New York City

5 Kid-Friendly Urban Farms Right Here in New York City

Times—and the food industry—have changed from when I was a kid. In the 1980s, everything we ate came from the freezer section, cans, and boxes. Microwaves were hot kitchen appliances. I didn't even know what an unpicked strawberry looked like or what type of plant blueberries grew on. Trees, maybe? Now, knowing where your food comes from, understanding sustainability, and eating local are all hot topics that parents are passionate about. New York City offers plenty of farmers' markets, gardens, and parks to get close to nature. But did you know there are plenty of farms, too?

We've compiled a list of open-to-the-public farms within NYC that all deserve a visit. Each one has a special and interesting hook. Make sure to check seasonal hours/days-of-operation before you travel. 

Several of the farms profiled below, while others are squeezed right into a standard city block. If you really want that full country vibe, you can always head out to the nearby farms of Long Island, New Jersey, and Westchester for pick-your-own apples, tractor rides, and petting zoos.

Léman Manhattan Launches a New "Grown-Up and Me" Toddler Program

Léman Manhattan Preparatory School has been serving preschoolers in downtown Manhattan for the past twelve years, but parents of even littler learners will be happy to hear there's a brand new toddler program in town. Developed by the school's experienced early childhood educators, Léman Explorers is a “grown-up and me” class that aims to give children ages 16 months to 3 years old the skills and confidence they need for preschool and beyond.

The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze Rises in 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 2017 shows begin Friday, September 29, and run through Saturday, November 25—a longer run than planned in years past. They are not held every day, so start checking the calendar now. 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 the timely Pumpkin Zee Bridge). Looking for more fall and Halloween fun? Sign up for our newsletters

Frozen the Musical Heads for Broadway: What You Need to Know

This winter in NYC brings an extra dose of snow and ice, but of the magical Disney variety. One of the favorite princesses of the last decade and ice queen extraordinaire, Elsa, and her sister Anna, will make their Broadway debut in New York City this February. If you're familiar with the Let It Go-cult of Elsa, then you probably already knew a Frozen musical was en route, but we're here to give you the scoop on what to expect, including ticket prices and for which ages this show is best.

Joining family hits The Lion King and Aladdin, the buzz is strong for Disney's latest musical adaptation. The official opening night is set for March 22 (preview performances begin in February), but tickets for Frozen went on sale this month, and of course, are already going fast (hey, it's never too early to consider holiday gifts the whole family can enjoy).

We're pretty confident this Broadway production deserves a spot on your family's 2018 bucket list if you're willing and able to go for this extra special splurge.

Weekday Fun: Labor Day Events and Back to School for NYC Kids

It's back-to-school later this week for NYC public school kids, but first a little more summer fun! There's only one FREEbie below, but the rest of these events are relatively affordable or included in admission to a great spot.

Enjoy Labor Day at the beach, the pool, the playground and park, or one of several festivals happening Monday. The Children's Museum of Manhattan hosts Collage Collaborations with Alexandria Smith, beginning Monday, and the DiMenna Children's Museum hosts the Little New Yorkers Storytime on Tuesday.

Standalone events include the Awesome Oyster at Brooklyn Bridge Park on Wednesday (with a title says it all) and How to Escape a Black Hole, which takes a little more explaining (see below), opening on Thursday at BRIC House in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. 

Want to chase away the kids' back-to-school blues? Head to one of these action spots where the whole family can have fun, from mini golf to bounce houses.

Check out our new September GoList for more upcoming family events, and our Event Calendar is always at the ready.

Best Events This Fall for NYC Preschoolers

This fall preschoolers are being showered with great events, festivals, and theater in NYC. There are oh so many fall fairs with petting zoos, music, and performances, plus hands-on art making, great toddler and preschooler shows—and plenty of FREE options. We have rounded up more than two dozen of the best the city has to offer this fall, so get ready to add some activities to your calendar.

Don't forget to check out our September GoList and Best NYC Fall Festivals for even more great fall events, and our just released Fall Fun Guide. Looking for a special day trip? Preschoolers are old enough to pick their own apples this September or even the perfect pumpkin as the season rolls on.

Best Fall Festivals for NYC Kids in September

Kick off autumn at one of these fun-filled (and mostly FREE) fall festivals in NYC. Annual family favorites abound this month, including top September GoList picks such as the Richmond County Fair and the annual Queens County Fair. For more futuristic fun, make sure you hit up the Maker Faire at the New York Hall of Science. There are also plenty of cool under-the-radar events you may not have heard of, including a marine science fest in Tribeca, a sweet honey fest in Rockaway Beach, and Italian fairs in the Bronx and on Staten Island, which are both a lot less crowded than San Gennaro.

So banish the back-to-school blues by hitting one (or more) of these kid-friendly fetes this September.

Labor Day Weekend with NYC Kids: Festivals, Tugboats, Beaches

For NYC kids, Labor Day weekend means one thing: time to finish that summer bucket list before it's back to school time. There's plenty going, too. On Governors Island, try riding a unicycle at NYC's annual two-day unicycle fest. Watch the Great North River Tugboat Race & Competition on the Hudson. At the Richmond County Fair, step back in time for carnival fun. If that's not enough outdoor carnival fun for you, head to the perfect-for-preschoolers West Side County Fair

Here's an idea: pick some apples! Or pack fruit and head to the Jersey shore with our handy-dandy guide. Staycation? See our guide to outdoor beach, pool, and sprinkler options within the five boroughs. Take the subway (or ferry) to the beach, or hit the road for nearby amusement park, water theme park, or even a fresh water swimming lake. Day trip to Long Beach or maybe Asbury Park for a new beach spot.

Looking for something low impact? Enjoy family brunch outdoors at one of these kid-friendly restaurants in Manhattan or Brooklyn, or go for an ice cream crawl with these worthy NYC sweet shops. We've also got a number of suggestions for a rainy day at the museum or indoor playground and play spaces; nature spots and outdoor playgrounds if the clouds stay away; and even some day trip ideas to see something special in the 'burbs, from sculpture gardens to dinosaurs.

Speaking of trips, our Family Travel Guide offers family getaway ideas for places like the Hudson ValleyDutch Country, the Berkshires, Portland, Maine, the PoconosFlorida, and of course Long Island's East End, along with other great destinations for this and upcoming fall holiday weekends, including farm stays.

Read on for all of our Labor Day weekend picks. You'll find additional suggestions in our Event Calendar and September GoList. Farewell, summer!

Car Seats Are Now Available for Lyft Rides Across NYC

When you just can't face rush hour on the F train with your stroller, or you're already running 15 minutes late for morning drop off (again), a cab can be a lifesaver for an NYC parent. But if you've got a little one who needs a car seat, the ultimate hack quickly becomes a major hassle, since you need to lug a seat with you or find a car service that actually has them on hand. Luckily, it looks like someone over at Lyft has heard the cries of commuting parents everywhere, because the popular and affordable app just rolled out a new car seat option that makes it really easy to call a car for you and your kiddo.

Dying to know the details before your next missed-the-bus Monday morning or too-wiped-out-to-walk Wednesday? Well, we've got answers to your biggest Lyft car seat questions, and a sweet discount on your next ride.

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