Sonia Gonzalez

Sonia Gonzalez

Sonia Gonzalez's picture

Sonia Gonzalez
NYC Editor / Writer

Sonia is a veteran editor and writer for Mommy Poppins. She loves exploring greater New York with her husband and their three kids and is always on the looking out for innovative, educational and fun things to do with them. She is thrilled to have this platform to share what she finds with Mommy Poppins readers.
You can also follow Sonia on Google+.

Latest posts by Sonia

Times Square's Biggest New Attraction for Kids Is Gulliver's Gate

They say big things come in small packages. Gulliver's Gate, the newest attraction to arrive in Times Square, proves just that. Now open for previews—with its official opening slated for early May—this inspiring destination shrinks our global community into 49,000 square feet of captivating detail, giving visitors a glimpse at all corners of the world.

My daughters and I attended a preview and, even though some parts are still in the works, we agree Gulliver's Gate definitely deserves its spot on our 2017 GoList. We've got tips for exploring this exhibit with kids, including some fun facts about the displays, engaging interactive elements, and other perks.

SplashDown Beach: Family-Friendly Water Park in Hudson Valley

A water park is hard to beat on a hot summer day. With summer's heat on the horizon, I'm re-living the fun my family had at SplashDown Beach in Fishkill, New York last summer. We hardly noticed the blazing temperatures as we coasted along the lazy river and enjoyed the waterslides and other thrill rides. Dubbed "America's Biggest Little Water Park," this Hudson Valley park, about 90 minutes north of NYC, offers all the fun of its larger counterparts, with a solid family-friendly vibe, attentive staff, and fun rides for all ages. There's a reason we included SplashDown in our roundup of best water parks for toddlers, but really the fun extends to big kids, teens, and parents, too.

Don't forget to check out the Mommy Poppins Theme and Water Park Guide for more amusement park fun—and waterslides.

The Lightning Thief Review: Percy Jackson and Demigods Return

Percy Jackson fans rejoice: The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical has returned to the Lucille Lortel Theatre in Greenwich Village. You don't have to have read the books to enjoy this full-length musical production, though my son and I adore the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. We were disappointed we missed the Theatreworks hourlong production in 2014, so when we heard it was expanded and heading back to the stage we knew we had to check it out.

With amazing talent, catchy pop-rock songs, heaps of humor, and a storyline with themes kids can relate to, demigod or mere mortal, it's a must-see for fans, according to my 13-year-old son. Read on for our full review, or find more kid-friendly NYC theater in our spring theater picks for families

Pick-Your-Own Strawberry Farms in Lower Hudson Valley

My kids love strawberries. Lucky for them, their grandmother grows strawberries in her backyard, so they've been part of the planting, growing and harvesting process since they were tots.  As much as they enjoy the tiny patch, meandering through large fields of strawberries is also an awesome experience. It's not only a fun spring activity, but it also teaches kids about the farm-to-table and locavore movements, and encourages healthy eating habits.

We've rounded up pick-your-own strawberry places in the Lower Hudson Valley where families can harvest their own batch of strawberry goodness. Although there aren't any PYO strawberry spots within Westchester's borders, we have located farms that are less than 90 minutes from central Westchester by car, close enough for a fun day trip. Most locations begin the picking season around Memorial Day weekend, but be sure to check ahead before you head out. 

Share your picking photos with us on Facebook

April GoList: Best Things To Do with NYC Kids

Spring festivities are kicking into high gear, so get your calendars ready! We've rounded up the best things to do in New York City with kids in April—many of them FREE.

Of course, we're looking forward to Easter-themed fun, from egg hunts to brunch with the bunny of the hour as well as Passover celebrations. There's also new family theater, including the acrobats in Something and Circus 1903, plus picks just right for preschoolers. It's also time for the debut of Gulliver's Gate, a global miniature city that is sure to wow all ages. 

Families can enjoy many outdoor celebrations, too. Don't miss the annual Children’s Carnival at the Queens County Farm Museum, the spectacular Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival, Street Games in East Harlem, and Sakura Matsuri and more cherry blossom sightings.

Don't forget that some of our top picks in March are still good this month, including ARTech, a FREE STEM fest, top theater picks like The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical, Macy's Flower Show, the new Mummies exhibit, and more. 

For more outing ideas, peruse our Event Calendar and our Spring Guide.

ARTech: A Pop-Up Maker and Play Space for NYC Kids

ARTech: Adventures in Art + Technology is a new STEAM-inspired pop-up activity center in Manhattan's Meatpacking District. After a visit with three experts (my kids, ages 13, 9, and 7), I can assert it's definitely a cool, if temporary, addition to the neighborhood, where kids can explore, create, tinker, and play for FREE.

Science- and technology-inspired fun is in high demand, as evidenced by the opening of several new maker spaces last year alone, including Geek Forest and Skill Mill NYC, plus new offerings in science and robotics. Sponsored by the Meatpacking Business Improvement District, ARTech taps into that enthusiasm with programming designed by two established NYC institutions—the New York Hall of Science and the Children's Museum of the Arts—and it definitely deserves its spot on our March GoList.

We've got the scoop on what to expect, when to visit, and how to reserve your spot at ARTech before this pop-up bids adieu at the end of April.

Best NYC Children's Bookstores to Spend an Afternoon In

Only a small number of dedicated children's bookshops exist in NYC—Books of Wonder and Bank Street Bookstore, we're looking at you!—but there are a number of other indie stores with impressive children's book sections. Many of these lit havens host children's activities, including read-alongs but also author events, and writing workshops.

My kids have a particular weakness for books, possibly because it's the one thing I never deny them—as evidenced by the overflowing bookshelves at home. We love exploring new-to-us, local shops and spending lazy afternoons getting lost in the stacks, so we've rounded up some of our favorite bookstores around the city, including two new ones coming soon.

Whether shopping for a birthday gift or looking for a local storytime, the neighborhood independent bookstore is a great bet for NYC families.

Summer Camp Open Houses in Westchester

The nearing of daylight saving time and a few days of blissfully warmer temperatures in our area can only mean one thing—time to pick a summer camp! As part of a mixed blessing, Westchester and the Lower Hudson Valley have so many wonderful summer camps that it can be hard to choose.

One way to start is by attending an open house at a camp, many of which are coming up over the next couple of months. Take a look at the list we've gathered—you just might find your kids' next great summer experience.

We'll continue to update our Summer Camp Guide with up-to-date coverage on a variety of camp offerings, so be sure to check back often. Better yet, sign up for our FREE newsletters to stay up to date on everything Westchester has to offer families and kids.

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