Corn Mazes Near Boston With Fun Extras Like Zip Lines, Pumpkin Patches, and Hay Rides

Larger-than-life corn mazes offer families the challenge of finding their way through winding paths to solve a mystery, claim a prize, or just make it to the other side – a perfect fall activity that gets kids and parents working together. Choose a farm with a corn maze to take your apple picking and pumpkin patch excursions up a level, plan an unforgettable birthday bash for your child, or just have a blast as a family. Here are some of the Boston area's best corn mazes for an outdoor autumn adventure. 

Petting Zoos Near NYC Where Kids Can See Farm Animals

I thank my lucky stars for the incredible cultural opportunities living in New York City offers my kids. But sometimes I fret over the disconnect from the natural world, especially since my mom was a certified country girl.

I want my three kids to be as comfortable in the country as they are in the urban jungle. So we're always looking for ways to get out of NYC and explore the expansive farmland that borders the city. While you can meet some furry friends at the city's wonderful zoos, and even feed them at places like Prospect Park Zoo, there's something special about getting a bit closer, or enjoying that farm setting. We've rounded up nine petting zoos or animal havens to get some serious face time with furry friends—whether you're petting a donkey, bottle-feeding a baby goat, hand-feeding a giraffe, or letting a lorikeet land on your shoulder.

Here are our favorite spots for an up-close animal encounter, all within two hours of NYC.

Cool Pumpkin Displays, Decorating, and Carving Events in NJ

Are the kids already preparing for Halloween, with visions of candy, costumes, and pumpkins dancing in their heads? Well, kick off the season in New Jersey with one of the many wonderful pumpkin-themed events coming up, everything from elaborate pumpkin exhibits to carving competitions to good old-fashioned pumpkin picking and decorating.

Read on for our top picks, including a special newcomer to the scene, and find more seasonal events in the Mommy Poppins Fall Fun Guide for NJ Families.

Favorite Surf-Free Beaches for Little Kids in LA and Orange Counties

The beach is made for kids—the sand, the sun, the surf. That last thing can be a worry, though, when it comes to toddlers and smaller children. Parents are forced to play defense all day to prevent their little ones from being tossed, turned, and dragged by turbulent waves. Knowing some beach safety rules is a good start; but there are a few beach areas in Los Angeles and Orange counties that offer the best of all worlds: the sand and sun plus shallow, gentle expanses of water perfect for wading.

Pumpkins and Scarecrows Invade New York Botanical Garden

Come autumn even urbanites seem to crave seasonal harvest displays more often found at the pick-your-own farms just outside NYC's borders. Lucky for us, there are amazing fall fests right here in the city and even a corn maze for those who really want that farm experience. Now we can add the just-opened fall and Halloween-themed outdoor displays at New York Botanical Garden to our list of the best seasonal happening around NYC. 

My family always heads to the Botanical Garden in the Bronx for its annual exhibit of pumpkins and gourds, so we were excited to see this year's brand-new programming. Titled Pumpkins: Playful & Plentiful, there are gourds galore, plus seasonal activities and events for kids in the Everett Children's Adventure Garden, a guaranteed hit for families with small children. And though my now-teenage(!) son has outgrown the Children's Garden, he did perk up a bit when I mentioned NYBG's other new exhibit, Scarecrows: From the Heartland to Horror, a trail of spooky and original sculptures that is not recommended for young kids.

We just visited and have the scoop on what to expect at this year's fall festivities at the New York Botanical Garden, so read on for more details.

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Dino Fest, Day of the Drum, Abbot Kinney, Sept 24 - 25

Fall is here! Summer is over and Fall is here! The sun has crossed the celestial equator, ergo pumpkins.

The last few summer stragglers are finally calling it quits this weekend, and though some of the seasonal harvesty spooky fests are starting up, truthfully this is a weekend that stands on its own. We have a brand new dinosaur festival at the Natural History Museum. We have the biggest children's book festival in the country. We have the best gymnasts in the world. We have a world of drums, festivals Greek, Italian, and Korean, and don't you take a breath because I'm just getting started.

We've got lobsters, pirates, fairies, and free museums. If a 50th anniversary isn't big enough for you, how about a hundredth birthday? You can keep your kiddos safe and help keep other kiddos healthy (and artistic and well read). You can go to a park, or if your destination is a little further than that, we can help you with that too. This is one fine weekend, and if this is the shape of things to come, it's going to be a great season.

Keep reading for our change of season picks for this weekend...

Weekend Fun for LI Kids: East End Maritime Festival, Long Island Fair - September 24-25

Welcome the weekend with a sailor's salute at the East End Maritime Festival in Greenport. In Lido Beach, enjoy the sounds of the ocean at the Festival by the Sea. Or be transported in time at the Long Island Fair at the Old Bethpage Restoration site.

Get active this weekend with the great events below. Don't see your event listed here? Add it to our events calendar. And if you didn't receive this post in your inbox, sounds like you need to subscribe to our newsletter.

Weekend Fun for Boston Kids, September 24-25: Fluff, Kids Really Rock, Teen Author Fest

After checking out the Wild Weather at the Museum of Science last Sunday, my family is ready to head outdoors this weekend. That might mean catching some outdoor entertainment while doing good at the Boston Kids Really Rock festival (pictured), hitting some of the cool programs going on as part of Trails & Sails, or seeing what all the Fluff is about. Me, I'm heading indoors to catch some of my favorite young adult authors at a free festival on Saturday.

This is also a great weekend for museum programs for families, with everything from a play date at the ICA to some hands-on engineering and design for older kids. Alternatively, Sox fans might want to stop by Faneuil Hall to catch the Fenway Experience before the playoff season ramps up.

Also on Mommy Poppins Boston this week:

  • RISE of the Jack O'Lanterns promises to be a fun Halloween celebration for families.
  • Help us choose our Besties and you'll be entered to win some truly fantastic prizes. (Tropical getaway, anyone?)
  • Take the kids on a day trip to a county fair for rides, crafts, farm animals, fried dough, and good, old-fashioned, fall family fun.

Enjoy your weekend and don't forget to check out the full events calendar!

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