10 Special Libraries in LA & OC Worth a Drive Beyond Your Branch

Local libraries are a key part of the parenting experience, and most of us are aware of the goings-on at our nearest branch—from toddler storytimes, to homework help, to family movie nights. Some savvy parents are even on top of the many extra perks that come with a library card. But what about venturing beyond the local branch? With so many libraries in the greater Los Angeles area, some are really exceptional and merit a visit even if they're not your local. The 10 SoCal libraries below all boast something extra that makes them worth a drive.

6 Summer Birthday Party Spots for Boston Kids

Summer is nearly upon us and that means it’s time to plan birthday parties for kids born when school is out. I have a summer baby, so I’ve thought a lot about where to have a party when the weather is nice and everyone’s on vacation. We've shared ideas for outdoor options where you can plan a free, spontaneous celebration, but we discovered several more venues—some indoors, some out—that specialize in summery kids' parties. Here are six of our favorite warm-weather birthday bash spots around Boston.

Spruce Street Harbor Park: Play Games and Enjoy Some R&R in the Hammocks

If you think you have to head all the way to the Jersey Shore for a boardwalk, think again. This one is just over the bridge, a few blocks south of Penn's Landing, and is perfect for family fun. With the weather warming up, Spruce Street Harbor Park kicks off its season on Friday, May 11th. From games to food to a stroll on the boardwalk, read on to plan your visit to this great pop-up park.

Strawberry Picking with Kids in Connecticut

Soon, we will be picking strawberries....One of the healthiest and most delicious treats that warmer weather brings is the season of juicy red strawberries. Treat your children to a day at a local  farm to see where this super fruit grows and watch the excitement on their faces as they hunt for the biggest berries. The strawberry season is short, usually lasting only from mid June to early July, so don’t miss out on abundant possibilities: homemade jam, strawberry shortcake, berry tarts, or simply enjoying the antioxidant-packed fruit in cereals, salads, or as ice cream topping. For more berry picking fun, check out Berry Farms in Connecticut.

Pick Your Own Strawberry Farms and Festivals in New Jersey

Nothing screams springtime in the Garden State like getting your hands dirty picking strawberries, and heading to a pick-your-own farm is an outdoor adventure with a sweet reward.

Whether this is your child’s first time at the berry patch or you’re looking to fill pies, jam jars, smoothies, and shortcakes for months to come, you'll want to check out our list of more than 20 farms and festivals around the state, where your sweeties can their hands on bushels full of juicy red berries.

Check out our May GoList and Spring Fun Guide to find more events and activities to enjoy with your kids this season. Happy picking!

Mini Golf with Westchester Kids: Top Putt-Putt Spots

Between splash pads, swimming pools and amusement parks, there’s so much to see and do in and around Westchester and the Lower Hudson Valley this summer. But we'd be remiss if we didn't include one tried-and-true family favorite to the list: mini-golf! 

Whether you’re looking for a fun, traditional putt-putt course or something a little different—glow in the dark, perhaps?—we’ve got you covered. Below, we've rounded up a few of our favorites.

For even more great activities, check out our Event Calendar and follow us on Facebook.

Pick Your Own Strawberry Farms and Festivals on Long Island

Long Island is ripe with places where families can pick their own strawberries. Deciding where to go can be a challenge, so we've handpicked a few of our favorites.

Harvesting your own fruit is not only fun, but it connects you with the source of your food and supports local farmers. And it doesn't get fresher than picking fruit right off the vine. This is especially important for Long Island strawberries, which are sweeter and more delicate than most grocery-store varieties, and have a shorter shelf life.

Many of these farms are located on Long Island's East End, but there are a few festivals in Nassau or western Suffolk counties for families who don't want to travel quite as far. Either way, call ahead or check the farms' websites to confirm that fields are open and the strawberries are ripe.

Check out our guide to Long Island farms for more places where you can pick your own fruit and vegetables, and even meet some farm animals.

Pick Your Own Strawberry Farms and Festivals Near NYC

One of my favorite things about late spring and summer is the plethora of fruit in season, especially the berries. Picking your own makes it even sweeter. As we move into the height of strawberry season, there are a slew of festivals and farms with the fruit ripe for the picking. Many are just a short car ride away from New York City, making for a great day trip of strawberry picking and seasonal festival fun with additional perks for kids like carnival rides, petting zoos, and outdoor performances.

Read on to discover nearby strawberry fests and more than a dozen pick-your-own strawberry spots, all under two hours away.

For more day trip inspiration, check out our Family Getaways Guide, and find more local u-pick opportunities in our Farm Guide, or on our Long Island or New Jersey sites.

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