Hudson Valley

The Best Holiday Train Displays In and Around Westchester

Train displays have become as much a part of the holiday season as the Nutcracker and holiday tree lightings. They are so festive and fun, it’s no wonder families look forward to them each year.

The Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden is a sure crowd pleaser for all ages; however, there are other train shows in Westchester and the Hudson Valley, and we’ve rounded up several local options to celebrate locomotion for the holidays. Read on for more info about holiday train shows in and around Westchester. (Looking for a "real" Polar Express? We have details on that too!) 

10 Best Holiday Things To Do with Kids in the Hudson Valley

There are only so many weekends left in December left to celebrate the holiday season, which can put some pressure on parents. Just which family fun is worth the trip and your time? Fret not, for Mommy Poppins has come up with a list of our 10 favorite things to do with kids in the Lower Hudson Valley during the holiday season. 

We’ve already told you our favorite things to do with kids in Westchester during the holidays, and now we’re going to turn our attention to the rest of the area. All of these family-friendly attractions are worth the drive and are a great way to explore the counties around Westchester. Check out our Holiday Guide for more Christmas and Hanukkah fun, or our Event Calendar for the latest doings. Be sure to follow us on Facebook to share what you’ve done!   

All Aboard the Catskill Mountain Railroad Polar Express in Kingston

Family traditions can be the best part of the holidays, and bringing the kids on a “real” Polar Express is one of the more exciting options in our area. These interactive experiences—there are several of them in the tri-state area—let families relive the magic of the story, while holiday photo opportunities abound. 
 
We recently took a trip on the Catskill Mountain Railroad’s Polar Express in Kingston, which featured an amazing crew committed to delivering an unforgettable experience. We have what you need to know about riding this holiday train, including what to expect on your journey. 

Looking for more holiday fun? Sign up for our newsletters and follow us on Facebook

The Best Kid-Friendly Holiday Shows (Other than The Nutcracker!)

The holiday season is fast upon us, and while there are some ways we can self-pace how we savor the season, one recommendation for advance planning is to purchase tickets for holiday performances. Not only do they often sell out in advance, but claiming choice seats can avoid the familiar whines of “I can’t see …”

Fortunately for Westchester residents, there are various holiday productions to choose from in addition to the The Nutcracker performances in our area. We’ve rounded up the best kid-friendly productions—from traditional concerts to new musical theater—to help you ring in the holiday season. Read on and click through for details. Also be sure to visit our Event Calendar, where you’ll find an ever-growing number of other holiday events we’re curating for your family to enjoy! 

Boo at the Zoo & Halloween Fun at Westchester & Hudson Valley Nature Centers

Halloween may technically be one fleeting day at the end of October, but its such a fun time of year, many of us celebrate all month long. And let's face it, we spend so much time and money putting together the perfect costume, stockpiling candy and other treats, and often doing fun crafts, that Halloween really does take more than just a day to celebrate.

We've already mentioned the fun ragamuffin parades coming up as well as Halloween-themed events in Historic Hudson Valley and throughout Westchester. Now we're turning our attention to the many nature centers in Westchester and the rest of the Hudson Valley. Set against beautiful backdrops, these events provide a perfect run-up to the Big Night. Read on for more details about these events, which include both daytime and evening options and range from sweet to (not too) spooky.

Looking for even more Halloween activities? Check out our Halloween Fun Guide and follow us on Facebook

Leaf Peeping: 9 Stunning Places to See Fall Foliage for Westchester Families

Though the timing of the progression from the green trees of summer to the magnificent red and orange hues of autumn changes a bit every year, the magical transformation that takes place during fall foliage season in Westchester is unmistakable. Running along the shores of the Hudson River and set in the foothills of the Hudson Highlands, Westchester’s towns come alive with leaf peepers and fall seekers during the months of September and October.

With so many lovely parks and the some of the best spots for hiking and cycling, Westchester and the Hudson Valley provide countless stunning backdrops to enjoy the autumn leaves and scenery. Not sure where to get the best view? We’ve got that covered. Read on for nine of our favorite fall foliage spots in and around Westchester.

Hudson Valley's Best Halloween Celebrations for Kids

This post is being updated for 2017.

The Hudson Valley is the setting for many a scary Halloween happening—parents be warned! There's traditional fall fun like pumpkin pickingfall festivals, and corn mazes, but the area celebrates Halloween in a big way with attractions for all ages (and all levels of bravery). Even if you don't live in the Hudson Valley, these are totally worth the schlep and blowing the kids' bedtimes—at least once.

While the Great Jack O' Lantern Blaze is perhaps the top Halloween event in the area, there are other cool happenings just next door: the haunted attraction Horseman’s Hollow, a live retelling of Irving's Legend, and the little-kid-friendly Legend Behind the Legend. Head a little further north to Somers to check out the Halloween Train Show at Lasdon Park, and put the Wappingers Falls and Nyack parades on your calendar. 

Our best advice: Start planning now. Nearly all require advance tickets and most sell out. 

Don't forget to sign up for our newsletters to stay updated on all things Halloween-related.

Nature Preschools in and around Westchester

Most preschools incorporate some aspect of nature exploration in its curriculum, but the schools in this list bring it right to the forefront. Hoping to encourage the natural scientists in its students, these schools teach how to be good eco-citizens by learning and caring for our environments. They also encourage plenty of hands-on outdoor fun and different types of STEAM-based activities.
 
Looking for other preschools in our area? Check out the Preschool Directory and our Preschool Guide, both of which are chock full of information. Those in our border towns may also be interested in our list of nature-based preschools in Connecticut.

The Roosevelt Ride: Day Trip Celebrates FDR in Hudson Valley

FDR looms large in many Americans' minds as the man who led the country through the Great Depression and the only president to serve three terms. For New Yorkers, the legacy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the nation's 32nd president, is perhaps even more pervasive.

He was born in Dutchess County's Hyde Park and his family was deeply connected to the Hudson Valley. He served in the New York State Senate and later as the governor of the state before ascending to the White House. Today, the area boasts several historic Roosevelt sites that help introduce visitors to our longest-serving president and First Lady Eleanor, including the FDR Presidential Library and Museum and the Franklin Roosevelt Park. Even a number of NYC sites carry his name. Time for a visit to Roosevelt Island?

A visit to Hyde Park, though, is a unique educational opportunity for children and parents—and don't count out a visit with young children. The shady grounds of the various Roosevelt sites offer plenty of room to romp in the fresh air. How to see it all, you ask? On the Roosevelt Ride, of course! This efficient shuttle takes visitors on a tour of the most important historic Roosevelt sites in and around Hyde Park—for FREE. We've got the scoop on catching the Roosevelt Ride as well as details on sites along the route, all adding up to a car-free, family-friendly day trip that’s heavy on history with a side helping of nature.

Splurge List: Where Westchester Families Can Be VIPs

We spend a lot of time helping you find the most affordable fun in Westchester and the Lower Hudson Valley, but we also know you and your kids deserve a splurge every now and then. If you’re looking to feel like a VIP, check out some of these local family-friendly splurges that are worth the extra price. Big bonus: Many of these high-end excursions are still cheaper than your run-of-the-mill equivalents in the city. 

Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to keep up to date with the latest and greatest children’s activities in our area!

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