Rose Gordon Sala

Rose Gordon Sala

Latest posts by Rose Gordon Sala

Hottest New NYC Destinations for Kids That Opened in 2017

As we close out the year, we're looking back at all the wonderful new cool kid attractions we gained in New York City in 2017. There was massive new development in the Midtown area, with two big family destinations added to Times Square, Gulliver's Gate and National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odysessy, and a completely revamped American Girl store at Rockefeller Center.

We gained new Broadway shows, including SpongeBob SquarePants and Anastasia, and even a new museum downtown, Choco-Story New York: The Chocolate Museum and Experience. Outdoor destinations weren't neglected either. The city tripled its number of zip lines with additions on Governors Island and at the Bronx Zoo, and continued to revamp neighborhood playgrounds, bringing new or improved romping spots to a number of favorite parks.

A handful of new play spaces opened in Brooklyn, Queens, and on Roosevelt Island. Read on to catch up on all these exciting new offerings, and Happy New Year to you and your family!

NYC Holiday Store Windows Sparkle in 2017

You don't have to go far in NYC to see gorgeous holiday lights and festive Christmas displays. Right here in Midtown Manhattan, the big department stores, such as Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue, light up the streets with gorgeous gratis holiday window displays. They're playful, colorful, whimisical, and even interactive in some cases.

Take a family stroll down Fifth Avenue to see the 2017 windows—it's one of our favorite FREE holiday activities in the city! But first get a sneak peek of this year's fun with our video and photos of the the top displays.

Be sure to visit our Holiday Fun Guide to find other activities and things to do along the route and throughout the season, including Santa picturestree lightings, and train shows.

Disney on Ice Brings Moana and Elsa Show to NYC Metro Area

A Disney on Ice show skates into the greater New York City area this November with some of the entertainment company's most popular female characters. This Dare to Dream production features Moana for the first time, but also Belle of Beauty and the Beast, Elsa and Anna of Frozen fame, and plenty more princesses.

The family show kicks off in the metro region at the Prudential Center in Newark, November 1-5. It then plays Barclays Center in Brooklyn, November 9-12, and finally at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island, November 15-November 26.

Get Ready for a Brand-New Chelsea Waterside Playground

Organizers broke ground last week on a big overhaul to one of the west side's favorite playgrounds, the Chelsea Waterside Play Area. The park, nestled between the West Side Highway and 11th Avenue on 23rd Street, is beloved for its expansive and colorful water park features in the summer, and multiple sections of year-round jungle gym equipment, swings, and sandbox.

We reviewed it not long after it opened seven years ago, but since then it's seen "enthusiastic wear and tear," and some sections had even been closed for repair, according to the local organizations that manage the park, the Hudson River Trust and Friends of Hudson River Park. After raising $3.4 million dollars for a "complete renovation and expansion," the groups, in partnership with NYC city officials, broke ground for the revamp on Wednesday, October 3. Scroll down to read all about the impressive new features.

Mini Dickens Village Opens in Maplewood for Holidays

There’s something about miniature things that draws the eye of both kids and grown-ups. Perhaps that’s why parents, toddlers and preteens alike are found peering into the windows of the 10 mini houses that make up the annual Dickens Village hosted in downtown Maplewood, New Jersey each holiday season for more than 50 years.

Each of the 10 houses, measuring over 6-feet tall, are decorated with holiday scenes from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and are lit with pretty candles and bedecked in wreaths and other seasonal décor.

You’ll find faux fireplaces, a nutcracker, Santa, of course, and an entire house filled with vintage children’s toys. The windows are low enough for even my 1-year-old to look into. I was surprised by how enthralled he and his preschool sister were with the whole thing. Several preteens zipped through the village with us, oohing and ahhing over the scene: “My favorite is the candy cane one! You can fit a bed in here!”

23 Fun Things To Do with NYC Kids on Columbus Day

New York City kids have only been in school for a month and weary parents are staring down another off-day. But don’t panic. There are plenty of New York City kid spots and activities ready to entertain you and your brood on Columbus Day.

Fall weather offers the perfect chance to hit up one of New York City’s many destination playgrounds, of course, but we’ve also scoured our event and museum listings, and combed through our day trip guides to put together a list of 23 things to do with the family on Columbus Day. Read on desperate parent, read on.

Check out our Columbus Day Weekend event picks for NYC kids to find even more happenings for the holiday weekend.

Great Swamp: Year-Round Nature Trails for New Jersey Kids

There’s something magical about stepping onto a wooded trail with your kids, with a soundtrack of chattering birds and the sunlight peeking through the canopy. While New Jersey has no shortage of parks, reservations, or nature centers, one of my family’s go-to spots for this type of get-back-to-nature excursion is the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.

It spans several towns in Morris County and nearly 8,000 acres. Formed by melting glaciers 25,000 years ago and protected as a registered National Natural Landmark in 1966, the area is now managed and maintained by national, state, and local groups.

There are myriad hiking trails with boardwalks above the swamp, drop-in family programs, nature centers, and plenty of chances for fall foliage and wildlife sightings. Read on for our favorite exploration spots for NJ kids at this beautiful nature refuge.

Shopkins Live Review: The Shoppies Shop It Up Onstage

The Shopkins gang took to the stage this September in their very first live show, Shopkins Live! Shop It Up! Based on Moose Toys' popular line of tiny, collectible grocery store items—and the animated series on YouTube—the show features life-size versions of characters like Lippy Lips (a tube of lipstick) and Kooky Cookie (a chocolate chip cookie).

The show, which I caught in New Jersey with two preschool-age kids (and a theater full of mostly girls ages 4-8, decked out in Shopkins gear), was a full assault of rainbow colors, upbeat singing, and coordinated dance moves. It’s campy, silly, and pure fun for little fans of the figurines.

Read on for our full review of this children’s theater show, which continues its North American tour into 2018, hitting more than 75 cities and metro areas, including Tarrytown, New York (September 26), two more New Jersey theaters (September 27-28), Westbury, New York (October 1), Houston (October 20), and Hollywood, California (November 18).

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