Nov 10

Get Outside! Tip Sheet for Kid-Friendly, Cold Weather Fun

Photo by Tony the Misfit (Flickr Creative Commons)

Even when the weather turns cold and wet, there’s no end to the activities and places you can explore with kids. You can, of course, opt for staying warm and toasty by browsing our growing list of indoor play areas on the Mom Maps iPhone app or on the Kids Play Guide website. (Also be sure to check out our recent post: “Kid-Friendly Fun on Rainy or Cold Days: Our Favorite Places to Get the Wiggles Out“.).

If, however, your family is up for braving the elements, this just might be the time to discover a new place to explore. Our community of mom and dad mappers has made it easy to find kid-friendly places for outdoor fun in your area and on the road. Browse the “Parks” and “Playground” categories on our iPhone App or website, and you’re sure to find a great new family destination.

To add to the fun, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite links and resources for winter and cold weather activities. Now bundle up, get outside and play!

  • From The Grass Stain Guru: Try a fall color walk or check out some other ideas from her Fall Play video
  • Try these winter nature activities for kids on eHow
  • Download this free Winter Activity Guide from Nature Rocks, chock full of games, activities and safety tips.
  • Our friend Erin (@AKontheGo) recently shared this great article from Wild Backpacker on Staying Warm While Backpacking the the Coldest Weather
  • Did you know? Winter can be the best time of year from some outdoor activities, like exploring tidepools. Here’s a good round up of theBest Tidepools for Kids in California from Trekaroo
  • If you find yourself in the San Francisco Bay Area (where Mom Maps/Kids Play Guide is based), ready the rain shield for your stroller and find a great place to a walk on the Stroller Hikes website.
  • We like this list compiled by National Wildlife Foundation/Wildlife Promise on favorite Outdoor Blogs by Parents.
  • Our friends at Fun Orange County Parks have created the first and last resource you need for outdoor fun in Orange County from beaches to parks to playgrounds.
  • For all you Twitter fans, the #PlayOutdoors hashtag is one of our favorites for the best news on outdoor family fun, year round.


Take Our Skinny Scoop Poll: “When the weather turns cold, what activities get you outside with your kids?”

Aug 10

Parents Pick: Shira’s Favorite Manhattan Playgrounds (and Discount on NYC Babysitting Services)

Mom Maps has now mapped more than 2,000 kid-friendly spots in the greater New York City area (and 23,000 across the US, and counting!). Find something new in your neighborhood or feel like a local when you’re just visiting — Find parks, playgrounds, museums, indoor play places and restaurants.

Of course, we couldn’t find all these great places without our wonderful community of Mappers: moms and dads, family travel experts, parent bloggers who love to share their favorite places for family fun. Shira, a NYC mom (and Mom Mapper), shares 3 of her favorite Manhattan playgrounds (find these and more NYC play places on the Mom Maps website .

Bryant Park: “A great park with a large lawn, an awesome carousel ($2 a ride) and a kids reading area (open spring through fall). All at the back of the main New York Public Library.”

Tompkins Square Playground: “A newly renovated playground with swings, sandbox, and everything a kid needs… within a nice large square/park.”

Union Square Playground: “A great large playground in the north side of Union Square. divided to a younger toddlers area with sandbox and swings and a wide space for bigger toddlers/kids. Brand new playground with cool facilities.”

(Photos: Bryant Park by ktylerconk, Tompkins Square by edenpictures, Union Square by timstock_nyc)

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AND… when you’re in need of a sitter in the Big Apple, we recommend Creative Sitters. They focus on weaving creativity through your child’s everyday routine in order for them to have a positive and happier childcare experience. Serving the New York City and Hoboken areas. Mention “Mom Maps” when you book a sitter and you’ll receive a 15% discount on your first sitting.


Jul 10

Guest Post: “Pitstops for Kids” Explores National Parks

Our friend Amy Whitley at Pitstops for Kids has been on whirlwind, multi-state family road trip this summer. Her”Pit Stop A Day” series follows her 22-day “mega” road trip, touring four national parks, six family-friendly resorts, eight states. Luckily for the rest of us, we can go along for the ride (without all the potty stops) and take advantage of her many tips and recommendations when planning more modest itineraries. Visit her site to read the whole series and browse her reviews and recommendations for kid-friendly pitstops across the US.

