POSTED: THURSDAY, APR 25TH 2013

Summerstage Calendar for 2013

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We are so excited for Summerstage, a free concert and event series that is held in Central Park and throughout NYC. For kids this includes amazing programming like Little Red Riding Hood, a DJ set for Hip Hop Week, Movement for the Urban Village, Shine and The Moonbeams (Caribbean Dance Theater), and much more! For more detailed event information, check out their calendar here.

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Another fun part of the Summerstage experience is the chance to spend the day in Central Park and explore fun attractions like Belvedere Castle, the  Alice in Wonderland monument,  a visit to one of the many playgrounds, or a simple picnic on the Great Lawn.

 

For more Information Follow Summerstage on  Twitter  & like them on Facebook 




POSTED: MONDAY, APR 22ND 2013

Best Places to Learn to Swim in NYC

 

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With the weather getting warmer we are so excited for long weekends on the beach as well as enjoying one of our many city pools. While splashing around in the water is nice, swimming is also an incredible skill for children that can help with them with confidence as well as a fun and challenging workout. With so many classes and offerings in NYC it is easy to discover the right program for your child. Here are just a few of the best places in NYC:

NYC Parks (All 5 Boroughs): The NYC Parks Department offers a variety of FREE swimming programs for all levels and ages. The program is year-round and meets at all five boroughs. For kids they offer saturday classes for toddlers (1½-5) and children (6-17) as well weekday afterschool classes for kids. Since the programs are free there is a lottery to be placed in a class. To register, visit http://www.nycgovparks.org/registration/aquatics to register for the next session (late June).

Camp Olympia (Brooklyn):  Held in John Jay High School in Brooklyn, Camp Olympia is a fun swimming programs that offers a variety of classes for babies, kids and adults. Offered on weekdays and weekends, the sessions take place over 8 weeks that are broken up my age. For babies this includes interactive classes like Water Angels (6-19 months) where they enjoy songs as they get comfortable in the water; Angel Fish (3-5 years old) where kids learn basic swimming skills and water adjustment and Blue Marlin (6-14 years old) where kids will learn the perfect the front crawl technique, rotary breathing and to swim in deep water. Visit: http://campolympiany.com/ to register for the next session.

YMCA (All 5 Boroughs): New York City has an incredible YMCA program where you can discover anything from arts and crafts to educational discussions. The swim program also offers vast options throughout NYC that focus on water safety, water games, personal growth, and stroke development. This includes a fun collection of classes for babies and kids including Perch (18-36 months), Pike (3-5 years old) and Polliwog (6-12 years old). Visit: http://www.ymcanyc.org/association/programs/swim-at-the-y to register.

Asphalt Green (Manhattan): Located on 91st street (with a location in Battery Park opening in June), you will discover tons of interactive swim classes for your kids. For babies they offer the water babies program where they will learn about floating, submersions and freestyle. They also have a preschool program (3-5 years old) where they learn proper freestyle and backstroke technique as well as beginning, intermediate and competitive swimming courses as children get older.

They are also hosting the Big Swim next weekend (April 27th) to support their learn-to-swim program, Waterproofing. Through this event kids ages 6-12 years old will get to meet Olympic swimmers and participate in fun swim games. Visit: http://www.asphaltgreen.org/c-1960-p-Youth-Swim.aspx to register.

Take Me to the Water (Manhattan, New Jersey, Queens and Brooklyn): With over 20 locations, Take Me to the Water is a fun place to learn lessons, host a birthday party, be on a swim team or enjoy water aerobics.  Some of their offerings include Baby and Me, Semi-Private and Private Lessons that all focus on fun, safety, and skills to help your child feel confident in the water.

 

Where did your kids learn to swim?

Looking for more kid-friendly local activities? Download RedRover for free in the App Store or sign up at RedRover.co.

Written by our Brooklyn Community Manager, Serena Norr. Follow her on Twitter at RedRoverBKLYN. Serena lives in Brooklyn with her family and can also be found at Seriously Soupy and at MamaGoesNatural.




