Kids

Year-Round Observatories and Eclipse Viewing on LI

A solar eclipse will swoop across the United States on Monday, August 21, causing total darkness to fall across a 70-mile corridor. Long Islanders won't make it into this path of total darkness, but you can still enjoy a celestial show to commemorate this once-in-a-century event.

Solar eclipse viewing on one of Long Island's beaches is a great option, and we've added some local viewing parties where you can see one of nature's rare spectacles with your family. For astronomy enthusiasts of all ages, we've got you covered with stargazing science programs to enjoy year-round.

Before the big day, check out our guide to preparing for the eclipse, including safety measures and viewing times.

Planetariums Near and In NYC Where Kids Can Stargaze

Stargazing in New York City is more likely to mean a celebrity sighting than watching actual celestial bodies. I grew up in the suburbs and have fond memories of standing in my yard with my dad and my telescope, talking about constellations. Even if you’re lucky enough to have outdoor space here, the light pollution precludes seeing anything but the brightest stars. If you can’t book a trip to some remote, rural location, the next best thing is a planetarium—especially since you also get expert guidance as to what you’re seeing.

As most of us know, a complete solar eclipse will happen on August 21, and it might just be the perfect event to spark interest in the solar system for your family. If your child is fascinated by the eclipse, your next stop should be a planetarium, so they can learn more about the stars and planets. We’ve rounded up the planetariums in and around New York City. Happy stargazing!

Find more local NYC eclipse events in our calendar, including viewing parties at local libraries. (Tip: B&H on Ninth Avenue was still selling eclipse glasses at press time.)

25 Things to Do with Kids in Portland, Maine

Less than two hours from Boston, Portland, Maine is a city filled with history, culture, jaw-dropping natural beauty, and truly great food. Though the busy, pretty waterfront on Casco Bay gets the most tourist love in Portland, there's a lot of fun to be had just a little farther afield, making it a perfect spot for a weekend trip with the kids. Pack up the car or take the train, and settle in for an engaging, relaxing, and picture-perfect weekend getaway.

To plan a memorable trip, take a look at these 25 things to do with the kids in Portland—it's truly one of my kids' favorite places in New England.

Weekend Fun for Houston Kids: Food Fest, Kids Festival, Aug 19-20

For some Houstonians, the last weekend of the summer is here. Our kiddos are going back to school and our days are going back to quietness and grown up tasks. Make the most out of this weekend with the help of our event calendar and our ultimate summer guide. Don't forget the solar eclipse is next week, so plan ahead with tips on how to watch it safely together as a family

Also on Mommy Poppins this week:

Read on for more details on our top weekend picks and be sure to click through for full details. Making plans weeks in advance? Check out the August GoList for our best bets throughout the month. And remember to check out our event calendar—there's no shortage of fun things to do all summer long! 

Did you know can also submit your own events? And to have posts like this delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

Now, let's check out what's going on this weekend: 

Weekend Fun for CT Kids: Country Fairs, Dragon Boats, and the CT Open, August 19-20

Tennis, anyone? The CT Open rolls into town this weekend, and you won't want to miss defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska or two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitovas at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale. Their Kids Day on Sunday offers affordable admission as well as on-court clinics, giveaways, and autograph sessions. Or perhaps you have a hankering for some carnival rides, the animals, the music, and fried dough? Then don't miss the array of country fairs happening all over Connecticut from Bridgewater to Somers to Lyme, not to mention the Oyster Festival in Milford or a Dragon Boat Festival in Hartford. If all this fair-going has left you looking for something a little more sedate, catch your breath at the Up-Cycled Paper Bead Necklace workshop in New Haven or an outdoor screening of The Secret Life of Pets at Riverwalk in Shelton. 

For the latest and best family-friendly goings on around the state, keep checking in on our frequently updated events calendar and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, and don't miss our new Instagram feed--tag your photos with #mommypoppinsct to share your weekend adventures with us!

Have fun!

American Ninja Warrior Kids Learn Parkour at this Freerunning Orange County Gym

If your kid bounces off the walls even after a full day of activities, you might be raising a little ninja warrior, and a candidate for Orange County's hip and hopping gym, Firestorm Freerunning & Acrobatics. This Santa Ana gym is owned and operated by local fitness guru Justin Taylor (who appeared on the reality TV show American Ninja Warrior). It's also a premier training site for parkour, the latest fitness craze to capture the imagination of active kids.

Retro Fun: Roller Rinks Around Houston

Being a child of the late 80s and early 90s meant I partook in a lot of awesome and awesomely horrible trends. Feathered bangs: check. Acid-wash jeans: check. Walkman: check. Roller skates and afternoons spent at the roller rink: check, check, check. While some of these things are now rightfully obsolete (feathered bangs and Walkman, I'm looking at you), some of them are making a resurgence in popularity. Acid-wash jeans: suddenly and questionably - cool again. Roller rinks: ALL OVER IT. 

Disco music, retro carpet, strobe lights, a smell that is entirely unique to roller rinks everywhere, and hours spent rolling in circles around the skate floor are making a BIG comeback, and there are a ton of roller rinks around Houston. Want to double down on your skating skills? Be sure to check out our list of Houston area ice rinks!

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