Long Island

5 Fall Foliage Trips with Extra Fun for Families in New England

Other regions around the country might be a bit superior for, say, soaking up the rays or skiing through powder. But when it comes to leaf peeping, I don't think it's biased to say that New England might be tops. With rolling hills, a high density of deciduous, mature trees, and, probably most importantly, relatively crisp late September and early October temps, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine, as well as Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, kick off the fall foliage season with early, vibrant, and lasting color.

Sure, kids might not thrill to the wonders of changing foliage quite the way grown-ups do. But most enjoy trips to pretty destinations, with fun stops to hike, eat, and play along the way. While choices are plentiful in these parts, we're highlighting a few especially lovely fall locales that combine great fall color with fun family activities. Now all you have to do is convince the kids to put down their devices and appreciate the scenery. For more autumn hotspots around the country, check out our complete fall leaves and foliage guide.

Weekday Events: Open Play, Music, Storytime

The leaves are changing and there’s pumpkin spice everywhere. It must be fall.

This week, there are open-play spots up and down the Island. Our September GoList is the source for more Islandwide fun, including exciting shows, fall festivals, and more. Also, be sure to read up on our Fall Fun Guide, where you can treat yourself to the best apple picking in the area and much more.

A reminder: It's time for our annual Besties balloting, and we want to hear from you. Weigh in on the best of Long Island at our voting page here. Your vote makes you eligible to win one of a number of prizes. See the prizes available here, and vote before it's too late.

Top Pumpkin Patches and Farms for Long Island Kids

The leaves soon will start turning colors, and you might have noticed there’s a crispness in the air, which can only mean one thing: it’s time to go pumpkin picking. Happily, no matter where you live on Long Island there are places to find the perfect family pumpkins this fall—whether you want to pick your own off the vine or have the picking already done for you.

All of these farms and pumpkin patches offer other family-friendly activities such as corn mazes, hayrides, and more, so make a day of it. Pick-your-own farms are fun, but can get messy, so make sure kids are dressed appropriately. Look at individual websites for hours and costs since some activities are free while other attractions have added fees.

If you’re heading to one of the farms on the East End, why not stop at a kid-friendly winery or a pick-your-own apple farm? And, for more seasonal fun, check out our list of the best fairs and festivals.

Happy autumn (and early Halloween)!

Spirit's Promise: A Horse Farm and Rescue on LI's East End

It's My Little Pony turned real life at Spirit’s Promise Equine Rescue and Rehabilitation, a facility for abused, neglected or unwanted farm animals. It offers animals a renewed lease on life while providing a rewarding and educational destination for visitors. 

Want to get up close and personal with other animals? Peruse our list of animal farms and petting zoos on Long Island. Looking for more East End fun? Check out our guide to the Hamptons and North Fork.

Shopkins Live Review: The Shoppies Shop It Up Onstage

The Shopkins gang took to the stage this September in their very first live show, Shopkins Live! Shop It Up! Based on Moose Toys' popular line of tiny, collectible grocery store items—and the animated series on YouTube—the show features life-size versions of characters like Lippy Lips (a tube of lipstick) and Kooky Cookie (a chocolate chip cookie).

The show, which I caught in New Jersey with two preschool-age kids (and a theater full of mostly girls ages 4-8, decked out in Shopkins gear), was a full assault of rainbow colors, upbeat singing, and coordinated dance moves. It’s campy, silly, and pure fun for little fans of the figurines.

Read on for our full review of this children’s theater show, which continues its North American tour into 2018, hitting more than 75 cities and metro areas, including Tarrytown, New York (September 26), two more New Jersey theaters (September 27-28), Westbury, New York (October 1), Houston (October 20), and Hollywood, California (November 18).

Weekend Fun: Maritime Fest, Museum Day, Bull Riding

Professional bull riders buck into Long Island this weekend, providing extreme sport and fun for attendees. Otherwise, set sail for the Maritime Festival in Greenport. Or hit up a host og  Long Island museums for FREE admission during the Smithsonian Museum's Day Live.

Our Event Calendar is loaded with fun, daily happenings for Long Island kids. And our September GoList offers up fun, family events for the entire month.

Don't forget to check out our local DEALS page, where you can score discounts on camps, classes, birthday party packages, and more for LI kids. Check back often as we're regularly adding more.

Also, it's time for our annual Besties balloting, and we want to hear from you. Weigh in on the best of Long Island at our voting page here. Your vote makes you eligible to win one of a number of prizes. See the prizes available here, and vote before it's too late.

Corn Mazes and Fall Farm Fun for Long Island Kids

Fall on Long Island means cooler weather and shorter days, but it also means fun seasonal activities such as hayrides and corn mazes. Whether you make it a race or plan your route strategically, corn mazes are fun for the whole family and they don’t always have to be scary. Many mazes and hayrides are available during the day, so even the youngest family members can enjoy these seasonal outdoor activities.

Call venues ahead of time to be sure they are open, especially if the weather is bad or if there has been a storm. Wearing boots or comfortable shoes is a good idea as the fields can be uneven and potentially wet. For more seasonal fun, check out our list of fall fairs and festivals and the best farms for apple picking

New LICM4All App Helps Families Enjoy The Long Island Children's Museum Even More

The Long Island Children's Museum gets it: under the best circumstances, it takes planning to pull off a great outing with kids; if your child has special needs, even more so. That's why we think their new smartphone app isn't just smart, it's brilliant.

Designed specifically to support children with neurodiversities and physical challenges, the free LICM4all app aims to take the guesswork out of planning a visit to the museum. Before the trip, families can download the app from either the App Store or Google Play and create a totally customized schedule based on their interests, as well as their needs. Short videos offer a sneak peek into current exhibitions, while also showing kids what to expect — like that they may get a little messy at the Bubbles exhibit, or that they might have to wait their turn at the TotSpot. Meanwhile, the color-coded, sensory-friendly museum map identifies galleries that are quieter or louder, and a list of tips provides parents with helpful details on accessible parking, restrooms, service animals, and more.

Weekday Events: Fall Fest, Music, and Movies

On Friday, the calendar turns officially from summer to fall. So this week it’s time to start enjoying the autumn adventures we love best, including apple picking and a fall festival.

Celebrate Hispanic heritage at the Long Island Children's museum or make an emoji bag at a DIY workshop this week.

School closed for Rosh Hashanah? Try a day trip to a cute Long Island town, marina, or another attraction like a petting zoo or nature center.

Remember to check out our Fall Fun Guide, as well as our fall fairs and festivals roundup to know what’s going on all over Long Island this autumn. Our September GoList is loaded with fun things to do through the end of the month, so check in if you're in need of ideas. 

And now on to the main event—our picks for the best in weekday fun.

Nature Centers Sure to Delight Long Island Kids

Long Island has an abundance of natural parklands and beautiful waterways to explore. Many of these destinations offer indoor and outdoor nature-based activities for children and their caregivers. So we've compiled this directory of nature centers with all the information you'll need for a fun family outing celebrating the great outdoors in Nassau, Suffolk, and the East End

Looking for more ways to experience nature? Take a look at our list of family-friendly hiking trails and great bikes trails for Long Island families.

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