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

Breakfast with the Easter Bunny at These NYC Spring Brunches

Looking to kick off your Easter celebration a little early? Join one of the city's handful of Easter Bunny brunches and get into the spirit with a festive, springtime meal. We've rounded up several special New York City bunny breakfasts—from inexpensive pancake affairs to a lavish spread at a high-end restaurant—where families can enjoy photo-ops with the holiday mascot along with other seasonal activities.

Regardless of which option you choose, bring your camera, and your appetite. Check our Event Calendar for more seasonal and holiday fun.

Both Western and Eastern Christian denominations will celebrate Easter this year on Sunday, April 16. Three of these five brunches take place on the first weekend of April, so grab tickets or make your reservations now.

St. Patrick's Day Events and Free Parades for NYC Kids

If your days of celebrating until you're green around the gills on St. Patrick's Day are a distant memory, don’t worry: There are plenty of kid-friendly ways to mark the holiday in New York City. After all, everyone in the city feels a wee bit Irish around St. Patrick’s Day. Best of all? Most of these festivities are FREE.

This year, St. Patrick's Day—March 17, 2017—is a Friday, but festivities begin with a trio of popular parades stepping off on the first weekend of March. In addition to St. Patrick's Day processions in all five boroughs (Queens and Brooklyn have two each), there are stepdancing performances, Gaelic workshops, and kids flicks. If that's not enough, plan to celebrate as a family at one of NYC's many kid-friendly Irish pubs.

Here are our favorite ways to celebrate Irish culture and St. Patrick’s Day with kids in New York City. Sláinte!

8 Rock Climbing Walls for Kids in New York City

Indoor rock climbing is a great way for kids to get some needed activity in the dead of winter or year-round. Why not let them bounce off someone else’s walls for a change, right? Plus, it takes concentration, discipline, and strength, all qualities we're happy to expose them to.

New York City boasts more than half a dozen indoor boulders, at least one in almost every borough, plus a brand-new outdoor, seasonal spot. The best part? Kids tend to love the activity and it isn't too pricey. Try it out in a drop-in program, or sign up for one of the many after-school classes or break camps offered at the eight rock climbing facilities profiled below.

Find more active fun in our Kids' Sports Centers Guide.

7 NYC Arcades for Kid Video Game Birthday Parties

Arcades are an ideal place to celebrate a kid's birthday. Blinking lights, spinning wheels, ringing bells, and mechanical jingles give arcades a festive atmosphere, and the assortment of amusements offers something for everyone. If you have a rare child who isn't a video-game enthusiast, these gaming parlors usually offer air hockey, skee-ball, and basketball games; some even have laser tag. These kid-pleasing party spots are full service, so hosts only have to provide a cake or cupcakes. Many offer games that award tickets redeemable for prizes to fill a goody bag.

Our list of seven arcades for kid birthday parties features spots in every New York City borough, from Manhattan to Staten Island, plus a mobile arcade that comes to you. Read on for all the details.

Looking for more birthday party ideas? Check out our NYC Party Guide or directory of birthday fun suppliers.

Dine-In NYC Movie Theaters for Family Brunch or a Night Out

After a recent boom in dine-in movie theaters, NYC parents can combine dinner or brunch and a movie in one fell swoop for a perfect family outing, special occasion or treat for a deserving kid, or a much-needed date night. These theaters and screening rooms offer restaurant-style eats, and a fun, new way see movies, no matter what your age, and range from seriously swanky to indie theater cool. 

The dining menus at these theaters, many of which are brand-new in the last year, are packed with easy-to-eat snacks, some even offer sandwiches, salads, and tacos. While none of the theaters here have kids' menus they all serve up things sure to delight little moviegoers. Plus, these theaters have full bars so adults can indulge in a glass of wine, a local beer or a cocktail, which just might be the thing to help parents sit through some of these kid flicks.

Read on to find out what you can expect from your visit. 

A World of Miniatures Will Open in NYC with Gulliver's Gate

UPDATE: We're hosting a Facebook Live scavenger hunt with lots of ticket giveaways and a sneak preview of amazing Gulliver's Gate. Follow the Mommy Poppins Facebook page on Tuesday, 3/7 at 4PM to participate.

One of the biggest things to debut this year in New York City will be quite small. It's Gulliver's Gate. We told you about the miniature world coming to Times Square in our 2017 GoList and now are back with a deeper look into this incredible not-yet-open display.  

Scheduled to open in early April near Times Square, Gulliver's Gate (named with a nod to Jonathan Swift's famous protagonist Lemuel Gulliver) shrinks the globe and even some time periods to Lilliputian proportions, small enough to fit on a football field or, for us city people, one block. 

The immersive display features iconic manmade and natural landmarks from around the globe set in 300 tiny scenes. But it won't be only something to look (er, gape) at. Gulliver's Gate features interactive elements, educational tidbits, and even a chance to have yourself shrunk down and placed in the exhibit. It's a perfect opportunity to show your kids the world without ever leaving NYC.  

Hobby Shops for NYC Kids: Model Trains, Planes, and Robots

Just like authentic New York soda fountains and ma-and-pa stores, old-fashioned hobby shops are seemingly an endangered species in NYC. But they're not dead yet.

Thanks to the popularity of the maker movement, hobby shops are enjoying a resurgence as kids (and grown-ups) look for fun, hands-on projects that range from assembling intricate models to flying remote-control airplanes, building robots, and racing model trains. That last option is one of my 9-year-old's favorite pastimes.

Although you can buy most of these kits online, visiting a brick-and-mortar hobby shop can be an inspiring experience for children who like to tinker, experiment and create. Plus, they get a chance to meet their fellow enthusiasts and learn from the vets. Whether your kids are into planes, trains, or automobiles, here are 10 hobby shops across the five boroughs where families can stock up on all their DIY model-building needs.

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