Zion National Park

A unique hike kids will love: “We hiked the short Riverside Walk (paved and fairly even terrain) to the start of the ‘Narrows’. At this location, the trail simply ends and you continue up the canyon by wading through the river. It’s slow going, but tons of fun. The kids loved this style of ‘hiking’ because they had to pick and choose their own route up the river, and every step was an adventure.”

Glacier National Park

Kid-friendly activities galore at the historic Many Glacier Hotel: “Beautiful views in every direction. Over 700 miles of hiking trails criss-cross Glacier National Park, many of which fan out directly from the hotel. We sampled six miles of them, and saw a moose, rabbits, and bighorn sheep! Boat tours of Swiftcurrent Lake and other surrounding lakes depart regularly from the hotel’s dock. Also on-site is a stable and a kiosk at the dock where you can rent canoes, kayaks, and rowboats. At the front of the hotel is a departure location for the park’s famed Red Bus Tours.

Yellowstone National Park

An easy hike for kids: At Artists’ Paintpots, you’ll find a well-maintained loop trail taking you to steaming and bubbling ’pots’ in the earth, as well as mud-holes that gurgle and spew (my kids’ favorite!). The hike is easy, and you get much closer to these interesting geothermal wonders than you can at nearby Geyser Basin.”


Collaborating with adventurous real-world parents like Amy is the heart and soul of what Mom Maps is all about. We’re proud to offer you the inside scoop on family fun and kids’ activities: what to do, where to eat and what’s cool – all for parents, by parents. Use Mom Maps on the web or download our free iPhone app. Join our great community of Mom Mappers (dads too!) and share some of your favorite kid-friendly places.

Jul 10

Summertime Adventures & Deals: California Water Parks

Now’s the time for some cool summertime fun and splashing for kids big and small. You might just love a day at the water park as much as your kids. Our round-up of California water parks:

Thrills and Splashes at Raging Waters in San Jose

Recently on Father’s Day, I treated myself and two children to an afternoon at the Raging Waters water park in San Jose.  Raging Waters is a large water park located in Lake Cunningham Regional Park.  The park has many rides and amusements, all of which are a great way to cool down during hot summer days. The park has several water slides of varying heights and thrills, as well as a wave pool for older kids and water-based playgrounds and wading pools for younger kids.

My 3-year old daughter’s favorite activities were playing in the little dipper bubble pool and floating down the endless river with me on an inner tube.  My 6-year old son enjoyed Slide Creek Falls and the activity pools.   The park is easy to visit, offering convenient parking, changing rooms and lockers to store your valuables, as well as several on site food and concession stands.

– by Michael Coleman, San Francisco Bay Area dad

Deals from Southern California Water Parks

Wild Rivers, Irvine (8770 Irvine Center Drive, Irvine CA 92618-4200)

Get a discount of $5 dollars on general admission tickets. Click here for a coupon: www.wildriversfun.com/fun2 or enter the promo code: FUN2 when you purchase the ticket online.

Raging Waters, San Dimas (111 Raging Waters Drive, San Dimas CA 91773)

Get a discount of $7 on general admission tickets purchased online purchase, or $5 off a general admission ticket purchase at the park. Click here for a coupon http://myragingwaters.com/rw1067. Enter coupon code 1067 for online purchase.

Top 10 Water Parks in SF Bay Area

* Raging Waters, San Jose

* Aqua Adventure, Fremont

* San Ramon Water Park, San Ramon

* Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area/The Rapids Waterslides at Shadow Cliffs, Pleasanton

* Antioch Water Park, Antioch

Top Water Parks Southern California

* Wild Rivers, Irvine

* Raging Waters, San Dimas

* Knott’s Soak City – 3 locations: Palm Springs, Bueno Park & San Diego

* Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, Valencia

* Splash Canyon, Temecula

Have tips, advice and recommendations? We invite you to share your favorite water parks and summer adventure spots with other parents, by adding a kid spot, review or picture on www.kidsplayguide.com. Download the Free Mom Maps iPhone app and bring 20,000 kid-friendly places and parent reviews with you on the go!

