Review: Medieval Times with Kids

If you’ve been to the Renaissance Faire, you’ll love Medieval Times. I thought it was going to be a little bit hokey, but we had so much fun. My son can’t wait to go back.

Waiting to meet the king at Medieval Times. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

What is Medieval Times?
Medieval Times is a dinner show with tournament. It’s not just jousting, though there is jousting. It’s a show with horses, a falcon and a princess too. It takes place in a castle. Continue reading “Review: Medieval Times with Kids”

Touring the Manischewitz Factory – Part 1

If you grew up in the New Jersey area, you may have taken an Manischewitz factory tour through religious school, in Jersey City. That factory closed, and the new global headquarters and manufacturing plant is now in Newark. It opened in the fall 2016, and you can book group tours there. I love factory tours, and even more so when it’s the actual factory, and not a fake one (I’m talking to you, Hershey’s).

The Manischewitz lobby has memorabilia and oversized posters of their labels. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

In this tour, you walk through a lot of the 186,000 square feet of the factory. What you’ll see being produced depends on the day, as they make more than 400 products. Continue reading “Touring the Manischewitz Factory – Part 1”

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.


Continue reading “Branch Brook Park Cherry Blossoms”

Liberty Science Center’s New Infinity Climber, Rubik’s Cube and Guitar Exhibit

While I did a more comprehensive review of taking the kids to the Liberty Science Center for a previous post,  I was there recently and wanted to fill you in on some of the changes and new exhibits. The most exciting is the new Infinity Climber, which finished installation a few weeks ago. This “multi-story play space” is suspended 35 feet above the ground. It has 64 petal platforms (they look like lily pads), to climb on, taking you higher and lower. It’s surrounded by a net, which is stiff enough to keep you in, but not so stiff that it hurts.

a infinity climber

The Infinity Climber is the world’s first suspended climbing space of its kind, and can fit 50 adults and children in there at one time. You have to be 42 inches or higher to go in. It’s great for groups to go in together.  Continue reading “Liberty Science Center’s New Infinity Climber, Rubik’s Cube and Guitar Exhibit”

The Great Falls in Paterson

Have you been to the Great Falls in Paterson? If not, it’s worth going. We took a trip over there this summer and it was gorgeous!

Paterson Falls

This place has a lot of history, going back to Alexander Hamilton’s time, when he envisioned Paterson as the country’s first planned industrial city. He wanted to use hydropower from the Passaic River’s Great Falls. Hamilton and the Society for Establishing Useful Manufacturers (a real mouthful), started this in Paterson in 1792. Since then, Paterson’s industry became known for fabrics (silk spinning, cotton, textile machinery, jute, weaving, dyeing, etc.). When I posted a picture of the Falls on my personal Facebook page some time back, one of my friends said her first job was working in textiles in Paterson, and she’s not even old! You can read more of the history of the Great Falls here. Continue reading “The Great Falls in Paterson”

Review: Pole Position Raceway Birthday Party

We won a Jersey City Pole Position birthday party at a silent auction (we were the high bidder!), and told our son that was his party the next year. It was the best birthday party ever. Fortunately only one of the kids had gone before, so it was a new experience for almost everyone.

Overview of the Pole Position Raceway in Jersey City. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan
Overview of the Pole Position Raceway in Jersey City. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

The carts are electric. While the room is loud, it’s apparently quieter than if they use gas (and it smells better too).

They have party rooms overlooking the raceway on two sides of the building at Pole Position Raceway. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan
They have party rooms overlooking the raceway on two sides of the building at Pole Position Raceway. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Unfortunately we arrived late to our own party. Continue reading “Review: Pole Position Raceway Birthday Party”

Review: Sleepover at the Liberty Science Center

There’s nothing like being at a Liberty Science Center Camp-In with 900 Cub Scouts and (some of) their parents.

One of the advantages to a museum sleepover is a behind the scenes look. You won’t get that here, but what you do get is presumably a smaller crowd than you’d get on a weekend. Of course if you’re there with almost 900 Cub Scouts, you’ll find that they all want to do the same things: race cars.

Even if you don’t want to read about the sleep-over portion – this post has a regular review in it too – keep reading.

The LSC does have a number of evening programs like you’d find during normal open hours – and like open hours, you can go to the programs or explore the museum on your own. While we were there, they offered two live science presentations (one on electricity and one on the four states of matter), and two lab programs (one on infections, and one on the Hudson Home lab).

The museum is too huge to tell all, so I’ll just pinpoint some of the highlights. You can’t see the whole museum in one trip.

Liberty Science Center lobby
Liberty Science Center lobby with collapsible sphere.  Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Continue reading “Review: Sleepover at the Liberty Science Center”

Review: Mountain Creek Tubing

As I posted earlier this week, we went ziplining at Mountain Creek Resort in Vernon, New Jersey. As part of the package, we also went tubing at Mountain Creek. Last time we went tubing was probably 3 years ago, so we were quite excited to go.

Mountain Creek apparently has the largest tubing space in the United States, if all 30 lanes are open. They weren’t all open when we were there (I think I counted 15 open, but don’t hold me to that).

One of the tubing hills at Mountain Creek resort in NJ. It's empty because all the tubers go down at the same time, and they haven't shoved off yet. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan
One of the tubing hills at Mountain Creek resort in NJ. It’s empty because all the tubers go down at the same time, and they haven’t shoved off yet. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

You book a 2 hour window for tubing. Reservations are highly recommended because apparently they sell out. But if you make a reservation and show up late, you still only get your reserved 2 hours. Just so you know.

Unfortunately we missed tubing with Juicy Joe and Teresa Guidice and family, who were there about a week before us. Bummer! I would have LOVED that photo op. Continue reading “Review: Mountain Creek Tubing”

Review: Mountain Creek Ziplining

When I told my husband we were going ziplining, he said “In WINTER? Don’t they offer it in summer?” I started having second thoughts, thinking about the cold wind in our faces and the waiting time in the snow. But it was a little late to cancel. At the worst, I figured we’d have something to laugh about in our holiday letter -how stupid were we to zipline in the winter?


Turns out we had nothing to worry about. The skies were blue, and even with temperatures in the 30s, it could not have been a nicer (winter) day to be “flying.”

We arrived at the Zoom Zipline office at Mountain Creek’s Cobblestone Village (across the street from the Red Tail Lodge) at our starting time. Inside they had waivers to sign and the harnesses and helmets laid out. They helped us put them on and adjust them, going over a few rules.

ziplining harness and helmet? check. copyright deborah abrams kaplan

 We headed over the pedestrian bridge to the right of the Cab Ride (the lift at the lodge base). The first zip line was a practice one, low to the ground and only 200 feet long. We learned about the correct flying position (seated in our harness, legs straight out, hands wherever you want them) and the landing position (knees pulled in to the chest, hands on the bar above) and we all had a turn. There were 13 of us, so it took awhile.


The intro zipline - 200 feet long. copyright deborah abrams kaplan
The intro zipline – 200 feet long. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Continue reading “Review: Mountain Creek Ziplining”