Zootopia Review: Adorable Animals and a Tale of Tolerance

If you have a child in your household, chances are Disney's animated romp Zootopia is on your must-see list. What kid can resist a movie about adorable, anthropomorphized animals? The good news for grown-ups is that these creatures, cute and cuddly as they are, are never cloying, and neither is the movie. Zootopia is a fast-paced and funny (or is that furry?) tale of tolerance—a buddy detective story that touches on timely societal issues and champions our ability to evolve and get along, regardless of what kind of mammals we are.

Not that young kids will care about most of that. They'll be too busy laughing at the adventures of Judy Hopps, the cosmopolitan city of Zootopia's first-ever bunny cop (voiced with perpetual optimism by Ginnifer Goodwin). Fate throws her together with Nick Wilde (the wonderful Jason Bateman), a fox con man who helps her crack the case of the missing predators. Although they dislike each other at first, they inevitably bond. These two have much more in common than they initially realize, including fighting against being stereotyped and childhoods scarred by taunting.

Those bullying flashbacks, especially Nick's, are two of the scariest scenes in the film, which is rated PG with good reason. Worried your preschooler might not be up for it? Here's what you need to know before you book tickets (or a babysitter), and whether it's worth splurging on IMAX 3D.

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Zootopia, Lanterns, and CicLAvia, March 5 - 6

Okay, the way I heard it, March is supposed to come in like a lion. So, what's with all the whales? The dinosaurs? There are bunnies and puppies—it's a veritable animal Zootopia out there—but not a single king of the beasts in sight. It's a little mixed up, don't you think? I don't know if we're coming or going, though I do know for sure how we're getting there: the train.

Or maybe we're cycling. Or maybe we're taking the Metro (is that still considered a train?). Or maybe a mini train. Or perhaps it shall be our Imaginations that move us.

Better yet, why don't we just use our boundless STEM skills to construct an entirely new and no doubt more efficient method of travel? We are women; hear us roar!

Whoa, was that a lion?

Keep reading for our most leonine picks for this weekend.

Weekend Fun for LI Kids: Irish Festival, World Wildlife Day, March 5-6

Catch a little green fever with the Irish Festival at Hofstra University or Irish step dancing at the Walt Whitman Birthplace. Families can also take in a live show such as Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley, Beauty and the Beast, The Boy Who Could be Captain Hook, Pinkalicious or Junie B. Jones the Musical. Want something more educational? Learn about extinct and endangered animal at the Center for Science Teaching and Learning on World Wildlife Day.

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Weekend Fun for Philly Kids: Flower Show, Paeopalooza Mar 5-6

Whether it is the iPad, WiiU, or XBox360, electronic devices entertain, educate, and occupy my children for hours (yes, hours) on any given weekend. Sometimes it can be challenging to pull kids away from technology play, but when they are unplugged, they realize the volume of options beyond Minecraft and Super Mario Bros. During this first weekend in March, take a break from electronics and experience something new and exciting.

There are nature experiences, science opportunities, history lessons, and cultural endeavors this weekend. The PHS Philadelphia Flower Show makes its annual debut. What better way to explore our country than visiting this annual show? This year's theme, Explore America, recognizes 100 year of The National Park Service. The Academy of Natural Science hosts Paleopalooza, its annual two-day festival in which children can discover the world of fossils through crafts, workshops, and scavenger hunts. Valley Forge National Historical Park helps kids learn about what it was like to be in the Continental Army. And, the Kimmel Center offers the opportunity to foster a love for music at its Yannick's Guide to the Orchestra event.

Read below for the rest of our top picks, and be sure to browse our Events Calendar to view the entire listing. Narrow down your selections by using the location, age, and tags categories. So, hide the kids' chargers, turn off the television, and go have some fun. The kids will thank you for it!

Weekend Fun for CT Kids: Pirates, Princesses, and Maple Syrup, March 5-6

Spring is in the air! Activities for St. Patrick's Day and even Easter are beginning all over the state, and there's the promise of temperatures in the 60s next week (even if there's a bit of snow to get through first). This is a fantastic weekend to explore the rich maple sugaring tradition in Connecticut (it's true--you don't have to go all the way to Vermont) with Maple Sugar festivals in Stamford, Plymouth, and Ansonia, as well as smaller maple events in New Canaan, Wilton, Redding, and Franklin.

