Farms & U-Pick

13 Places Where LI Kids Can Learn and Have Fun in the Hamptons & North Fork

Few places bring history to life better than the East End. And why should that surprise anyone? Eastern Long Island is, after all, home of the first permanent English settlement in the state. Not to mention two of the nation’s oldest lighthouses, both commissioned by George Washington himself.

And parents eager to indulge their children’s intellectual curiosity will find no shortage of destinations. We’ve rounded up a baker’s dozen of our favorites that can be visited at limited cost and whose insights are bound to inspire your budding historian.

So check these out, and while you’re at it, enjoy our Long Island Classes Guide for more education fun for the kids.

Bird Watching with Long Island Kids

Nature is abound on Long Island and one way to squeeze in some quality family time is to learn which animals share our home. Luckily, various kinds of birds can be found here throughout the year and families can learn more about where the best spots are to watch our feathered friends take flight.

Can't get enough? We've also rounded up places where you can have an Animal Encounter or On the Farm birthday party.

Family-Friendly Vineyards and Wineries in New Jersey

When planning a family day trip, vineyards and wineries may not be the first destinations that come to mind. Believe it or not, New Jersey is home to relaxing and scenic vineyards that are family-friendly, and even pet-friendly! These vineyards offer outdoorsy fun that includes food truck events, music, farm activities, spacious fields, and of course, the Garden State’s homegrown wines. Not all local vineyards and wineries permit children on the premises, but raise your glass to these five that do. And be sure to check the policies on children in the tasting areas.

A Visit to Auerfarm in Bloomfield

Sprawled on 120 acres in Bloomfield, Auerfarm is a pastoral oasis in the Hartford area. From the moment you turn on the dirt road (be sure to drive slowly), you will feel the freedom and peace of farm life. Children will be more than happy to explore for a couple of hours, romping in meadows, spotting dragonflies, and greeting farm animals. 

New Jersey Zoos and Aquariums: Popcorn Park Zoo

From zoos and aquariums to farms and parks with live animals, New Jersey is home to plenty of attractions for animal-loving families. While all of these great destinations are educational, one special zoo in Forked River takes things a step further by teaching visitors about compassion. Popcorn Park Zoo is made up entirely of animals that have been rescued. The zoo was established in 1977 for the sole purpose of providing a refuge for wildlife that were sick, elderly, abandoned, abused or injured, and could no longer survive in their natural habitat. As time went on, the zoo expanded to include domestic and exotic animals. My kids and I recently visited Popcorn Park. From lions, tigers and bears to parakeets, monkeys and peacocks, this little zoo's inhabitants were definitely worth the trip. 

Weekend Fun for CT Kids: Asian Festival, Puppetry, and Dinosaurs August 15-16

While my friends are beginning to pack away the beach gear and shift their focus on back-to-school shopping for the children, I refuse to let the next two weeks of vacation get away without more adventures. Pencils and notebooks can wait because there are too few summer days left for outdoor concerts, building sand castles, or visiting one more museum on our "must see" list.

This weekend, a Smorgasbord of fun and shopping will be had in Fairfield County, where you can also enjoy a Walnut Beach Concert. The family can also get together for Quassy Amusement Park Carload Night, pick something fresh for dinner at the Goshen Farmers Market or enjoy Open Farm Day in New Haven.

Where to Host an Outdoor Party in the Hartford Area

If your child’s birthday falls during the summer months you have hit the jackpot in terms of party options. Let’s face it, keeping 20 little munchkins, or your entire extended family, happy outside is a much more appealing option than in your living room, right? If your own backyard isn’t suitable there are a plethora of choices for hosting an outdoor event such as a birthday party or family reunion in the Hartford area.

11 Spots for Peach Picking Near NYC

Peach picking season is upon us in the Northeast. While apple picking is a beloved fall tradition for New York City families, peach picking at nearby farms is a great summertime experience to squeeze in before kids head back to school.

Starting early to mid-August, depending on the region, peach picking is often a less commercial and more straightforward outing, meaning you're not going to run into hayrides or face painting, but you will get a more authentic farm life experience. We've rounded up 11 peach orchards, all under 2 hours by car from NYC. Several are accessible by mass transit, so you're really out of excuses! 

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