The New Jersey State Fair – with Kids

It seems like there are two state fairs in New Jersey. There’s the State Fair at the Meadowlands, and the New Jersey State Fair Sussex County Farm & Horse Show. The latter is August 6-15, 2010. It has the stuff you might expect from a state fair, like a demolition derby, home arts, baking competitions, artistry using a chain-saw and wood, animal shows, lots of 4-H activities, lawnmower racing, a farm tractor pull, taxidermy, model trains, robotics, cyclocross bike racing, quilts and more. Oddly, there’s nothing on the website about rides and games.
We went to the  State Fair at the Meadowlands. It’s open until July 5, 2010. It has rides, entertainment and games. We did a daytime excursion, as part of a company summer event. It was so hot we spent a fortune on drinks. This was our first State Fair in New Jersey, and to be honest – it was really small! I’ve been to county fairs that were much bigger. And I really missed the 4-H kids and their animals, the hobbyists and the vendors inside their own building, hawking all kinds of dishwares and housewares. Apparently, though, it’s the largest fair in the New Jersey, New York metro area. (Note: the reader who commented so politely below points out that this is actually not the REAL state fair – this one is actually a for-profit carnival).

Okay, then. Here’s my review of the State Fair Meadowlands – with kids.

Here piggy, piggy!

LIVE SHOWS – the shows are all free with admission. We saw the Sea Lion Splash – very cute. They have three sea lions who jump, dance and do other tricks for you. The show is about 15 minutes long and kids can stand up front to watch. We missed the BMX Stunt Show, which looks like fun. It goes through the end of the fair. Hypnotist, Steve Bayner is funny. The Batcopter aerial show runs daily, and you can get a 2 minute ride for $30. The racing pigs were a lot of fun, also about a 15 mintue show. Check the schedule before going – the shows change daily. Continue reading “The New Jersey State Fair – with Kids”

Sponsored Post – New York Street Food is Family Food

This post is written and sponsored by HotelClub.com, offering hotel deals for more than 60,000 hotels in 134 countries.

Whenever friends and family members with children ask where to eat in New York, I always ask several questions: How old are the little ones? How much of the family vacation budget do mom and dad want to dole out on three squares a day, plus snacks? And most importantly, just how important is good, authentic Big Apple food to parents and children alike?

 

Some folks after all, are more than happy to quaff breadsticks at the Olive Garden in Times Square or silence their children’s whines with a Sbarro calzone. Hey, when money’s tight and you’re in a crunch, why not?

 

Well, here’s why not. With a little resourcefulness and prior research, you can do something different than big box restaurants and fast food chains when you hit the town in New York. Your city probably has twelve Olive Gardens anyway.

 

In this spirit, I’ll suggest an alternative to satisfy every type of parent, from the ones who love to supersize to the ones who want to take Junior on a foodie tour of Brooklyn. Two words: street food. Continue reading “Sponsored Post – New York Street Food is Family Food”

Ellis Island with Kids

A visit to Ellis Island with kids is emotional no matter where you come from. The facility, which processed 12 million immigrants from 1892-1954, was the first stop for many coming to the U.S. The Statue of Liberty was the symbol of freedom – Ellis Island was the gateway to obtain it. They estimate that more than 100 million Americans have a connection to Ellis Island.

To take advantage of what Ellis Island offers, make sure you have plenty of time to peruse the galleries. The exhibits downstairs are not nearly as interesting as those upstairs. There’s plenty to interest even the younger kids.

When you enter Ellis Island, you might even feel like you’re an immigrant yourself. After all, those around you speak a multitude of languages and might be wearing outfits traditional to other lands And you come from a crowded boat that you waited in lines to board. Granted, your passage from New Jersey’s Liberty Park or New York’s Battery Park took only 15-30 minutes (two boat rides from New York, one from New Jersey) and you weren’t packed on like sardines, stuck in a dimly lit hold or subjected to motion sickness-inducing waves.

You’ll be shuffled inside the building with your fellow boat-mates, unsure where to go and what you’ll see. After entering the glass doors, straight-ahead look for the collection of luggage and photos from those early arrivals. It’s a perfect teaching moment for the kids – showing how little luggage newcomers brought, and the lines they had to wait in (in heat and cold). Now’s a good time to remember your ancestors. Continue reading “Ellis Island with Kids”

Statue of Liberty – with Kids

The Statue of Liberty is often cited as the first thing that immigrants saw when coming into New York’s harbor on their way to Ellis Island. It’s probably the top thing on list to see during a visit to New York. And for good reason.

