New York City

Weekend Fun: Monarchs, Brooklyn Book Fest, San Gennaro, Stages in the Square

NYC is aflutter with Monarch madness this weekend as the butterflies make their yearly migratory pitstop in the city. Learn more at Wave Hill's In the Path of Monarch Butterflies on Saturday and Sunday, or visit the Monarch Celebration Saturday on Randall's Island. (Consider it a warmup for the Natural History Museum's popular annual butterfly exhibit, opening October 6.)

Big (non-entomological) celebrations this weekend include Madison Square Park's Stages in the Square on Saturday, with a packed roster of live performances, the cannoli-fueled crush that is Little Italy's San Gennaro Festival, and Children's Day at the Brooklyn Book Festival, with some of the biggest names in little-kid lit.

And that's not all. Saturday in the city brings the Brooklyn Army Terminal Block Party to Sunset Park and Raptor Fest to the Bronx, while Sunday offers the chance to make art with MoMA in Soho or rev up little engines at the Antique Motorcycle Show in Queens. Downtown families looking for preschool options shouldn't miss the Lower Manhattan Early Education Fair. Free, but advance registration required. 

As always, keep our September Go List handy, and refer to the full Mommy Poppins calendar for more fall fun!

Visiting the AMNH With Kids: Tips for a Family-Friendly Scientific Expedition

The American Museum of Natural History may be one of the foremost natural history museums in the world, but a visit here is a rite of passage for all NYC kiddos. The building's imposing footprint and vast collection can make the trip a slightly daunting proposition, especially for first-timers.

Never fear: Not only is AMNH one of NYC's most kid-friendly museums, it's also easy to check out a hall or two on one visit and still leave dozens of other exhibits for a totally new experience on your next visit. Read on for our top sights and kid-friendly tricks for checking out this amazing institution.

NYC's Only Corn Maze and More Fall Fun at the Queens Farm Museum

There aren't many better ways to get the family excited for the fall in NYC than taking the kids for a tour through a three-acre corn maze in the middle of Queens and letting their imaginations run wild. The Queens County Farm Museum's Amazing Maize Maze opens for the season September 22, and it's just one of the quintessential fall activities happening at this New York City institution.

The Amazing Maize Maze is the only corn maze in the city. My family and I have conquered lots of these mazes and can happily say that the one at the Queens County Farm Museum is just as much fun as its country counterparts. We made it through in just about one hour—even with a pair of 8-year-olds leading the way. That left us plenty of time to enjoy other farm fun. We've got some tips for how to make the most of your visit to the farm and the corn maze. But no, we aren't giving you the route. You'll still need to figure that out yourself!

Apple Recipes to Make with Kids: Making the Most of Apple Picking Adventures

What do with all those apples? Whether we've plucked our bounty from an orchard or market, there comes a time each fall when we feel like we'll never make a dent in our fall harvest. That's why we at Mommy Poppins decided to pull together our favorite family recipes for using up all that red, green, and gold goodness. After you've checked out an apple picking spot in Boston, New YorkPhiladelphia, Los AngelesNew Jersey, Westchester, or Connecticut, set aside a cozy morning or afternoon to prepare one or two of these family-friendly treats with your little sous-chefs.

Free and Cheap After-School Programs for NYC Kids and Teens

Back-to-school season is also back-to-after-school season, as families look for enriching and fun programs for their children. There are tons of sports, arts, academics, and other kinds of classes for New York City kids, many of them reasonably priced. In fact, a handful of high-quality after-school programs are actually free or super inexpensive!

Some places, like the New York City Parks Department, offer after-school coverage Monday through Friday. Other programs only meet once or twice a week. We've rounded up 15 organizations that offer complimentary or reasonably-priced classes to kids and teens throughout the five boroughs.

30 Perfect Fall Family Day Trips from NYC

With fall upon us, we're craving more than just a change of seasons. Sometimes, fresh scenery—even just for a day—can do wonders to reboot and re-energize weary New Yorkers who dodged tourists and sweltered in subways all summer.

Whether fall in your house means an afternoon harvesting nature's bounty at local farms, heading out for a hike, or staying close to home to explore a new-to-you corner of the city, we've got daycations sure to satisfy any mood. Read on for 30 picks sure to inspire your love of the season, and find more getaways in our Day Trip and Travel Guide.

Kids Age 10 and Up Are Now Eligible for IDNYC

Big news for tweens (and their parents!): IDNYC, the municipal identification card, which comes with a ton of family-friendly benefits, has lowered its minimum age for eligibility to 10 years old. This means middle schoolers are now eligible for the FREE ID.

When the IDNYC program was Initially launched in 2015, the minimum eligible age was 14. Read on for more details on the application process, and the reasons why you should book your tween's appointment now.

The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze Rises in the Hudson Valley Again

There are some experiences every family should try once. Then there are annual events that, after you try them, you vow to do every year forevermore. The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze in Croton-on-Hudson,  a Hudson Valley Halloween staple with thousands of hand-carved jack-o’-lanterns, falls firmly in the latter category.

The downside of the Blaze is that tickets start selling out way in advance... like early September. The 2018 shows begin Friday, September 28, and run through Saturday, November 24—thus extending the Halloween season straight through to Thanksgiving. Our NYC readers should know that the Blaze is definitely worth splurging on, even if you need to rent a Zipcar. It's also accessible via public transportation.

Read on for what you need to know about this Halloween spectacle, including details about this year's installations, including several new features. Looking for more fall and Halloween fun? Be sure to sign up for our newsletters!

Weekend Fun: Tugboats, Art Fests, Morningside Lights, County Fair

School is back in session, but for NYC kids there's so much fun to be had, it might as well still be summer. In Manhattan, check out the popular West Side County Fair, a family-friendly art show in Carl Schurz Park, or the annual Morningside Lights procession, a lovely illuminated evening walk through the Upper West Side. On Sunday, tugboats vie for top honors in a can't-miss race down the Hudson.

The Bronx is action-packed this weekend too. Head to City Island for the Fall Arts and Crafts fair (make a day of it with dinner at one of the island's kid-friendly restaurants). Or visit Wave Hill's weekend-long family art project.

In Brooklyn, Circus Amok runs, well, amok in Sunset Park on Saturday and Prospect Park on Sunday. And don't miss the annual Bike Jumble, a great opportunity to find a new or used bike!

Keep our September GoList handy, and our roundup of the Best Fall Festivals for NYC Kids, packed with all the apple-bobbing, Halloween festivities, and harvest celebrations you can shake a cornstalk at. This list of the best fall events for preschoolers has lots of fun tailor-made for little ones, too. As always, our trusty Event Calendar stands at the ready with daily activities and details.

Storytimes for NYC Kids: Read Your Way Around Manhattan

Storytimes are great FREE—or super low-cost—kid activities that can often provide the incentive families need to get out of the house on those rainy, cold, or snowy days when cabin fever is likely to set in. Hosted throughout NYC at libraries, bookstores, museums, and other fun places, most of these baby and kid reading sessions don't require reservations, making it easy to just drop in. Plus, many of these storytimes incorporate arts and crafts projects, so story hour can easily turn into a full morning or afternoon of fun.

Read on for our most up-to-date list of storytimes for fall and winter 2018 in Manhattan. Also, be sure to check our list of NYC's best independent bookstores for kids for more reading inspiration, and if you're in the boroughs, we've also written about storytimes in Brooklyn and in Queens.

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