However, if the lingering winter chill is leading you to seek out indoor activities, there are some terrific events on tap this weekend including performances by the Norwalk Symphony, the Russian National Ballet, the Shanghai Acrobats, and the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry. There's also a terrific Pirates and Princesses promotion at the Maritime Aquarium that offers free admission to kids in costume on Saturday and Sunday, as well as special activities throughout the day!

To find our recommendations for activities near you for the weekend and beyond, check our frequently updated Events Calendar. To keep up with the latest family-friendly events and activities, be sure to also sign up for our newsletters, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Weekend Fun for Boston Kids: Eagles, Bunnies, and Maple Syrup, March 5-6

Now that March is upon us, my kids and I want to get outdoors every weekend we can. After a lovely hike in the Fells last week, the Merrimack River Eagle Festival (pictured) this Saturday looks mighty appealing. A chance to spot these majestic creatures and learn more about them, all for free? Yes, please. The maple syrup season is going strong all month as well, including a glimpse behind the scenes at Maple Magic Day.

Some great indoor picks this weekend include a perennial favorite for train lovers, as well as a family concert and some free art classes. Great shows for kids include Caps for SaleKasper and Fritzi, and The Lightning Thief. Purim and Easter are both starting to fill the calendar, too, with chances to celebrate with the circus and an Extra Special Bunny this Sunday.

Also on Mommy Poppins Boston this week:

Enjoy your weekend and don't forget to check out the full Event Calendar!

Weekend Fun: St. Patrick's Parades, Frozen, Kid Food Fest

Spring is on the horizon as March kicks off with celebrations observing both St. Patrick's Day and Easter. Don your best green garb and head to one of the three of St. Patrick's Day parades stepping through the Rockaways, Sunnyside and Staten Island this weekend or enjoy a springtime brunch with the Easter Bunny at the Aviator Sport and Event Center. Families can also sample the Kids Food Fest in Bryant Park for culinary demos, live music and other activities—and be sure to take a spin on the ice rink one last time before it closes for the season.

Other weekend fun includes a modern-day interpretation of Leonardo da Vinci's studio with lots of hands-on exploration, edgy French art and performances at the inaugural Tilt Kids Festival and FREE film screenings at MoMA. Or head to Washington Heights to watch Frozen on the big screen at the glamorous United Palace Theater, complete with visits from Elsa and Olaf—for FREE.

Looking for an inexpensive camp? This Friday, the NYC Parks Department opens its lottery for its summer program: just $500 for seven weeks. We've got the scoop on how to vie for a spot in our Camp Guide. The city is also hosting FREE camps for April's spring break, but the application deadline is approaching.

These are just a few of the great things going on this weekend. All of our best bets are below. You can find additional options in our Event Calendar and our Winter Fun Guide. You can also plan out your entire month with our newly minted March GoList, a roundup of the best events and activities for kids and families in New York City.

Weekend Fun for Westchester Kids: Lego Star Wars, Filmmaking, Family Day, Mar. 5-6

Westchester and Hudson Valley families enjoy a special perk of living in the northeast this time of year: maple-sugaring season. Fortunately for us, it’s a short jaunt to tap a tree, learn the process of converting sap to syrup and, best of all, sampling the bounty. Opportunities this weekend include Maple Sugaring Tours and Maple Sugaring Party, among others.

Several other weekend events stand out: Family Saturdays @ the Lab celebrates silent films with a screening of one of the all-time greatest, plus a hands-on workshop and silent-film photo booth; the St. Patrick’s Day season kicks off early with the festive Dutchess County St Patrick's Parade; and Grand Opening Weekend: Lego Star Wars offers various Jedi-like interactive activities in celebration of a Star Wars walk-through exhibit.

Read on for all of our top picks for the weekend, then review our top picks for the whole month in our March GoList and consult our Event Calendar to plan every single day! 

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