Iconic Asbury Park Bowling Alley Reopens After Major Makeover

Asbury Lanes will reopen on Friday, May 18, with a nod to the center's past and an eye to the town's future. The bowling alley-turned-music venue, which first opened in 1962, has been rebuilt with state-of-the-art bowling technology by Brunswick, and its performance space has been retooled to accommodate more than double the venue's old capacity of 300. 

The new Asbury Lanes features six lanes and will offer bowling lessons for children and adults, while the performance space will host concerts and other performances for all ages. The reinvented space marks another step in Asbury Park's renaissance as both a hipster retreat and a great getaway destination for New Jersey families. 

Weekend Fun: UFO Fair, Family Arts Bash, Cupcake Festival

Be forewarned: there are so many fun, family-friendly events happening this weekend that the task of picking and choosing may be difficult! Dominating the lineup are spring festivals in Westchester and the Hudson Valley, with celebrations of many cultures—even the extraterrestrial.

Returning this year is Celebrate Pinkster, a festival honoring a historic African-American spring celebration, featuring drumming, dancing, cuisine, and more. Carnival season kicks off with the St. Patrick’s Annual Carnival's rides, games, and cotton candy. For out-of-this-world fun, resistance is futile at the annual UFO Fair (and, for that matter, at the tantalizing Gardiner Cupcake Festival). And, for a robust agenda of hands-on art fun using assorted media, don’t miss the annual Family Arts Bash.

Read on for our top weekend picks, and visit each listing for complete details. Consult our May GoList and our Event Calendar to plan ahead, and stay in the know by signing up for our newsletters!

Weekend Fun: Spring Fairs, Water Safety, Cirque du Soleil

Hit up the carnival fairgrounds this weekend at the Empire State Fair. Located outside of Nassau Coliseum, the event features food and more than 100 rides and attractions. Inside the Coliseum all weekend, Cirque du Soleil's VOLTA ignites the stage with acrobatics and art.

Splash around in the seasonal outdoor exhibit Our Backyard at the Long Island Children's Museum. Get set to get wet at this outside space that features a sensory garden, water table, hand pumps and more. Then head indoors to catch a showing of Gruff! The Musical. In this reinvention of the Three Billy Goats Gruff fairy tale, audiences learn the importance of environmental stewardship. 

Meet the sheep, llamas, alpacas, and rabbits that make the Long Island Fleece and Fiber Fair such an annual success at the Hallockville Museum Farm in Riverhead. Or experiment with scents the way ants do and make an ant habitat at the South Fork Natural History Museum.

Get a jumpstart on summer safety at Goldfish Swim Schools in Farmingdale or Garden City. This Saturday children and families can learn life-saving ways to stay safer in and around the water..

Hop over to our May GoList to find even more options for this weekend, including stroller striding and amusement park fun. Explore a new playground with our list of top picks.

See our Spring Family Fun Guide for the best in seasonal entertainment, including day trip ideas, bountiful botanical gardens, and even biking and hiking trails. Of course, our Event Calendar is loaded with fun, daily happenings for Long Island kids. Don't see a great event listed here? Add it to our Event Calendar yourself. 

Pasadena Strawberry Festival: 9 Kid-Friendly Activities Not to Miss

I can hardly remember a month of May from my childhood without a trip to the Pasadena Strawberry Festival. Growing up in southeast Houston, one of the sure signs that summer was near was the yearly festival featuring tons of carnival rides, games, and live music. The festival features every strawberry-themed food and drink imaginable, including the world's largest strawberry shortcake! As an adult, I've found that it's just as fun as it was as a kid to kick off summer with a trip to one of the area's most revered family festivals.

Because the entry fee is FREE for kids under age 5, the festival is a great opportunity to celebrate the start of summer as a family. Community volunteers work to make the festival bigger and better each and every year, and have added even more fun activities for the entire family to enjoy in 2018. Take a look at some of the festival's kid-friendly activities not to miss at this year's celebration. 

12 NYC Restaurants with Backyards for Kid-Friendly Dining

Great outdoor dining makes summer in the city tolerable, at least in my book. An hour sitting on a shady patio, sipping a cold drink, steels me for the rest of the week on sweaty NYC subways and dog-pee-scented streets. It's also a great way to savor those first sun-filled days of spring.

