Weekend Fun: Dance Parade, Movies, Fairs, and Superheroes

Dance is everywhere this weekend in New York City, from the spectacular 12th Annual Dance Parade, which ends with a flourish in Tompkins Square Park, to the debut of Tetris at Lincoln Center. There's also a family dance matinee at NY Live Arts and the Parsons Family Matinee at the Joyce.

Fairs and festivals are everywhere, too! The 9th Avenue International Food Festival sprawls through the west side all weekend—though vegetarians might want to detour to 18th Street for the Vegetarian Food Fest. Family-friendly fests in Queens promise bouncy castle and face painting fun at three locations (St. Albans Park and Turtle Playground on Saturday, Rufus King Park on Sunday). Superhero wannabes can don their capes to join the NYSoM's SuperHero Showdown in Brooklyn. Plus, the weekend-long ImagiNATIONS! Children's Festival debuts a brand-new activity center at the National Museum of the American Indian.

On Sunday, don't miss Brooklyn's Fabulous Fifth Street Fair, the 35th Annual Hippo Playground Spring Fair, and the Children's Museum of the Arts' annual FREE Kids' Fair or its CMA Family Day spring benefit. There's also a Party on Wheels benefit happening at the NY Transit Museum.

Looking for evening entertainment under the stars? Shakespeare dips his initial toe into summer park programming with an abbreviated version of A Midsummer Night's Dream in Bryant Park. Bring blankets and other critical movie watching paraphernalia to FREE evening screenings of Coco on the UWS or Sing in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. On Sunday, catch a screening of the new Jumanji in Brooklyn's Coffey Park or Indiana Jones at Habana Outpost.

Planning ahead? Today would be the perfect time to sign up for a 4th of July cruise to maximize fireworks fun (before they all sell out!).

Let's hope the rain stays away, so we can enjoy all these great outdoor events.

Weekend Fun for CT Kids: Penguins, Fishing, and Magic

By now hopefully you have recovered from the Tuesday storm that knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of homes, mostly in western areas of the state. This is being written on Wednesday using coffee shop WiFi so some of us weren't quite so lucky. But we have the weekend to look forward to, and dozens of fun activities are on tap for Connecticut families, including a special community day at Litchfield's historically inspired green space, a chance to have pancakes with penguins, and a kids fishing derby on Great Hollow Lake. For a more indoor experience, take in a magic show, or just enjoy a (free!) trip to the local bowling alley.

For other ideas, be sure to browse our Event Calendar, which we continue to update throughout the weekend. To keep up with everything going on in Connecticut, follow us on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. 

Weekend Fun for Philly Kids: Festivals, Animals, Nature May 19-20

Philly families certainly have a big decision to make this May weekend.... which festival to attend! And, boy, is our event calendar filled with plenty of options.

There are festivals filled with tradition and culture. There are festivals with juicy strawberries or tasty rhubarb as the star of the show. Some festivals feature literary themes, while others showcase theater and storytelling.

After enjoying a festival or two, head into nature! Learn about tadpoles at Riverbend Environmental Education Center, frogs at Tyler Arboretum, sheep at Washington's Crossing Historical Park, or birds at Bucktoe Creek Preserve. Consider digging in the dirt at Newlin Grist Mill or spending time at Smith for some nature play.

So, text your friends, gather up the kids, and make some great spring memories together.

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.

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