Preschoolers

Land of Make Believe: A Charming Family-Friendly Amusement Park in NJ

For more than 60 years, Land of Make Believe in Hope, NJ, has entertained and amused families and kids of all ages. Designed as an amusement park where kids and adults can have fun together, there’s literally something for everyone. And the best part is that it’s affordable. The Pay-One-Price policy covers both the amusement park rides and water park, giving you the convenience to move from attraction to attraction without the hassle of endlessly having to reach into your pocket. Parking is also free, and you can even bring your own food and drinks to picnic right inside the park.

Perhaps you visited Land of Make Believe when you were a kid. I know I did. That’s why I was eager to talk a walk down memory lane and introduce my 5-year-old daughter to the thrills and adventures of my own youth. While I found that a lot has changed since then, the essence of this charming amusement park remains.

Read on to experience a bit of this magical-sounding amusement park for yourself.

Best Summer Festivals for NYC Kids This August

Many families flee the city in August for end-of-summer vacations, but it's actually one of my favorite months to be in NYC. With summer staples like swimming, play fountains, and Governors Island, plus hundreds of free summer activities and only-in-August favorites like Summer Streets and Arthur Ashe Kids' Day, there's plenty to do if you stick around.

So we've rounded up a dozen FREE family-friendly festivals happening throughout the Big Apple in August to help you get the most out of NYC with kids during the last month of summer.

Tickets on Sale Now for New Trolls Experience Near Times Square

Fans of Poppy, Branch and Guy Diamond, hold onto your glitter-filled hats, because the Trolls are coming to New York City. Opening on Thursday, November 15, DreamWorks Trolls The Experience, an interactive Trolls extravaganza, will open a stone's throw from the only place befitting all its sparkle and shine—Times Square. While you’ll have to wait until the fall to shimmy down the rainbow path with DJ Suki, you can grab your tickets now (and have some indoor fun to look forward to when the weather turns cool).

Read on for details on all the glittery goodness.

Let Imaginations Take Flight at the American Helicopter Museum

From little two seaters to giant military helicopters, the American Helicopter Museum in West Chester (about 40 minutes east of Philadelphia), gives kids hands-on experience with rotary-winged aviation. Moms, dads, and grandparents alike will enjoy giving their little ones an hour or two of fun learning in a location that’s easy to get to, offers free parking, and isn’t a sensory overload. This museum is a regular on my list of things to do on hot summer days, rainy winter afternoons, whenever the grandparents come for a visit, or really anytime we want to get out of the house and look at fun “things that go.”

After having been to the American Helicopter Museum many times with my three children, here are my thoughts and some tips on making the most of your visit.

Weekend Fun for Houston Kids: Tiger Weekend, Willy Wonka, July 28-29

Can you believe it's already the end of July? This summer is flying by, but in true Mommy Poppins form we are still finding all sorts of gems around Houston to keep you and the kiddos entertained, with our newest favorite being the Strawberry Water Park in Pasadena. This low-key water park is the perfect compromise when you don't want all the hustle and bustle of bigger parks like Schlitterbahn, but still want some of the famed water park attractions like water slides and lazy rivers.

For families interested in floating an actual river instead of a lazy river, check out one of five rivers featured in our Coolest Rivers in Texas for Kid-Friendly Floating & Tubing post. These floats are well worth the weekend trip!

Other noteworthy things happening this weekend:

  • This is the last weekend to check out Pinkalicious at Main Street Theater, so be sure to snag your tickets for this one-of-a-kind show!
  • The Houston Zoo is staying open late Fridays and Saturdays for their Evening Chill throughout the summer, so you can beat the heat and see all of your favorite animals. 
  • Sweat for a good cause this weekend by running the Fit Foodie 5k or Kids 1k, which benefits Kids Meals. 

Don't forget to check out our event calendar and our July GoList for daily inspiration when planning kid-friendly events and activities, and make sure you sign up for our weekly newsletter to have everything posted on Mommy Poppins delivered straight to your inbox.

Have an awesome event you want to promote? We would love for you to submit your event to our calendar so that we can get it published and share it with all of our amazing readers.  Just fill out the form, hit submit, and we'll take it from there.

Now let's do some weekend planning!

Destination Playground: Harlem's Riverbank State Park

If you're looking for an escape from the city that costs nothing more than a MetroCard swipe, hop the bus to Denny Ferrell Riverbank State Park, one of a handful of state parks within New York City limits. Riverbank State Park occupies 28 acres on Manhattan's west side in Harlem, offering beautiful views and tons of options for outdoor fun. An afternoon here feels almost like an out-of-the-city day trip.

Whether you're in the mood for a dip in the pool, a run through the sprinklers, or a twirl around the rink in winter or summer, this complex has it all, plus plenty of reasonably priced classes, sports programs, and even an inexpensive summer camp.

Weekend Fun for CT Kids: Forest Forensics, Rock the Summer, and a Tournament of Nations, July 28-29

Connecticut is one of the most heavily wooded states in the country, but how much do you know about the furry and scaly critters that lurk just yards from your house? Learn to be a nature sleuth with the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation's Forensic Forest program this weekend. 

If the Great Outdoors isn't your thing, perhaps you love the arts? Head down to the Valley for a Rock the Summer family benefit concert to support musical education featuring NRBQ. Into sports? Go see live world class women's soccer as four of the top international teams come to Connecticut. Team USA takes on Australia and Japan battles Brazil at the Tournament of Nations.

For even more options, check out our event calendar, which we update throughout the week with new listings from across the state. To keep up with everything going on in CT, follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest. Have a great weekend! 

10 Queens Restaurants with Backyards for Kid Friendly Outdoor Dining

Nothing beats outdoor dining in warmer months, especially with kids in tow, and in family-friendly Queens, there are plenty of spots where you can enjoy alfresco eats.

We don't mean a sidewalk table or two—we're talking an actual yard with ample seating and room for families to enjoy a meal. Outdoor dining often provides a more relaxed atmosphere, where kids can be entertained by simple pleasures like a passing butterfly or flowers on a nearby plant, and distant city noises offer cover for little ones who may forget to use their indoor voices.

We've highlighted several NYC eateries with outdoor seating options in the past, as well as exceptional spots where kids and families can eat and play. Now read on to take a closer look at restaurants in Queens with backyards for dining.

New Kidz Fun Palace in Queens Is Hours of Nonstop Indoor Play

In the summer heat, sometimes a playground or park just won’t cut it. Queens has plenty to offer when it comes to places to cool off, whether it be a museum, an indoor playhouse, or a food hall. Corona and Jackson Heights families can add Kidz Fun Palace to that list. Open since January 2018, the cute and fun-packed indoor playspace is a welcome addition to this family-friendly neighborhood.

My son and I found ourselves at the Kidz Fun Palace in Jackson Heights on a blazing June afternoon. Read on to hear about the highlights of our visit.

End of Summer Bucket List: 30Things To Do in CT Before School Starts

Before pool noodles and beach towels get stored away for another season, and late summer nights are replaced by bedtime curfews and homework, (at least) 30 must-do activities await in Connecticut, a great place to raise kids. So don't pack up the flip flops or exile the picnic basket to storage just yet. There are still a few weeks before school buses begin to line at the curb, allowing us to capitalize on the time left and give summer a proper send-off, making more memories sure to keep hearts warm in the cold days to come.

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