October 8, 2013 Butterfly Diary Team

Things to Do With the Family on Your Day Off

Affordable Luxury Mushrooms at a Wales Food Festival

Published on October 8th, 2013 | by Charu Suri

7 Things to Do With the Family on Your Day Off

When the weekend rolls around, it?s cause for minor celebration. This is the time we reserve purely for family: tweets, Intagram, writing deadlines are not permissible excuses (but Instagramming that red velvet pancake is totally within bounds).

Since we live in the Tri-State area, there?s no shortage of activities we can do with baby Erika. The American Museum of Natural History, parks and botanical gardens, mini golf are all fair game as far as family activities go. ?Of late, since Erika has been such a travel bug and is naturally curious (our walks make her hone her rapidly growing vocabulary: Flower! Leaf! Bug! Rose! Tree! are all exclamation points; there?s nothing she doesn?t get excited about).

I know that sometimes, it?s not always easy to think of new places to take the children ? especially when you have a day off yourself and want to spend some time doing something you all want to do. Here are a few suggestions that have worked for us.

Global Food Festivals

Mushrooms at a Wales Food Festival


Wild mushrooms at a Welsh Food Festival

Most of us would love the chance to nosh a fresh, crisp taco and savor a farm-made blueberry pie. For the simple reason that food is universal, and unites us all (including kids), food festivals are an ideal way to spend time with the family.

We?ve taken her to food festivals on Hawai?i, The Big Island, and now want to expand her mind to see how the rest of the world celebrates the art of street food (fine dining? doesn?t have too much meaning for a toddler, or for young kids in general). Give them a mariachi band, streamers, and a sense of festivity and color and they?ll eat up the scene.?Most tourism boards have a section on food festivals, from Jordan, Mexico to Wales (some great ideas are?here?, on the Visit Wales site).

The Zoo

Giraffe at the Bronx Zoo What to do with your family on day off

A baby giraffe at the Bronx Zoo (photo via Flickr)

Zoos are, of late, a slightly controversial topic as there are an increasing number of people who believe that keeping animals captive isn?t necessarily the right thing to do. What people don?t always realize is that zoos are there, for one, to help remind us that we need to keep our animal cousins in mind and also they help to conserve and breed species that might otherwise go extinct. Zoos still play an important role.

If you?re considering a day out, you should definitely be considering going to the zoo, because not only are you supporting all the above mentioned causes, but you?re supporting your kids? education by teaching them about things they didn?t know.


The natural beauty of the world begs to be seen and what better way to see it that at a leisurely pace relying on nothing but your body to carry you. Hiking is a liberating experience if you find the right place, as unlike driving at speed in a car, you?ve got all the time in the world to drink in your surroundings.

Ideally you want to choose somewhere that is suitable for your kids and when you have landed on a location, choose a route that can be taken by the weakest walker in your group. You don?t want to end up carrying tired children along a mountain path.

Botanical Gardens

Kiku Japanese Chrysanthemum Exhibit at the BRonx Botanical Gardens


A chrysanthemum from KIKU, the Japanese floral exhibit at the New York Botanical Gardens

This past weekend, we took the toddler to the New York Botanical Gardens, and it was a huge aha moment for Erika because she?s only seen lawn flowers. The Japanese KIKU exhibit pays homage to the chrysanthemum, and she has begun to understand that flowers can come in so many species.?If hikes are not your thing, the gardens could be.

If you have any good ideas for family days out, ?please drop your suggestions in the comments section below.


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