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Petting Zoos & Farms: 9 Places to Bring Westchester Kids for Animal Fun

Have an animal lover on your hands? Westchester and the Lower Hudson Valley are filled with opportunities to see animals up close and personal—including some places that even let you get hands-on at a petting zoo. Many of the farms also offer kid-friendly activities in addition to the chance to see, touch and feed animals like horses, goats, cows, pigs, chickens, alpacas and more.

Read on for our top picks, and be sure to sign up for our newsletters for more family-friendly autumn activities. Don't forget to follow us on Facebook!

Where to Cut Your Own Christmas Tree in Westchester

Even if Christmas isn’t your holiday, its hard not to smile when the distinctive smell of fresh pine, balsam or fir fills the air this time of year. The smell can only be sweeter when you've picked through live trees to choose the perfect one then, with your family, chopped it down, loaded it on your car and brought it home as a labor of love. The experience offers a chance for family bonding, photo opportunities and surely lots of laughs.

Following is a list of farms in our area where families can choose and cut their own Christmas tree. Not quite sure you're up to the challenge of chopping a tree? Don't worry. Many also offer fresh-cut trees all offer help to make sure your experience runs smoothly. (Not all farms are open every day, so be sure to call ahead.) Most of the farms here begin selling trees the day after Thanksgiving.

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Westchester's Top Haunted Houses and Halloween Events for Kids

Think you can handle the Creepy Morgue at Playland or survive the Haunt at Rocky Ledge? Whether you’re local or a daytripper, Westchester is a hot spot of exciting and fun (and terrifying!) Halloween happenings for children. We've collected some of the best frights, a couple ideas better suited for the younger ghouls, and a few fun parades in the Lower Hudson Valley.  

Keep in mind that the listed age minimums are suggested by the event producers. You know your kid best—what’s no big deal to one grade-schooler could cause nightmares for weeks to another.

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Farm Fun: 11 Hudson Valley Hayrides for Kids in the Fall

It's autumn, and that means time for visits to pumpkin patches and apple orchards, eating doughnuts, drinking apple cider, and going on hayrides. The Lower Hudson Valley is rife with farm fun in the fall, including hayrides—many of which are free or at least included with the admission price.

We've gathered up some of our favorite farms and orchards with hayrides. For more ideas for kid-friendly autumn activities, sign up for our newsletters and follow us on Facebook.

Where to Go Pumpkin Picking in Westchester and the Hudson Valley

Autumn is in full swing and it's a beautiful time of year to be outdoors! We've told you all about the wonderful fall festivals and where to go apple picking. Now we're turning our attention to the great pumpkins.  

We've rounded up our favorite places to go pumpkin picking in the Lower Hudson Valley. Sure, you can buy your pumpkins from the supermarket or your local farmer's market, but if you're looking for a more authentic experience, head to one of these nearby pumpkin patches. (Remember to contact the farms before heading out. Many are family owned and operated, and hours may change with little or no notice.)

Looking for more fall activities? Consult our Fall Fun Guide and follow us on Facebook

The Best Apple Cider Doughnuts in Westchester

Quick survey: What’s your favorite part about fall? If your priority list looks anything like ours, apple cider doughnuts have secured a top spot. Think of them as the reward you earn after long hours of apple picking.

We've gathered up our favorite places, many of which offer them fresh from the fryer so they're still warm when you buy them. Looking for more fall fun? Take a look at our Fall Fun Guide and follow us on Facebook

Westchester Gyms with Childcare: Where Parents Can Exercise While Kids Work Out

Warmer weather is just around the corner and springtime often brings with it resolutions to get active and stay fit--great ideas for the entire family! Along with indoor play spaces and kids-only gyms, Westchester also has several choices for families who want to get all of their exercising done in one fell swoop. While many local gyms have nurseries or playrooms where little kids can hang out while their parents work out, several have gone one step further and created sports and activity programs to keep kids busy while parents pound out miles on the treadmill or try to master those impossible double-unders.

Several fitness centers throughout Westchester offer comprehensive programs for kids that include everything from dance to cheerleading; sports to CPR training. Read on for details on keeping the whole family fit and active.

Indoor Pool Parties for Westchester Families

For those lucky children born between Labor Day and Memorial Day, a summer birthday pool party can often be a foregone conclusion. Kids and water-- what could be better? Fall, winter, and spring children need not despair! Just because summer is over there's no reason to put pool parties behind you. For a small splash of season all year long, consider one of these INDOOR alternatives. Many local fitness centers have for pool party packages that are guaranteed to please. Read on for details on where to throw an indoor pool party no matter the season. 

9 Traditional Summer Day Camps in Northern Westchester

The clocks have officially sprung ahead and the temperatures are slowly on the rise. Spring is in the air (finally!) and for many of us, that means locking down a choice summer camp where our kids can play and learn in a fun, nurturing environment. Last week we told you about traditional day camps in Southern Westchester. Now we're turning our focus to the northern part of the county.

Our round-up of traditional summer camps in Northern Westchester includes nine camps that incorporate all aspects of providing an amazing summer experience with expansive grounds, modern facilities and a wide variety of programming sure to please any camper. Read on for our top picks for fun and educational day camps in Westchester's northern towns and villages.

Also, don't forget to check out our new Westchester Camp Directory, full of information for camps of all kinds in and around Westchester. Plus we continuously update our Summer Camp Guide to keep you up-to-date on the latest camp offerings.

Shopping for Westchester Kids: Locally Owned Children's Clothing Boutiques in Westchester

There's only a few more days until Christmas and the shopping frenzy is in full swing. Nevertheless, shopping just before Christmas doesn't have to be a painful experience. We've filled you in on several fantastic local shops for toys and books, now we're focusing on clothing boutiques in Westchester that truly make shopping a pleasure, even if it is last minute! So, if you find yourself searching for a special gift for a tiny person on your list, consider some of the lovely boutiques we've rounded up. Not only will you discover incredible finds, but you'll be supporting neighborhood businesses. How's that for style?! All of the boutiques below feature children's clothing, though each shop has its own eclectic flavor and style, so you're sure to find something to suit any taste. Read on for more details on seven neighborhood gems to help you find that perfect last minute gift for the holidays and year round.

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