Smithsonian Museum Day Live: FREE Admission to Museums in Westchester and Hudson Valley

If you’ve ever visited Washington, D.C., you’ve probably felt the pang of jealousy that entry to the Smithsonian Institution is free. Who wouldn’t want to see great art and rotating exhibits without opening their wallet? Well, now’s your big chance. Saturday, September 27, marks the 10th annual Museum Day Live! On this day, hundreds of museums nationwide offer free admission to visitors, orchestrated by Smithsonian Magazine. Of course there are many fantastic NYC museums participating in this event but we are happy to report that there are also several museums throughout Westchester and the Hudson Valley that are also partaking--and we've got all the details! Read on to find out which museums are participating, how to get your FREE tickets and other fun perks.  

Remembering 9/11: Things to Do with Westchester Kids on September 11

Every year on September 11th, I think of the 17 children who were in my pre-K class that day, many of whom had parents working in Manhattan just a short train ride away. This year, those former 4 and 5 year olds have the distinction of being the last group of children who are likely to have personal, albeit fuzzy, memories of what happened that day.

Parents, teachers, friends and the media play the primary role in introducing kids to the events of that day in Manhattan, Washington DC and Pennsylvania. Because of Westchester's proximity to New York City, and because so many local families were affected, country residents and visitors have many local options for honoring the day. We've rounded up several ways to commemorate 9/11 with kids, ranging from visiting a local memorial, to volunteering your services, along with recommendations for helping explain the complex events of 9/11. Families interested in traveling into Manhattan on or around September 11th can also take a look at our suggestions for things to do with NYC kids.

Best Karate Classes for Westchester Kids

Karate is one of the most popular extracurricular activities for children of all ages. It is a sport that promotes self discipline, concentration, self control, respect and perseverance. While just about every town in Westchester County has a dojo, a few locally owned and operated establishments have earned reputations as Westchester’s best.

In addition to improving focus and motor skills from tots to teens, karate is also a fun way to introduce ancient customs and practices while instilling life-long lessons in respect, confidence, strength and skill. 

We've rounded up seven outstanding karate centers throughout Westchester County. Who knows--you may even be inspired to be join the fun with family sessions!

Cooking Classes for Kids in Westchester

Cooking is a favorite pastime in our house, so my daughter has been in the kitchen since day the day she came home--first in a sling, then in a bouncy seat and, eventually, on a stepstool at the kitchen counter. I’d like to say she’s willing taste everything she cooks, but she’s willing to at least touch it.

Whether your kids are just getting started on their culinary adventures or ready to step out of the home kitchen and work with the professionals, Mommy Poppins has you covered. Westchester County is chock full of classes for the littlest helpers, seasoned sous chefs and talented teens.

Looking for more fun ideas? Check out our Spring Activity Guide

Best BBQ in Westchester: 6 Barbeque Restaurants for Westchester Families

Barbeque is, in my opinion, one of the best and easiest meal options for kids. It’s messy. It’s eaten with your bare hands. It comes with French fries and mac and cheese and, in many cases, it is soft and saucy and perfect for outdoor gatherings.

We are constantly on the lookout for the best places to eat with kids throughout Westchester. Now, in anticipation of Memorial Day, Mommy Poppins has scouted out six of our favorite BBQ restaurants in the county. Whether you’re eating in, carrying out or looking to avoid leaving your lawn chair, these restaurants have got you covered.

Places to Play in the Rivertowns: Where Kids Can Run, Laugh and Learn

We wrap up our month-long focus on the Rivertowns with a look at the best places to play in the charming cluster of villages along the Hudson River. So far this month, we've highlighted our favorite coffee shops and eateries in the area. Now it's time for some adventures along the Hudson.

The Rivertowns have beautiful libraries (many with play areas), riverside parks, and nature preserves. For kids eager for structured play, there are classes in art, yoga, gymnastics, and more. Kids can even learn a little history while they play on the grounds at the former home of Washington Irving. Read on for our top picks for places to play in the Rivertowns. 

Read Across America: Where to Celebrate Dr. Seuss' Birthday with Westchester Kids

As both a mom and a teacher, I truly believe it is just about impossible to overstate the importance and creativity of Dr. Seuss’ amazing books for children. Every year, in early March, schools, libraries, books stores, families and artists of all stripes come together to celebrate Dr Seuss’ Birthday and the National Education Association’s Read Across America Day. This year Dr. Seuss’ birthday falls on Sunday, March 2, and many venues in Westchester County--including several of our recently featured Rivertowns--will be celebrating in his honor. Fry up a batch of “Green Eggs and Ham” and then head out to one of these Seusstastic celebrations! Some programs require advance registration or have residency restrictions so be sure to check in advance!

Best Family-Friendly Restaurants in the Rivertowns

We continue our month-long coverage of the Rivertowns in Westchester, a collection of quaint villages along the Hudson. For the purposes of our posts, we're including the villages of Hastings-on-Hudson, Dobbs Ferry, Irvington, Tarrytown, Ossining, Croton-on-Hudson and the city of Peekskill. Route 9 runs straight through, making it easy to zip from town to town exploring the parks, playgrounds, and historic sites.

We've already told you about fantastic local coffee shops in the Rivertowns. But if your stomach is really grumbling (and so are your kids'), there are plenty of family-friendly dining options as well. Read on for details on 10 of our favorite places for dining and dessert in the Rivertowns. 

5 Family-Friendly Coffee Houses in the Rivertowns

If you’re anything like me, it often feels as if that there is just too much blood in your caffeine system. This is especially true when I am trying to get from Point A to Point B with a bored, cranky, uncomfortable preschooler howling at me from the confines of her ridiculously plush and ergonomic car seat. Luckily, the stretch of Rivertowns between the Tappan Zee Bridge and the Bear Mountain Bridge are home to a variety of cafés and coffee houses that provide more than just a quick pick-me-up. These spots are particularly kid-friendly (one even welcomes pets!) and offer delicious and divinely caffeinated beverages (or decaf, if that's your thing).

So if you need to recharge while you're out and about around town, check out one of our favorite kid-friendly coffee shops and cafés from Tarrytown to Peekskill.

7 Great Hikes with Kids in Westchester and Hudson Valley

Are the kids getting restless? Do you need some outdoor activity that will get them away from the TV, expending energy and enjoying the great outdoors? Have you thought about taking a hike? Not a hike away from the kids...a hike with the kids! Westchester County offers great trails that will get you out there together, enjoying nature and taking in the sights and sounds.

The Westchester County Parks system has an amazing array of hiking opportunities and trails with gorgeous views that are easy enough for tikes to keeps up while still offering plenty of fun for older kids. Hiking is a great activity that can be enjoyed in all kinds of weather. So fill your water bottle, lace up the hiking shoes and head out to the trails. Read more to find some easy hikes along lakes, fields and waterfalls and enjoy some great hiking with your family.


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