The Butterfly Pavilion Returns to the Natural History Museum

Everyone's all a-flutter at the Natural History Museum. The much anticipated, grand re-opening of the Butterfly Pavilion took place over the weekend, giving us all a month's access to the unfettered joy that is an afternoon among the butterflies. The old pavilion has been replaced by an entirely new screened structure, still on the museum’s South Lawn, and the doors have opened just in time to eek out a little flutterby time before the other kind of eeking starts— when the creepy Spider Pavilion tenants move in. For now, we can extend the dream of summer a little longer. From chrysalis to butterfly, the pavilion is full of magical moments, which is why it rates as one of our 100 things to do with LA kids before they grow up.

Weekend Fun for NJ Kids: Hoboken Fest, Play Day, Book Fair

Although it still feels a bit steamy in New Jersey, the seasonal fall activities are well underway in the Garden State. Round up the gang for apple picking this weekend during the fall festival at Terhune Orchards, try your hand at apple cider making at Tenafly Nature Center, or get a jump start on Halloween during the Giant Pumpkin Carve at the Salem County Fairgrounds.

For even more late September fun, head to the annual Hoboken Fall Arts & Music Festival, Play Day in South Orange, or the Princeton Children's Book Festival. And don't forget to score your tickets to a few upcoming Halloween events, including these fall train rides and the brand-new RISE, a stunning display of 5,000 hand-carved pumpkins that arrives in NJ for the very first time this Halloween season.

Looking for something new to do this fall? Sign up for a baby and me class with one of these 70-plus options around NJ, or check out our NJ Classes Guide and Directory of Listings to find something that's right for your child.

Take a look at our Event Calendar and September GoList for even more fun things to do with NJ kids.

Check Out a Free Museum or Zoo Membership Pass at your Local Suburban Library

Looking for something cheap or free to do to entertain the kiddos? If you live in the suburbs, go to your local library and you can check out passes for you and your family to visit a number of great nearby museums, zoos, and gardens. Each library has different policies when it comes to checking out library passes, so be sure to call or check in at your local branch before reserving. To search and see what's available, use the keywords "Museum Pass" in your library's catalog search. You'll only be able to check out passes in your county with your library card, so scroll down to your county to see what great passes you can find.

Hudson Valley's Best Halloween Celebrations for Kids

The Hudson Valley is the setting for many a scary Halloween happening—parents be warned! There's traditional fall fun like pumpkin picking, fall festivals, and corn mazes, but the area celebrates Halloween in a big way with attractions for all ages (and all levels of bravery). Even if you don't live in the Hudson Valley, these are totally worth the schlep and blowing the kids' bedtimes—at least once.

While the Great Jack O' Lantern Blaze is perhaps the top Halloween event in the area, there are other cool happenings just next door: the haunted attraction Horseman’s Hollow, a live retelling of Irving's Legend ,and the little-kid-friendly Legend Behind the Legend. Head a little further north to Somers to check out the Halloween Train Show at Lasdon Park, and put the Wappingers Falls and Nyack parades on your calendar. 

Our best advice: Start planning now. Nearly all require advance tickets and most sell out. 

Fall Fairs and Festivals on Long Island 2016

From pumpkin picking to folk music, Long Island is ripe with fall fairs and festivals. Some offer carnival rides and games, while others have craft vendors and kiddie corners. But they all offer a fun day out for the entire family. Take a peek at our round up for ideas on how to spend your weekends in autumn. And for more seasonal fun, check out our Long Island Halloween Guide, as well as sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Pumpkin Patches Near NYC Where Kids Can Pick Their Own

We can't deny it any longer: The Halloween season is upon us! And what's All Hallows' Eve without the perfect pumpkin? Sure you can grab one from the local farmers' market, grocery store, or one of the few pumpkin patches right here in New York City in a pinch. But for a more immersive experience, head to the country to pick your own pumpkin this fall. Many of these farms and orchards offer additional activities for kids, including hayrides, bouncy houses, corn mazes, and apple picking, so you can extend your hunt into a family day trip.

Like our recent profile of nearby pick-your-own-apple orchards, these 10 pumpkin patches are all about an hour from Midtown Manhattan by car. We even found a few reachable via public transportation.

All A-Boo! Halloween and Fall Train Rides for New Jersey Kids

Halloween and hayrides go hand in hand, but have your kids ever heard of a "Halloween train"? If you have a junior train conductor in your family, don't miss out on one of these four seasonal NJ railway adventures. Take a seat in a vintage caboose, travel through gorgeous fall foliage, pick pumpkins to bring home, and even trick-or-treat onboard. After the ride, round out the day with autumn activities, from corn mazes to crafts to spooky scarecrows.

Check out our NJ Fall Fun Guide for even more seasonal family fun around the state, and find more cool fall train rides just over the border in Pennsylvania, from a haunted ride to preschooler-friendly Day Out with Thomas.

25 Splash Pads Around Houston

There's no denying that when the first heat wave of summer hits Houston, it hits hard. And as every Houstonian knows, once it comes it's here for the long haul - sometimes well into "fall." This means it becomes crucial to find fun ways to keep the kids cool without locking them indoors. Luckily, there is no shortage of splash pads here, and we rounded up 25 splash pads and spray parks that span all of Houston and its surrounding communities.

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