Fishing Derbies in the Hartford Area

Want to feed children once? Give them a fish. Want to feed children for life? Teach them how to fish. Or something like that. Confession: this sushi-loving parent has never attempted to fish, but my eldest daughter has been asking relentlessly about the opportunity to make her own "catch of the day," so this spring we will finally cast our first line. We learned that fishing derbies are great places to experience the sport, learn about our local resources, and become more environmentally aware. Whether you are a novice or a pro, here are a few fishing derbies in the Hartford area that guarantee a fun family day and a reminder that "good things come to those who bait." 

Hogwarts Hurls into Hollywood: Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios

Hollywood is the original home of Universal Studios, so it never really sat right that Orlando got not just one but two Harry Potter attractions before we did. The injustice is finally set right this week, as Southern California gets its very own Wizarding World of Harry Potter just off the Hollywood Freeway, where Hogwarts ought to be. The magical treat is included in normal theme park admission, though in the coming weeks calling admission to Universal Studios "normal" is a little optimistic. Most of opening weekend is completely sold out to potty Potter fans. Something else that isn't normal? I got to experience the entire attraction a day early with only a handful of press, a few cast members from the film, and not a single line to wait in. Not to gloat, of course: I only bring it up so I can tell you what wonderful wizardry you can expect to find at Hollywood's new Harry Potter World. And to share some cool stories of meeting the actors. And to help you to not vomit. But more of that anon.

Indoor Rock Climbing Gyms in Hartford Area

Two little monkeys jumping on the bed, one fell off and the other ran to mommy scared. Wait -- that’s not a segment from the beloved books series. It sounds more like a page from a parent’s life, and increasingly hotter days do not seem to deplete most children's energy levels. Instead of baking on a playground bench while watching kids have all the fun, or deeply sighing as they pounce from living room couch to armchair, parents in the Hartford area have an amicable option: indoor rock climbing gyms.

The Pitch: Indoor Soccer Field Opens in Williamsburg

To the delight of soccer fans citywide, NYC's first indoor soccer facility has opened just across the river in Williamsburg. The Pitch, named for the British term for the playing field, is located in a former warehouse just steps away from Williamsburg family-favorite, McCarren Park. The high-quality, artificial-turf field offers a climate-controlled environment that is cool in the summer and warm in winter. It's flooded with natural light and is a perfect year-round destination for soccer-loving kids, including mine!

Celebrating Patriots' Day from Boston to Lexington and Concord

Patriots' Day commemorates the April anniversary of the battles of Lexington and Concord, the first clashes of the American Revolutionary War. It is a Massachusetts state holiday, officially observed on the third Monday in April, and is celebrated with parades and ceremonies from Boston to Roxbury, and all along the Battle Road.

Thousands of members of local minute men companies, militias, and historical societies participate in reenactments in Boston, Minute Man National Historical Park, Concord's Old North Bridge, Lexington's Battle Green, and other historic sites in the Boston area.

We’ve rounded up some of the key reenactments, parades, and special events for Patriots' Day, as well as special events at local museums, historical houses and Minute Man National Park. Note: most of the events listed are FREE but also very popular, so plan to arrive early and expect crowds. (If you're interested in more happenings or places to eat while in Concord, check out our 20-plus things to do in Concord post.)

NYC Carousels: 13 City Merry-Go-Rounds To Spin You Around

There's something wonderfully nostalgic about kids getting a thrill from a ride on a carousel. There are more than a dozen merry-go-rounds in our city and all offer a unique spin on this traditional kiddie ride. With spring in full swing, it's a great time to take your first carousel ride of the season. There are merry-go-rounds in all five boroughs, which means there's probably one near you.

Earth Day Family-Friendly Fun in NJ

Earth Day isn’t just a celebration of all things green; it’s a movement. By fostering awareness and supporting environmental protection, Earth Day is helping to shape a green generation. From hiking beautiful New Jersey trails to celebrations in various counties, our little ones appreciate Mother Earth for all she has to offer. We've rounded up fun and eco-friendly ways to celebrate Earth Day this spring in New Jersey.

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Book Festival, Ren Faire, and Harry Potter, April 9 - 10

It never rains but it pours. Or it doesn’t. You never know. So either you’re stuck with a bummer weekend with ain’t nothing goin’ on but the ‘rents (like that could ever happen here), or you have the most jam-pickety-packed weekend, so full of goodness that you don’t know where to begin (story of my life). And it may rain. Say wha?

Well, I can embrace the precipitation, because I am the proud new owner of a pair of rain boots. (Four months after El Nino was supposed to start ... don't rush me!) Many of the events will go on rain or shine, particularly the ones that are indoors, but rain may cancel some. Apparently not everyone has rain boots yet. (Gloat). 

You know what else throws people off their game here? Presidential visits, aka Obamajams, aka traffic tomfoolery. The Commander in Chief is in town Thursday and Friday (could he be coming for the butterbeer?), so you may want to double check your route. Did I mention the rain? Of course, this is nothing compared to what's coming up: stay tuned for a plague of locusts!

Keep reading for our torrents of picks for this weekend...

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