The Lights at Dyker Heights

When it comes to Christmas, one of my favorite parts of celebrating is enjoying the lights around the city. It certainly gets my family in the mood for the holidays. If you are into holiday lights, you will enjoy the multiple masterpieces you will find in Brooklyn. One of the best displays, in my opinion, is in Dyker Heights. There are never ending Christmas light displays with accompanying musical scores throughout the entire neighborhood of Dyker Heights. With all the inflatable fine and familiar friends, everyone who visits New York should visit these light displays at least once. Many people from out of town drive in to enjoy these beautiful Brooklyn homes, with over 100,000 people yearly visiting.

The annual tradition of Christmas lights in Dyker Heights began in 1980. It started as one resident, Lucy Sparta, decided to decorate her house with lights and decor that seemed over the top. Though some neighbors became upset over her efforts, other neighbors began decorating their homes extravagantly as well. That is where the tradition was born. Each year since then, the decorations have become more elaborate. In fact, some homeowners hire professional decorators for their light displays.

The lights in Dyker Heights Are Typically Pit up around Thanksgiving and kept up through New Year’s Eve. Some of the homeowners even keep up the lights through the first week of January.

One of my favorite things to do when visiting Dyker Heights is talking with the homeowners. There are many back stories to the lights each homeowner displays. On one particular home, a new bear is added to the light display each time a new grandchild is added to the family. The best way to find out about the stories is by visiting the homes and speaking with the homeowners that make themselves available.

If you love Christmas lights, you certainly want to check out Dyker Heights. If you prefer, there are guided tours available for you to easily and comfortably tour the neighborhood.

Christmas Preparations in the City

Oh, my goodness, can you believe how close we are to Christmas? No, I am not in close to ready for Christmas in my home. There is so much to be done in preparation, but I regularly remind myself that I need to take a break from the hustle and enjoy some of what our great city has to offer. Besides, my daughter is only small for a short while and I want to have Christmas traditions in our family that she can remember all her life. With that in mind, below are a couple of things we have done in the past that we thoroughly enjoyed as a family. These events are coming up quickly, to make your plans now to enjoy these New York City festivities.

If you are one of the millions of people enjoy the Macy’s Day Parade, I have a wonderful tradition for your family to experience. The American Museum of Natural History hosts the Macy’s Balloon Inflation celebration every year on Thanksgiving eve. It is amazing to watch these balloons in flight and prepare to take flight in one of the most popular parades in the United States. It’s an annual tradition you will not want to skip.

With more than a dozen humongous balloons preparing for the parade this year, you don’t want to miss this amazing event. Best of all, this iconic balloon celebration is free!

One of the best parts of living in New York City at Christmas time is the number of tree lightings within a short distance. One that we enjoy each year is the annual tree lighting celebration in Manhattan South St., Seaport District. This year, they will be kicking off their 36th tree lighting event.

There are so many things to do in New York City to bring in the Christmas holiday. Above are two that will be happening in the next week, so mark your calendars now.

Celebrating Thanksgiving in the City

It is almost Thanksgiving, and lucky for you, there are many festivities around New York City to help you bring in the holiday. Below are some of our favorite Thanksgiving events around the area.

If your family is interested in experience where they can get up close and personal with a living turkey, you should visit Prospect Park zoo. Typically, there are two female turkeys available on site. The resident gobblers’ names are Nary and Sasha. Visiting the zoo allows your children an opportunity to discuss turkeys with zookeepers while learning about these fun farm animals. Last year, our visit was delayed because we were installing sprinklers, but this year, we will be there as soon as possible for this wonderful experience.

If your family is the type who enjoys rides, you should take a visit to the Pier 62 Carousel at Hudson River Park so you can take a ride on their Thanksgiving merry-go-round. The Thanksgiving carousel is the only place a child can take a twirl on a turkey in New York City. In fact, there are many animals represented on the carousel that are native to the Hudson Valley. The variety of 33 animals includes the wild turkey, a fox, a deer, and more. While you are at the park, take advantage of the fall foliage and snap a few colorful pictures.

