Review: Wild Safari at Six Flags Great Adventure


We went to Great Adventure’s safari a few years ago, when it was a stand-alone entrance or upgrade. Last year they closed it down to redo it, including it in the Great Adventure offerings as an attraction you don’t pay extra for. We heard about the three hour lines (and there’s even mention of that in the park. But we were smart – or so we thought – arriving at the park at opening bell (10:30 a.m.), hitting Kingda Ka first (10 minute wait!) and then the log ride right next to the safari entrance (10 minute wait) – figuring it was still really early and we’d have a relatively short wait.

We were wrong. Continue reading “Review: Wild Safari at Six Flags Great Adventure”

Discount Broadway shows and other Entertainment This Holiday Week…and Going Forward

If you’re looking for kid-friendly Broadway shows to see in the next week, here are some great deals from Goldstar:


Rogers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella – tickets are $59.50-66 for July 2-5 shows.

Spider-man Turn off the Dark – tickets are $79-99 for ongoing shows. Read our Broadway Spiderman review here.


Field Station: Dinosaurs – Commander’s Pass tickets are $24.50-$29 (normally $34-40 – this includes read our review of Field Station: Dinosaurs here.

Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan
Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

The Assembled Parties – okay, not really a family show but if the kids are in camp or you want a date night, see this Tony award winning show for $75 through July 7. It closes later in the month.

Mamma Mia discount tickets are $69-75 for July 2-7 shows. read our Mamma Mia Broadway review here.



Improv for Kids – tickets are free (really!) to $17 depending on the show. Now through August 31.

A Day in Coney Island – Aquarium and Amusement Park Rides

It seems each year we make a summer trek to the New York Aquarium. This year was different. We made the trek a week or so after it reopened from Superstorm Sandy. Though normally open year-round, the Aquarium suffered flooding to its lower levels (and even a few week on the upper levels), power outages and equipment damage, forcing it to shut down for an estimated $65 million in total repairs ($7 million spent so far). It partially reopened  Memorial Day weekend.


The Aquarium fully reopens in 2016, with a new shark building (Ocean Wonders). Read more about the Aquarium damage from Sandy here (NY Daily News) and also here (NYT) Fees will be reduced while the exhibits aren’t fully opened.

What’s open? Continue reading “A Day in Coney Island – Aquarium and Amusement Park Rides”

Cicadas in New Jersey – part 2

The cicadas have reached a threshold. You can now hear their constant hum outside. It sounds like a constant rubbing of one of these frog instruments.


This may give some of you nightmares, but it’s a beautiful movie

The kids were privileged (!) to see two cicadas mating yesterday- at least that’s what I think they were doing – right there in the Bank of America sidewalk in their parking lot. In the 20+ minutes we were in there (exchanging U.S. dollars for Canadian dollars for my trip to Toronto – yay!), they stayed at it, though moving slightly to a different part of the sidewalk.

cicada sex
cicada sex. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

We’re hearing that some areas of NJ – even some areas of our town – still haven’t seen any.  So here are some pictures for those of you who are missing them. Continue reading “Cicadas in New Jersey – part 2”

Brood II Cicadas in New Jersey

You’ve probably heard about the cicadas taking over New Jersey and other parts of the country. It’s part of the 17 year cycle. I read all about their lifecycle on Wikipedia.

Last week we spotted the first few nymphs emerging from the ground. A block away there were reports of massive molting, and a few started appearing on our block. For us, the change was last night/this morning. On the walk to school there was a definite change. You have to look down if you want to avoid stepping on them. They were littering our front walk way. I’ve heard this will get much worse. They aren’t making noise yet and the ground isn’t undulating with the creatures.

The nymph shell.
The empty nymph shell. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Apparently these are called nymph shells. After the bug crawls out of the earth (almost a foot down), they shed their skins and become adults. You can see those skins everywhere, from the ground to the grass, to tree trunks and telephone poles to tires. Continue reading “Brood II Cicadas in New Jersey”

11 Things to do in Lambertville and New Hope with Kids

Lambertville and New Hope are a great place to spend a few days. There’s a lot to do whether you’re going for a romantic weekend away, or bringing the kids. New Hope is a little more kid-friendly because there are more shops (and fewer antique stores). Be aware, though, that some stores do ask that kids NOT come in, and restaurants post signs that say “well-behaved children are welcome.”

1.  Take a ferry ride along the Delaware.

2. Go to the Bucks County Children’s Museum. In New Hope, this museum is intended for kids ages 1-8.

3. Ride the New Hope and Ivyland Train (beware – the website plays music and the off button isn’t obvious. With hourly excursions in Continue reading “11 Things to do in Lambertville and New Hope with Kids”

Review: Sandy Hook with Kids

Sandy Hook is a great place for those who don’t want the boardwalk experience, and want more to do than just sit on the beach. Plus it’s only $15 entrance for a whole carload of people. Parking is free and the money goes to the National Park Service. Sandy Hook is a “barrier spit” that’s 6-7 miles long, a mile wide at some points, and accessed via bridge.

What to do at Sandy Hook:

Ride a Bike: Bring your  own or rent one (there’s a rental place at Beach B – first right after the pay station). Lots of trails – 7 miles of them starting at the park entrance, out to Fort Hancock at the end.

Fishing: fishing is allowed at all beaches without lifeguards on duty.

Continue reading “Review: Sandy Hook with Kids”

Ideas on Care Packages for Overnight Camp

Yesterday I shared some money-saving tips on shopping for summer overnight camp. Today it’s all about the care packages. You know they love getting things in the mail, especially care packages. Here are some ideas of what to send:

Coke or Pepsi? This book series has oodles of questions the kids can ask each other to get to know them better. It’s more for girls than boys

Origami paper and book – this will provide the kids something to do when it’s raining or rest time in the cabin.

Make paper airplanes (or even Star Wars flyers) with this book and paper set

Disposable camera – don’t want to send the digital camera or rely on camp photos for the memories? Send an inexpensive disposable camera.

Fun postage stamps – get them to write you back, by giving them colorful stamps from the post office.

Letters from Camp – you might give them some ideas, but the Letters from Camp book series is hilarious.

Picture frame to autograph – this one is for the memories!

Camp autograph book

Mad Libs – the gift that keeps on giving

Camp Bunk Box of Questions – from Melissa and Doug

Bunco dice game – just because you drink when you play it doesn’t mean your kids have to.


Glow bracelets – great to share with the bunk

Misting fan – stay cool!

Sudoku for kids

BrainQuest – good for kids to play alone or together

What do your kids like getting in the mail at camp? Please post your experiences and suggestions below!