Preschoolers

Holiday Train Shows in NYC for Kids: Botanical Garden and More

Trains are a way of life for most New Yorkers, but there's something particularly special about the little engines and cabooses that take center stage during the holiday season. The New York Botanical Garden's Holiday Train show is one of New York City's top seasonal attractions for families, with electric model trains whizzing by more than 150 NYC landmarks made out of acorns, twigs, bark, berries, and leaves. My family and I make it a point to go every year—it's truly a quintessential New York holiday experience. There's a reason it's on our list of the top 100 things to do with kids in NYC.

But the big NYBG display isn't the only train-centric show in town. Read on for more details on this annual spectacle, as well as a roundup of the other train shows the city has to offer this holiday season. And for an extra special holiday treat, take the kids on a full-size train ride with these nearby Polar Express and Santa locomotives.

Ultimate Holiday Experiences in Connecticut

Ask any kid what they love most about the holidays and you might get the same answer--PRESENTS! But as they grow up, while a few of those precious treasures may linger in their minds, it's the traditions and special memories that will really stick. Those little moments that made holidays so special are what nurture the nostalgia we often feel around this time of year. Here in Connecticut, there is no shortage of amazing opportunities to make one of a kind memories for your family during the holidays. Tap into the magic of the season at any one of these ultimate holiday experiences throughout the state.

10 Brooklyn Spots That Both Little and Big Kids Will Love

Whether you have a large brood that ranges from babies to tweens or simply a few who have somewhat of an age gap, finding activities and restaurants that cater to each and every age and stage can be challenging. The desire to go out and spend time together in NYC can sometimes be overshadowed by the task of finding place that will keep babies, toddlers, preschoolers, older children, and parents entertained.

So whether you want to sit down and have a meal, or spend an afternoon at a museum, we've rounded up 10 mid-Brooklyn locales that offer a little something every member of the family—even the adults!

Christmas Trains: All Aboard the Polar Express for Kids in LA, Ventura, & Orange County

Trains in Los Angeles are more or less novelties all year round, which means they hold onto that wonderful Thomas-the-Tank-Engine, Polar-Express mystique far longer for LA kids than for urban kids who take the A train regularly. And for anyone who loves trains, Christmas trains offer the ultimate "old world charm" rail experience. Add an appearance by Santa Claus and a few Christmas trees, and you have a recipe for a memorable holiday experience. Some of the dates are limited, though, so booking ahead when possible is the best way to make sure this train doesn't pass you by. All aboard the Santa Express!

Family Camping at Bastrop State Park

About two hours northwest of Houston is the beautiful Bastrop State Park, and it's a campground I've enjoyed visiting for as long as I can remember. Although the Bastrop of my childhood no longer exists, the park is rising from the ashes after the 2011 Bastrop County Complex wildfire. There is evidence of new life and growth everywhere you look.

My family and I most recently camped here in mid-October (sadly, it was still scorchingly hot), and had a great time with our kids; a 3-year-old and 1-year-old. Read on for what you can expect, from activities to the best hiking trails.

Weekend Fun for Houston Kids: Children's Festival, Dino Discovery Day, Nov 11-12

And just like that, we're officially barreling into the holidays at full speed. In a nod to the upcoming holidays, there are a plethora of holiday craft fairs and markets in the upcoming weeks, allowing you to get a head start on your holiday shopping and spend the weekend supporting local business and vendors. 

November also means it is time to start planning Thanksgiving, which means you need to ask yourself one very important question: are you going to tackle the feast on your own, or let someone else do the work by heading to one of your favorite local kid-friendly restaurants whose doors are open?

Don't forget: there's still time to vote for your favorite local businesses during this year's Houston Besties; voting puts you in the running to win some awesome prizes!

Find your calendar looking a little light this month? In need of ways to entertain visiting family and friends? Be sure to check out our fall bucket listevent calendar, and November GoList for even more family events and activities. 

Remember, you can always submit your own event to our calendar to promote your upcoming event and stay on the up and up with everything happening around Houston when you subscribe to our free weekly newsletter.

Now, let's get on to this weekend's events!

Veterans' Day Weekend Fun for CT Kids: Holiday Cards, Touch-a-Truck and a Jack Frost Bazaar, November 11-12

This weekend, we give thanks to the veterans in our lives who have given so much to our country. As a sign of appreciation, many family friendly venues across the state will offer free admission for veterans, including the CT Science Center, The Dinosaur Place, and Mystic Aquarium. In addition to free admission, other locations including the Maritime Aquarium, the New England Air Museum, and Stepping Stones Museum are offering special programming.  

Roosevelt Island's Music and Play Station: Where Kids Groove

I'll never knock a good play space. Give my kids a ball pit, some climbing structures, foam blocks, and a clean area (maybe that's just for me)...and we're there. There are definitely neighborhoods overflowing with them—you could easily do a Brooklyn play space crawl, spending most of your time in Park Slope—so that's why I was excited to hear about a new one popping up on Roosevelt Island, the arts-and-movement-centered The Music & Play Station. The owners, Owen and Bridget Johnston, were gracious enough to give me the lowdown on the new space and what parents and kids can expect when they visit. Read on for more info.

Restaurants Serving Thanksgiving Dinner: Turkey Day the Easy Way

Picture your ideal Thanksgiving. Are you imagining a delicious multi-course meal shared with family and friends? Or are you imagining hours of shopping, prepping, cooking, cleaning, TV blaring football, and not enough time spent talking with people you don't see often enough? Perhaps you struggle because your space is too small for all the family you want to see? This could be a good year to try something new: Go out for Thanksgiving dinner—have your feast and eat it, too, while enjoying conversation with family and friends. And best of all, someone else cleans up afterward!

Fairytale Island Opens in Bay Ridge with Ball Pit and More

Add Fairytale Island to the short list of winter (and hot day) indoor lifesavers. The brand-new play space in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, opened in late October, and it's huge. Not only that, but it offers just about every imaginable play item to keep the kids busy for hours.

When you enter Fairytale Island, you know that your child is entering an epic play zone. The main play space offers a giant ball pit, two-level Fairytale Island train, swings, crawl spaces, slides, little cars, and a trampoline—phew, hope I got it all. There are additional imaginary play and more toys set up in separate areas. Read on for our full review.

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