Winter Day Trips: 10 Family Fun Spots Near NYC

Whether you prefer spending the winter months snuggling on the couch or frolicking in the snow, there's one thing we can all agree upon—sometimes, you just need to get out of town for a change of scene. So we pulled together a list of family fun day trips that appeal to all sorts of interests, from budding naturalists to full-fledged ski bunnies. Best of all, these destinations are all two hours or less from New York City by car, and we think they're all worth the trip.

For more day trip ideas, check out our Day Trip and Weekend Getaway Guide. Happy trails!

Quirky Christmas: Some NJ Holiday Events You May Not Have Heard Of

We all have our favorite holiday traditions, whether it's viewing annual light displays, cutting down a Christmas tree, or having breakfast with Santa. All good stuff, to be sure. But if you're thinking you might like to mix up your holiday adventures a bit, check out some of these, shall we say, "off the beaten path" ideas. We've got activities that will take you on a boat, to an alpaca farm, and even back in time. Because sometimes parents need to throw something new into the mix to keep kids on their toes. And who knows? One of them might become a new favorite. For even more ways to celebrate the season, check out the December GoList and our Holiday Guide.

Best Houston Neighborhoods and Homes for Viewing Holiday Lights

During the most magical time of the year, there are many ways to get your holiday light fix. Houston has beautiful public lighting displays or several tree lighting celebrations, but nothing beats driving the family around a neighborhood in your Christmas pajamas. For those evenings when you want to enjoy the beauty of the holiday season at your own pace, it's helpful to know which Houston neighborhoods go above and beyond in the decoration department. We've rounded up the neighborhoods with must-see lighting displays, so all you have to do is gather the family into the car, turn on some holiday tunes, and explore the Bayou City on your own time. However, many neighborhoods prefer visitors between 6-10 p.m. Lights are typically up from Thanksgiving through New Years. Also, for all things holiday in Houston - from free events to shows - check out our holidays guide.

7 Tips for Taking Your Preschooler to See The Nutcracker at the Boston Opera House

Moms of preschoolers: Are you ready to incorporate The Nutcracker into your holiday traditions, but wondering if your child is ready for the show? I attended the dress rehearsal of Boston Ballet’s performance of Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker at the Boston Opera House with my nearly 4-year-old son to find out exactly what it’s like to attend with a young child, and we had a fabulous time on our mother-son date at the ballet. Here are some tips for you and your young ballet-goer to have a wonderful time, too.

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Holiday Festivals, Lights, Parades, and Santa Everywhere, Dec 3 - 4

And now it starts. We've had our fill of Thanksgiving turkey, shopped Black Friday, supported Small Business Saturday, surfed Cyber Monday, gave on Giving Tuesday, and wandered through There Must Be Something Left to Buy Wednesday. There's no kidding ourselves: the Christmas season is here and now. Santa Claus has come to town, and he won't leave until he's had a year's worth of breakfasts. (He really likes breakfast.)

Of course, December in LA is more than just Santa Claus. It's holiday lights. It's boat parades. It's Nutcracker upon Nutcracker, and snowsnowsnow. And this year, it's full on Chrismakkuh.

It's also the time of year that our calendar is so unbelievably jam-packed that our weekly posts can only scratch the surface of the infinite possibilities for family fun. Trust me, though we do our best to highlight the hottest and the coolest, you're going to want to peruse our full calendar to make sure you're not missing a thing.

Here are our favorite picks for the weekend, just to get you started......

Weekend Fun for Philly Kids: Zoo Noel, Lucia Fest, Dickens Festival December 3-4

Forget about Christmas shopping, holiday cards, and to-do lists for a moment. Holiday festivals, seasonal theater productions, and chance encounters with Santa Claus await Philly families this weekend!

Soak in the holiday spirit at Peddler's Village's Christmas Festival or the American Swedish Historical Museum's Lucia Fest. Immerse yourself in 1840's London at Narberth Dickens Festival. Watch one of the many traditional holiday shows such as The Walnut Street Theatre's Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol or The Media Theatre's A Christmas Story. Take the kids to The Philadelphia Zoo to visit the animals and search for Santa on a scavenger hunt throughout the grounds. Or, experience a Greccio Live Nativity at Neumman University.

Be sure to browse through our December GoList to find the best picks for the month. Now, keep reading to find all the fun that this weekend has in store.

Weekend Fun for Boston Kids: Holiday Pops, Frozen Tea Party, Model Trains, Dec 3-4

We have been lucky with the weather staying sunny and mild, but with dipping temperatures comes outdoor ice skating, which now includes the brand new 11,000 square foot Skating Path opening this weekend at City Hall Plaza. When you’re ready to come in from the cold, warm up at a holiday tea party hosted by the Wellesley Library Holiday Tea Party with Elsa, Olaf, warm drinks, and sweet treats to benefit branch libraries. Speaking of books, visit the Writers' Loft Holiday Bazaar and Book Fair where an impressive bunch of local authors will be meeting with fans and signing copies of their books.

For more indoor fun, Boston Symphony’s Holiday Pops starts this weekend including a special matinee especially for children. Don’t forget to visit the Bay State Railroad Museum for its annual holiday celebration, one of only two times the museum is open to the public each year.

Also on Mommy Poppins this week:

On November 29, we celebrated our Boston Besties with an award ceremony and reception. It was so nice to meet many of the finalists. Thanks to all who attended and congratulations to the winners!

Need more family fun ideas? Check out our full events calendar.

Weekend Fun for Houston Kids: Tree Lightings, Parades, Dec 2-4

December is here! It's time to get the most out of this chilly Houston weather. If you are looking to spend quality time with Santa and read him your list (OK, maybe your kid's list), then we have the perfect list of places to enjoy breakfast, hot cocoa and cookies with the jolly ole' man. There are still a few weekends left to catch a holiday performance or to see the classic "Nutcracker" somewhere in town. 

Are you still looking for a special gift for your kids but are dreading the experience at the big box stores? We've rounded up some locally owned toy shops that will provide a more personalized experience. The holidays are expensive enough already, but your family experiences don't have to be. We have put together a list of fun and free events to enjoy with the entire family, or you can hop in the car and visit some pretty awesome public light displays around Houston.

Look at our events calendar for a complete picture of what's happening this weekend and beyond, and we've also rounded up the best things to do as a family in the month of December. Remember to sign up for our weekly newsletter to read about fun things to do each weekend in Houston. Now, it's time to check out this list of fun events happening this weekend in Houston. 

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