POSTED: FRIDAY, APR 19TH 2013

weeSpring: Honest Social Media Platform For Parents, By Parents

Wee Spring

I’ll never forget how awful the experience was to create my first baby registry. Of course I was so excited about having my first baby, but having never really bought a baby product before I was clueless when it came to brands as well as what I actually needed (hello, useless bottle warmer!) I’ve wised up through the years thanks to my fair share of experience with useless and unnecessary products.  As a result of experience my second registry was a whole lot smaller, but this around it was filled with useful items! This was also because I researched reviews online and asked moms in my community about what worked and what didn’t. The notion of research and finding the right answers for what I needed didn’t stop with my registry. A new way that is helping parents bridge the gap information gap in the baby sector is through social media. This incredible platform can connect you with other parents from around the world – all seeking advice, communication and a way to stay connected.

Wee Spring

A new social shopping network called weeSpring is another way new and expecting parents can stay connected to useful information through this detailed resource platform where they can learn all about what baby gear their friends love, regret, have, or want.

How this works is simple – weeSpring uses a Facebook-integrated platform that empowers new parents to share advice with their friends about the baby products they couldn’t live without—and what they wish they’d never bought.

WeeSpring

Through a simple, straightforward rating system, new and expecting parents can compare products within a single category (go, eat, sleep, clean, and play) where you can see at what your friends think of various products that are currently on the market. Parents can then classify the products as love, regret, have or want.   Parents can also browse a trusted friend’s favorites– a feature designed to help parents-to-be who are often overwhelmed by the hundreds of choices they’ll have to make.

For parents, by parents, weeSpring was developed by Jack and Allyson Downey shortly after the birth of their first child. Ally went to Babies R Us where she found herself overwhelmed by the amount of options. When she went home she started emailing her friends where she realized that since so many of her friends already knew what worked and didn’t. She decided to create weeSpring to facilitate that exchange and provide a centralized resource for new and  expecting parents (and a platform for the more experienced parents to share what they’ve learned with their friends).

“We wanted new and expecting parents to have a simple, accessible resource where they can find out what helped their friends survive the early months, and then pass on their own tried-and-true advice,”  Ally Downey stated.

This is going to be huge for parents since the average new family spends more than $3,000 on baby gear, and they register for 75+ products. And this audience is already looking to social media for trusted advice: studies show that new mothers spend twice as much time on Facebook as the general population.

In the ever-expanding baby market, weeSpring has created a streamlined platform where new and expectant parents can collect, organize, and act on this advice – making the process as smooth as possible.

For more information, please visit: http://weespring.com/

weeSpring is also on Twitter and Facebbok

Written by our Brooklyn Community Manager, Serena Norr. Follow her on Twitter at RedRoverBKLYN. Serena lives in Brooklyn with her family and can also be found at Seriously Soupy and at MamaGoesNatural.




POSTED: TUESDAY, APR 16TH 2013

Connecting to Nature in NYC with Local Parks

While we know that NYC is one of the most expensive cities to live in, it can also be one that is offers many FREE  to low cost activities. One of my favorite low cost activities is exploring our local parks where I not only have the chance to connect with other parents and have an instant play-date, but also for the connection with nature where my kids can enjoy vast adventures in Central Park to a the simplicity being pushed on the swings.  From carousel rides to nature walks to catch and release fishing, here are some of our favorites activities to kick-off the weekend.

Red Hook Recreation Center

Free Saturdays at Red Hook Recreation Center
Saturday, April 20, 2013 from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Red Hook Recreation Center in Red Hook Recreation Area
This Saturday you and your family can enjoy a day of fitness activities and fun games like board games, and billiards. This event will also be held on April 27th if you can’t make it this weekend.

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Catch & Release Fishing
Saturday, April 20, 2013 from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Charles A. Dana Discovery Center (in Central Park), Manhattan
Enjoy a gorgeous day at Harlem Meer where you and your kids can learn more about the types of fish that live in these waters. You can also borrow poles for catching and then releasing. Note: Groups with more than 5 people will have to reserve 2 weeks in advance.