Jun 10

Summer in San Francisco: Family Fun and Discounts

Music Videos, Pirates, They Might Be Giants and more San Francisco Summer Fun for Families!

Zeum: Hands-On, Multimedia, Arts and Technology for Kids

If you haven’t experienced Zeum, July is great time to check it out. The exhibits explore animation, digital arts, special effects, music videos, and workshop activities and are designed to be fun while building media literacy, motor skills, problem solving, and teamwork.During the Month of July, they’re offering MomMaps users 25% off youth admission and $50 off Themed Birthday Parties.

For a preview of what’s in store at Zeum, check out their virtual tour:

Bay Area Discovery Museum: Come Play Until 8 Under the Golden Gate During Summer Sunsets 7/23 & 8/13

Get a $1 off each advance purchase ticket. Use discount code: mommaps

Open late by popular demand! This summer, stop by on select Fridays to enjoy an evening of fun for the whole family. The Museum will reopen from 5 – 8 p.m. for creative play in all of their exhibitions, plus special performers in one of three fun themes. Bring a blanket to picnic on in Festival Plaza while the performers entertain you. Enjoy a themed dinner purchased from our Cafe. Come in costume if you wish. Click here for more event details.

Meet our own Dread Pyrate Gregory and swap tales of the sea on July 23

Meet Dread Pyrate Gregory and Swap Tales of the Sea

Celebrate Space Travel with a Retro Evening of Fun

Members $5; General $8 (Includes Museum admission & performances). Get $1 off each advance ticket when you use the discount code: mommaps. Please note: this evening event requires a separate admission ticket. Same day admission during the regular 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. hours does not include admission to this evening event. Discount code is valid on advance ticket purchases only.


Stern Grove Festival: Free Summer Concerts 6/20 thru 8/22

Summer Sundays at 2pm, Stern Grove is the place to be. Enjoy picnicking and free music in a gorgeous outdoor setting. It’s been a San Francisco tradition since 1938, and it’s the oldest admission-free festival of its kind in America. 2010 season highlights include the San Francisco Symphony, Rickie Lee Jones, Maceo Parker and They might Be Giants. Click here for the full line up.

We recommend getting there early to claim your picnic space. They have bathrooms, wheelchair accessible shuttle service, and plenty of space for running around outside the concert area. More info including parking, and transportation: Stern Grove Festival Guide.

Find More Summer Fun and Deals on PlayPlanit

PlayPlanit was founded in January of 2010 by Laurel Kellam & Allison Howard, two San Francisco career women who found themselves as stay-at-home moms looking for things to do with their newborns. They knew there were tons of businesses out there that had fun events for moms to gather & babies to play — there just wasn’t an easy way to find or remember them. They created Playplanit.com to help parents find local happenings.

PlayPlanit’s initial focus is San Francisco for the five & younger crowd, but they are continuing to build a comprehensive calendar with the goal of serving moms everywhere with kids of every age.

Mar 10

Solving women’s biggest travel complaint: too many options, too little time.

SeeJaneFly SeeJaneFly.com is a team of time-starved moms, travel junkies, twenty-something trendsetters, on-the-go executives, brides-to-be and seasoned solo travelers are devoted to simplifying travel for women everywhere. They have set out to become the hip concierge every Jane always dreamed of, and they gathered a network of travel experts and savvy insiders to help us. Scattered across the country, their team visits every place that appears on the site, tracks down the latest in on-the-go accessories and gadgets, and digs up truly fabulous perks and deals that are way more enticing than your average rental car discount. They then serve up that goldmine of information in a fresh, bite-size, easy-to-access format – giving readers exactly what they need, when they need it.

Some of our favorite kid friendly travel recommendations from See Jane Fly:

San Francisco:

1. Chinatown Kite Shop
2. Paxton Gate Curiosities for kids
3. Kidrobot
4. Angel Island Park
5. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Los Angeles / Santa Monica:

1. Santa Monica Surf School
2. Scribble Press
3. El Matador Beach
4. Douglas Park
5. Venice Canals Walk
5. Santa Monica Puppetry Center

All locations accessible from Mom Maps with detail on www.SeeJaneFly.com.