10 Free and Cheap Summer Camps Los Angeles Parents Should Know

Summer camp can be a great way to keep Los Angeles-area kids busy and even intellectually and creatively stimulated through those long summer months—but rarely is it cheap. Amazingly, we came up with a list of LA summer camps that won't destroy your budget, and some of them are even (gasp) FREE. There are great STEM camps, art camps, and outdoor, sports fun, too!

Check out these summer camps with your kids, tweens, and teens now, because even though summer fun seems far away, spots will fill up before you know it.

Find more options in our LA Summer Camp Guide, or browse our Camp Directory of listings by interest, age, and area.

The Best Places for Pancake Breakfasts on Long Island

Nothing would seem to get kids more excited about breakfast than pancakes. Thin, fluffy, smothered, or sugared, this delectable treat delivers a sense of warmth and hominess that can’t be topped.

So with National Pancake Day looming (March 12), we've rounded up our favorite pancake destinations in Nassau and Suffolk counties, and even one worth a journey to the East End.  While you’re sampling these scrumptious local bites, check out our guide to kid-friendly restaurants, including LI's best ice cream parlorscandy shops, and places where kids can eat FREE.

A Dozen Museums for Kids and Families in Central and Southern NJ

Winter's not over yet, and if you're running out of ideas, don't despair—there's plenty of indoor fun to be found at museums throughout central and southern NJ. At these wonderful and varied spots, you can explore a battleship, learn all about insects, ride a vintage train, gaze at the stars, and even see a shrunken head!

For more educational fun, check out our list of the best museums for kids in northern NJ, or take a ride across the river to check out one of the many excellent museums in Philadelphia.

A Parent's Review: Mythic Creatures at the Academy of Natural Sciences

Prepare to enter a world of make believe and monsters. Venture into the abyss and enjoy the fun that comes from interacting with creatures you've only heard of in stories. Featuring dragons and mermaids, unicorns and monsters, the new exhibit at the The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns  and Mermaids, is an excellent demonstration of the way cultures all over the world have embraced many similar myths and fantasies. The question is "Why?" Did our ancestors really live in a world of magic or was it their way of explaining the inexplicable? I went with my daughter to learn the answer. Below is our review and a primer for your adventure to this fantastical exhibit!

Indoor Trampoline Parks in Westchester and the Hudson Valley

Where do you go when the kids are bouncing off the walls on a cold or rainy day? Somewhere they’re allowed to bounce off the walls, of course! 

We’ve rounded up indoor trampoline parks in Westchester and the Hudson Valley where kids can jump, hop, leap, and bounce to their hearts' content. Take note that these spots also offer birthday parties, making them an option for those winter (or even extra-hot summer) birthdays. 

Looking for more places to play? Check out our Indoor Play Guide and sign up for our newsletters!

8 Museums With Special Needs Programs for NYC Kids

Parents of special needs kids take note: Many cultural institutions are raising the bar when it comes to accessibility. While a crowded museum can be overwhelming or inaccessible for special needs kids, some of our favorite kid-centric museums go the extra mile, modifying their educational offerings to accommodate kids of all abilities.

Take, for instance, the Children's Museum of the Arts, where weekends go way beyond the fantastic dot paintings and clay bar sculptures. Here, a trio of programs caters to special-needs visitors with inventive programming meant to meet kids where they are, and encourage artistic exploration for all.

Read on to learn more about the programs at CMA and seven other city museums. While the increased access is priceless, most of the programs are FREE for kids and their families, though some programs may require advance registration. Be sure to click through to the websites for more details.

8 Things to Love About the Brooklyn Children's Museum

As the world’s first children’s museum, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum has been a beloved NYC destination since 1899. This Crown Heights institution offers three floors of rotating and permanent interactive exhibits and hands-on cultural and science programs for little ones, ages 6 months to 10 years. BCM aims to inspire children to ask questions and discover answers through exploration and play.

My daughter and I have passed countless hours in the Totally Tots exhibit, designed for children under six. This pint-sized paradise features water, sand, and is usually filled with thrilled toddlers and bleary-eyed parents. Read on to see our top reasons why BCM is one of our top NYC must-see museums.

Family-Friendly Bowling Alleys in New Jersey

If you’re looking for a fun, indoor activity that will appeal to the whole family, bowling may be right up your alley! (Sorry, we couldn't help ourselves.) Here in New Jersey, there are plenty of bowling facilities that offer year-round fun: small-town/neighborhood spots that offer traditional games with modern touches, such as automatic scoring and gutter bumpers; and newer, flashier bowling alleys that feature high-tech bells and whistles like interactive games, video walls, and glow ball. In addition, fun centers throughout the state often include bowling alongside laser tag and arcades.

And bowling alleys are an ideal spot for low-maintenance birthday parties, play dates, and weekend day trips.

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