Tweens & Teens

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 2019 shows begin Friday, September 20, and run through Saturday, November 30—thus extending the Halloween season straight through 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 fun? Be sure to sign up for our newsletters!

10 Great SoCal Beach Towns for a Classic California Seaside Day

Southern California's balmy beach towns are a treat worth seeking out at any time of year, whether you're an LA family looking for escape, or a visitor wanting to experience the best of our famous California beaches. Right in the heart of LA County we have a few seaside gems; drive an hour or two farther and you'll find towns that feel like they're a world away.  

 The 10 seaside towns below not only have fabulous sand and surf, there's plenty worth exploring once you head off the beach, too. Find out for yourself why these are our favorite SoCal beach towns.

You Sip, They Play: 4 Delaware Valley Wineries that Are Family-Friendly

Usually, the only time parents seem to get a chance to enjoy a glass of wine is after the kids are tucked into bed. But the rolling hills of Delaware Valley are teeming with vineyards, and some of the onsite wineries are even, dare we say, kid-friendly. This is especially true during the spring, summer, and fall when the weather is nice enough for families to take advantage of the wineries’ outdoor spaces.

Some wineries are more geared towards families than others so we’ve compiled a list of four Delaware Valley wineries that you can add to your warm weather list of places to go. 

Dance Classes Where LA Kids Learn Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop, or Ballroom

Want a dance class for your kid? You live in the right city. Whether you want your kid to learn to be just a little more coordinated, or you dream of the "World of Dance" competition track, Los Angeles has incredible recreational and professional training for your tiny dancer. Get your ballet shoes on and "chasse" through these dance studio options.

Find more great class ideas in our Los Angeles Classes and Enrichment Guide.

Destination Playground: East 110th Street Playground Is a Central Park Gem

As a Harlemite, the northern edge of Central Park has always held a special place in my heart. It's a little off the beaten path, far from the tourist draws in Midtown, but it's still teeming with activity and attractions, including one of our very favorite playgrounds, the East 110th Street Playground. This playground, which was completely rebuilt in 2013, is a prime romping spot for school-age kids, whether they are uptown residents or visitors to this scenic edge of the park.

Weekend Fun for Houston Kids: Detective Days, Houston Restaurant Weeks, Aug. 17-18

With temperatures climbing above 100 degrees, it seems a little silly to say that summer has ended, which is why we came up with 14 things you should do with the kids before the summer is over. School may have started, but that doesn't mean the fun has ended!

Now also seems like the perfect time to head down to Galveston for the weekend, and the Island is promising to deliver some fun events for the family! Saturday, you can spend the morning learning how to build sandcastles on Stewart Beach, then lace up your running shoes and head to East Beach at night for the popular Sand Crab 5k & 10k (they have a Kids Mile, too!). Kick off Sunday morning with Bay Explorations at Galveston Island State Park, visit the Galveston's Own Farmers Market at The Bryan Museum after, and cap it off by partaking in the Galveston Family Beach Challenge at Stewart Beach during the day. A whole weekend of family activities at the beach sounds like a pretty perfect way to beat the heat

Not in the mood to leave the city? We've got a whole host of other activities you can choose from, just head to our event calendar for a day-by-day breakdown of what's happening in Houston or take a look at our August GoList for a monthly overview of the coolest things happening this month. And make sure you sign up for our weekly newsletter so you can have everything that gets published on Mommy Poppins delivered to your inbox; it makes planning a breeze.

For anyone who is planning an activity, we would love to make sure it has a spot on our calendar as well! All you have to do is submit your event to our calendar. Once it's submitted, we'll review it and publish it so it gets shared with all of our readers.

Let's see what this weekend has to offer.

Affordable After-School Classes For Long Island Kids

Even the most creative parents on Long Island know the value of quality after-school classes. Kids learn valuable skills, social tools, and critical thinking under the supervision of caring, qualified adults. Here are some of our favorite affordable after-school programs for kids on Long Island. You might be surprised to learn that many of these classes and programs fall within a conservative budget.

While you're at it, check out our rundown of great STEM classes for Long Island kids and our Long Island Classes and Enrichment Guide.

Free Admission to NYC Museums on Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day

The best way to see some of this fall's best museum exhibits for kids? Why, for free, of course. On Saturday, September 21, 2019, hundreds of museums and cultural institutions across the country will be offering free admission, including more than 20 spots right here in New York City as part of Smithsonian Magazine's annual Museum Day, and passes are available to download starting this week, on August 15.

In addition to a handful of big institutions, such as the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, there are lots of cool, off-the-beaten-path places participating, like the Museum of the Dog. Museum Day is the perfect time to check out a new-to-you museum or visit an old standby for at no cost. We've got the scoop on which museums are offering free admission and how to get your tickets for Museum Day.

25 Things to Do With Chicago Kids Before School Starts

Summer days, driftin' away...If seeing school supply lists is sending you and your kids into a panic over the impending end of summer, stay calm, and summer on! We've done the research (not a bad gig, honestly), and rounded up the ultimate Chicago Summer Bucket List, complete with all the outdoor movies, festivals, and FREE summer activities for families in Chicago that you'll want to fit in before school starts up again on Tuesday, September 3.

The New Jurassic World Ride at Universal: Is It As Good As Jurassic Park?

A year without the Jurassic Park ride was like... a year without being splashed by dinosaurs. This summer's relaunch of the favorite Universal Studios ride was eagerly anticipated, though truth be told some of us who were big fans of the old ride were also just a little bit wary. Would Jurassic World: The Ride live up to its Jurassic predecessor? Or would it become just another virtual reality replacement of a classic analog adventure? It's a relief to be able to report that Jurassic World remains one of the best reasons to visit Universal Studios—and that Universal really did find ways to make our favorite ride even better.

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