Of course, eating out with kids is never as simple as that, so we’ve selected not just sublime outdoor dining spots but ones with enough room to roam. Hopefully, these family-friendly Manhattan restaurants, from the Battery up to Inwood, will make you forget you are in New York City with that backyard living life, even for those of us whose apartments are too small and too dark with nary a leaf to be seen.

We’ve also covered the best backyard outdoor dining in Brooklyn and Queens. See all our restaurant recommendations in the Mommy Poppins NYC Kid-Friendly Restaurant Guide.

Visit the Magical, Mystifying World of The Museum of Jurassic Technology

Looking for something to do with the kids that’s outside of the box—and without the usual upsell for overpriced novelties? Then maybe it’s time to give Culver City's Museum of Jurassic Technology a try. Equal parts whimsical and educational, there’s nothing else in Los Angeles quite like this modern day cabinet of curiosities. But be forewarned—the less you know about its secrets, the more fun it is to explore.

Weekend Fun: NJ Renaissance Faire, Ocean Fun Days, Mayfest

Feel like festival-hopping? This weekend is packed with too many to choose from throughout the state. Chow down at food festivals, like the New Jersey Seafood Festival and New Jersey State Chili & Salsa Cookoff. Stroll through local neighborhood street fairs in Bordentown and Maplewood. Have a blast with the past at Historic Smithville's Mayfest, The New Jersey Renaissance Faire, and Walnford Day. You can even party with magical characters at the 9th Annual Princess and Pirate Festival.

Check out our Spring Guide for New Jersey Kids for more options for family fun, including Unique Carousels in New Jersey. And look to our event calendar and May GoList for a complete listing of happenings this weekend and beyond.

7 Great Programs for Long Island Kids With Special Needs

Without doubt, people who are challenged with special needs can experience sadness, insecurity, isolation, and exclusion. With increased attention paid to autism, cerebral palsy, dyslexia, and other conditions, research and resources seem to be increasing.

Unfortunately, some of these programs are not publicized sufficiently to provide easy access for families who are faced with the responsibility of designing a quality life for their children. There are, however, several organizations here on Long Island that help those with special needs live their best lives possible. And, we’ve compiled a list just for you.

For more educational and developmental programs for Long Island kids, see our classes and enrichment guide or our Long Island Special Needs Guide.

Things to Do in Fort Tryon Park & Fort Washington Park with Kids

Two of the biggest attractions in Upper Manhattan boast a combined 250 acres of lush lawns and gardens, winding tree-lined paths, multiple ball fields and playgrounds, and three iconic NYC sights: the famed Little Red Lighthouse, the George Washington Bridge (or for fans of the beloved picture book by Hildegarde H. Swift, the Great Gray Bridge), and the Cloisters, the Metropolitan Museum of Art's branch dedicated to medieval art and architecture. Because of the waterfront location at the highest points in Manhattan, the two green spaces—Fort Washington and Fort Tryon Parks—were important strategic points in the Revolutionary War. Today the parks offer visitors spectacular views of the Hudson River and the New Jersey Palisades.

So take the A train up to Washington Heights and Inwood and discover all the wonderful things to do in Fort Washington Park and Fort Tryon Park, with a little bit of help from our guide below.

Top 35 Things to Do in Flushing, Queens with Kids

The Flushing neighborhood of Queens has a bustling commercial center along Main Street filled with a wide variety of restaurants, chain stores, and culture spots like Flushing Town Hall. The north-central nabe is particularly well-known for its Chinatown section around Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue, where you'll find lots of dim sum eateries, specialty shops, and the borough's annual Lunar New Year Parade.

But Flushing, like all of Queens, is a true melting pot with residents and businesses from a multitude of diverse backgrounds. It's also home to many lovely landmarked buildings built in different eras and architectural styles. You can walk through history at the 17th-century John Bowne House, the Victorian Voelker Orth Museum, and iconic relics from two 20th-century World's Fairs held in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

We've rounded up our top 35 family-friendly things to do in Flushing, Queens, including our favorites spots to play, eat, explore, and experience with kids. We're also highlighting the major family attractions in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, such as the New York Hall of ScienceQueens Museum, and Citi Field. 

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