New York City

Don’t Visit Disney’s Aulani Resort in Hawaii without Reading This

Aulani Resort in Hawaii is a unique property in the Disney family, offering an absolutely luxurious resort vacation with enough family fun that parents can enjoy without feeling like they are vacationing in Romper Room. The property is designed with a big “H” and a small “d” to put the emphasis on being an authentically inspired Hawaiian experience with a touch of Disney magic. This balance is just another example of how well Disney knows how to please families.

Aulani is a wonderful resort by any standards. With upscale, but family friendly accommodations, a world-class spa, and plenty of activities, we spent an entire week there and never ran out of things to do. In fact, the resort has so much going on that it’s worth doing some planning before you start packing in order to make sure you get the most out of your stay. We sussed out all the ins and outs of the resort to provide you with what you need to know to get the most out of your Disney Aulani vacation, reduce stress, and even save some money.

8 Indoor Water Parks Perfect for a Warm Getaway Near NYC

Indoor water parks offer summertime-style family thrills year-round and many are just a car ride away from the New York City metro area.

With winter's icy chill upon us, many families start looking for ways to escape the city for a warmer locale. Jet-setting to a tropical island might seem ideal, but if you're looking to stay a little closer to home, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Hudson Valley indoor water parks and resorts are a closer option for beating the winter blues.

We've found eight warm and wet indoor resorts perfect for kids and families that are less than two-and-a-half hours from Midtown Manhattan, along with a couple of bonus suggestions for further-flung options. Most indoor parks keep temperatures around a hot and humid 85 degrees year-round, creating a perfect beach day in any season! So leave the sunscreen at home, dust off that bathing suit, and hit the water.

Check out our NYC Weekend Trips Guide for more destination inspiration.

Restaurants for After Your Natural History Museum Visit in NYC

Starved after your visit to one of the top kid destinations on the Upper West Side? Home to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) at 79th Street and Central Park West and the Children's Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) at 83rd Street, between Amsterdam and Broadway, few Manhattan neighborhoods scream kid-friendly quite like the UWS, and that means the area's restaurants are overwhelmingly welcoming to families.

So while you really can't go wrong, we've rounded up 12 of the best spots where you can grab a quick bite or even sit down for a full meal. For more family-friendly eateries, check out our NYC Restaurant Guide.

Play Cafes: Shops in Brooklyn and Queens with Kid Play Spaces

If you're looking for a new spot to grab your morning coffee or merely want to enjoy brunch in peace, these kid-friendly restaurants can't be beat. At these Brooklyn and Queens cafes you will find a welcoming environment, great food, and a caffeine jolt, as well as dedicated and safe play areas for your kids. Several of them are actually play spaces first, and cafes second.

So turn your meal into a play date with a friend, or just sit back and take some well-deserved breathing space. Either way, both you and your kids are sure to have a good time.

Check out our NYC Restaurant Guide for more great eateries, or our Play Spaces Guide for more romper rooms.

Science, Language & Arts International School Brings New Language Immersion Programs to Brooklyn

Bienvenue to Brooklyn! Or should we say 欢迎?

Dual-language schools are all the rage as parents and educators realize the growing importance of preparing kids for our quickly globalizing world. Here in Brooklyn, Science, Language & Arts International School (SLA) continues to grow with the increasing demand for its innovative and effective immersion program. Founded by linguist and bilingual education specialist Jennifer Wilkin back in 2011, the independent school has expanded to offer a rigorous, project-based education in a bilingual French or Mandarin setting for kids ages two to fourteen. And starting this academic year, SLA is launching a brand new pre-K Mandarin immersion track to run alongside the existing French immersion track, as well as middle school tracks for 6th to 8th graders in both Mandarin and French.

Not only does SLA offer a rich science, math, and arts curriculum in a bilingual environment, but it does it at a significantly lower tuition than many other local private schools.

