Long Island

The Best Escape Rooms on LI for Tweens and Teens

If you’re looking to keep your tween or teen entertained for an hour or two in a way that doesn’t involve electronics, we have two words for you: Escape rooms.

Escape rooms are one of the hottest crazes to hit Long Island in recent years, popping up throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties. Originally targeted to adults, many LI escape rooms are now perfect for tweens and teens, whether it’s for a birthday party, a school or camp field trip, Saturday afternoon play date, or a family night out.

Not familiar with this new form of interactive entertainment? A group of people are "locked" in a room for an hour (per state law, doors cannot technically be locked), and have to work together to figure out the clues that will get them out. And when we say room, we’re talking elaborately decorated spaces with specific themes that can be funny, scary, or cerebral, and everything in between.

We’ve put together a list of some of Long Island's most popular escape room venues for kids. Check individual websites for details since prices vary, as do the number of rooms available, how many people each holds, difficulty levels, and age restrictions. Themes occasionally change also. Try one or more. Each offers a unique way for kids to use their imaginations, develop team-building and problem-solving skills, and most of all, have a blast.

American Girl Live: Your Favorite Dolls Take the Stage in First-Ever National Tour

With two five-year-old girls in the family, the American Girl Doll phenomenon has overtaken our home—quite literally. We have dolls, furniture, books, and an extensive wardrobe I find myself slightly envious of. "Julie" and "Maryellen" have hobbies we talk about, preferences on activities, and are with us so often that I sometimes forget that they're not real-life pals of my daughters. So, as you can imagine, when I announced we would be going to the all-new, first-ever American Girl Live show, I was met with shrieks of excitement—followed by weeks of planning outfits, accessories, and hair-dos, for both them and their 18-inch sidekicks.

American Girl Live, featuring six of the iconic dolls and an all-girl cast (not to mention an all-female crew and creative team behind the scenes) will be touring the country in 2019, with stops that include New Jersey, ConnecticutPhiladelphia, Boston, New York City, Long Island, and Maryland. In keeping with the American Girl mission, the show is all about "girl power," a message that came through to my girls loud and clear when I took them (and Julie and Maryellen, of course) to the Capitol Center of the Arts in Concord, New Hampshire, one of the show's first tour stops.

Top Kids' Birthday Party Venues on Long Island

Birthday parties have morphed into an entity all their own. Each year's celebration has to be bigger and better than the last, but where to start?

Don’t worry—we’ve rounded up some of Long Island’s best venues for parties to please a variety of kids, from divas and princesses to tumbling tots and animal enthusiasts. These places make party planning easy, and almost all include a host, setup and cleanup, food, and other essentials. The only hard part is picking just one! 

Be sure to check out our Birthday Party Guide for Long Island Kids for even more tips on planning the perfect party for your child. It has ideas specific to first birthdays, toddlers, active kids,  and more.

25 Fun Things to Do with Kids in the Phoenix Area

At first glance, Phoenix might seem like just cactus and desert as far as the eye can see. Yet, there is so much more to this western city than scorching heat and golf. Families will find fantastic museums, unique attractions, such as a stunning desert botanical garden and a Butterfly Wonderland, as well as a fascinating history that makes this capital city come to life.

A trip to the Valley of the Sun makes a perfect winter getaway or spring break for sun seekers. There are water parks, pools, hiking, spas for the grown-ups and plenty of resorts from which to choose. We've already explored neighboring Scottsdale, Arizona, and now we want to take you on a tour of the 25 top things to do in Phoenix for families with kids. Whether you stay at a five-star resort or spend your vacation with family and friends, this gem of the Grand Canyon State has a little something for everyone.

Indoor Swimming Pools for Families on Long Island

If you haven't had a chance to get away this season and spend time by the pool, there's still hope—and you don’t have to brave the crowds at the airport to get there.

Why not visit one of the many indoor swimming pools Long Island has to offer? We’ve rounded up some of Nassau and Suffolk County's most affordable and family-friendly indoor pools that are open to the public. Check out each location’s website for family swim schedules and rules, as well as information on lessons. And don't forget to take a look at your school district’s website under the “athletics” link or similar to determine if it offers a community swim program. 

For swimming lessons around Long Island or other kid-friendly activities you can enjoy in winter, check out our guide to indoor play spaces and our Long Island classes and enrichment guide.

Best Winter Baby Clothes and Gear for Cold Weather Survival

It’s no secret that winter babies require more gear and baby clothing than their summer siblings, especially those born in northern climates, such as Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

New parents should prepare to do battle with snowdrifts, chilling wind gusts that leave faces and fingers raw, and otherwise icy and wet conditions on the way to daycare, playdates, the local library, or wherever. Stock up on some of our favorite stroller blankets, footmuffs, toddler mittens, adorable baby snowsuits, booties, and winter hats before the real storms hit.

Cold weather protection doesn’t stop at the baby phase, of course, especially for those navigating city streets outdoors. “NYC kids stay in their strollers a bit longer than suburban kids, because they have to deal with the elements a lot more,” explains Carol Adams, owner of Torly Kid, a popular kids clothing boutique in Manhattan, by email. “I know I kept my kids wrapped in their 7 A.M. Enfant footmuff and covered the stroller with a wind protector until they were almost 5!”

Read on for our top picks of baby winter clothes and gear for keeping newborns and toddlers toasty—no matter the temperature.

Weekend Events: Rubber Ducky Day, Disney on Ice, Theater

Join Anna this weekend as Olaf, Kristoff, and Sven help her find sister Elsa and bring back summer at Disney on Ice: Frozen. Or poke around the Long Island Explorium and get your hands on some coding robots.

Check out inexpensive family fun with our list of free things to do this month. Don’t forget to check our January GoList and events calendar for more inspiration.

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The Best Family Sledding Spots on Long Island

Say it ain't snow. But it is.

Parents with kids eager to brave the outdoors don't have to leave Long Island to find ideal sledding spots. We've rounded up a host of places where you can challenge the local powder for FREE. Safety first though, so be sure to check surroundings for sticks, rocks, and more; wear a helmet and proper snow gear to keep warm; and be extra careful after dark. Bring your own equipment to these snow-covered destinations and be ready for some fun.

Don't forget to check our Long Island winter fun guide for more seasonal entertainment ideas for your family, whether the weather outside is frightful, or delightful. There, you'll find information on skiing destinations, ice rinkshot chocolate spots, indoor play centers, and more.

2019 American Girl Doll Hails from the Hudson Valley

The Hudson Valley's newest celebrity resident is a redheaded blogger/farm girl who's 18 inches tall. Meet Blaire Wilson, American Girl's 2019 "Girl of the Year."

Blaire, American Girl's first-ever doll set in the Hudson Valley, lives with her family on a sustainable farm and bed and breakfast in Bluefield, a fictional town set in the real Ulster County, NY. She made her debut on January 1.

Long Island Restaurants Where Kids Can Eat Free

Who says nothing is for free anymore? Not these kid-friendly Long Island restaurants, where kids occasionally can eat FREE and you can relax. It's ideal for families with picky—or not-so-picky—eaters who want to enjoy a nice meal without the aggravation of paying for food that goes untouched.

From pizza to pasta, fast food to waitress service, and pub fare to ethnic dishes, check out these locations the next time your family is looking for a stress-free dinner. Promotions change, so be sure to check first before you go. 

Bon appetit.

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