Yonkers

Nature Trails for Westchester Families: 3 Places to Experience Nature with Kids

Westchester is chock full of beautiful places to enjoy nature--it’s one of the reasons so many families choose to live here. From historic sites like Kykuit and Sunnyside with lush gardens to explore, to huge parks like Rockefeller State Park and Croton Point Park, there's more than enough green space to go around. We previously wrote about great places to go hiking with kids, however some of the most gorgeous spots to commune with nature are not the most commonly known. If you're looking to blaze new trails, here are three great places to start.

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!

Where Aspiring Ice Hockey Stars Can Learn to Play in Westchester

At the 2006 games, 15 year old Valentina Bettarini broke world records by being the youngest Olympic hockey player, male or female, that the sport had ever seen. That means that today's 7 year olds already have a shot at Olympic gold in the 2022 competition. Set them on the right course early with a good ice hockey program.

Earlier this week, we let you know about the many places around Westchester where kids can learn figure skating. If hockey's more your thing, try out one of the beginner, intermediate or advanced ice hockey programs offered by these Westchester ice rinks.

Holiday Shopping: Where to Keep Kids Happy While You Shop in Westchester

Shopping is mandatory during the holiday season, though its probably the part that kids like the least. They would rather be having fun around town, taking in a performance of the Nutcracker or checking out a cool holiday train display. So what to do when shopping duty calls?

There are a few ways to approach holiday shopping with your children in tow. You've got the twin options of bribery and coercion, or the combination of those two into one for maximum effect. Well how about scouting out the shopping centers with play spaces and entertainment to help make the experience more fun? We've rounded up your best bets for getting loads of shopping done in and around Westchester with kids in tow along with tips for keeping them happy while (or after) you shop!

HarvestFest 2013: Join Mommy Poppins for Trick-or-Treating, Arts & Crafts, Great Food, Kids' Rock Band & More at Ridge Hill!

So far this month, we've told you about Halloween events in Historic Hudson Valley, great haunted houses and fun ideas for Halloween crafts. And the month's only halfway done! There's still so much more fun in store this month, we can barely decide what to do next! One event we are particularly excited about is HarvestFest 2013 at Westchester's Ridge Hill. We mentioned this event in our October Go List but with so many fun activities (including a Mommy Poppins booth!), we thought it deserved a dedicated mention here as well.

HarvestFest is an all day event that will be filled with fun seasonal activities, shopping, great food, live music and more. Plus, Mommy Poppins will be on site with the official HarvestFest trick-or-treating bags and an arts and crafts table! You can also enter to win tickets to a show at NYC's New Victory Theater! Read on for everything you need to know about HarvestFest!

Gymnastics Classes for Westchester Kids

Kids love to run, jump, flip and play. Not so great when its your sofa, their bed or each other that they're jumping on. Looking for a class to channel that energy into something more constructive? My father was a gymnast in high school and college and was still tumbling on the lawn or in the park up until my teens, much to the delight of my friends (it never got old for me, either). I didn't follow in my father's gymnast footsteps, however when my kids showed an interest, I jumped on the chance to sign them up for classes. Gymnastics can be a great way for kids to exert some energy, learn how to safely jump, flip and roll, increase confidence and discipline and yes, show off to their friends. There are lots of great options for gymnastics in Westchester, and we've rounded them up for you here. For more gymnastics options, see our post on gymnastics classes in Lower Hudson Valley.

Interactive Exploration at Westchester Nature Centers

We've told you about great places to go hiking with kids and where to find authentic farms in Westchester. Well, if you find yourself looking for even more ways to commune with nature, head to one of the many nature centers located throughout Westchester County. These centers allow children (and adults) to learn about their natural environment, explore undisturbed habitats and encounter wildlife up close, often in a smaller and less zany environment than, say, a big, crowded zoo.

Westchester County offers fantastic nature centers full of exploration opportunities, scenic trails and landscapes, interactive fun and even a playground or two. Learn about honeybees, visit a dragonfly pond, get up close and personal with resident animals, check out historic artifacts and more. Read on for our top picks for nature centers in Westchester.

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