All Aboard The Polar Express: Christmas Train Rides Near Boston

What is it about trains and Christmas? The two have become inextricably linked, especially since The Polar Express, Chris Van Allsburg's picture book about believing in the magic of Christmas, began capturing the hearts and imaginations of kids and adults alike. During the holidays, train rides complete with hot chocolate and visits with Santa bring Christmas train stories like The Polar Express to life for all who believe.

Although we could make the trek to New Hampshire's White Mountains for a magical Christmas train experience, we have plenty of delightful options much closer to Boston. The seats fill up very quickly, though, so we recommend getting your golden tickets now.

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Best Things To Do with NYC Kids: November GoList

Get your calendars ready! Here are the top 14 things to do with kids in New York City this November, eight of which are FREE.

While Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade may be the month's main event, it's certainly not the only must-do outing to put on your family calendar. November is when high-end department stores unveil those festive holiday windows, spectacular light displays go up in Dyker Heights and other festive neighborhoods, and Santa flies into town for a month-long stay at Macy's Santaland. And if you already feel your inner Scrooge coming on, don't worry: There are some fantastic non-holiday events for families, too, like the opening of the American Museum of Natural History's new interactive installation The Secret World Inside You, a high-energy concert by two-time Grammy nominee Justin Roberts and the Brooklyn Museum's annual Children's Book Fair.

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9 Family-Friendly Places to Watch Football with Long Island Kids

Sure as autumn leaves change color, baseball season quickly becomes football season on Long Island. Armchair quarterbacks eager to watch the big game with their kids have plenty of options across Nassau and Suffolk Counties, including play centers, family-friendly sports pubs and even the stadium itself. We’ve rounded up some of our favorites where you can watch all the action and still keep an eye on the kids.

And for more ways to have fun with the whole family, be sure to check out our Long Island Events Calendar.

Weekday Picks: Blast Off! Space in 3D, ICE Is Back, Free LEGO, November 2-6

It may not feel very wintery, and by the way, where the heck is El Niño? Nevertheless, ‘tis the season for ice skating on the beach. Santa Ana winds be damned; ICE in Santa Monica returns this week. Celebrate the opening with Olympic pairs champion Randy Gardner and the California Gold Synchronized Skating Team. This annual event is one of my family’s favorite ways to launch the holidays. The music is fun, and the skating is free.

Speaking of launching, Journey to Space opens at the California Science Center this week. Spin out of your orbit in an immersive exploration of the final frontier. Tuesday is LEGO day, with free mini models at participating stores and a brick building play date in Chinatown.

A new month usually means lots of free days so be sure to check our Daily Events Calendar for other things to do.

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Weekday Event Picks for NJ Kids: Nature Classes, Weeki Wachee Mermaids, November 2-6

Coming off that Halloween sugar rush, you may be rushing to find activities for this short week of school. Luckily, our November calendar is filling up. Relaxing theatrical performances are aplenty, including productions of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, Pinocchio & Other Tales and Berenstain Bears: Hospital Stories. Before the cold weather sets in, take advantage of nature exploration this week at Fall Preschool Nature Classes and Fall Mini Nature Camp. And don’t forget to check out our Event Calendar for even more options!

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Museums of Fairfield County: 6 Best Art and History Museums

The quaint streets of the towns and villages of Fairfield County are dotted with beautiful, old, historic houses. There is not a single community that would not pride itself on the natural beauty of its surroundings: our lush forests, serene lakes, majestic rivers, bubbly creeks and beautiful shoreline have long served as inspiration and refuge for local and visiting artists. It is not surprising that the county has many first-class museums featuring history and the arts. As our state and communities, most of our museums are also small, easily accessible and extremely family-friendly. Here's a summary of some of our favorites:

1. Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum 

The Aldrich ins Ridgefield is a nationally recognized modern art museum which is also recognized as one of the most innovative and engaging institutions of its kind. It has no permanent collection, but rotates a variety of high-quality exhibits, several of which are featured at the same time. Consequently, the Aldrich always has something for everybody: an interesting mixed-media exhibit, a video presentation, sculptures, painting, exhibits of 'found objects'. The small museum is composed of surprisingly airy and spacious exhibition halls, providing for a leisurely, laid-back art experience.

 

The Aldrich Museum offers a variety of workshops and educational opportunities for children, including hands-on art classes for preschoolers and kindergartners. Every third weekend it is 'drop-in time' at the museum for families for interactive and fun art education events.

