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16 Things You Didn’t Know about Hurricane Harbor

We went to Hurricane Harbor last year for the first time (our Hurricane Harbor review and primer here). We went back again yesterday and had a great time, noticing and doing different things than we did before. Here are 16 things I bet you didn’t know about Hurricane Harbor.

1. Going on a weekday (especially one when rain is expected and it’s cloudy and in the 70s) makes a HUGE difference in line compared to the weekends. Fortunately it didn’t rain on us and we only got cold once (took a break then went back out) and had a relaxing day without many lines. We waited at most 20 minutes (for the Tornado – video below) and most lines were less than 10 minutes.

2. You will get a lot of exercise.  Continue reading 16 Things You Didn’t Know about Hurricane Harbor

7 Best Movies for Kids this Summer

This post is written and brought to you by Tesco.

The summer holidays are fast approaching and what better way to keep your little ones entertained on a not so sunny day, than one of the many blockbusters hitting theaters and DVD this summer? To give you a helping hand navigating the hundreds of new releases, we rounded up our top seven picks, guaranteed to keep the kids entertained (and maybe give you a laugh as well).

Jurassic World, photo courtesy of daryl_mitchell;Creative Commons license.

Jurassic World, photo courtesy of Daryl Mitchell; Creative Commons license. bit.ly/1Nai8Oc

 

 

Jurassic World (PG-13)

Much like its predecessor, Jurassic World is a state-of-the-art dinosaur theme park. Once visitor numbers start to fall, a hybrid dinosaur, Indominus Rex is introduced to bring the crowds flocking back, with disastrous consequences. As one of the most highly anticipated movies of 2015, Jurassic World can be pre-ordered at retailers like Tesco. Combining brilliant visual effects and a thrilling storyline it will definitely keep even the most boisterous of kids quiet for a few hours.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (PG-13) Continue reading 7 Best Movies for Kids this Summer

Review: Behind the Magic Tour – Disney on Broadway

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll see I’m a big Broadway fan (see our reviews of Broadway shows and our family friendly Broadway show pageBroadway for kids). So I was super psyched at a recent Disney Social Media Moms On the Road conference to get the “Behind the Magic” tour at the New Amsterdam Theater.

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The New Amsterdam Theater is the oldest Broadway theater in NYC. It’s owned by the city of New York, but operated by the Disney Theatrical Productions. Photo by Deborah Abrams Kaplan

This tour is open to the public to those with or without Disney Broadway tickets Continue reading Review: Behind the Magic Tour – Disney on Broadway

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Review: Pokemon Symphonic Evolutions Concert

My son is a huge Pokemon fan and he’s been raving about the music for a long time. I haven’t paid much attention, to be honest. But when I saw an ad for Pokemon Symphonic Evolutions, my curiosity was piqued. It took a bunch of research to figure out what the concert was and how it worked. Basically, it’s a full symphony playing arrangements from the actual Pokemon video games, with large screens showing parts of the game at the same time – it’s timed to the music. You see the evolution of Pokemon games as the concert progresses.

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This is the second international tour they’re doing – the first was a huge success based on what I read online. Continue reading Review: Pokemon Symphonic Evolutions Concert

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Review: Diggerland USA

It’s many kids’ dream to operate that heavy equipment they see at construction site. And why not – the equipment is fun! Diggerland USA opened a year ago, in June 2014 as the country’s first construction theme park. We made the trek last weekend and had an awesome time.

Diggerland has a variety of diggers that kids and adults can operate. This is the big digger.

Diggerland has a variety of diggers that kids and adults can operate. This is the big digger.

Continue reading Review: Diggerland USA

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Get to FAO Schwarz before it closes

The flagship FAO Schwarz store is closing in July, and if you haven’t been to this 5th Avenue location, here are 12 reasons you should go before it’s gone.

1. Get a bear in a bag – the FAO Schwarz bear

The FAO Schwarz bear

The FAO Schwarz bear

2. Get your fortune from the Zohar. Continue reading Get to FAO Schwarz before it closes

Review: Is A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder Appropriate for Kids?

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder won the 2014 Tony award for best musical. So I had super high hopes. Overall I really enjoyed the show. The downside was that I only understood 75% of it, and I wasn’t alone.  My two theater companions also had difficulty understanding either the accents and the lyrics to many of the songs. We did get the gist of it, though.

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The plot

Monty Navarro is mourning the loss of his mother when a stranger tells him that his mother was a D’Ysquith (pronounced dies-quith), a well-known upper class family. If true (it is), that makes him ninth in line to become the earl of Highhurst, with all the money and prestige associated with that. While Monty doesn’t start out to off the other heirs, that’s exactly what happens, and this my friends, adds up to humor in the play. The drama comes from not knowing it he’ll succeed, and also whether he’ll get away with it (early and at the end we see Monty in prison). Continue reading Review: Is A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder Appropriate for Kids?

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Review: Finding Neverland – is Finding Neverland Appropriate for Kids?

I’ll be honest that Finding Neverland on Broadway was initially not a show I wanted to see. Why? It’s about JM Barrie’s journey in writing Peter Pan. And I’m not a fan of Peter Pan. But I wanted to see one of the boys who plays a Davies brother (Alex Dreier) as I’m friends with his parents from our college days. And I went to see Billy Elliot when Alex was cast in the show, but he wasn’t performing that night (the kid actors take turns and you’re never quite sure who will on stage that night). The other reason was that I was doing an annual theater night with my writer friends during a conference. We took a vote as to what show to see, and Finding Neverland was at the top of everyone’s list.

finding neverland log

I’m so glad I went. The 20 or so in our group walked away raving about it. And we were all shocked that Finding Neverland didn’t get a single Tony nomination, because it was fabulous. It did win several audience choice awards from Broadway.com, including favorite new musical, favorite leading actor, favorite onstage pair and favorite new song. Continue reading Review: Finding Neverland – is Finding Neverland Appropriate for Kids?

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Branch Brook Park Cherry Blossoms

We haven’t been to Branch Brook Park since 2011, to see the cherry blossoms. Each year we plan to go and then something gets in the way. We missed the festival (though to be fair, it’s super crowded) but went last weekend – a week after the festival – to catch the just-past peak trees. They were still gorgeous. This park has the largest collection of cherry trees in the country.

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Continue reading Branch Brook Park Cherry Blossoms

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Review: Hand to God – is Hand to God Appropriate for Kids?

Hand to God was one f-ed up bizarre play. Yet it was hilarious. This is not a show for children (please, please don’t bring your kids, not even your teens). In fact, I’d say this is not a show for many adults. It’s truly disturbing, and I say that even though I enjoyed it.

In a nutshell, this is a show about mother and son grieving the loss of their husband and dad, trying to get through the process partly by working on a church hand puppet show (“Christketeers”). While doing so, the teen son’s puppet (or is it the teen?) becomes possessed by the devil (or not). And the mom isn’t doing so well either. And herein lies the tension…and the jokes.

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Jason and Tyrone in Hand to God

 

The cast of five includes Steven Boyer who plays the grieving teen Jason, and his puppet Tyrone. There were no puppeteering gigs listed in Boyer’s bio. You would never know he wasn’t born doing this. Not only do you forget at many points that there’s only one person playing both roles (even though his mouth moves when the puppet talks), that puppet moved/acted so well that when the puppet came off, I fully expected it to get up and start moving and talking some more. Continue reading Review: Hand to God – is Hand to God Appropriate for Kids?