Secret Parks of Orange County: 5 Hidden Gems Only Locals Know

Tired of visiting the same old parks? If your local jungle gym has recently lost its luster, be grateful that you live in (or are visiting) Orange County, where you can take your tykes to explore one of the hidden gems below. From giant Legos to beachfront slides to fountains and duck ponds, there are plenty of captivating playgrounds to explore throughout Southern California, but it takes a real OC native to know all five of these boredom-busting tot lots. Pick any one of them for an outing the whole family can enjoy.

Restaurants Near the Metropolitan Museum of Art for Families

Whether you live in NYC or are just visiting, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is probably on your list of places to explore with kids. In addition to its engaging exhibits, the Met is known for its top-notch family programs and drop-in art-making opportunities for all ages.

Of course, all that walking, looking and sketching makes you tired and hungry. While the Met is located on the kid-friendly Upper East Side, many of the nearby restaurants are better suited to date night than a casual family meal. That's why we've rounded up a dozen spots within walking distance of the Metropolitan Museum of Art that welcome families.

Stargazing in NJ: Best Views, Observatories, Astronomy Clubs

If you have a little Galileo on your hands, fear not. New Jersey is home to a myriad of majestic outdoor stargazing locations, as well as many public observatories and, yes, even astronomy clubs for the truly dedicated. With the proper equipment, information and planning, your family will get an up-close look at planets, star clusters and the Moon. Happy star-gazing, NJ!

NYC to Offer Public Lactation Rooms at Some City Agencies

Attention pregnant and nursing mothers: It's about to get a little easier to find a clean spot to pump privately or breastfeed in peace in New York City. Mayor Bill de Blasio just signed legislation, which was passed unanimously by the City Council, requiring a host of city agencies to offer lactation rooms to nursing mothers across the five boroughs by July 1, 2017.

The bill, sponsored by Brooklyn City Councilman Robert Cornegy, doesn't change New Yorkers right to breastfeed in any public space. Instead, it acknowledges that sometimes finding a comfortable spot to nurse or pump milk is a serious challenge. Anything that offers an alternative to the dreaded bathroom stall is a win-win in our book. Read on for more details about this new law impacting NYC parents.

Suburban Indoor Play Spaces near Philly for Kids of All Ages

Indoor play spaces have a bunch of benefits – they provide fun out of the sun or rain or cold and offer a variety of activities, including those that wouldn’t be as safe or accessible outside like rock climbing. Take the kids to one of these great places to burn some energy whether they want to bounce, climb, or play sports. For play places specifically for toddlers and preschoolers, check here for Montgomery, Bucks, and Delaware counties.

Weekday Picks: Beach, Skating, and Mariachis, August 15-19

For many, my family included, this is the last week of summer. Some unlucky souls have already returned to school, and others still have a few more blissful weeks. One inevitability of the summer is that we tend to spend more money than we do during the school year. By this week my family is spent out, so I’m only picking free or almost free things to do.

Monday is $1 splash day at the Annenberg, and this Monday is a particularly good one because the Santa Monica Public Library will be there with games, activities, and stories. Long Beach offers free skate lessons at Bixby Park on Tuesday; Descanso Gardens has free evening admission on Wednesday, and Echo Park Rising begins on Thursday with a free celebration of one of our most special neighborhoods. On Friday head to MacArthur Park’s Levitt Pavilion for a free Mariachi Festival. That Tres Leches cake is supposed to be soggy—it was not left out in the rain!

Summer ain’t over yet, so do be on the lookout for movies and music and theater. Enjoy the bounty of free and al fresco offerings while you still can.

Find more ideas in Mommy Poppins’ Event Calendar, Monthly GoList and Weekly Newsletter.

Weekday Picks for Westchester Kids: Antique Car Show, Teddy Bear Picnics

With the weather being hot, humid and rainy, we’re strategizing for the week ahead with a mix of indoor and outdoor family activities in Westchester.

On the list: several enriching programs that are so much fun, kids won’t mind learning over summer vacation, including the Hour of Code Workshop. Bring your favorite stuffed animal to any of the several events this week that honor the furry guys, including the Teddy Bear Picnic. When the temps drop in the evening, head to the Bronxville Summer Concert and Antique Car Show for dining and dancing in the street, along with an array of antique cars to ogle at.

As was the case last week, all of our top picks for this week are FREE! So put your wallet away and check out our Event Calendar for many more great activities.

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