Paper Flower Crafts

Family Workshop: Paper Flowers
Saturday, April 20, 2013 from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Morris-Jumel Mansion (in Roger Morris Park), Manhattan
A fun ode to Spring, this event will allow you and your family the chance to get crafty and create colorful flowers from tissue paper. Advanced registration is required for this event by calling 212) 923-8008.

Jamaica Bay Wildlife

Earth Day Beach Cleanup
Saturday, April 20, 2013 from 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center (in Jamaica Bay Park), Queens
Another fun Earth Day event (check out our complete Earth Day events recap here) this one will allow your kids to clean up marine debris and preserve our precious beaches. It is suggested that you dress for weather and to bring work clothes.

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History In Your Hands: Spring Sprouts
Sunday, April 21, 2013 from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Lefferts Historic House (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
It is planting season at the incredible Lefferts Historic House you and your family can enjoy a day of gardening where you “rotate and sift the compost, then spread it in the plots to enrich the soil.” This will also include making a small pot out of newspaper to take home so that you can grow your own plants.

Prospect Park carousel

Ride The Carousel in Prospect Park
Every day from 12:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
The Carousel (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
The beautiful Carousel is a staple in Prospect Park that is the perfect destination before or after a visit to the Prospect Park Zoo or as a visit on its own. Featuring 51 carved animals, the carousel was designed in 1912 and restored in 1990 that kids of all ages will love. There is a fee to ride the carousel, but for $2.00 it is well worth it.

Locate more free and low-cost activities by visiting http://www.nycgovparks.org/

Looking for more kid-friendly local activities? Download RedRover for free in the App Store or sign up at RedRover.co.

Written by our Brooklyn Community Manager, Serena Norr. Follow her on Twitter at RedRoverBKLYN. Serena lives in Brooklyn with her family and can also be found at Seriously Soupy and at MamaGoesNatural.




POSTED: FRIDAY, APR 12TH 2013

Earth Day Events for Kids

Earth Day Events

While we believe that celebrating and taking care of the Earth is a part of an everyday process, Earth Day (April 22nd) is also a great way to introduce children to the educational aspect through a variety of activities that are held throughout the city. Starting this weekend there are a lot of fun Earth Day events focusing on recycling, music, arts and crafts, and educational activities to learn more about the environmental issues and how we can all make changes. Here are a few events that we are excited to check out:

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National Grid Earth Day Celebration at Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College
Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 3pm ($7.00)
Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College (BCBC) commemorates Earth Day with their annual National Grid Earth Day Celebration, which will take place on Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 3pm. This interactive family event will take place on the plaza outside Brooklyn College’s Walt Whitman Theatre immediately following the 2pm presentation of Tales of Anansi, a storytelling concert by the environmental performance group Bash the Trash.

Now in its sixth year, the National Grid Earth Day Celebration is designed to educate families on how they can play a role in caring for the Earth and creating a more sustainable future. Interactive family activities, educational materials, and give-away items will highlight the need for conserving energy, recycling in the home, and having a heightened awareness of the environmental global issues that we face today. For more information, please visit: brooklyncenter.com

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Hip Tot Music Festival
April 14th at 12pm ($12 adults; $10 kids)
Celebrate Earth Day with the popular Brooklyn-based band, Rolie Polie Guacamole who will get kids to ‘rock out’ and celebrate the earth. This will also include a demo from Jete Dance Center, a reading from author Melanie Hope Greenberg, face painting, glitter tattoos, and arts and crafts.

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Family Volunteer Day at East Meadow in Central Park
Saturday, April 20, 2013 from 10:00 am–12:00 pm (FREE)
Celebrate Earth Day with the family as you help make clean-up Central Park.

Earth Day Activities at Grand Central (Vanderbilt Hall)
April 20 – 22, 2013 from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm (FREE)
This fun-filled weekend leading up to Earth Day includes incredible activities that are held right inside Grand Central’s Vanderbilt Hall. This includes live performances, activities, discussions, and educational displays.

