Year-Round Observatories and Eclipse Viewing on LI

A solar eclipse will swoop across the United States on Monday, August 21, causing total darkness to fall across a 70-mile corridor. Long Islanders won't make it into this path of total darkness, but you can still enjoy a celestial show to commemorate this once-in-a-century event.

Solar eclipse viewing on one of Long Island's beaches is a great option, and we've added some local viewing parties where you can see one of nature's rare spectacles with your family. For astronomy enthusiasts of all ages, we've got you covered with stargazing science programs to enjoy year-round.

Before the big day, check out our guide to preparing for the eclipse, including safety measures and viewing times.

Planetariums Near and In NYC Where Kids Can Stargaze

Stargazing in New York City is more likely to mean a celebrity sighting than watching actual celestial bodies. I grew up in the suburbs and have fond memories of standing in my yard with my dad and my telescope, talking about constellations. Even if you’re lucky enough to have outdoor space here, the light pollution precludes seeing anything but the brightest stars. If you can’t book a trip to some remote, rural location, the next best thing is a planetarium—especially since you also get expert guidance as to what you’re seeing.

As most of us know, a complete solar eclipse will happen on August 21, and it might just be the perfect event to spark interest in the solar system for your family. If your child is fascinated by the eclipse, your next stop should be a planetarium, so they can learn more about the stars and planets. We’ve rounded up the planetariums in and around New York City. Happy stargazing!

Find more local NYC eclipse events in our calendar, including viewing parties at local libraries. (Tip: B&H on Ninth Avenue was still selling eclipse glasses at press time.)

Mom and Baby Sign Language Classes in Houston

One of the most exciting milestones my husband and I have experienced with both our kids was hearing them utter their first words. The thrill that comes from the realization that repeatedly saying "dada" and "say ma-ma-ma-ma-mama" has finally clicked and then being able to watch your child's vocabulary explode is one of those experiences that you never forget. The months leading up to that, however, can be wrought with frustration for parents and babies as you both try to communicate to each other. There is a solution, though - baby sign language.

Baby sign language allows your child to effectively communicate with you well before they are verbal, and can ease the frustration and tantrums that are often a result of the helplessness born from not being able to communicate a need or want. Learning another language so early also paves the way to multilingual success as your child grows, and can be a fun and unique bonding experience for the two of you. Here are some sign language classes around Houston for you and baby to learn and grow together.

This Weekend's Fun for LA Kids: Natsumatsuri, Hammer Fest, and Tchaikovsky

The sun will come out tomorrow. At least I think it will. We’re good at least through the weekend, but after that all bets are off. No one knows what will happen next week, but me and my shadow are determined to make hay while the sun shines. And eat BBQ. And dance and sing along.

Luckily, this is a good weekend to wrap up summer break. Both the Hammer and the Japanese American National Museum have big festivals, free and full of extras, (like frogs and cotton candy).  The Hollywood Bowl blows up the sky with its fare this weekend, and Pershing Square proves punk is not dead. The weekend offers opportunities to see luminaries from the worlds of literature, sport, and patrolling, and maybe get some pointers on surviving the coming plunge into darkness

So straighten up and fly right, and don't forget to clean up the place on your way out.

Keep reading for our sunniest picks for this weekend...

25 Things to Do with Kids in Portland, Maine

Less than two hours from Boston, Portland, Maine is a city filled with history, culture, jaw-dropping natural beauty, and truly great food. Though the busy, pretty waterfront on Casco Bay gets the most tourist love in Portland, there's a lot of fun to be had just a little farther afield, making it a perfect spot for a weekend trip with the kids. Pack up the car or take the train, and settle in for an engaging, relaxing, and picture-perfect weekend getaway.

To plan a memorable trip, take a look at these 25 things to do with the kids in Portland—it's truly one of my kids' favorite places in New England.

Weekend Fun for Houston Kids: Food Fest, Kids Festival, Aug 19-20

For some Houstonians, the last weekend of the summer is here. Our kiddos are going back to school and our days are going back to quietness and grown up tasks. Make the most out of this weekend with the help of our event calendar and our ultimate summer guide. Don't forget the solar eclipse is next week, so plan ahead with tips on how to watch it safely together as a family

Also on Mommy Poppins this week:

Read on for more details on our top weekend picks and be sure to click through for full details. Making plans weeks in advance? Check out the August GoList for our best bets throughout the month. And remember to check out our event calendar—there's no shortage of fun things to do all summer long! 

Did you know can also submit your own events? And to have posts like this delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

Now, let's check out what's going on this weekend: 

Weekend Fun for Philly Kids: Festivals, Culture, Music August 19-20

Summer in the Delaware Valley is slowly slipping away, but the summer fun hasn't ended yet for Philly families. On both Saturday and Sunday, families can experience the Festival of Flight showcasing airplanes and automobiles, or visit the Philadelphia Folk Festival to hear plenty of folk music and enjoy fun children's activities. Looking to learn about a new culture or celebrate your own heritage? Visit the Great Plaza at Penn's Landing as it hosts a Caribbean Festival, one of the many summertime events courtesy of PECO's Multicultural Festival Series.

More weekend excitement includes outdoor movies at Franklin Square, Limerick Community Park, and Kingsessing Playground, as well as outdoor concerts such as the 40th Street Summer Series, Norristown Free Outdoor Concert Series, and Radio 104.5 Summer Block Parties. For something a little more low-key, cool down with a swim at a pop-up pool or splash pad before they close for the season. Those looking for a real thrill can plan a tubing and water rafting adventure. No weekend is complete without a sweet treat at your favorite ice cream shop! Plan out the rest of the month's activities with something from our August GoList, and make sure your summer goes out with a bang!

Weekend Fun for Boston Kids: History, a Wildlife Walk, and Chantey Sing ; August 19-20

Summer is one big party for kids (maybe less so for parents?)—and this weekend there are parties galore for kids and parents alike. There are the traditional events that originated more than a century ago in the North End and Marshfield, and a more contemporary festival happening in the West End. Families can also celebrate the past at a living history festival as well as all things vintage

This party is bringing the heat, and for a cooler vibe, head to the Navy Yard for a chantey sing. There's also a (free!) wildlife walk, and binoculars for the kiddos are included.

Also on Mommy Poppins this week:

Need more family fun ideas? Check out our full events calendar.

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