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

See National Parks for Free in 2017 on These Free Entrance Days

A trip to one of our nation's incredible national parks may already be on your family travel to-do list for 2017. Whether it is or not, you may want to check out the just released FREE admission days at some of the country's largest parks. Courtesy of the National Park Service, the 10 FREE days all take place on easy-for-planning weekends, school breaks, and national holidays at select parks.

While many parks have free admission every day of the year, more than 100 of them, including some of the most popular destinations, charge $15 per person or more. Those waiving admission for these 10 holidays include some of those iconic, bucket list spots like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Acadia, Zion, Shenandoah, Glacier National Park, Olympic National Park, Harpers Ferry, Everglades National Park, and the Cape Cod Seashore. The freebies also extend to a few historical sites under the National Park Service's purview, like the New York home of celebrated American president Franklin D. Roosevelt and national historic parks like Morristown National Historic Park, the scene of an American Revolutionary War battle.

Mark your calendars as the first FREE admission day is coming up this month, Monday, January 19, Martin Luther King Day; and now, read on to find out the rest of the FREE days, and get a peek at some of the kid-friendly parks that are waiving admission. 

NYC Winter Fun List: 50 Things to Do Indoors with Kids

Cooped up in a tiny apartment with your kids hanging off the furniture, and you, is no way to spend the winter. We know it can be hard to put on all that winter gear, head out into the cold, and hit up one of the million daily kid events happening in NYC, but we're here to help. 

To inspire you, we've compiled a list of 50 awesome drop-in spots in the five boroughs, where kids can run, jump, bounce, learn, create, and get cultured. Some are even FREE.

Still not willing to open that door? Try one of these indoor craft projects at home as a family to keep those little hands busy, or one of our 40 Indoor Snow Day Boredom Busters.

Of course, you can always find more winter fun ideas in our Indoor Family Fun Guide, or even sign up for a new class.

Basketball Classes and Lessons for NYC Kids

Baseball may be our national pastime, but drop by any of NYC's parks and it seems like basketball is our local favorite.

In New York City, there are many basketball programs that teach kids the basics in friendly, non-competitive environments. They differ from basketball leagues, which assume players are ready for full-on competition. With these intro-to-basketball classes, kids learn the rules and fundamentals, and work up to one-on-one or small-team play.

Here are 16 basketball programs for kids in NYC, along with info on where to find one-off FREE clinics. You can find more posts about kids' sports classes in our Classes Guide and Directory of Class Listings

No-Car Skiing Day Trips: Ski Bus Deals and Packages from NYC

Don’t let the lack of a car keep you from hitting the slopes this winter. Nearly all of the big (and small, for you first-timers) ski resorts nearby offer bus and train package deals from New York City. These packages are convenient, wallet-friendly, and often include discounted lift tickets and equipment rentals.

Even if you own a car, these deals are worth considering: After a hard day on the slopes, it's wonderful to kick back and relax while someone else battles traffic back to NYC. These seven destinations, in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, offer ski packages to get your family to the mountains.

Find more ski and snow sports fun in our Family Ski Guide, covering the tristate area and beyond.

Manhattan's Best Kid Play Spaces and Gyms

Finding a non-membership, drop-in play spot for your toddler or preschooler in your neighborhood is like gold to New York City parents—almost as good as scoring a deal on rent. Because when it gets too cold for the city's many playgrounds, and another playdate at home seems dull (or, let's be honest, stressful), taking your kid to a cool indoor kiddie gym or other play space, where everything seems new to them and someone else will do the cleaning up, is a relief to the whole family.

While outer boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn dominate the indoor play space market, Manhattan has some of the more creative kid spaces. Some of the 11 awesome spots we rounded up allow families to drop in while others ask that you make reservations, but none require any kind of long-term financial commitment. And if you've got a child under the age of 5 to entertain, you might also check out our roundup of a dozen indoor play spaces perfect for the pint-sized set.

Best Snow Tubing Spots Near New York City

When there's no snow to be found in NYC or the city's best sledding hills are worn down to dirt, you still can find perfect hills for snow tubing with the kids just a short drive away.

Sliding down my parents' front lawn is one of my fondest childhood memories, and now our family's winter trek to a nearby snow tubing spot recreates those magical moments. It's a wonderful seasonal activity that unlike skiing requires no skill or gear. Everything you need—a tube, a hill, and snow—is provided by the parks. Just dress warmly and you're good to go.

Here are nine ski resorts in upstate New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania that offer snow tubing. Most are less than a two-hour drive from Midtown Manhattan. They typically open in late December or early January depending on the temperature, so be sure to click through to the listing to read about the day's conditions. You can find more seasonal activities in our Winter Fun Guide or Skiing, Snowboarding, and Snow Sports Guide.

Best Things to Do with NYC Kids: January GoList

Get your calendars ready. Here are the top 12 things to do with kids in New York City this January, three of which are FREE.

While January traditionally is a mellow time—especially when compared with the nonstop action of the holidays—there's no way you can hibernate all month, not with kids around. Luckily, you don't have to. Our January GoList is packed with favorites such as the Three Kings Day Parade in East Harlem, Central Park's Winter Jam sports fest and Beam Center's hands-on Inventgenuity Festival, plus some new, exceptional-sounding shows, concerts and other special experiences for kids.

Find more seasonal fun in our NYC Winter Guide for Families.

New Year's Day 2017 with NYC Kids: Things to Do as a Family

One reason we live in New York City (and pay crazy rents, take packed subways, and research early education options as if we're going for a Ph.D.) is to take advantage of all the cultural experiences it offers year-round. If one of your New Year's resolutions is to do more fun things with your kids, why not kick off 2017 by taking advantage of all the great places open on New Year's Day in this incredible city?

We came up with seven resolutions for families and then found activities to fulfill each one—all at places open on January 1, 2017, in NYC. You can find more seasonal fun, including little kid and big kid ways to celebrate New Year's Eve, in our Holiday Guide. All of us at Mommy Poppins wish you and your families a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.

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