Earth Day Activities in Union Square
April 21, 2013 from 11:00 am – 6:00 pm (FREE)
Enjoy some pre-Earth Day celebrations outdoors in Union Square with musical performances, a green runway and exhibition, and exhibits. There will also be displays from local and national organizations so that you can learn more ways on how you can get involved.

What are you doing with your family for Earth Day?

 

Looking for more kid-friendly local activities? Download RedRover for free in the App Store or sign up at RedRover.co.

Written by our Brooklyn Community Manager, Serena Norr. Follow her on Twitter at RedRoverBKLYN. Serena lives in Brooklyn with her family and can also be found at Seriously Soupy and at MamaGoesNatural.




POSTED: MONDAY, APR 8TH 2013

Spring Fun at the American Museum of Natural History

Visits to the American Museum of Natural History are magical. Growing up in Brooklyn I remember the thrill of going their with my mom or exploring with my friends on a class trip. There was always something new to be learned, and even more adventurous sights to see. Now that I am a mom I love sharing this experience with my own daughters who at 5 and 21 months are thrilled at the mention of their favorite dinosaur museum.

Whales at AMNH

During spring break we enjoyed a day the museum to explore the new Whales: Giants of the Deep exhibit, and whatever else we may encounter. We loved exploring this exhibit as we learned the latest research, evolution, diversity and conservation of whales. My five-year-old loved looking at the massive whale bones as well as having the chance to crawl through a replica of the heart of a blue whale. Personally, I loved learning about the role of whales throughout so many cultures where I could see whale skulls, fossils, artifacts, cultural objects and more! On display until next year, this is one exhibit you don’t want to miss.

American Museum of Natural History

Another section that we loved exploring is the Discovery Room. Designed for kids 5-12, this interactive room is filled with activities so kids can learn and explore featuring an “array of artifacts and specimens, puzzles, and scientific challenges.” There are also activities for older visitors on the upper level. My daughter loved this hands-on room where she could dig for dinosaur bones, create her own mask, and discover various animals on a tree.

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We also loved loved exploring the dinosaurs, and what I recently learned is the location of the “greatest fossil collections in the world.” When they get a little older, I really want  to check out the Dino Tour (they offer several tours, learn more here) where they can learn more in-depth about the dinosaurs. Other highlights from our visit included the Hall of North American Mammals and the Butterfly Conservatory with plans to explore even more the next time around.

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With tons of educational programs, The American Musuem of Natural History is your go-to spot for events this spring and summer. Here are some highlights for families:

Island Life (Part of the Milstein Science Series)
Sunday, April 14
The event will include live animals and lots of activities for kids, plus free screenings of a new film by two of our scientists called Reefs Illuminated.

Identification Day
May 11, 2013
Bring your shells, rocks, insects, feathers, bones, and artifacts to the annual Identification Day.

Whales
May 19, 2013
The oceans are home to about 80 species of whales. But what is the plight of these unique creatures? Go inside a 45-foot, life-size replica of a humpback whale; explore hands-on activities; meet scientists, and more, in this family program.

To learn more about the exciting programs at the American Museum of Natural History, please visit: http://www.amnh.org/

Become a fan of the Museum on Facebook: facebook.com/naturalhistory and follow them on Twitter at twitter.com/AMNH

 

Also, you can follow publishers just like the American Museum of Natural History right on your phone. You can discover events right in your neighborhood as well as activities throughout NYC to explore.

Looking for more kid-friendly local activities? Download RedRover for free in the App Store or sign up at RedRover.co.

Written by our Brooklyn Community Manager, Serena Norr. Follow her on Twitter at RedRoverBKLYN. Serena lives in Brooklyn with her family and can also be found at Seriously Soupy and at MamaGoesNatural.

