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 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 You can follow her on Google+.

Latest posts by Stephanie Ogozalek

Best Snow Tubing Spots Near New York City

When there's no snow to be found in NYC, or your neighborhood sledding hills are worn down to dirt, you still can find perfect slopes 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 winter sports in our Skiing, Snowboarding, and Snow Sports Guide.

25 Free Things for Kids to Do in NYC on Winter Holiday Break

Students all over NYC either are officially on holiday break or just days from gleeful abandon until the new year. Time off from school means more time to entertain your brood.

While we recently offered a number of fun NYC options for your family to enjoy during break, we've rounded up even more great ideas. Our list of 25 FREE things to do with the kids during winter break offers ways to enjoy the school vacation without denting your budget. 

Need more local NYC inspiration? Check out our day trip guide, best indoor entertainment spots for rainy or chilly days, the Mommy Poppins kid-friendly restaurant guide, or explore a new neighborhood.

As always our daily Event Calendar is loaded with even more family activities happening all over the five boroughs.

8 Indoor Water Parks Perfect for a Warm Getaway Near NYC

Indoor water parks offer summertime-style family thrills year-round and many are just a car ride away from the New York City metro area.

With winter's icy chill upon us, many families start looking for ways to escape the city for a warmer locale. Jet-setting to a tropical island might seem ideal, but if you're looking to stay a little closer to home, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Hudson Valley indoor water parks and resorts are a closer option for beating the winter blues.

We've found eight warm and wet indoor resorts perfect for kids and families that are less than two-and-a-half hours from Midtown Manhattan, along with a couple of bonus suggestions for further-flung options. Most indoor parks keep temperatures around a hot and humid 85 degrees year-round, creating a perfect beach day in any season! So leave the sunscreen at home, dust off that bathing suit, and hit the water.

Check out our NYC Weekend Trips Guide for more destination inspiration.

Best Hot Chocolate Spots Around Manhattan

A cup of molten chocolaty goodness is one of the best ways to thaw out and warm up—in fact, it's one of the best things about winter and the holiday season.

We took on the heinous job of running around Manhattan taste-testing hot chocolate (don't say we've never done anything for you) and narrowed it down to nearly two dozen of our favorites. These spots are definitely worth the brief trip out into the cold, so read on for our recommendations for cafes and restaurants that have turned drinking hot cocoa into an experience not to be missed.

By the way, we've also rounded up our favorite Brooklyn hot cocoa cafes and those in Queens. Find more great eats in our NYC Restaurant Guide for Families.

14 Things to Do and See at Rockefeller Center Besides the Tree

Rockefeller Center is undoubtedly the most crowded place in New York City during the holidays. Everyone, whether they live in town or are just visiting, goes to see "The Tree." But then what?

There is actually quite a bit for families to do besides gazing at the twinkling evergreen and battling tourists in this 22-acre complex. Rockefeller Center is a great holiday destination with plenty of shopping, eating, and culture for kids of all ages. Squeeze it in as part of a holiday windows walk; check it out while you wait for the Rockettes to start kicking; or grab a bite after your show—we've got great suggestions for no-reservation, family-friendly restaurants nearby.

Read on for 14 fun things to do at Rockefeller Center this winter.

Free and Cheap Kids' Ski Programs in the Northeast This Winter

Let's face facts: No matter how exhilarating skiing and snowboarding are, they are also among the most expensive activities in which a family can participate—especially if your kids take a single run and spend the rest of the day sipping cocoa.

Thankfully, many nearby state ski associations offer free or mostly free lift tickets to grade-schoolers, even if you're not a resident of that state. Of course, there are hurdles to clear to get those benefits—kids need to be the appropriate age, apply online and, in some cases, be accompanied by a paying adult. There are also "processing fees" attached to several, but it breaks down to a very discounted ticket if you use it more than once. But for avid skiers and riders, or those who merely want to try out the sports, these programs can save you plenty of cash when skiing with the kids.

Read on for more information on how to ski for free in New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. (Note: Connecticut has a residents-only program for free ski passes for kids at Mohawk Mountain.)

Check our Ski and Snow Sports Guide for more fun on local hills and mountains.

The Most Spectacular Holiday Light Displays in NYC

Every year it seems holiday light installations in New York City get more elaborate, making a visit to the top displays a must-do seasonal activity. These days there are even tour buses that will take you to some of the neighborhoods decked out for the season.

We've rounded up some of the best holiday displays in NYC. Some of these attractions are in the more far-flung stretches of the city such as Pelham Gardens in the Bronx, Dyker Heights in Brooklyn and Jamaica Estates in Queens, and one spot on Staten Island. All are definitely worth the trip. We can vouch for it!

So start your own holiday tradition this year by checking out these spectacular sights when dusk hits. Find more seasonal fun, including more holiday lights, such as Midtown's holiday store windows, in our NYC Holiday Fun Guide.

21 NYC Holiday Activities Every Kid Should Try Once

From train shows to Santa brunches, New York City serves up so many festive offerings there's no way one family can see and do it all in a single holiday season. Our holiday bucket list grows every year. In fact, we found 12 must-do events this year already, and nine, picture-perfect holiday-themed day trips.

But there are a few holiday activities that are extra special, extra big, and extra over the top that can only be found in NYC, and that every kid ought to experience at least once a childhood. These include ice skating under the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and walking the illuminated streets of Dyker Heights in Brooklyn.

Whether you call NYC home or you're in for a holiday visit, our list of 21 once-in-a-lifetime experiences for families represents the quintessential NYC holiday. The best part? More than half are FREE.