Stephanie Ogozalek

Stephanie Ogozalek

Stephanie Ogozalek's picture

Stephanie was only eight-years-old when she watched Rhoda Morgenstern attempt to toss her hat into the air in the middle of a busy, '70s NYC street. She knew right away that she had to live there. Nearly 40 years later, Stephanie does live here, is married with a son, and can’t imagine residing anywhere else. In addition to being mom and all the “jobs” that come with that title, she is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the magazines Saveur, Chile Pepper and Family Fun, and on Disney’s website Go.com. She makes sure the Mommy Poppins NYC Events Calendar is chock-full of the best the Big Apple has to offer, and shares her family's adventures in her many posts. If you're planning a cool kids' event, let her know at stephanie@mommypoppins.com. You can follow her on Google+.

Latest posts by Stephanie Ogozalek

5 Must-Try Laser Tag and Paintball Arenas for NYC Kids

Are your big kids bored of bowling? Not quite ready for the zip line? Consider laser tag or paintball, both fun party options and action-fueled activities you can find right here in NYC.

For the uninitiated, laser tag is a high-energy game of tag meets hide-and-seek that’s played with infrared laser guns in a darkened arena. Paintball pelts participants with small dye pellets. The object of both games: Get to your opponents before they get to you out by strategically shooting, running, and hiding from cover to cover. Don't worry, the laser guns emit harmless, invisible rays that register a "kill" by lighting up a spot on your adversaries' vests and paintball pellets might sting for a few seconds, but there's no long-lasting effects.

Check out one of these five fast and furious laser tag and paintball spots.

Chelsea with Kids: 50 Fun Things to Do in this NYC Nabe

Chelsea attracts locals and tourists alike with its rows of charming historic townhouses, great restaurants, and top NYC attractions like The High Line

The neighborhood has changed a lot over the past few decades. Back in the '80s, its streets were rundown and desolate, but in the '90s an influx of artists and gay professionals helped kick-start the area's transformation. Today, parents know it as a high-end neighborhood with fantastic amenities. You'll find megastores on the avenues and high-end children's (and pet) boutiques on the side streets; eclectic art galleries; massive athletics complex Chelsea Piers; NYC landmarks like Chelsea Market, and popular indoor and outdoor romping spots like apple seeds, City Treehouse, Chelsea Waterside Park, Seal Park, and more.

Although Chelsea's boundaries are difficult to define, we'll cover the area from 14th to 30th Streets, between Fifth Avenue and the Hudson River. With those boundaries set, here are our top 50 things to do with kids in the neighborhood. Find more Manhattan neighborhoods to explore, or peruse our Visitors Guide for the best of NYC for families.

50+ Ways to Keep NYC Kids Off Screens This Summer

"Brain drain." "Summer slide." No matter what you call it, the phenomenon of students losing months of math and reading skills during the eight-week summer vacation scares parents and teachers alike.  

As we hit mid-summer, we wanted to put together a list of some off our favorite NYC spots, events, and even at-home challenges that get kids to exercise their brains. More importantly, the activity has to be engaging enough to keep them (and us) off our screens!

So get out there to try these more than 50 ideas for enriching exploration and edu-tainment around NYC . You can find even more ideas in our STEAM Guide, and don't forget to peruse our NYC Schools Guide as September (gasp!) approaches.

The Best Boat Rides for Families in NYC

There's something magical about being out on the water in New York City. Whether you are sailing down one of the rivers, taking a FREE kayak out for a spin, or cruising on the ocean looking for whales, it's a lovely and relaxing activity, and a great way to stay cool on a summer day. It's also an opportunity to see the city from a whole new perspective.

Countless operators offer all kinds of boat tours around NYC, and of course, there's now the new citywide ferry service, too! So the question for parents is, which ones are truly family-friendly? After all, once you're on the water you're committed to the ride regardless of tantrums, seasickness, or boredom.

To help you figure out which NYC boat rides will work best for your family, we've broken them down by type (great for tots, wildlife watching, DIY rides, etc.) and highlighted some of our kids' personal favorites. You can find more seasonal activities in our Summer Fun Guide

Best Summer Festivals and Fairs for NYC Families in July

So far this summer, we've posted about FREE outdoor movie screenings, FREE children's concerts, FREE kayaking, and FREE things to do every day with kids in New York City. Now we're rounding up our favorite and (mostly) FREE family festivals and city street fairs going on in this month.

Two of our favorite NYC annual fests take place this month, including the big Bastille Day street fair on the Upper East Side and City of Water Day on Governors Island. If neither of those tickles your fancy, we've rounded up several other options, including Come Out & Play Family Day and Boogie on the Boulevard. Still making your July 4th plans? We've got the details on that holiday, including where to see the fireworks.

So go get your calendar! Here are the best sizzling summer fests for New York City families.

Best Things To Do with NYC Kids: July GoList

Welcome to the first full month of summer! Our monthly GoList of the absolute best things to do with kids throughout July includes some of our favorite FREE annual events—happenings my family and I mark on our calendar every year. Enjoy the always FREE Fourth of July fireworks spectacle and the no-cost boat rides as part of City of Water Day on Governors Island.

There are also some new-this-summer events that we can't wait to check out like Let's Dance, a new interactive exhibit with daily dance lessons at the Children's Museum of Manhattan, and and an Eloise sing-along, kicking off the new exhibit at the New-York Historical Society. Plus, there are some family-friendly culture-musts opening this month: the death-defying moves of Compagnie XY’s Il N’est Pas Encore Minuit aerial show, the fast feet of the double dutch kids at Lincoln Center Out of Doors Family Weekend, and Theatreworks USA's FREE summer musical, Pete the Cat.

Now get your calendars ready! Here are the top 16 things to do with kids in New York City this July—most of which are 100% FREE.

Pick Your Own Blueberries, Raspberries, and More Fruit Near NYC

The strawberry season is short and sweet near NYC. If, like me, you can't squeeze a trip to a strawberry patch into your family's schedule, plan instead an outing for juicy blueberry, blackberry, and raspberry picking when school is out. These berries are usually in season July through the end of August and some farms even have a second crop of raspberries that ripen later in the summer. Then, of course, there will be peach picking come August. So there is plenty of time for your family to get a fruit picking session in.  

Read on for the lowdown on 13 spots in the tristate area, all less than 2 hours from NYC—including one accessible by mass transit—and perfect for a family berry-picking outing, plus our helpful been-there-done-that tips. A word of caution: approximate driving times below do not include traffic. You'll probably run into some, especially on summer weekends near the entrances to popular farms. 

Check out our comprehensive guide to all the nearby pick-your-own farms for everything from peaches to flowers and veggies.

100 Free Things To Do This Summer with Kids in New York City

Summer is the season of FREE in NYC—and here it comes. There's no-cost fun everywhere you turn, from festivals, outdoor movies, and concerts, to kayaking, and fireworks. With the public school break upon us, and the kids are itching to play (and swim), we've rounded up FREE things for families to do every single day of summer vacation. Starting with Thursday, June 29 and running all the way through Wednesday, September 6, 2017, we've compiled the best FREE children's entertainment in NYC all summer!

Of course, this list isn't comprehensive. There are literally hundreds of FREE fun events happening across our city this school break. You can find more cool seasonal activities and destinations in our Summer Fun Guide, including beach day trips, FREE splash pads, and more. Peruse our Events Calendar for more events.

Still searching for a summer camp for a week or two? Check out our NYC summer camp directory and guide.

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