 




POSTED: FRIDAY, APR 5TH 2013

Lolli-Pops at the Little Orchestra Society

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Looking for something fun to do this weekend? In addition to discovering the latest cultural activities, classes and events for your kids on Red Rover, you can also check out the Lolli-Pops at the Little Orchestra Society. Recommended for kids 3-5 years old, the Lolli-Pops series is a fantastic way to get your kids interested and excited about music as well as “listen, learn and laugh out loud.”

 

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This weekend, they are hosting the final performance in the series with ‘The Magical Musical Pencil,’ an interactive show that will have your kids involved as they help the character Peter who wants to write a new book. This will include a fun-filled day with the Lolli-Pop crew (Join Buzz, Toot and David) as they take him on a magical tour to help spark his creativity. The music is by Handel, Brahms, Bizet and others help bring Peter’s story to life.

The Magical Musical Pencil
THE KAYE PLAYHOUSE, HUNTER COLLEGE
SATURDAY, APRIL 6, 2013
AT 10:00AM AND 11:30AM
SUNDAY, APRIL 7, 2013
AT 1:00PM AND 2:30PM
For more information, please visit: http://www.littleorchestra.org/




POSTED: SATURDAY, MAR 30TH 2013

Last-Minute Easter Gift Ideas

With Easter Sunday quickly approaching I still have to get all the chocolates and goodies for my kids’ baskets (not to mention the baskets themselves). Luckily, we live in NYC where procrastinating every now and again is ok thanks to the proliferation of stores and boutiques that are open until the bitter end. Here are some of my favorite boutiques and small stores where I am going to fill up my baskets for my kids:

 

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1. Chocolatey Goodness: For the chocolate we love Jacques Torres for their unique collection of Easter treats including the small Sitting Rabbit and the massive Easter Box filled with a collection of yummy goodies. Dewey’s Candy in Brooklyn is another great option to find a collection of treats that you can mix and match as you create your own personalized basket for your kiddos. For more information, visit:  Jacques Torres and Dewey’s Candy Store. Other great options in NYC include Economy CandyThe Sweet Life and Dylan’s Candy Bar.

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2. Small Gifts to Fill the Basket: We love the selection of hip gifts for babies and toddlers at Piccolini. For an Easter basket, we love their signature Piccolini NYC Hot Dog Pretzel NY Tee and the sweet Angora Bunny. For more information, please visit: Love Piccolini

Bookmark Shoppe

 

3. Books for the Basket: We love passing along books for our kids, and the wide selection of books at the BookMark Shoppe won’t disappoint. For kids, you can shop the classics or discover a tale that just right for the season. For more information, please visit: BookMark Shoppe

4. Keep It Convenient: You can make it even easier by going to your local Duane Reade to find a collection of cards, baskets, bunnies and more. Another idea is to go to Blick (or your local art store) and buy some art supplies for a day of crafting and fun.




POSTED: TUESDAY, MAR 26TH 2013

Why We Love Raising Our Kids in NYC

Raising kids in NYC is not easy. There are a lot of inconveniences – especially in the early days with lugging strollers up and down subways or figuring out grocery shopping without the car – and of course we can’t forget space, which is always an issue! As much as those things can be annoying there are also so many beneficial aspects of living in the cultural mecca of the world with children. Having grown up in Brooklyn (and now raise my own kids here), I feel so lucky that we have incredible museums, beautiful parks, the ability to make friends from around the world, and the opportunity to try food from almost every culture. There really is no place quite like NYC, and here is why we love raising our kids here:

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While NYC is known for its tall building and hustle and bustle lifestyle, it is also home to numerous parks. With two small children we frequently explore our city’s parks for hours on end at the playground; ice skating; fun events like concerts, plays and nature tours; lessons like learning how to row a boat to learning how to ride a bike; sports programs; and visits to the zoo (to name a few). The beauty of this is that most of the events are FREE and kids can run and explore freely surrounded by nature. For more information, please visit The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.

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New York City is home to over 80 museums where you can discover everything from African American History to Modern Art. I love how my children are able to learn from the past, and explore so many different cultures and traditions like exploring art on their own at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, checking out dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum or learning about old NYC at the DiMenna Children’s History Museum at the New York Historical Society. New parents will love the stroller tours at the Guggenheim Museum or spending hours discovering at the MET.

