Best of LA Kids 2016: Here Are the Winners!

Our readers have spoken. This summer we asked all of you—our wonderful community of Los Angeles area parents—to vote for the best family businesses and resources in 24 categories. You chose from 10 nominees in each category (and four voters were picked at random to enjoy great prizes from our sponsors!), and the votes are now in. We announced the winners at a fun event hosted by one of our nominees, the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, and shared the moment via Facebook Live broadcast. In case you missed it, here is a complete list of the winners of our Best of LA Kids contest—and for future reference, be sure to bookmark our Best of LA Kids Winners Guide):

Corn and Hay Mazes in the Hartford Area

Fall is a great time of year for families to spend time together outdoors enjoying the brisk weather and beautiful foliage in Hartford County. The autumn season is filled with so many activities like pumpkin picking, spooky Halloween events, fairs and you can’t forget corn mazes! What better way to spend a beautiful fall afternoon than getting lost in a corn or hay stack maze?! Here's a list of places to do just that in the Hartford County area.

Top Pumpkin Picking Farms for New Jersey Families

Nothing says fall quite like a pumpkin. When they start appearing on the front stoops and in the windows across New Jersey, you know fall really has arrived. Sure, you can grab one for your family at the local garden center or even grocery store, but why miss out on a visit to one of NJ's many pumpkin patches where you're sure to run into more fall fun, including barnyard animals, hay and corn mazes, and even the season's other favorite fruit: apples

So pack up the kids for one of our favorite fall day trips and visit one these dozen popular farms around the state to pick out just the right pumpkin.

Closer to the New York border? Check out these Westchester and Hudson Valley pumpkin patches. Closer to south Jersey or headed for a Bucks County getaway this fall? Our Philadelphia site has the info on Pennsylvania pumpkin patches.

See Bronx Zoo Like a Local: Tips for a Great Visit with Kids

We've written about the Bronx Zoo often, and with good reason. I've been a regular at this zoo since I was a child, and now visit with my three kids. We enjoy every outing. The Bronx Zoo continues to evolve and remains a top destination for local NYC families, tourists, and animal lovers of all kinds.

Located in the heart of the Bronx at the southern end of Bronx Park and near the borough's own Little Italy, the Bronx Zoo is easily accessible via public transit or by car. One visit is sure to leave a lasting impression, though you'll need more than that to experience all this institution has to offer. And since it is the nation's largest urban zoo, it helps to have some pointers before you go—especially if you are visiting with kids. So read on for 10 tips on visiting the Bronx Zoo like a local.

The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze Rises in Hudson Valley Again

There are some experiences every family should try once. Then there are annual events that, after you try them, you vow to do every year forevermore. That's how I feel about the Great Jack O' Lantern Blaze in Croton-on-Hudson, a Hudson Valley Halloween staple with thousands of hand-carved jack-o’-lanterns.

The downside of the Great Jack O' Lantern Blaze is that tickets start selling out way in advance ... like early September. The 2016 shows begin Friday, September 30, and run through Sunday,  November 13. They are not held every day, so start checking the calendar now. Our NYC readers should know that the Blaze is definitely worth splurging on, even if you need to rent a Zipcar. It's also accessible via public transportation.

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Fall Hayrides to Spooky Houses, Pumpkin Patches, Corn Mazes, and More

Fall is upon us, which means we are busy checking off all the fun apple and pumpkin-filled events we can cram in before the weather officially gets too cold to be outdoors. Topping off every list is the ultimate in fall fun—a hayride! Whether through a spooky field, in costume, or just for the fun of it, hayrides, and other harvest fun are a tradition from childhood we get to relive with our own littles. Just remember to wear denim, as all that dry hay can get itchy!

Sleep in a Lighthouse and More Hudson Valley Family Resorts

The Hudson Valley is an easy weekend getaway for those in the New York City vicinity. Its proximity makes getting there a breeze, even with a car full of kids.

Once you’ve arrived, natural possibilities abound. In fall, leaf peeping is spectacular and farms are ripe with pick-your-own fruit options and stands selling warm donuts and sweet cider. The Hudson Valley is history heavy, with names such as Roosevelt and Vanderbilt prevailing. Pedestrian-friendly towns such as Hudson, New Paltz, and Saugerties attract hip New Yorkers and their kids like bees to honey. There are a variety of overnight accommodations at a range of prices, from an all-inclusive dude ranch to a stately Grand Dame hotel to a farm stay.

Get packing for a quick getaway to this wide-open region just north of NYC.

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