We know Westchester is one of the best places to raise a family, and our Mommy Poppins readers are the ones who help make it that way. We asked you to weigh in on the best enrichment programs, family fun and parenting resources in Westchester and the Lower Hudson Valley for our Bestie Awards. We presented an extremely competitive crop of choices, and the people have spoken!
A special thank you to our Bestie Sponsors, Great Wolf Lodge and Quassy Amusement Park and Water Park.
Without further ado, here is your guide to the best of family-friendly Westchester, the 2017 Westchester Besties!
Best Enrichment Programs Winners | Best Parenting Resources Winners
Best Family Fun
Best Museum for Kids: Westchester Children's Museum
The Westchester Children’s Museum celebrated its first birthday party earlier this year, marking what has been a valuable addition to the museum scene in our area. With Toddler Beach for the little ones and after-school classes for older elementary school kids, the WCM aims to provide an interactive discovery zone for many ages. Even more exhibits are in the works, with funds currently being raised for both water and climbing areas.
Best New Business or Family Spot: Ridge Hill Rockin' Jump
Where do you bring the kids when they’re bouncing off the walls? Somewhere they can do just that! Not only does Rockin’ Jump boast a Challenge Course, Dodgeball Arena and Slam Dunk Zone, but it also lets kids get out some competitive energy with its X-Beam Challenge. A great spot for rainy days, this indoor trampoline park hosts birthday parties and events, and has tot-friendly jump times for the little ones.
Best Place to See a Family Show: Emelin Theatre
Hailed as the oldest continuously operating performing arts theater in Westchester, Emelin Theatre brings both live entertainment to the stage and family-friendly movies to the screen. It also holds summer acting camps for children of all skill levels, and is a wonderful venue for introducing your children to a love of theater.
Best Place to Throw a Party: BounceU Elmsford
BounceU makes birthday parties easy—and fun! Party guests are given access to the giant inflatables BounceU is famous for, and parents can customize a party by choosing a specific theme or selecting services a la carte. Whether you want to add on food, characters, a photographer or even a balloon drop(!), there’s sure to be a party package that meets your birthday child’s needs.
Best Romping Spot: Rye Playland
They just don’t make amusement parks like this one anymore. Playland succeeds in delighting families with its nostalgic fun, and its wide array of games and amusements have made it a longtime favorite for generations of Westchester families. Not only is the park’s Kiddieland a pleaser with the preschool set, but rides like the Sky Flyer and Wipeout keep things thrilling for the kid in all of us.
Favorite Place for Animal Encounters: Greenburgh Nature Center
With a mission that intends to “ignite passion, curiosity and respect for our natural world,” the GNC does just that with its multitude of educational and enriching programs and events, and its two floors of indoor exhibits with live animals. Children as young as 2 are introduced to some of the native animals to our area, supplemented with stories, nature walks and crafts. Greenburgh also holds nature camps during the summer and on school breaks.
Favorite Place for Family Dining: AJ's Burgers
A longtime favorite of Mommy Poppins, AJ’s Burgers serves three meals a day, seven days a week, in a casual environment that’s perfect for bringing the kids. It has all of the hallmarks of a true family-friendly restaurant: great food, quick service, and wallet-friendly prices.