New York City

Best Playgrounds in Brooklyn's Prospect Park (Ranked!)

Across Prospect Park’s more than 500 acres, you and your kids can have many adventures within its woods, green lawns, winding paths, and brooks and ponds. But did you also know it has seven playgrounds? From big-kid swings to water features and toddler-sized slides, there’s something for every kid (and parent) at these top Brooklyn playgrounds.

Yes, you can (and should) head to all of them at some point, but if you're planning a day or only have few precious hours in the park, we've ranked them. Those at the top of the list offer the best equipment, variety of age-appropriate structures, amenities, and such. Those at the bottom are good, solid choices to burn off energy and get some fresh air. Here's your hit list to knock out one by one.

AMC Returns Favorite Disney Princess Movies to Theaters

Disney and AMC Theatres have joined forces to return some of the most popular princess-themed movies of years past to the theater this fall, including the original Beauty and the Beast from (gasp) 1991, and slightly more recent faves like the fiery, bow-and-arrow wielding redhead from Brave (2012).

If you have a gown-loving, but rambunctious little kid in your life, she or he may already know these flicks inside and out, but they were probably too young to catch them on the big screen. Tickets are already on sale for this princess movie fest featuring a diverse set of heroines, which will play in September and October at select AMC theaters across the country, so grab them while you can.

Read on for more info on how you can catch these six fairy tale heroes this fall. 

After-School Registration Now Open for Free NYC Program

We've told you all about the lottery for free kid activities and swimming classes operated by the NYC Parks Department, but did you know it also has you covered after school? Registration for the FREE after-school program run by the Parks Department opened on August 16, 2017 for NYC kids ages 6 to 13, and we've got details on what the program offers and how to sign up.

Find more after-school options in the Mommy Poppins Classes Guide.

Family Weekend Getaway: River Rafting with Kids in the Catskills

I've wanted to take my kids river rafting since my teenage son was a toddler, yet we never managed to get around to it—until this summer. After spending a wonderful day on the Delaware River in the Sullivan Catskills, my only regret is that we didn't go sooner.

With three kids ranging from 8 to 13, finding an outing we can all enjoy is sometimes a challenge. River rafting hit the mark beautifully, providing a completely unplugged experience that's fun for all ages. Plus, clocking in at just under two hours from New York City (and even less for Westchester residents), rafting in the Catskills is an easy day trip or a quick weekend getaway. We opted to make a weekend out of it, so we've got the scoop on where to go rafting and what to expect, plus where to stay overnight.

For more weekend getaway ideas, consult our Day Trips & Getaways Guide and sign up for our newsletters.

Best Things To Do with NYC Kids: September GoList

Just because the kids are heading back to school doesn't mean the fun has to stop. In fact, September is one of the best months for FREE outdoor fun. There are a slew of alfresco festivals for families, including Brooklyn's biggest street fair, Atlantic Antic and Bus Festival; the perfect-for-preschoolers West Side County Fair; the loopy NYC Unicycle Festival on Governors Island; and there's NYC farm fun at Historic Richmond Town's old-fashioned County Fair, as well as the Queens County Fair.

Other September highlights include fun on the water with the Great North River Tugboat Race & Competition, Star Wars as you've never heard it before and a pair of creative stage shows debuting at St. John the Divine and the 14th Street Y. And we haven't even mentioned one of our annual favorites: The Maker Faire New York takes over the grounds of the New York Hall of Science on September 23-24.

It's also the last chance to take a dip at one of NYC's FREE outdoor public pools and beaches, many of which are staying open through Sunday, September 10.

Plus, tickets go on sale September 5 for the Hudson Valley's best Halloween activity, the Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze. (If you want to see Blaze, it is best to get your tickets now.) Or score tickets asap to NYC's brand-new Night of 1,000 Jack O'Lanterns coming to Governor's Island this Halloween.

Weekday Fun: Unicycles, So Many Movies, and a Scream Room

New York City kids dig outdoor events, and we've got 'em! This week, Latin Grammy winning artist Mr. G plays Pier 62, and kid-favorite Esther Crow puts on a show in Carl Schurz Park. There's heap of outdoor movies on Wednesday, August 30, and another concert in Dumbo on Thursday August 31, but this one with a fun—and loud—art installation. 

