Preschoolers

Free Admission Days at 20+ Museums in Los Angeles and Orange County

What's better than a day at a museum? A FREE day at a museum! If you have a large family, museum tickets can add up fast—which gets particularly frustrating if you then need to beat a hasty retreat to avoid a meltdown. SoCal has some great museums that have free general admission every day of the year, including The Getty, California Science Center, and The Broad. As for the rest of them (once kids are old enough to have to pay), many LA and OC museums have monthly or even weekly free days or evenings, and we have collected a list for easy reference. Go ahead, bring the extended family, meet friends, or check out a place you have never been before—all for just the price of parking or Metro tickets. And if there's a meltdown? At least it's free. 

Best Pumpkin Patches for Kids Near Chicago

Did you know that Illinois is the number one pumpkin-growing state in the country? So it should come as no surprise that the Chicago suburbs and exurbs boast dozens of locations for intrepid jack-o'-lantern enthusiasts and pie bakers to pick their own pumpkins. Many pumpkin patches also offer an array of additional autumn-themed activities like apple orchards and corn mazes for kids.

Before selecting a pumpkin farm, families should decide how far they want to travel, whether they want to pick their own or choose from preselected pumpkins, and what other attractions they might want to visit while on their pumpkin picking excursion. Many farms offer hay rides to their pumpkin patch, but the patch itself may be muddy or vine-covered, so parents with young children should check to see if the pumpkin patch is stroller-friendly. Some pumpkin patches also offer late night activities for bigger kids.

Here are a few of our favorite pumpkin patches within a two-hour drive of the Loop.

North Pole Express and Christmas Train Rides with Santa in Connecticut

Santa may be known for his sleigh, but when he's here in Connecticut, the big guy is all about trains. Starting in November, he can be found on several Polar Express and other Christmas-themed trains in Connecticut, including the ever-popular North Pole Express and Santa Special Train Ride in Essex.  In between munching on cookies, sipping on cocoa, and chatting with Santa, there is nothing like watching the steam roll and waft in front of the train's headlights—it's a magical holiday experience for kids and parents alike!  

But act fast: Tickets for some of these trains become available in the early fall and sell out even before Halloween. But even if a certain train is sold out, there's likely an available one around the bend, so read on—it's a special holiday experience worth waiting for!

What Ages Get in Free to NYC Museums, Zoos, Amusement Parks

The best things in life may be free—but for families used to the high cost of living in NYC, that sounds like crazy talk. From housing to classes to entertainment, everything here seems to cost so much money...or does it?

The truth is, there's plenty of FREE fun to be had for kids in New York City. And even top family attractions that charge entry fees—like museums, zoos, amusement parks, and water parks—offer no-cost admission for children under certain ages. Those savings can really add up, especially when you have preschoolers or toddlers

Bookmark this list of when your kids are eligible for freebies at New York City's best family destinations, from tourist hot spots like the Statue of Liberty to all of the children's museums and zoos and gardens. We've included a few of our favorite picks in nearby locales, too.

Note: Some places may ask for proof of age. Looking for a 100% FREE outing? Check out our roundup of no-cost admission hours at NYC museums.

Meet the Animals: 6 Great Animal Farms and Petting Zoos near Philly

Springsummer, or fall, when the weather is nice, there's so much to do to get outside: festivals, parks, spray groundsamusement parks, and more. But your little animal lover might be craving some one-on-one time with some cute and cuddlies, and there's no better time to visit the local petting zoo or animal farm than during the warmer months. Luckily, there's a handful of great places in the area for just that.

25 Exciting Things to Do with LI Preschoolers

Long Island is an awesome place to raise a family. From Nassau County to the East End and everywhere in between, there is no shortage of ways to entertain kids, including high-energy toddlers, so we’ve rounded up a list of 25 exciting things to do with Long Island preschoolers

Check out these fun activities around the Island that will keep little ones happily busy, including exploring the great outdoors, discovering something new in a museum, visiting a different playground or parkgetting creative, and much, much more. We hope this list inspires you and your preschooler to take advantage of all Long Island has to offer families.

For more inspiration, check out our guide to entertaining your Long Island preschooler and our Events Calendar.

Legoland New York Announces Summer 2020 Opening

Get ready for brick-tastic fun in the Hudson Valley next summer: Legoland New York Resort will open on July 4, 2020. Situated about 60 miles outside New York City in Goshen, the 150-acre park will be the biggest Legoland yet. 

The amusement park, geared toward ages 2-12, will be the third Legoland to open in the U.S., joining the parks in California and Florida. Visitors to the Hudson Valley park will be able to explore seven themed "lands" featuring more than 50 rides, attractions, and shows—including a brand-new ride exclusive to the New York location. 

Things To Do in LA this Weekend: Boo at the Zoo, Children's Book Fest, Mark in the Park

It's beginning to look a lot like pumpkins, everywhere I go. And so it begins! The Harvest. The Corn Mazes. The Patches. We are on a crazed, giddy run to the end of the month.

But don't get spooked! Yes, there are scary things afoot. Yes, you can choose the dark and shadowy path. But you can also choose to welcome the season with laughs (and science!). You can fear the night or you can get in on the fun. Halloween is what you make it, and LA makes it easy to choose family-friendly. Or not.

Public service announcement for purists who wait to celebrate Halloween until, well, Halloween: There's still lots to do! This weekend sees festivals Greek and Southeast Asian, Manhattan Beachian and Encinoish. You can buy a ticket to the 20s, catch a plane, train, or (very small) automobileThe streets of Los Angeles are open wide, and you can make your mark in Grand Park. So go out there and scare up some fun.

Keep reading for our favorite treats for this weekend, no trick!

The Best Kids Shows of Off-Broadway's New Victory Theater 2019-2020 Season

For the past 24 years, the award-winning New Victory Theater in the heart of Times Square has been the premier destination to catch entertaining and affordable productions for all ages. But the beloved New Victory is much more than just a place to catch a show in NYC. Through hands-on workshops, interactive pre- and post-show activities, and performances adjusted for children with special needs, the nonprofit organization is raising the bar for what theater for young audiences can be. I know this firsthand: I've been bringing my daughter to the New Victory Theater for well over a decade, and her formative experiences there inspired her love of live entertainment. I'm pleased to share a preview of the New Victory's 2019-2020 season, including the best plays for kids of different ages (even big kids, like mine), and ways to save on tickets.

CAMP in Flatiron Reinvents Itself Again with New Theme, More Fun

CAMP, one of our favorite NYC stores where kids can play for FREE (and one of our favorite new additions to NYC last year, period) isn't your average toy store with a play space. The entire space reinvents itself every season, making it an imaginative wonderland designed for repeat exploration.

Situated on the corner of 16th Street and Fifth Avenue, CAMP looks like a retail shop from the street—albeit one with an on-site Milk Bar and a funky collection of merchandise, from toys and games to books and clothing. But look closer and you'll see that there's something spectacular hiding behind a secret door. Find the entrance (with the help of a super-friendly CAMP counselor) and you're in for hours of fun, and a cool indoor place to play.

The play space at CAMP just launched its latest themed reinvention—read on for a peek inside.

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