Weekend Fun: Hanukkah, Hip Hop, and Hungry Caterpillars

This weekend, New York City kids can help close out the Eight Crazy Nights, Hanukkah having kicked off on Tuesday, December 12. The Children's Museum of Manhattan hosts dreidel-making fun all weekend, while over in Chelsea, on Sunday, December 17, the High Line lights their first-ever menorah. See our full roundup of Hanukkah celebrations and menorah lightings around New York, many of them this weekend before Hanukkah ends December 20.  

This weekend also features a load of cool Christmas and holiday events mostly known only to insider residents, like Carnival of the Animals at Columbia University on Saturday, or the La Mama Kids Winter Wonderland, also on Saturday. On Sunday, there's nothing more unique than the 44th Annual Tuba Christmas at Rockefeller Center, or the village-to-village Unsilent Night parade. If you can't make the latter, and you're reading this on or before Thursday, December 21, don't miss one of the many and one-of-a-kind, free Make Music Winter events across New York City.

There's more than tubas in Rockefeller Center this holiday—see our list of 14 fun things to do there besides Christmas events. Already worried about aimless kids with school closed? Our guide to 35 things to do over the break has you covered. If you're looking to escape this city, see our selection of excellent winter day trips.

As always, our December GoList, our Holiday Fun Guide, and our Event Calendar are standing by, overstuffed with holiday fun.

Best Hot Chocolate Spots Around Manhattan

A cup of molten chocolaty goodness is one of the best ways to thaw out and warm up—in fact, it's one of the best things about winter and the holiday season.

We took on the heinous job of running around Manhattan taste-testing hot chocolate (don't say we've never done anything for you) and narrowed it down to nearly two dozen of our favorites. These spots are definitely worth the brief trip out into the cold, so read on for our recommendations for cafes and restaurants that have turned drinking hot cocoa into an experience not to be missed.

By the way, we've also rounded up our favorite Brooklyn hot cocoa cafes and those in Queens. Find more great eats in our NYC Restaurant Guide for Families.

12 Inexpensive Winter Weekend Getaways for NYC Area Families

It’s getting cold outside, but falling temperatures don’t necessarily translate to falling prices when it comes to family vacations. Luckily, we’ve rounded up 10 well-priced family getaways that are all either driving distance or a short nonstop flight from New York City. Whether you’re in the mood for salty New England seaside charm, an urban weekend in New Orleans, Carolina comfort, or tropical heat, we’ve got plenty of budget-friendly suggestions for a quick winter weekend away with the kids.

Hex & Co. Is a Board Game Lover's Paradise for NYC Kids

If screen time is getting to be too big of a battle at your place, head out to get back to the old-school gaming model: board games. Hex & Co. recently opened on the upper Upper West Side (Columbia area) and is serving up more than 1,000 board games, from classics to new pop-culture hits, to give your family a chance to sit down, grab a bite to eat, and, you know, talk and make eye contact with one another.

Hex & Co. joins outer borough favorites, Brooklyn Strategist, Brooklyn Game Lab, and The Geekery in Astoria, Queens for classic family fun. (More on this later.) Read our review and get all the details on the fun new spot below.

Worth It? Family Memberships in NYC to Consider for Winter

After visiting NYC's top play spaces, museums, and other fun zones, we've rounded up the various membership deals at 20 kid-centric destinations. These places will keep your kids entertained, active, and out of the cold. Some even offer short-term memberships, so you only have to pay until spring arrives.

In the dead of winter, it can be daunting to schlep somewhere new every weekend, so a membership to one (or two) of your favorite kid play spots makes sense. We've already done the math so you'll know exactly how many visits it takes until these investments pay off—and whether or not the "deal" works for your family. If the math doesn't work out for you, consider buying one of the play spaces' bulk passes instead, which usually knocks a few bucks off the daily drop-in price.

Need more ideas? Check out our Indoor Play Spaces Guide for more romper rooms by borough, bounce houses, and year-round family entertainment.

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