In my last article, I discussed some of the fun we had at Art Farm in the City in Manhattan. You can extend your fall fun by signing up for a fall themed cooking class where your child can learn cooking basics and end up with an edible masterpiece. During the fall, the menu typically focuses around fall crops such as spaghetti squash and pumpkins. We enjoy making their pumpkin pie because it gets us in the spirit of fall.

As you can see, there are numerous ways to enjoy family fun in the fall in New York City. If you have other ideas of things to do in New York City in November, let us know below in the comments.

Fun in Manhattan

If you have plans to visit the Upper East Side of Manhattan with your family, you should consider taking a trip to Art Farm in the City. It’s an amazing place to visit where your children can learn about nature, animals, foods, and how to better care for our planet. There are many talented instructors who offer classes for children to learn different types of art, how to cook, and more.

When I took my daughter, one of our favorite parts of Art Farm in the City was there spacious, magical petting zoo inside. It’s a wonderful place where children can learn how to care for animals responsibly. The children have the opportunity to help care for the animals with the staff while learning about the mannerisms and habitat of the animals.

Art Farm in the City has a wide variety of animals in the petting zoo. Some of the ones we enjoyed were turtles, snakes, fish, lizards, birds, guinea pigs, rabbits, chinchillas, and more. And the best part is, this real-life petting zoo is located right here in New York City.

If you have a KidPass, you will find many experiences and classes offered by Art Farm in the City available to you. We decided to combine two of the available options offered so we could enjoy an entire afternoon of exploring and learning. We started our adventures with Open Play Time so we can enjoy the animals in the petting zoo located in the basement level.

The petting zoo is located in a beautiful room filled with nature murals. Not only are there animals space, but many small additions to make it even more special, such as rocking horses in cages that allow smaller children a great view of the animals.

Next, we visited the kitchen where the children learn to make pumpkin muffins. It was a very interactive experience for my daughter that ended with a delicious treat.

The next time you are in Manhattan, be sure to take your family to Art Farm in the City. You won’t regret that decision.

Halloween Event Hunting

As noted in my last article, Halloween is my favorite holiday. And this article, I will be discussing some of the fun family Halloween events in and around New York City that my family enjoys. Luckily, most of these festivities are also free or low-cost.

If you enjoy unique crafts and foods, a fun family event to try is the Meatpacking Harvest Festival. There are many things to try it this festival, such as crafts and yoga for kids, designing your own trick-or-treat bags, music, and different kinds of art. Though this event is free, there are some stations that do require a small fee.

While you are in the area, walk across the street from the Meatpacking Harvest Festival to the Haunted Highline. There, you can learn High Line history as you travel back in time. You will find the opportunity for trick-or-treating, live performances, music, dancing, ghosts, face painting, a photo booth, and more. This is a free event, but it is best to RSVP on the event page.

During Halloween weekend, Washington Market Park has their Halloween parade and party. This is the longest running event at the park and is a highlight for our family each year at Halloween. This event begins with a costume party for children leading into the park. Once at the park, there are several events including a bone dig in the sandbox and many other fun activities for children.

If you enjoy Halloween parades, you won’t want to miss the Village Halloween parade. This is a spooky procession each Halloween that travels through Greenwich Village streets with all sorts of ghosts and ghouls. It is mandatory to be in cost to join this parade. The parade is a bit scary, though, so it is not suggested for smaller children.

Hopefully, you now have a great idea of things to do to celebrate Halloween with your family in New York City. There is so much the city has to offer.

Spooky October Fun

With October here, we can finally start talking about my favorite holiday, Halloween! New York City is the best place to enjoy Halloween. There are many neighborhood harvest festivals as well as events that last all month. October is loaded with spooky fun for kids of all ages. We will spend our next two articles discussing ways to celebrate Halloween in New York city.

