Kids

The Best Zoos and Aquariums in NYC

Ever think you would spot a seal in Manhattan, or a giraffe in The Bronx? Did you ever hope you'd be surrounded by sharks at Coney IslandNew York city zoos offer families the chance to get up close and personal with animals from all over the world.  Each borough boasts its own unique zoo experience. Whether your children are big or small, there is a zoo somewhere in NYC suited to their age, interests and attention span. Best of all, access to these creatures doesn't have to break the bank. Free admission can be as easy as picking the right afternoon to visit. Check out our insider tips for making the most of New York City's zoos.

Six Flags NJ: An Amusement Park with Big and Little Thrills

Braving the thrill rides at Six Flags Great Adventure & Safari in Jackson, NJ, is practically a rite of passage for kids who live in and around the Garden State. Perhaps for this reason, I wasn't 100-percent sure my young children (ages 2, 5, and 7) were old enough to fully enjoy it—but we decided to test the waters. And as I did my planning, I realized, "Holy cow! There's a ton of things to do at Six Flags!"

New Jersey's largest theme park, Six Flags is known for heart-dropping roller coasters like Nitro and Kingda Ka (the world's tallest coaster)—but there are also plenty of attractions geared toward the smaller set and those who enjoy tamer thrills. You can see zebras, giraffes, and other cool creatures on the Safari Off-Road Adventure; ride the Porky Pig Ferris Wheel in Bugs Bunny National Park; make a splash on the Saw Mill Log Flume; and much, much more. You also might want to set aside another day for Hurricane Harbor, Six Flags' massive water park.

Read on for details of our visit, along with tips for making your trip super-fun for kids of all ages. 

Weekend Fun for Houston Kids: Back to School Splash Bash, Disney's Newsies, Aug. 4-5

All the buzz is about back to school, but even with the chaos of the upcoming school year creeping up you don't have to abandon all of your summer festivities just yet! In fact, we compiled a list of 15 things to do with the kids before summer ends so you can have a few more summer hurrahs before it's back to backpacks and school supplies; there are so many fun activities on this list that are exclusively here for the summer, so you definitely want to check it out ASAP. 

That's not all that's been happening on Mommy Poppins over the last week, though; other notable posts include: 

For even more weekday and weekend fun, head over to our event calendar, which is updated daily with all sorts of events and activities happening in and around the city. Our August GoList is also a popular spot to find the biggest and best events being highlighted throughout the month; you don't want to miss anything featured on it! You can also sign up for our weekly newsletter to have everything posted on Mommy Poppins delivered straight to your inbox, so you never miss a great article full of places to go or things to do. 

Are you planning an awesome event in the Houston area? We want to share it with our readers! All you have to do is submit your event to our calendar so we can review all of the information and get it posted on our calendar.

Let's not delay any longer, though; it's time to take a look at what this weekend has to offer!

Weekend Fun for CT Kids: Carnivals, Sunflowers, and Circus Fun, August 4-5

I'm not sure which was more startling this week: turning over the August page of the monthly calendar or seeing Halloween candy (!!!) arrive in the  grocery store. But never fear - summer's not over yet! With more than three weeks to go until school starts, I'm determined to pack in every last moment of warm weather fun to be had. Happily, this weekend has a wide range of activities on offer, from the North Branford Potato and Corn Festival to the annual Sunflower Maze at Lyman Orchards to the Nimble Arts Circus in New London.

Looking for more? There are two carnivals this weekend raising money for fire departments in Easton and Orange, plus a chance to explore the haunted lighthouse on Sheffield Island or enjoy a Taste of the Caribbean in Hartford. 

For even more ideas, we have a host of suggestions in our Event Calendar, the August GoList, and the Summer Fun Guide. For the latest and best family-friendly events, follow us on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, and Pinterest

Learn Spanish: Language Classes for NYC Kids

Many New York City public schools offer wonderful dual-language Spanish programs, as well as other languages. But if your child's school doesn't offer a language program, there are lots of Spanish language programs around the city that teach young kids to habla Español. We've rounded up some of our favorite Spanish language learning centers for New York City kids. And best of all: Thanks to the wonderful diversity of New York City culture, your kids will certainly get to practice what they learn in the classroom!

Find more NYC classes in our Classes Guide and Directory Listings, and check out our guide to Foreign Language Camps for NYC Kids.

Game On: 8 Soccer Classes for NYC Kids

We've rounded up all the best NYC soccer programs for budding kid athletes, from preschoolers just learning to kick that checkered orb, to middle-schoolers ready to master the roll and step over dribble.

Kids' soccer is a year-round sport in NYC: You can get your kids into the game through a day camp over the summer, at drop-in classes throughout the year, or by participating in a season-long program with one of the youth soccer organizations listed below. Bonus: Many of these places also offer soccer-themed birthday parties

Read on for eight spots offering soccer sessions to NYC kids. You can find even more options in our NYC Directory and our NYC Classes and Enrichment Programs Guide.

New York Transit Museum: An Amazing Underground Museum

Riding the subway is a major part of the magic of being a city kid. In fact, my daughter has taken to begging for F train rides each sweltering afternoon, which isn't quite my idea of summer fun. Luckily, we found a favorite museum to scratch the itch.

Since 1976, the New York Transit Museum has been capturing the evolution of mass transportation in our city. Housed underground in an actual subway station in Downtown Brooklyn, the train museum has a rotating collection of 20 vintage subway cars for the entire family to board, explore, and imagine a city life of the past.

Special Needs Programs and Classes for New York City Kids

Some kids take so many extra-curricular activities they barely have time to play, but for other kids, finding the right after-school classes can be a challenge. Whether your child has a developmental challenge, disability, or disorder, general after-school activities might not work well for them. Luckily, NYC offers a number of options for children of every ability.

We've rounded up more than two dozen great classes for kids with a special need or disability. Don't forget to ask about summer camps and holiday mini camps. Many of these programs offer them, too.

Check out our NYC Special Needs Guide for more ideas, programs and services, including sensory gyms, support groups, and sensory activities.

35 Fun Things to Do on a Rainy Day in NYC

When it’s raining outside, it’s time to bring the fun indoors. Our list of 35 rainy day activities will brighten up even the dreariest day, with NYC's coolest indoor play spaces, the most kid-friendly museums to explore, and some delicious places to grab a bite. Of course, if you'd rather stay cozy at home, we’ve got you covered there, too, with plenty of creative indoor boredom busters.

For even more things to do, check out our Events Calendar, which is filled with plenty of fun activities—indoors and out—for every day of the week.

School Start & End Dates: 2018-19 Academic Year Calendars for LA County Schools

Summer vacation ain't what it used to be. The majority of SoCal school districts now opt for an August start date, with only a few South Bay stragglers sticking with the old-school, post-Labor Day start. And beware assuming that school starts and finishes roughly when it did last year, because schedules seem to change all the time. This year Alhambra is first out of the gate, leading the back-to-school race with a pool-party-pooper start date of August 10; Torrance kids still get the most out of summer with their September 6 first day.

Wondering where your district fits in, and how much time you have left for these 50 Free Things To Do in Summer? Bookmark our list below with start and finish dates for the 2018-2019 school year all over LA County. And if what you read makes you wonder about what other school options are available to you, maybe our school guide can help.

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