Turrell with Tots: "Twilight Epiphany" Skyspace

Famed American artist James Turrell may not have guessed that his "Twilight Epiphany" Skyspace would be a veritable classroom for youngsters, but this outdoor art installation is a great space for conversations with kids about colors, shapes, and even numbers.  

Located at the Suzanne Deal Booth Centennial Pavilion at Rice University, Turrell's "Twilight Epiphany" Skyspace looks, at first glance, like something from outer space. The two-level pyramidal structure with an opening in its roof sits on an immaculately manicured hill near the Shepherd School of Music. It's an architectural sight to behold on its own, but the real magic happens at sunrise and sunset. Well, about 40 minutes before sunrise, and about 8-10 minutes before sunset, to be precise. During these times, a mesmerizing light show takes place as LED light is projected onto the roof of the Skyspace.  

Terrific Trampoline Parks in Connecticut

Much as it pains me to admit, my kids have outgrown playgrounds. The slides and swings and zip lines that used to entertain them are now, as they say with rolled eyes, "Boooooring." Be that as it may, they have not outgrown the need to have some fun moving their bodies, and this summer when it was oh so hot outside, we had the pleasure of exploring the new generation of trampoline parks that have cropped up all over the state, from Fairfield County to Hartford and beyond. Keep in mind that parks tend to be particularly crowded on weekends and school breaks, and where advanced reservations are possible, we recommend them in order to avoid disappointment. Be warned that if you are bringing your child's friends, they will need to have signed waiver forms from their parents (most of the parks named below have the forms on their websites) . For more fun indoor play ideas check out our Connecticut Indoor Play Guide.

Best Events This Fall for New Jersey Preschoolers

As sad as it is to say goodbye to summer, fall is an amazing time of year for all, including New Jersey’s youngest residents. Get outside with your preschoolers, and enjoy the beautiful weather and colors at events like Terhune Orchards’ Fall Family Weekends and Hefty Harvest and Scary Scarecrows at Camden Children’s Garden. Catch big names at these preschool-friendly performances: Peppa Pig’s Big SplashSesame Street Live!, the Wiggles, and Octonauts Live

So, read on for almost two dozen great fall 2016 events all over NJ that are perfect for the preschool set. And don't forget to check out our Fall Fun Guide and Events Calendar to find even more great things to do. 

5 Apple Picking Day Trips for Boston Families

Carving pumpkins and trick-or-treating are classic fall activities, but our favorite by far is apple picking. It’s especially festive since we live in New England, the site of the first apple orchard in America. There are several terrific places to pick apples close to Boston, but it can be even more fun to venture a little further afield. So we’ve rounded up five of the best places to pick apples in Massachusetts that have other fun attractions—and good food—nearby, so you can make a day trip out of your visit to the farm.

STOMP: A High-Energy, Interactive Romp for All Ages

We all know the old trope—your kid gets an expensive present and ends up playing with the box, transforming it into a house, a race car, and maybe a rocket ship. STOMP, a wordless dance and percussion performance, has the same feeling of free-wheeling creativity as performers repurpose everyday objects into musical instruments. The high-energy numbers and the playful ingenuity with props appeals to all ages, which probably goes a long way in explaining the show’s longevity.

I used to live a block away from the Orpheum Theater in the East Village and would see happy, laughing people spilling out onto the sidewalks after seeing STOMP, but I somehow never made it to a performance myself, until recently. When I slid into a seat, two 9-year-old girls in tow, I realized I had missed out on a fun show for—oh, about 22 years. It’s a lively, interactive performance with lots of humor, energy, music, and of course, dancing—but not the kind you usually see in an Off-Broadway production. Children will appreciate the improv feel and exhilarating antics.

Corn Mazes and Haunted Mazes for LA and Orange County Kids

Fall is here! The kids are settled into the new school year and thinking about Halloween costumes. Honeycrisp apples are in stores, and area apple orchards are open for apple picking. If you're looking for even more fall and harvest family fun, try a corn maze.

Corn mazes are created in a growing field of corn. A tractor makes the maze design in the field; for large mazes, GPS is often used to create a picture that can be seen from the air. Be aware that a mature corn maze has walls of corn that are taller than most adults, and that children (and adults!) can get lost in them. Most operators recommend kids be at least 5-8 years old before going in alone—use your judgment, of course. Closed-toe shoes are recommended for comfort (sneakers are best), as corn mazes involve walking on uneven ground and broken cornstalks. And if you plan on heading into the maze at dusk, be sure to bring a flashlight!

Best Places for Apple Picking with Kids in Westchester and Rockland

Apple picking season is here! I used to look forward to apple picking every year as a child, and now I have just as much fun watching my little ones run through the orchards—not to mention the fresh-pressed apple cider and hot, delicious cider doughnuts! Many farms also have family-friendly entertainment and activities including live music, bounce houses, and more. Apple picking is also a great farm-to-table teaching opportunity and a wonderful way to ease out of summer.

So get your apple recipes ready and read on for our top picks for apple picking with kids in Westchester and Rockland County. (Remember to contact the farms before heading out. Many are family owned and operated, and hours may change with little or no notice.)

Also see our top picks for apple picking in Dutchess and Orange and our complete Fall Fun Guide

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