The United States was not the intended recipient for Lady Liberty. The statue was originally conceived as a lighthouse for Egypt’s Suez Canal. But the Egyptians rejected it. Private citizens, part of the Franco-American Union, along with some companies, later decided to give it to the United States for its centennial. And after a lot of research on where to put it, fundraising for the pedestal, and other hubbub, here it is. Of course that’s the brief explanation. You’ll learn more about it on Liberty Island.

A trip to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island is rife with logitics. You can get a lot of information about the statue elsewhere . I’m going to focus on how to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island – with kids. Continue reading “Statue of Liberty – with Kids”

King Tut NYC Review and Discount Codes

The King Tut exhibit opened in Manhattan last month, with 11 galleries and 130+ artifacts. The exhibit features items from King Tut’s tomb, as well as items from his ancestors. I saw the King Tut exhibit in its last location, San Francisco and again in NYC. You can read my review of NYC’s Tut with Kids here on Jersey Kids.

If you’re thinking of taking kids with you, it’s a great learning opportunity, and there are several items of interest to kids there, including weapons and lots of gold! Of course they’ll be interested to know that the king was all of 9 years old when he ascended the throne. They’ll love the gross knowledge that King Tut’s brain was removed with a hook through his nose before embalming! Plan to spend around 90 minutes there.

The NYC King Tut exhibit is in the Times Square area. One benefit – you don’t have all the additional museum traffic. The downside – there’s no museum to visit after!

KING TUT DISCOUNT CODES FOR ST. PAUL

Tickets are $30 for the King Tut exhibit on weekends and $25 on weekdays (for adults), and this includes the science museum admission/exhibits. Kids 4-12 pay $16 on weekdays, and $18 on weekends. Audio tour and film are extra.

Science Museum of Minnesota members save up to 60% on King Tut ticket prices. Plus, members save an additional $5 a ticket in March.

Go with a group. Group discounts are available for 15 or more ticketholders. Here are ticket prices for groups.

While there were no discounts at Goldstar at posting, check back frequently, because Goldstar often offers discounts, as much as half off, for select time slots of various events.

Check back here – I’ll be adding discounts are they become available. Pickings are slim as the show opens!

Tickets and discounts for NYC

Tickets run $27.50 for adults, $25.50 for seniors, $17.50 for kids 4-12, and free for kids under 4. They offer a 3-D movie, Secrets of the Pharaohs, for an additional $5. In the film, you’ll travel into the royal tombs, learning about ancient Egyptian society and rituals as told by the mummies themselves. Kids 4 and under still have to pay for the movie, even though they get in free to the exhibit. Reviews of the movie are positive. Audio commentary is $7, and worth it to learn more.

Now through Friday, December 24th, buy a voucher for 2 adult and 2 child admissions ($98 value) for $59 at Mamapedia. You must redeem the voucher all at once. You can buy two vouchers, but only redeem one per visit.

Continue reading “King Tut NYC Review and Discount Codes”

Gold Vault: Touring the NY Federal Reserve

There’s something sexy about descending 50 feet to Manhattan bedrock to see the largest stash of foreign gold in the world. The reality, however is slightly underwhelming.

We started in the numismatic room (yes, that’s the coin room), with cases explaining the history of money. You’ll see lots of coins, including the famed 1933 Double Eagle. I’ll spare you the long (but interesting) story of theft and intrigue). But an anonymous purchaser got it for a cool $7.59 million at auction, and agreed to display it in the case that you’re not allowed to touch or lean on.

(Even if you don’t get into the gold tour, you can still get free access to the numismatic room during business hours).

From there you’ll learn about the Federal Reserve in a video. The New York branch is one of 12 regional reserve banks that act as the U.S. government’s bank. The Federal Reserve sets U.S. monetary policy, stores cash, shreds old bills, and is last resort for banks needing loans.

Continue reading “Gold Vault: Touring the NY Federal Reserve”

Circle Line Boat Tour in NYC with Kids

Let me start off by saying you should not do a 2 hour boat tour with kids who can’t sit still for several hours. Lesson learned the hard way.

Normally a slow boat tour is not something I’d sign up to do – especially with kids. However, a friend was visiting from California, and she wanted to find something her husband hadn’t done in New York City before. .

If you try searching for Circle Line boat tours, you might find that there are two locations – Circle Line at the 42nd Street pier, and Circle Line Downtown, at South Street Seaport. In spite of having the same name and similar cruises, these are different companies. Go figure. If someone could tell me how they can run the same type of business with the same name, and not be hit with trademark issues, I’m all ears!

Continue reading “Circle Line Boat Tour in NYC with Kids”