"Pink petals passing, scents above so high, painted porcelain perfection, blossoms caress the sky." Wow. Reminds you of... Newark? Hey, stop snickering! Branch Brook Park in Newark, NJ is home to the largest Cherry Blossom Festival on the East Coast and one of the most famous in the country. With events like the Cherry Blossom 10K Race, Cherry Blossom Challenge Bike Race, Family Day and Bloomfest, this is a spring extravaganza that you don't want to miss!
Now that spring is (finally!) in the air, we can't wait to make the most of milder temps and sunshine-filled days. All winter long (as we played with every toy in the house and exhausted every possibility in our arts and crafts bin), we've been dreaming of April, fresh flowers, birds chipping and, more than anything, open space to play and run! Our great state is filled with nature centers that make exploring the outdoors both educational and fun in any season. Usher in spring with these awesome festivals and classes at New Jersey nature centers:
Baby, it’s cold outside! The winter months can be tough, especially when it’s just too frigid to play outdoors. The kiddos are probably going stir-crazy and there are only so many craft projects they can do and movies they can watch. We’re here to help with 20 fabulous activities to keep the family busy all winter long. With everything from story times to music events to fun with animals, kids will have a blast all season long. And go ahead and supplement your idea list with our Indoor Activities: 25 Ways to Spend a Rainy Day in NJ.
All aquariums have tropical fish, penguins and some sort of seal or sea lion, but what they don’t have are the amazing touch tanks offered at the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, New Jersey. Nearly every exhibit has a touchable component (think sharks and jellyfish) plus they have two hippos on exhibit! We checked out the whole aquarium (well, except for swimming with sharks--we're not into that type of thrill-seeking) last month and are certainly glad we did – it is totally worth the trip. You can trust me I have been to every aquarium in the northeast with my 5 year old sea creature–obsessed son!
While we've written plenty of posts about downhill skiing with NYC kids, we've never covered cross-country skiing. Also known as Nordic skiing, cross-country skiing is a great winter sport for families. Children as young as five can ski alone, and parents can tow tots in a sled or carry them in a backpack while on the trails. You can't do that while swooshing down a mountain!
Cross-country skiing is a fun way for active kids to burn off energy in the colder months and spend time outside. While you use most of the same equipment that you'd need for a day on the slopes—skis, boots, bindings, poles, goggles, helmets and warm clothing—cross-country skiing is nowhere near as dangerous or as expensive as downhill skiing. You won't be at risk for slamming into a tree at full speed, and trail passes usually cost about $20 per person.
After a good snowfall in New York City, you can cross-country ski just about anywhere. I've seen people doing it in parks and even right down the middle of Fifth Avenue before the snow plows cleared the street. But if you're looking to go cross-country skiing in a more scenic (and less bumpy) environment, there are tri-state area destinations that offer many miles of well-groomed trails, as well as amenities like warm lodges where you can sit back, relax, sip on hot cocoa and enjoy a family meal.
Unlike traditional ski resorts, most cross-country trails aren't in the business of making their own snow. So you're going to have to wait for the white stuff before you can get out there. Once that happens, here are six spots where families can enjoy cross-country skiing, most less than a two-hour drive from New York City.
There is nothing quite like bundling up the family in winter gear and spending some quality time in the snow. Whether it's the wind rushing past as you speed down a snowy slope or the peaceful crunching of cross-country skiing and snow shoeing, there is some kind of magic in that mixture of fresh cold air and hot chocolate. It can be a weekend getaway to the mountains or an afternoon of throwing ourselves against a nearby hill; skiing, snowboarding, sledding, and pretty much any other winter sport are some of the best re-boots around.
Local mom and “Outdoors with Kids Boston” guidebook author, Kim Foley MacKinnon, shares her best family outing tips and picks with you as part of our guest blog series with the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Kids Outdoors Bostonfree online community.
There are many ways for young speed demons to get a rush outdoors in winter, from racing down mountains on skis to sledding down the highest hills around on snow tubes. But for kids looking for both speed and height, winter coasters and zip lines at several New England resorts offer some fast, chilly thrills. Make sure to call in advance as rides often depend upon weather conditions.
The holidays are upon us. Grocery stores have clearanced out fall goodies to make way for winter holiday treats. Malls are playing Christmas carols and setting up Santa's chair for young visitors. And our Mommy Poppins calendar is no different. This weekend, we notice some holiday events creeping onto our pages with many more to come!
However, there are some non-holiday events to embrace before we are immersed in the season. There are Boy Scout or Girl Scout events to help scouts earn badges. If you are looking for a bargain, check out this weekend's consignment sales. Or, channel your artsy side and make a mosaic cookie plate... just in time to leave cookies for St. Nick on Christmas Eve.
Welcome to Mommy Poppins New Jersey! The free online resource for parents and kids where you’ll get the scoop on what’s fun, unique, outdoorsy, indoorsy, artsy, bouncy, sassy and splashy in the Garden State. Come play with us, won’t you?