall festival in the middle of our big city, the old fashioned mechanisms, and the prehistoric history. Nothing beats the look of joy on an elephant's face as he chows down on a whole pumpkin. (At least I think that's joy?) Nothing beats the look of joy on a mom's face when she meets her childhood hearthrob. (Now I know that's joy!)

This weekend you can go to your happy place, whether it's a train depot, a Japanese garden, the land of the dead, or outer space. Tons of fun, and none of it scary. Except for that thing about the costume. Anyone know a good seamstress?

Keep reading for our favorite picks for the weekend, which totally aren't scary...

Drop-In Childcare and Babysitting Services for Parents on Long Island

When parents need time to run errands, get work done, or even have a date night, it can be difficult to find impromptu childcare. We've created a list of drop-in childcare and babysitting services on Long Island to accommodate whatever your schedule throws at you. These services provide safe and fun childcare for your child to thrive, while you tick off items on your to-do list or even have some fun of your own! You’ll find mini-camps, drop-in childcare, parents’ night out, and babysitting services to meet all of your last-minute and sporadic childcare needs.

And for more family-friendly activities, be sure to check out our Long Island Events Calendar. You can also sign up for our FREE newsletters to get the best local events and reviews delivered right to your inbox.


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