If you are a family that enjoys Halloween decorations, be sure to visit Chelsea Market Halloween Decorations. This has become a family favorite, even if it isn’t technically an event. All the stops are pulled out for Halloween at Chelsea Market in October. Keep in mind, though, that some of the scenes may be a little too scary for younger children. There are also a few decorations with sensors that may jump out and scare your child. After enjoying the decorations, be sure to go to the basement level to enjoy the pumpkins that have been intricately carved in the grocery store.

Another extended celebration for Halloween is at the Bronx Zoo. They spent 11 days celebrating their Boo at the Zoo event. This event includes wild costume parades, a hay maze, pumpkin carving demos, and more. It is family-friendly without the scares of many Halloween events. As a bonus, there is a beer garden for the adults to enjoy.

If you are looking for a wonderful place to take your young children, you should certainly visit Luna Park. They offer costumes trick-or-treating every weekend in October. There are many activities, including arts and crafts, for everyone to enjoy. The park is transformed beautifully for autumn with pumpkins, cornstalks, hay bales, and flowers. It’s a wonderful place to take your family for a fun autumn day.

With as many things New York City offers for Halloween, you may have to pick and choose from an extensive list. That’s one of the great things about living in the city.

More Fall City Fun

As I stated in my previous article, autumn is my favorite time of the year. With that in mind, you are lucky enough to get another post about autumn in the city. Of course, that means you will get more ideas on what you can do with your family during this wonderful time of year.

One of my favorite parts of living in New York City is the number of beautiful parks we enjoy. Close by, we have the Brooklyn Bridge Park, Prospect Park, and Central Park where we can go and enjoy the sea of fall colors. The New York Botanical Garden is another wonderful place to enjoy the changing colors of the leaves. Now is the time to start planning your Park outings since the colors will be changing within the next few weeks. Typically, in New York City, the leaves will begin to change within the first few weeks of October, with the peak colors close to Halloween.

Another fall favorite event is visiting a corn maze. There are so many wonderful corn mazes close to New York City, and it’s one of the things we do yearly as a family. We seem to get a little faster each year at finding the exit to the corn mazes we visit.

Whether you believe the taste of fall as pumpkin spice or apple cider, a fun trip to take in autumn is to a cider mill. Apple cider is a staple in our home during autumn. It’s fun and educational to be just how apple cider is made. There are many farms close to New York City with their own cider presses for your family to learn how this delicious juice is made.

There are so many options for things to do throughout New York City in autumn. Let us know if you have any favorite activities within the city that your family enjoys in autumn.

Fall Fun in the City

Autumn is officially here! It is my favorite time of the year to explore the city. There are many wonderful fall activities or children that include pumpkin and apple picking to jumping in piles of crunchy leaves. Below are some ideas to get you started on your autumn exploring in New York City.

An activity that the family favorite for us is apple picking at a local farm. There are several farms around New York City with trees that are low enough to the ground so your child pick their own. There is a large variety of apples offered by the different farms as well. With a quick Google search, you can find farms that also offer activities such as bounce houses, corn mazes, pony rides, and more.

Who can enjoy fall without picking the perfect pumpkin? Like many people, we are pumpkin fanatics. My favorite pumpkins to pick are those that are still attached to the vine rather than ones simply rolled out into a field to pick from. Many pumpkin farms will provide you with a wagon to help you carry in your harvest. If you like to challenge yourself, try going to a pumpkin farm that offers a special for as many pumpkins as you can carry. It’s always a blast watching the men folk balancing pumpkins to see you can carry the most.

While we are discussing farms, it’s fun to find one that offers hayrides. A hayride is a great way to experience the views of a farm. It’s also a great experience for city kids to get a taste of farm life. Often, the apple and pumpkin farms we visit will have the option of hayrides as well.

There are many farms offering apple picking, pumpkin picking, and hayrides within a short distance of New York City. If you need suggestions on where to find these activities, contact us and we will send you a list of our favorites.