Philadelphia

Ski All Over PA: Deals and Details of the Pennsylvania Ski Areas Association

Whether you jump the moguls like an Olympiad or hang on for dear life traversing the bunny hill, 'tis the season for all things skiing, and Pennsylvania just happens to be an entire state of amazing resorts. We love to let you know about cool stuff, and the incredible travel and winter recreation opportunities of the 21 sports areas in the Pennsylvania Ski Areas Association (PSAA) fit the bill; from a special program that lets 4th and 5th graders ski for free with their parents, to midweek skiing deals, read on to find out about all the locations and opportunities in the Keystone State!

Volunteer From Home: Host a Playdate with a Purpose

Children of all ages from toddlers to tweens love getting together with friends for playdates. And you love hosting them—except when the kids complain about being bored (yes, even with all those games and activity kits spilling out of the closet). The next time your child asks to have pals over, consider organizing a simple and fun service project that can be done at home to help people in need. It's a great way to keep the kids entertained while teaching them the importance of giving back to their community—and reminding them of how lucky they are to have a room overflowing with toys!

Whether you connect the project to something personal, like your child's birthday, or highlight a difficult social issue like homelessness, a service-focused playdate is a gentle way to incorporate helping others into your everyday lives. And of course, doing it with friends makes it feel all the more special.

Here's a list of easy projects for all ages that can be done at home, as well as charities that would love to accept your donations. Always remember to include a handmade card—a sweet personal message from a child can brighten anyone's day.

Food Factory Tours: Go Behind the Scenes at 5 Treat Spots

Ever since my kids saw the stop-motion animated film Chicken Run set in a very tightly-run chicken coop, they’ve been obsessed with factory tours. The precision and organization of a factory assembly line is fun to watch and, despite the repetition, doesn't get tedious (unless you happen to work there). Going behind the scenes and seeing how products are made is always interesting, though I admit my family is partial to food factory tours that culminate in sampling the finished product.

Here is a list of six sweet (and salty) food factory tours that are fun and educational for kids, all located in the Northeast. Some are easy day trips from the tri-state area. Others require a weekend and make great destinations for any upcoming school breaks.

6 Cheap & Easy DIY Halloween Decoration Crafts To Do with Kids

Who's ready to spook down the house? If your family loves Halloween, it's time to show the neighbors - all over your lawn, balcony, front steps, or whatever bits of outdoor space you command. We've got a few ideas for Halloween decorations that don't involve a shopping spree at a Halloween store; in fact most of the ideas below are made entirely out of things you're likely to have at home already (and may even be looking to recycle). The best part is a spooky decorating frenzy makes for quality family time - turning a happy home into a haunted one. (Looking for even more ideas? Our Boston site has some way-cool DIY Halloween decorations, too!)

NYC Labor Day Weekend Family Getaways: Nearby Destinations for Weekend or Day Trips

Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer, is fast approaching. While there are certainly plenty of ways to enjoy one last blast of summer right here in NYC, the three-day weekend is the perfect time for a quick family getaway before school starts.

Whether you're looking for a spectacular day trip or a multiday break, our tri-state area sites in New Jersey, Long Island, Connecticut and recently launched Westchester County have been covering the best things to do and places to go in their respective locales all season. In just one click, you can find out everything you want to know about visiting the Poconos, the Jersey Shore and other family hot spots with kids. We're highlighting six awesome areas for a Labor Day getaway, all within comfortable commuting distance of New York City. For even more family travel inspiration, check out our NYC Day Trips Guide, which includes a post about car-free Labor Day getaways, and our Travel site, which has a roundup of Labor Day weekend vacation deals.

Take a PEEC: Visit the Pocono Environmental Education Center

"Mom, I'm bored!" is a phrase that strikes dread into the hearts of moms during the summer. Trying to think of some great day trips to fill the hours? Look no further than PEEC: Pocono Environmental Education Center. PEEC is only a 90 minute drive from NYC or most New Jersey counties. It is located within the 77,000 acres of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation area along the Delaware River and offers hands-on activities for all ages.

All-Inclusive Winter Resorts: Woodloch Pines in the Poconos

This is the first in a series of posts about All-Inclusive Winter Resorts for Family Vacations from New York.

Many people think of the perfect winter vacation as an escape to somewhere warm and sandy, but why not take a different tack and enjoy a family vacation where you can revel in all the winter fun our region offers? Winter resorts provide loads of activities like tubing, ice skating, skiing, snow shoeing and even horseback riding, plus entertainment and many other amenities to keep everyone in your family busy and happy. And the best part? There's no need to hop on a plane as many resorts are located within a few hours' drive of NYC.

Woodloch Resort, in the Pocono Mountains, is one of the best all-inclusive winter resorts near New York City. Not only do they have tons of activities to get you out of doors, but there's non-stop fun going on indoors too. Every day guests are provided with an activity schedule offering an array of special events in addition to all the regularly-scheduled daily activities. There are so many different options—the hardest part is squeezing it all into your stay!

In one weekend we ice skated on a lake, drove bumper cars, went tubing, tried out the shooting range, pet baby animals, took pony rides, played a live game of Family Feud, watched a magic show, played bingo, enjoyed the indoor pool, popped into the arcade and ate a ton of delicious food. Plus I snuck off for a little pampering at their classy sister spa, The Lodge at Woodloch, indulging in a massage and a few hours of luxuriating in their steam and water spas. If our trip was a day longer, we definitely would have packed in even more.

A Spooktacular New Jersey Day Trip (with a bit of Pennsylvania!)

Our family had such a spooktacular state-hopping daytrip yesterday that I just had to share the itinerary. It involved furry monsters, a historical state park (that actually spans two states) and a ghost tour. Not only did we enjoy our stops, but the ride was just beautiful with the fall foliage. If you're looking for a day trip that combines the best of fall with the best of Halloween, read on!

 

Bald Eagle Viewing in NYC: Winter Nature Fun for Kids

[UPDATED: DECEMBER 31, 2012]

Seeing a bald eagle in the wild is an incredible experience. I can still vividly remember my encounter with the majestic bird at Umbagog Lake State Park in New Hampshire back in August 2001. With their striking white heads and tails, and massive wingspans, mature bald eagles are an impressive and unforgettable sight.

Like most birds, bald eagles fly south for the winter and pass right through our neck of the woods by soaring down the Hudson and Delaware Rivers. They begin their migration in December, with the highest concentration of eagles visible during the months of January and February.

Eagle viewing is a popular winter activity for bird and nature lovers in and near New York City. We've got the scoop on how your family can marvel at our national bird, either by joining an organized event or heading out on your own.

Philadelphia Day Trip: 13 Fun Things To Do with Kids

Just 100 miles from New York City, the City of Brotherly Love has a spirit all its own and is loaded with history and activities that appeal to kids of all ages, from tots to teens. NYers can drive to Philly in approximately two hours; my family likes to stay the night at the Hotel Palomar Philadelphia, which has an artsy vibe, and the Loews Philadelphia Hotel, with its small indoor pool.

Whether you're a local, visiting for a day, or staying the weekend, here are 13 fun activities to get you started. For a deeper look into Philly fun, check out our list of 100 Things To Do in Philly with Kids Before They Grow Up.

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