Roosevelt Island's Music and Play Station: Where Kids Groove

I'll never knock a good play space. Give my kids a ball pit, some climbing structures, foam blocks, and a clean area (maybe that's just for me)...and we're there. There are definitely neighborhoods overflowing with them—you could easily do a Brooklyn play space crawl, spending most of your time in Park Slope—so that's why I was excited to hear about a new one popping up on Roosevelt Island, the arts-and-movement-centered The Music & Play Station. The owners, Owen and Bridget Johnston, were gracious enough to give me the lowdown on the new space and what parents and kids can expect when they visit. Read on for more info.

2017 Long Island Bestie Guide

Long Island families, you have spoken! We asked you to weigh in on the Long Island's Besties—the best family businesses across 24 categories ranging from restaurants to party places, swim schools, and more. With all the great family fun experiences and resources on Long Island, it was hard to narrow down to just one winner per category, but you were up to the task. In the pages that follow, you will get to know our Besties, the most highly regarded Long Island businesses that live to serve, entertain, teach, and enrich the lives of your family.

We can't thank each of our 236 finalists and their fans enough for participating in our contest. We'd also like to extend a special thank you to our Besties Sponsors, and our congratulations to the four lucky voters who were picked at random to enjoy some amazing prizes. You made our contest awesome, and we love you.

And now, without further ado, Mommy Poppins proudly presents your guide to the best of family friendly Long Island, the 2017 Long Island Besties! Because 24 is a lot of winners, we've divided them into three groups: Family Fun, Parenting Resources, and Enrichment Programs. Enjoy!

Best Family Fun WinnersBest Parenting Resources Winners | Best Enrichment Programs Winners

Best High Tea Spots in NYC to Enjoy a Cup with Kids

Whether you're celebrating a special occasion or just looking for a memorable experience, afternoon tea—sometimes called high tea in New York City—can be a fun outing with kids. It's an especially great winter outing and particularly fitting during the holidays.

Several places serve high tea in New York City, with varying degrees of appropriateness for children. From the fancy Eloise Tea at the Plaza Hotel to the less frilly Russian Tea Room, there are teas—and the goodies that come along with them—for children of all ages and parents of all budgets. Here's our take on some of the best spots for an afternoon outing in NYC.

Weekend Fun: Open Cockpit, Mini Maker Faire, Santa Sightings

The second weekend of November brings more fall fun, and plenty of performances, too. You can take a guided hike at the Cora Hartshorn Arboretum in Short Hills or catch Stony Hill Farms' amazing sea turtle rescue–themed corn maze before it closes. Young crafters and builders can pick up some new ideas at Barnes & Noble's third annual Mini Maker Faire, and aviation enthusiasts can inspect antique aircraft at the final Open Cockpit Weekend of the year.

Characters coming to the stage this weekend include the Cat in the Hat and Junie B. Jones, as well as the talented critters of Popovich Comedy Pet Theater. And Santa kicks off the holiday season at Storybook Land at the annual Christmas Fantasy with Lights Parade.

Read on for more things to do this weekend, and be sure to check our Event Calendar for a full listing of happenings this weekend and beyond. 

Restaurants Serving Thanksgiving Dinner: Turkey Day the Easy Way

Picture your ideal Thanksgiving. Are you imagining a delicious multi-course meal shared with family and friends? Or are you imagining hours of shopping, prepping, cooking, cleaning, TV blaring football, and not enough time spent talking with people you don't see often enough? Perhaps you struggle because your space is too small for all the family you want to see? This could be a good year to try something new: Go out for Thanksgiving dinner—have your feast and eat it, too, while enjoying conversation with family and friends. And best of all, someone else cleans up afterward!

'Magic of Lights' Holiday Celebration Returns to Jones Beach

Enjoy a luminescent holiday light show at Jones Beach State Park right from the comfort of your toasty car as Magic of Lights returns to Long Island's South Shore this season. 

The 2½-mile drive-through holiday light show illuminates the skies—and brings smiles to all those who visit. It last was staged on Long Island in 2015.

For more seasonal fun, check out our Long Island Events Calendar and Holiday Fun Guide.

Fairytale Island Opens in Bay Ridge with Ball Pit and More

Add Fairytale Island to the short list of winter (and hot day) indoor lifesavers. The brand-new play space in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, opened in late October, and it's huge. Not only that, but it offers just about every imaginable play item to keep the kids busy for hours.

When you enter Fairytale Island, you know that your child is entering an epic play zone. The main play space offers a giant ball pit, two-level Fairytale Island train, swings, crawl spaces, slides, little cars, and a trampoline—phew, hope I got it all. There are additional imaginary play and more toys set up in separate areas. Read on for our full review.

Best Places to See Santa in Philadelphia

Just hear those sleigh bells jingling, that holly jolly season is almost upon us, and that means Santa is coming to Philadelphia! Whether you are looking for the traditional Santa visit at the mall, a special adventure, or you want to see Santa at a winter festival, there are Santa celebrations running nearly all holiday season long, leading right up to the final night before he takes off in his sleigh to visit all the good little kids. Here is a roundup of some of our favorite spots to get a Santa sighting and ask for those special gifts on your little one's Christmas list.

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