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

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 NYC.

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.

Chinese Lunar New Year Parades and Celebrations in NYC

Lunar New Year is one of our favorite winter celebrations in New York City, and we're particularly excited for 2017's family activities.

Often referred to as Chinese New Year, although many Asian nations celebrate it, the holiday takes place Saturday, January 28, 2017, and ushers in the Year of the Rooster. Mark this cultural holiday with a family-friendly celebration. We've got the scoop on the best Lunar New Year parades, family dance parties, museum events, crafts, and more for NYC kids.

Commemorating Lunar New Year is a great way to learn about Asian culture and enjoy the food. We just profiled nearly a dozen NYC eateries where you can enjoy Lunar New Year banquets, snacks, or desserts. With celebrations and parades in almost every borough, it's also an opportunity to get out and explore a new-to-you neighborhood such as Manhattan's ChinatownFlushing in Queens, Sunset Park in Brooklyn, or Midtown Manhattan's Koreatown.

Winter Gardens: Get Out of the Cold at NYC's Indoor Plazas

If you feel like you've already exhausted your favorite NYC museum or indoor play space, why not try a nearby public atrium or garden? New York City is full of semi-secret indoor public spaces, as well as not-so-secret gardens perfect for staving off cabin fever this winter with an antsy child.

Bonus: The atriums are FREE to wander into and many offer seating, snacks, Wi-Fi, and art. The gardens are so steamy you'll feel as if you booked a tropical getaway. This is why we love New York, right?

DIY Chocolate: NYC Spots Where Kids Can Make Their Own Candy

Hitting one of NYC's cornucopia of candy shops is nice, but being able to make your own treats is seriously sweet. A do-it-yourself chocolate workshop is a creative hands-on way to satisfy your kid's sweet tooth.

I enjoy sharing culinary experiences with my 10-year-old son, but since he's a bit picky, it can be hard to talk him into cooking or going on a food crawl. However, when sweets are involved that gets his attention, and I suspect your kids' too?

Check out these five NYC spots below where making chocolate is always on the menu.

15 Popular Preschool Summer Camps in NYC

Finding a cool and enriching summer camp that's right for your kid always takes a bit of work. Finding one that's a good fit for your first-time, preschool-age camper can be downright nerve-racking. You want their initial camp experience to be fun, safe, and memorable, but not over-stimulating or overwhelming. With so many high-quality camps for NYC preschoolers, it's hard to figure out which one to choose.

That's why we turned to the experts: our friends at the American Camp Association of New York and New Jersey. They've selected 15 awesome New York City programs that offer preschoolers a well-rounded summer experience filled with games, arts, sports, socializing, and plenty of outdoor time. Best of all, many of these camps grow with your child taking kids in elementary school and beyond.

Keep in mind, every camp has its own philosophy and program so check out the website, call the director and, if possible, attend an open house to get all the information you need. Want more help? The ACA of NY and NJ also offers FREE camp consultations with its experts. Plus our Summer Camp Guide Directory allows you to search for camps by location, age range, and focus.

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

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