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UPDATED March 2017: Have the most fun this spring with our list of the top 20 things to do for Rockland County families, including annual kid favorites like Easter egg hunting with the Rockland Boulders, a sheep shearing fest at the Bergen County Zoo, and lots of outdoor fun to celebrate the season.
1. Join a good reason to read, indeed!
March 2 is Dr. Seuss’s birthday and National Read Across America Day. Head to your local library or Barnes & Noble store for special story times and more activities that celebrate the joys of reading.
2. See Irish eyes smiling at the St. Patrick's Day parade.
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, Pearl River hosts a super celebration of all things Irish, including the second-largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the state outside New York City. It typically features more than 20 bagpipe bands, at least three high school marching bands, veterans, fire fighters, police officers, and performances by at least six Irish dance schools. Check for details on the parade in early March on our calendar.
3. Check out this family fair.
For more than 15 years, families have flocked to Youthfest at the SUNY Rockland Community College Fieldhouse in Suffern to meet and learn about local businesses, services, and activities for kids and parents. This popular annual March event also features loads of giveaways, activities, and performances throughout the day. It’s sponsored by the Rockland County Youth Bureau, so check online for details.
4. Roast marshmallows on a campfire.
Gather around a Spring Campfire at the Tenafly Nature Center in Tenafly, NJ, in late March to learn how this season affects our local plants and animals. You’ll also listen to stories and roast marshmallows for s’mores. If you plan on making your own campfire at home, see our 10 tips on cooking food over the flames.
5. Hike family-friendly trails.
Beginning in April, parents can bring their babies, toddlers, and young children to the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum in Cornwall for its Nature Strollers program, which opens up the museum’s family-friendly trails to this special group every Monday morning through November.
6. Shop local at the farmers' market.
In early April, the Nyack Farmers’ Market moves from its indoor location in the Nyack Center to the Main Street parking lot in downtown Nyack. Open Thursdays (8am-2pm) through late November, the outdoor market offers local produce, cheese, wine, bakery and specialty items, and more. Get details on live entertainment at the market in our calendar of events.
7. Search for Easter eggs with Boulder Bird.
Near Easter time, kids ages 10 and younger can join Boulder Bird’s Egg Hunt at Provident Bank Park in Pomona, home of the Rockland Boulders. Special prizes are hidden along with the thousands of candy-filled eggs, and kids can take pictures with Boulder Bird and the Bunny throughout the day. Find lots of exciting Easter activities in the Rockland area.
8. Encourage your child's natural sense of play.
In mid-April, the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum in Cornwall opens Grasshopper Grove, a natural play area that encourages tots and preschoolers to climb on fallen trees, dig in the dirt, balance on boulders, and create imaginative worlds using sticks, pinecones, and bark. The grove is open weekends through mid-November.
9. Lend a hand.
In honor of Earth Day, Keep Rockland Beautiful hosts community cleanup events throughout the county to…well, keep Rockland beautiful! Find details on this and other community service activities in our guide to volunteering in your neighborhood.
10. Lace up your sneakers and walk for a good cause.
Join the March of Dimes’ March for Babies in Stony Point or Mahwah, NJ, in late April and support research to understand and prevent health problems in infants. Plus, get moving at other charity walks in the area.
11. Stroll a street fair.
The New City Chamber of Commerce hosts a Street Fair on Main Street in downtown New City. The fair features live music, food and craft vendors, rides, games, a balloon artist, a caricaturist, and more. Check the Chamber for details.
12. Watch the sheep get their annual haircuts.
The popular Sheep Shearing event at Bergen County Zoo in Paramus, NJ, invites visitors to cheer on the zoo’s flock of sheep as they get their annual haircuts in early May. In addition to shearing demos, there are children’s crafts, special story times, wool spinning demonstrations, and more, and you can enjoy visiting the animals and taking a spin on the zoo’s carousel while you’re there. Find more zoos, botanical gardens, and nature centers in the area.
13. Take in some light art.
If your family is fond of the annual Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, they’ll love Lightscapes, an incredible nighttime display of sculpture, light, sound, and special effects created by the Blaze artists and on display in May at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson.
14. Go loco for locomotives on National Train Day.
Celebrate National Train Day in mid-May with a train ride (including one on Thomas the Tank Engine!) or by visiting a nearby train exhibit or museum.
15. Celebrate Mother's Day
Make Mom feel special with a trip to the Bronx for a Mother’s Day Weekend Garden Party at the New York Botanical Garden. Live music, games, hands-on nature activities, picnicking, and the garden’s amazing array of plants and flowers all make this a worthwhile trip into the city.
16. Play at a local theme park.
Rye’s Playland, in nearby Westchester County, opens for the season in mid-May with rides and games for all ages. Browse the full list of area theme parks.
17. Visit a farm to learn where your food comes from.
Cropsey Community Farm in New City hosts open houses and other family events throughout the spring and summer. Visitors to this 12-acre organic, biodynamic community farm—the first of its kind in Rockland County—can typically stroll the fields, meet the farm team, and do a planting activity or even work alongside the team in the fields. Check our calendar for upcoming events.
18. Get up-close and personal with dinosaurs.
Travel back in time—to the Jurassic period, to be exact—at Field Station: Dinosaurs in Leonia, NJ (in nearby Bergen County). This zoo-like adventure park, where the “animals” are actually animatronic dinosaurs, typically opens Memorial Day weekend.
19. Kids can become mini farmhands for a day.
Take a day trip to nearby Putnam County in late May for Little Folk Farm Days at Green Chimneys in Brewster. Kids can ride the ponies, watch live shows, do crafts, and play games at this nonprofit that focuses on animal therapy and nature education.
20. Meet George at Fort Montgomery.
On late spring and summer weekends, the Fort Montgomery State Historic Site in nearby Orange County (690 Route 9W in Fort Montgomery, just north of Bear Mountain) hosts living history demonstrations complete with costumed interpreters and musket and cannon firings (featuring the fort’s pride and joy, a 32-pound cannon named George).
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Kaitlin Ahern has a degree in magazine journalism from Syracuse University. See More.
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