Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parties in Westchester and Rockland

Many fans of Harry Potter are eagerly anticipating the long-awaited release of the new series installment—Harry Potter and the Cursed Child—scheduled to launch at midnight on July 31. To help usher in this momentous occasion, some bookstores and libraries are rolling out the red carpet with festive celebrations. We’ve rounded up a bunch happening in Westchester and the Lower Hudson Valley to help you get your Harry glow on. (While exact details haven’t been announced, we’re holding out hope for exploding bon-bons or fizzing whizzbees.)

Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a casual aficionado, you’ll find both midnight events and others by day. So don your robe, grab your phoenix feather wand and get ready to Apparate to the nearest venue!

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Weekday Fun in NJ: Music Fest, Model Trains, Farm Animals

While back-to-school is a ways off (despite all the store ads), it’s a great week for fun learning opportunities, such as Scholastic Summer Reading Road Trip RV Visit, A Child’s View of History and Read & Pick: Blueberries. Summer festivals are in the spotlight this week as well, including Morris County 4-H Fair and XPoNential Music Festival. And don’t forget to check out our Event Calendar for even more options!

Letchworth State Park in Upstate New York Is a Must-See

Letchworth State Park in western New York is called the "Grand Canyon of the East" thanks to the 600-foot deep-river gorge that runs the length of the park, which is dotted with some of the state's most magnificent waterfalls.

An hour outside of Buffalo, a trip to Letchworth is a commitment but well worth the effort. The 17-mile-long park runs along the Genesee River gorge, offering spectacular sights at every bend and turn. Letchworth is a New York state park but has the feel of a national park with amenities that include lodging, fine and casual dining, ranger-led programs, a slate of seasonal outdoor activities, a new, state-of the-art nature center and a major WOW factor. With so much to see and do, it's a fantastic outdoor destination with something for everyone to enjoy, no matter how passive or rugged you like to spend your downtime.  

This popular park was on my family's camping bucket list for many years. We're already fans of local camping and familiar with Hudson Valley hikes a bit closer to home. After it was voted the best state park in the country by USA Today in 2015, we decided to make the six-hour drive from our home in New York City to see what the hype was about. 

Peruse our Family Weekend and Getaway Guide for more travel ideas.

Weekday Picks for Philly Kids: Performances, Pajamas, Playdates July 18-22

Have you ever noticed that summertime weekends fly by, but weekdays seem to drag on? Make the most of the weekdays with a little help from Mommy Poppins Philadelphia. Intermingle fun with work and household chores by participating in some of the intriguing and educational activities found in our Events Calendar.

This week, families can attend local theater productions such as Dennis Flyer Theater's Seussical Jr. or Avon Grove Community Theater's Grease. Gather some friends together for a playdate at Bucktoe Creek Preserve or Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education. Or, bring your favorite stuffed toy and put on your comfiest pajamas to listen to a story at Brandywine River Museum.

If you are still looking for more ideas, continue reading below for our top weekday picks. Check out our July GoList and search our Events Calendar for even more suggestions.

Weekday Picks for Boston Kids, July 18-22: Sand Sculpting, Singing, and Shakespeare

From Shakespeare to sand sculptures to story time at the park, the city is humming with awesome activities for families this week. Of course, there's nothing wrong with wanting to get out of the city and the sun for a few hours, which is why we have the lowdown on children's museums outside of Boston. And we think there's no better time of year for a short jaunt to Salem or a few days on Lake Winnipesaukee—as long as we're back by Friday to see the spectacular sand sculpting at Revere Beach.

In addition to our weekday picks below, we have an Event Calendar loaded with fun things to do. We recommend checking it out. Enjoy your adventures with your kids this week, no matter how near or far they take you. And remember, the laundry can wait another day.

Weekday Fun: The Hills Open, Subway Shindig, Movie Screenings

This week's top family include outdoor options as well as a few indoor picks to help you keep cool, have fun, and score some free air conditioning to boot. Head to the Central Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library for an entertaining and educational production of Butterfly Boogie with the Wildlife Conservation Society's Wildlife Theater, play video games and enjoy a screening of the film Fantastic Mr. Fox at the Museum of the Moving Image, or go underground for a carnival-themed family night at the New York Transit Museum.

Other options for the week include catching the ferry to Governors Island for the opening of the long awaited Hills section of the park, watching an outdoor flick, and of course charging up your mobile device to play Pokemon Go.

These are just a few of our favorite picks for the coming week. More seasonal family fun can be found in our Summer Guide. We also pulled together fantastic seasonal family theater and we've got the scoop on how to visit the soon-to-be opened Museum of Ice Cream! Day trip planners be sure to check out our posts on Philadelphia for first-timers, what to do in Sag Harbor, and our review of SplashDown Beach in Hudson Valley.

You can find plenty of other ideas for family fun in our Event Calendar and July GoList.

Weekday Picks Basketball, Movies, and a Star Party, July 18-22, 2016

The hot and sweaty summer is upon us! If this last week's weather has you dreaming of cool, indoor destinations, this week offers a range of fun, free (or nearly free) family movies at venues as disparate as the Cinemark Theater in Enfield, the Bridgeport Library, and the Fairfield Library. If the force is with you and you want to be outdoors, check out Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which is playing at the Grassy Strip Film Festival outside the Madison Beach Hotel on Tuesday, and then follow that up with your own adventures in outer space at the Star Party at the White Memorial Conservation Center on Friday. 

Harry Potter fans in your house are probably eagerly counting down to the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the end of the month. Be sure to register for release parties in Westport, Norwalk, and Fairfield before they fill up. As always, the Event Calendar is continually updated with events for wizards and Muggles alike so check back often and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to be sure you don't miss a thing.

Camping Adventures Await in Connecticut

When done right, camping is a blast. It brings to reality idyllic stories of roasting marshmallows over a fire and telling imaginative stories while gazing at a night sky. Once the initial equipment is purchased, camping can be a frugal way to vacation – averaging about only $30 a night. Opportunities to camp around the country are endless, but if you’re new to camping or have young children, “experts” recommend beginning the adventure close to home. It just happens that Connecticut offers some fantastic campgrounds. We have five recommendations  for tent camping that your family can try out.  If you don't feel quite ready to pop up a tent, we mention a few locations that provide cabins for rent, while still keeping things basic. In addition, we offer some camping tips that will help make the experience that much more enjoyable.

For more ideas on how to have a great summer, browse our Summer Fun Guide.

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