Linkin B'Logs: Hot Air Balloon Rides, Burned Babies and New Kinds of Fun in New York City Parks

This week's hot tips and important stories for parents, so you can be the most-in-the-knowiest.

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the original design of Central Park, you can take a hot air balloon ride to 30 feet above the park. The price is $25 per person, sounds worth it for a once in a life-time opportunity.

The Bush years are dwindling down and that makes me very happy because it means...JibJab is on the case again with funny new political cartoons like their Time for Some Campaignin video. [via Roosevelt Islander]

Time reports that nearly 90% of foods marketed to kids do not meet basic nutritional standards of food. Check out their list of 9 "healthy" kid foods that really aren't. Goldfish are number two on the list because of the amount of sodium. [via GoodyBlog]

More links and our Exit Cuckoo giveaway winner after the jump.

Free Fun Friday: Water and Art Everywhere

200807250207.jpgLots of cool stuff going on this weekend and you don't have to look any further than our events calendar to find our picks. This weekend we've picked out more events that let NYC kids experience two of New York's most precious natural resources, the water, and the artists, all around us.

Starting with City of Water at Governor's Island, this fun day for kids will have a boat parade, fishing clinics, live music and more.

Seining (a fancy word for catching fish by net) at Brooklyn Bridge Park gives kids an opportunity to see that there really is all kinds of creatures living in the waters right here.

At Socrates Sculpture Garden this week kids can create their own anime stop-motion movie.

Giveaway: Exit Cuckoo is Nanny Diaries with Heart

Yesterday, the lovely people at NY Family Magazine gave Mommy Poppins a terrific shout out. So if you are new to the site because of that, welcome. You've come at a great time because we just happen to be doing a giveaway today.

Before we get to the giveaway, I'd like to give newcomers a brief introduction to the site. Besides our Summer Fun Guide and Free Activity a Day for every single day of the summer, our mos popular post is A NYC Kids' Life List: 100 Things to Do with Your Kids in NYC Before they Grow Up. To dig deeper into the site use our search function at the top of the page or scroll down to the categories on the left. And as my readers know, you can always email me if you have a question or are looking for something in particular.

To find out more about our site and some of it's regular content, take a look at our about page. And if you like what you see, you might want to subscribe to our free email updates. 

By the way, for my readers who are looking for preschools this year, NY Family has put together a truly impressive panel of experts for a preschool admissions seminar. Get more info in our events calendar.

But without further ado, let's get to the giveaway. Shea went to see this play, Exit Cuckoo, and here's what she thought:

Things to Do in Astoria and Down Under The Triborough

The incredible popularity of DUMBO has created this new love for New Yorkers and that is hanging out in the magical and somewhat creepy space that is created under our massive bridges. If you are one of these LOSUBs (lovers of spaces under bridges), and getting tired of loitering under the various Brooklyn crossings, I have a new one for you that won't disappoint - the Triborough. Head to this neighborhood of Queens for a great day of water fun, ethnic eats, a kid-friendly beer garden, and maybe even a fun Museum stop.

Reader Tips: Water Taxi Bird Watching, Jump and Last Licks

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We have been getting lots of great tips from readers in our in box and in the comment section of the site. It's been hard for me to keep up with it all on top of our regular posting. Some of them I've been able to slip into regular posts, but the tips are all too good to let go, so this week and next week I set aside some days that I am going to be posting the great ideas for things to do with kids in New York that you have been sharing.

If you have some tips you'd like to share with us please send them to me.

Thanks to Sharon Kleinhandler, Tricia Gillespie and Neeta Vallab for these tips:

Linkin Blogs: Who do you read?

I just returned from the BlogHer conference, where approximately 1000 bloggers descended on San Francisco to meet, learn, discuss and recreate blogging. Although I have very little stamina for conferences and was BlogHurting pretty bad by Saturday, I had a great time and was really pleased to finally meet some of the fantastic bloggers that I have been reading, emailing, trading posts with and linking to for the last couple years, but had never so much as spoken to before.

I also had the opportunity to become acquainted with many new bloggers and blogs that I had never read before. This week, instead of our usual linkin' b'logs, I thought I would share some of the wonderful blogs that I read or will start reading now that I know about them. These are some of todays' best writers, who share their intimate, passionate, unique and truthful takes on parenting.

Free Fun Friday: Stay Cool or Party in the Park

Lots going on this weekend but be warned, it's going to be a hot one so if all you can deal with is staying in air conditioning or being in water check out our Summer Fun Guide for info on places to hop in the water and cool off.

For air-conditioned events, top picks are the Foot and Fiddle Dance Company at the Museum of the New City on Saturday where you can catch a lively dance program that demonstrates how waves of Irish immigration have influenced American dance, FREE with admission. And Summer Sundays at the Gugenheim which includes tours, drawing and children's lterature, $15 per family.

And now for a line-up of the best FREE outdoor events this weekend:

Farm Fun for City Kids at NY State County Fairs

Are you raising a city kid who thinks that milk comes in a carton and apples are from the bodega?  On second thought, we all know New York City kids are way too precocious for that but I would bet that most of your kids feel more comfortable on a subway than they do on a farm.  And, even though they "know" where milk comes from, have they ever actually milked a cow?  

If you are looking for a way to get your kids to connect more to the food on their plate, try taking them to one of New York State's county fairs.  County fairs are filled with animals, award winning vegetables and lots of farm demonstrations. With county fairs every day of the week throughout New York State for all of July and August if you are planning on heading out of the city you should check these listings to see if you can bring Old Macdonald to life for your little one.

Linkin Blogs: Dating Rules, Obama's kids, Discounts to NYC Hot Spots

Just cause the last time you sat down to read a newspaper was when "pooped out" still meant tired doesn't mean you can't stay up to date with what's going on. We've rounded up the top stories you don't want to miss from the NYC media this week.

Why let tourists have all the fun? At NYCvisit.com you can download a pass that's good for discounted admission to many city museums plus restaurants, zoos and stores, like the American Girl Doll Store.

Parental Discretion Advised. 
Listen to an NPR story on a new study that links parents' satisfaction in their own relationships to

Find the Free Gelato Truck this Week

The Ciao Bella Gelato Mobile will be in New York over the next week, giving out free scoops of gelato and sorbet, beginning with the Park Avenue Summerfest this weekend. The flavor options are: Tahitian vanilla gelato, pistachio gelato, maple ginger snap gelato, blood orange sorbet, blackberry cabernet sorbet and coconut sorbet. Yum.

You'll find the gelato mobile at the Park Avenue Summerfest on Saturday July 12th between 17th and 23rd streets, from 11am-6 pm.

On Tuesday, July 15th, you get a second chance at the Flatiron Chefs event when the truck will be parked on Madison and 24th from 5:30 to 8:30pm.

And then in Tribeca on Friday, 7/18 at the Civic Community Day Fair from 11am-6pm (Murray Street from Broadway to Church Streets).

The truck will also be at the following locations in New Jersey:

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