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Kids are always hungry, and NYC does not disappoint when it comes to food. Whether it is a sweet treat at Butterlane Cupcakes or  a savory pretzel from a street vendor. There are resturants featuring food from every culture where kids can explore tasting wontons in Chinatown to restaurants with Japanese, Italian, Mexican, Spanish, and African food (to name a few). NYC is also home to some many unique festivals like the iconic San Gennaro Food Festival, the Hester Street Fair the Vegetarian Food Festival, and even the Kids Food Festival for budding cooks.

 

Kids in NYC have access to everything. I love that one day can be spending time with our community in Brooklyn, and the next we are seeing a show at the Vital Theater. Or how one day my daughter is taking dance lessons at Mark Morris Dance Group and other day we are exploring at the Brooklyn Flea. The days are never boring in NYC, which allows for kids to be constantly learning as they take in the incredible sights, sounds and people that are all around them.

Living in NYC kids also have access to every culture where they go to school with people from cultures all around the world. Growing up in Brooklyn I didn’t realize that was something special, but after traveling a bit I saw how unique it is for kids to be a place with such diversity. NYC is a true melting pot in a place where kids of all colors, shapes and sizes can coexist and learn from one another.

 

Looking for more kid-friendly local activities? Download RedRover for free in the App Store or sign up at RedRover.co.

Written by our Brooklyn Community Manager, Serena Norr. Follow her on Twitter at RedRoverBKLYN. Serena lives in Brooklyn with her family and can also be found at Seriously Soupy and at MamaGoesNatural.




POSTED: FRIDAY, MAR 22ND 2013

Easter and Passover Events in NYC

We are so excited for all of the Easter and Passover events happening in NYC. From an Easter Egg Hunt at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum to crafting at the Jewish Museum, here are a few of our favorites for the weekend.

Easter Eggs

This weekend the Brooklyn Children’s Museum is hosting the ultimate egg hunt with their Eggs-Travaganza Easter Hunt. Held on Sunday, March 24th, this event will fun for kids of all ages where they can hunt for eggs for prizes and treats. Groups will be devised by age and timed as kinds explore for treasures. There will be family crating after the event and this event is included with the prize of admission. When: Sunday, March 24th at 9:30, 10:00, 10:30 or 11:00am. Where: Brooklyn Children’s Museum, 145 Brooklyn Avenue (at St. Marks Avenue), Brooklyn, NY 11213.

The Jewish Community Center has a great event this weekend for children with special needs and their families. This will include a celebration of passover with arts and crafts, music and community that the whole family will love. When: When: Sunday, March 24th at 11:30am. Where: The Jewish Commuity Center, 334 Amsterdam Avenue at 76th street.

Passover Pic

Kids of all ages can get crafty this weekend at the Jewish Museum where they can enjoy a Haggadah art workshop with author Francine Hermelin Levite. This will include using fun materials like fabric, yarn, buttons and more to explore creating and crafting for Passover.  To register, please email familyprograms@thejm.org. When: Sunday, March 24th from 1:00–3:00 pm. Where: The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street, New York, NY 10128.

EGG Hunt

Explore Queens this weekend at the Queens County Farm Museum where kids will enjoy this annual hunt with the Easter bunny. Kids will also be able to take pictures with the Easter Bunny, dance the “Bunny Hop”, play egg toss, roll eggs and visit farm animals or take a hay ride. Admission is $5.00. When: March 30th. Where: Queens County Farm Museum, 73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Floral Park, NY 11004-1129.

Looking for more kid-friendly local activities? Download RedRover for free in the App Store or sign up at RedRover.co.

Written by our Brooklyn Community Manager, Serena Norr. Follow her on Twitter at RedRoverBKLYN. Serena lives in Brooklyn with her family and can also be found at Seriously Soupy and at MamaGoesNatural.