Avoid the Summer Slump: Spend the Night With Wild Animals and 4 Other Cool Ways to Keep Kids Learning While School's Out

Kids thrive on cool. And let's face it, "cool" and "learning" don't often go together. During the summer lull, this is even tougher to come by. And while fun on occasion, there are only so many times you can go to the library, a book store, or a museum. And if you have a tween like I do, you know that trying to pull your youngster from a favorite electronic or video game console is like trying to pull a cat off its scratching post. So, "cool"  definitely has to accompany any instructional activity, particularly when school's out.

With this in mind, here are our five top programs in the Greater Philly area that'll keep your youngsters entertained and intellectually stimulated.

Schlitterbahn Waterpark & Resort: Classic Family Fun with Modern Thrills at this Texas Gem

In the heart of Texas, you’ll find a waterpark like none other. Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Resort at New Braunfels was designed by a family for families and around the beautiful Comal River. Instead of vistas filled with brightly-colored plastic and umbrellas, this waterpark embraces its natural surroundings, and it’s why you need to add this park to your family travel bucket list.

What's New at SoCal Theme Parks This Summer

How is a theme park like your kids? Because just when you think you know everything about them, they up and change on you. And just like with your kid, those changes are (mostly) good. Sure, we may have to say good-bye to a couple of old favorites, but look at all we get in their place. Sit back, buckle up, keep your arms inside the ride at all times, and see what our local theme parks have in store for you this summer.  

31 Summer Day Trips to Take with NYC Kids

It’s summer road trip season! With school out, we’re itching to get outdoors to explore beyond NYC’s limits. Lucky for you, our Mommy Poppins reviewers know all the best spots in the tristate area, from beaches and water parks to cool nature spots and pick-your-own fruit farms.

We’ve rounded up more than two dozen of our favorites for summertime, including a few indoor options for (shudder) rainy days, or if you really just need to freeze in the a/c for a bit. All of these spots are under two hours away, because, well, who wants to day trip for longer than that with kids in the backseat?

Find more ideas in our full Day Trips and Getaways Guide, or try checking off something from our 100 Things to Do with Kids in New York State list.

Cheap Swim Lessons in and around Philadelphia

There's no doubt about it, swimming is an important life skill. That's why it's essential to teach kids how to swim at an early age. Plus, it means you can worry a little less during those long summer days at the pool or beach. We've rounded up some great nearby swimming lessons that are also affordable. Get the kiddos in their swimsuits and goggles and head on out to one of these great swim classes.

Best Tubing and Rafting for New Jersey Families

Paddling a raft or floating on a tube down a rushing river is a summer thrill your kids won't get at a local water park. If you're looking for an exciting alternative to the beach, head west toward the Delaware River for a ride with the current, splashing and gliding past the wildlife and cliff-side rock formations. Most tubing adventures are suitable for children age 4 and up, and life jackets are required. Check websites for pricing and reservation information. And be sure to bring river shoes to protect everyone's feet from the slippery, rocky riverbed!

For more family fun, including water parks and campgrounds, check out our Summer Fun Guide

Pick Your Own Fun: Houston Farms for Fruit and Berry Picking

The intoxicating smell of freshly picked berries can only mean one thing: sweet spring (and summertime) is upon us! And what better way to take advantage of the season's freshest fruit than by picking it yourself? Instead of purchasing pre-packaged strawberries, blueberries and blackberries at the grocery store, take a trip out to one of these "you-pick-it" farms and gather them yourself by the bucketful. Not only will you be getting berries straight from the source, you'll also be supporting small farmers and creating memories with your kids that will last a lifetime.

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