 

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum 

258 Main Street

Ridgefield, CT, 06877

Phone: 203-438-4519

 

2. Bruce Museum 

The Bruce Museum is a small, local museum with art and natural history exhibits. Its collections were started by Robert Moffat Bruce, a wealthy textile merchant from the late 19th century. It features a pleasing diversity of exhibits: permanent art exhibits from the work of the local Cos Cob school, natural history exhibits focused on geology, minerals, land formation complete with engaging video presentations. Its glow-in-the -dark minerals and touchable meteorite are the favorites of kids. Many of its thematic exhibits focus on the natural history of the Connecticut region.

 

Bruce Museum 

1 Museum Drive

Greenwich, CT, 068830

Phone: 203-869-0376

 

3. Bush-Holley Historic Site 

The Bush-Holley House has gone through many transformations throughout its two and a half century existence. Like most of colonial Connecticut, it started out simply and humbly: a one-room tiny house. Over the years it grew into a nice, colonial saltbox, proud residence of an industrious and thriving family in the Cos Cob area. By the mid-1800s it was transformed into the center of an art colony, its grounds and terraces offering sweeping views of the Long Island Sound inspiring the artists of the Cos Cob school.

 

As a museum, the well-preserved colonial house celebrates both: colonial life and history and the achievements and work of the Cos Cob art community. 4 of its carefully designed rooms are dedicated to the presentation of colonial life through the reconstruction of the Bush family's late 18th century home. The remaining rooms feature the work of the late 19th century Cos Cob artists.

 

Bush-Holley Historic Site 

39 Strickland Road

Cos Cob, CT, 06807

Phone: 203-869-6899

 

4. Westport Historical Society: Wheeler House and The Bradley-Wheeler Barn Museum 

The two-story, pretty, white, Italienete Wheeler House in Westport takes us back to the Victorian period. The house's first floor rooms have been meticulously restored with many original and replica objects for the period. The Victorian bedroom, dining room, parlor and kitchen vividly evoke the comfortable and respectable lifestyle of an American middle-class family in the post-Civil War period of new hope and growth.

 

Not far from the attractive, Victorian house stands the heptagonal, bulky, cobblestone Bradley-Wheeler Barn. The mysterious little building houses an exhibits of the history of Westport from native Americans to today. The key attractions are the barn's 5-foot square model of the town from 1860s with audio recordings by Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman and Swezey, the little toy train from Westport's old-timer Swezey Jewelers' shop windows.

 

Westport Historical Society 

25 Avery Place

Westport, CT, 06880

Phone: 203-222-1424

 

5. Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum 

The magnificent Lockwood-Mathews Mansion in Norwalk commemorates the glamor and larger-than-life grandeur of the Gilded Age. The great mansion is one of the biggest and most beautiful historic house-museums in Connecticut. Many of its rooms on the first-floor have been renovated and restored: its movie-worthy rotunda, luxurious and impeccably elegant library, music, dining and billiard rooms could have been in the mansion of Great Gatsby.

 

The park surrounding the mansion has many treats for kids. The Stepping Stones Museum for Children – with its new fun exhibit that Mommypoppins has recently featured - is just a few steps from the big house. Don't forget about the fun playground, Devon's Place also located in Mathews Park. Younger and older kids – including my almost 14-year old – seem to enjoy this playground a whole lot more than your average playground.

 

295 West Avenue

Norwalk, CT,

Phone: 203-838-9799 (ext 3)

 

6. Keeler Tavern, Ridgefield 

The Keeler tavern in Ridgefield is our long-time favorite. The old colonial inn-tavern-hotel-post office is interesting in itself with its many exciting objects from hundreds of years ago. What makes it real fun and entertaining is the lively stories of the costumed tour guides: colorful anecdotes, amusing rumors and gossips from the period and sometimes scary stories bring to life the tribulations, joys and everyday routines of Connecticut's colonists. Mommypoppins' detailed post about this little historic treasure chest was published here.

 

 

Keeler Tavern 

132 Main Street

Ridgefield, CT, 06877

Phone: 203-438-9953

 
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Weekday Picks for LI Kids: Pumpkin Decorating, Holiday Planting, Cooking, November 2-6

While many kids are still coming out of their candy comas after a fun-filled Halloween, that doesn't mean families can't kick off the start of November with pumpkin decorating, holiday planting and healthy cooking.

For even more activities, check out our Long Island Events Calendar, which is updated daily. You can also get the best events of the week sent directly to your inbox each week if you sign up for our newsletter.

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Weekday Picks for Connecticut Kids: Castle Making, Storytime, and Holidaze

Election Day is Tuesday, which means no school for many Connecticut kids. Could be a great day for a daytrip. Check out our daytrip guide for lots of suggestions all over the state.

We've rounded up our best bets for November 2-6, including a castle making workshop, a nature hike, and Holidaze.

For more options check out our jam-packed Event Calendar. Have a great week!

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