Best of all, Thursday marks the beginning of the 8th Annual Unicycle Festival, when single-wheel riders take over the city for two days before they all descend on Governors Island for the Labor Day weekend.

Our September GoList was just released, and it's loaded with fun fall festivals, but school hasn't started quite yet! Plan your Labor Day weekend staycation with our Summer Fun Guide. Round out your holiday with playground fun at Heckscher Playground, or scooter around the cool stuff for kids in Battery Park City. Check out our Event Calendar, too, for daily family-friendly events.  

Panama City Beach with Kids: Florida Family Vacation on the Gulf

You may have spent a spring break (or two) in Panama Beach City, Florida, or lived vicariously through the revelry broadcast on MTV Spring Break, which drew thousands of college kids to this beach town for a decade. But now that you’ve traded shot glasses for strollers, this classic spring break locale has luckily grown up right with you.

Today, families with young children flock to its sandy shore, and with an international airport just 20 minutes away, it’s easy to get to. We visited this 27-mile stretch of beach along the Gulf of Mexico this summer with a toddler in tow and were impressed with the entertainment options. Read on for 25 things to do with kids in this Florida haven, including where to eat and play on your family’s next vacation.

Best Apple Picking Orchards and Farms Near NYC

Starting just before Labor Day weekend and continuing through the fall, orchards around the tristate area offer families the chance to pick their own apples. Many also host cool kids' attractions, including hayrides, petting zoos with barnyard animals, bouncy houses, and corn mazes. Some even sell home-baked treats like apple cider donuts.

While there was a time when apple trees thrived in NYC (ever wonder how Orchard Street got its name?), city families today need to head out of town to pick their own fruit. There are plenty of wonderful apple orchards in the Hudson ValleyNew Jersey, Long Island, and Connecticut, many are quite a long drive, and we know nothing derails a fun family outing like a stressful commute. So we've rounded up a dozen places to pick your own apples that are an hour or less from Midtown Manhattan by car. A few are even accessible by train.

For other fun farm outings, check out our Pick-Your-Own Guide.

Farm Stays Near NYC: Enjoy a Farm-Themed Family Vacation

For New York City area families, it only takes a few hours to arrive in the bucolic countryside, where the landscape seems thousands of miles away from the crowded subways and packed playgrounds. Farm stays are an increasingly popular vacation option to enjoy that countryside and a back-to-nature experience. For children who’ve never been around livestock, farm stays provide a firsthand way to learn about the animal world in a casual fashion. It also often comes with a few more amenities when compared to camping.

If you're interested in the source of your food, farm holidays offer a fine way to connect with what you eat and sometimes even pick your own fresh fruit, veggies, and eggs. You're not required to work during your farm stay, but many visitors find farm chores so different from their regular routines that they are eager to participate. Curious kids should relish the opportunity to gather eggs, watch cows be milked, and pick fresh peaches off the tree. 

Consider these eight farm stay options in the Hudson Valley and Catskills, New York, and in Pennsylvania for your next family vacation

Quaint & Crafty in the Hudson Valley: 25 Things to Do with Kids in Rhinebeck

About 100 miles north of Manhattan, the quaint town of Rhinebeck in Dutchess County is a prime destination for a family day trip with enough attractions to justify even a longer stay. Steeped in Dutch history, Rhinebeck is home to the Dutchess County Fairgrounds, where numerous fairs and family-friendly productions are held annually, as well as a performing arts center, an aerodrome, the oldest hotel in the country, great eateries, family shopping and nature excursions.

We've gathered up some of our favorite Rhinebeck attractions culled after a recent visit. These include both year-round opportunities and some seasonal excursions, as well as a sampling of the creative shops and eateries that remind visitors of the quaintness afforded by a town supportive of independently owned businesses.

Read on for our inside scoop on all the great fun that lies ahead for your family in beautiful Rhinebeck! And for more great days out, check out our guide to family fun in Hudson Valley.

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