Tweens & Teens

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.

Best Pick-Your-Own Orchards for Toddlers in the Fairfield County Area

Come September, New England’s most beloved season marks the start of those autumnal traditions we all live for here in Connecticut. Apple picking is a family favorite fall activity for so many and lucky for us, Connecticut has dozens of wonderful apple picking orchards and farms and some are more toddler friendly than others. In Fairfield County, you have only a small selection to choose from, which may be why all of the orchards get busy on the weekends. We suggest heading out first thing in the morning to beat the crowds on the weekends. We've included a few of our favorites for younger children, including a few in case you're up for venturing outside of Fairfield County. And. for even more orchards, be sure to check out our Apple and Pumpkin Picking Guide

Apples, Pumpkins, and Corn Mazes: 50 Fall Fairs in Connecticut You Can't Miss

Fall is an amazing time to be in Connecticut, with wonderful fairs and festivals nearly every weekend, celebrating the many aspects of Nutmeg life, from apples to pumpkins and beyond. Most of these have free admission, but charge small fees for specific rides or activities so you'll want to confirm that before heading out. Check out our complete Fall Fun Guide too for more ideas on how to enjoy the season!

6 Corn Mazes Near Boston With Fun Extras Like Zip Lines, Playgrounds, and Rides

Larger-than-life corn mazes offer families the challenge of working through a tricky puzzle together, all while enjoying New England's crisp fall weather. Add exciting play areas and quirky country games (like apple and pumpkin blasters), and a corn maze outing becomes one of our favorite fall activities. Here are some of the Boston area's best corn mazes for an outdoor autumn adventure. Note: Most mazes are not stroller friendly, so if you’re bringing young children, consider using a backpack carrier.

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.

It's Fall Y'all: Family-Friendly Festivals in Houston

There’s no better way to usher in the harvest season than with a fall festival. With tons of events happening in the Houston area over the next few months, the opportunities for enjoying cooler temperatures (okay, that may be a bit ambitious for October) and good, old-fashioned family fun are endless. Here’s our roundup of fairs and festivals taking place this autumn. 

Patchogue with Kids: Fun Things to Do as a Family

Lying on the shore of Great South Bay, halfway between Montauk and Manhattan, Patchogue is a vibrant seaside community that boasts a walkable downtown area, a thriving arts and music scene, and a variety of good eats and treats. Restored and renewed areas have breathed new life into this village over the past few years, making it a haven for Long Island families.

Still got that day-trippin' itch? Explore our Visitors Guide to plan your next adventure.

Amazing Corn Mazes at Family-Friendly New Jersey Farms

Get ready… get set… get lost in an amazing New Jersey corn maze! The Garden State is home to oodles of spectacular corn mazes, ranging from massive 10-acre labyrinths to simpler, child-friendly courses, including hay bale mazes just right for toddlers and preschoolers. Games, clues, and even techie bonuses enhance many of the more elaborate maze experiences. Got a tween or teen? Check out courses that are open after hours for a nighttime and sometimes spooky adventure.

Many of these 16 corn mazes we've rounded up are day trip–worthy on their own, but you'll also likely find apple and pumpkin picking options, hayrides, and even fall festivals, plus petting zoos in some instances. So get out your fall to-do list, and navigate your way through one of these great New Jersey corn mazes. Check out our Fall Fun Guide for NJ Kids to find even more ways to enjoy the crisp autumn days.

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 for Boston Kids: Carnivorous Plants, Turtles, and Riverfest, Sept 8-9

This weekend is for the birds (and lots of other species!). Celebrate a special gibbon's birthday, talk turtles, and get up close and personal with all different kinds of rodents. There is even a carnival just for dogs and the people who love them. Looking for something even more exotic? Check out this one-of-a-kind plant show (flies: beware!). For more late summer/early fall fun, gaze at the stars, jump into the fog, and cool down at Riverfest (be sure to stay for the fireworks!). 

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