Chicago: Visit the Shedd Aquarium with Kids

**This is part of our series on Chicago. Also in the series: the Museum of Science and Industry, the Willis/Sears Tower, and a review of the downtown Embassy Suites**


This is first in a series of posts about taking the family to Chicago. There’s still time to go this summer, and fall is a great time to visit too. One stop on the family list is the Shedd Aquarium. Situated on Lake Michigan, it’s the world’s largest indoor aquarium. Continue reading “Chicago: Visit the Shedd Aquarium with Kids”

Sleeping with the Fish: Overnight at Adventure Aquarium in Camden

We joined the scouts for an overnight at the Adventure Aquarium in Camden. This was our fourth overnight, so we’ve had lots of experience seeing how they’re run in different facilities. This one was very well organized, and we slept better than at others. Even if you have no intention of sleeping over at the Adventure Aquarium, read on because there’s lots of great information about the animals in this post, and some awesome pictures too, if I say so myself.

View of Philly from the Adventure Aquarium.

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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”

Review: New York Aquarium with Kids

We’ve been the New York Aquarium a couple of times now, and we really like it. It’s on the Coney Island boardwalk, so you can go from the aquarium to the beach to the rides with no effort. They have the usual exhibits, like jellyfish, seahorses, sharks, fur seals, sea lions, walruses, sea otters, penguins, turtles, sting rays, a reef and shore area.  They have 4-D movies (extra) and a sea lion show, plus special exhibits.


Fun facts: 

President Theodore Roosevelt was the person who demonized the piranha, whose sharp teeth are legendary. He wrote about a school of piranhas attacking a bleeding cow while visiting the Amazon. In reality, the tour guide threw the cow in the water to make the trip seem more exciting, and the fish were starving and trapped. Continue reading “Review: New York Aquarium with Kids”

Where to go during the New Jersey Teachers’ Convention

Those of us with kids in New Jersey public schools look forward to a two day school break in November, for the teachers’ convention. You can either sit around at home, or take off in the car or on a plane for a family trip.

It’s not too late to plan something! If you haven’t yet thought of what to do, I rounded up some great links to vacations in driving distance of New Jersey, provided by seasoned fellow bloggers and travel writers. Let me know where you plan to go!


For a staycation, here are some ideas for local fun. See a Broadway play. I’ve got reviews of Matilda here  and reviews of Mamma Mia here. See all my Broadway reviews here.

Continue reading “Where to go during the New Jersey Teachers’ Convention”

Review: Maritime Aquarium, Norwalk CT – Taking the Kids


We had the good fortune to do a sleepover in Connecticut’s Maritime Aquarium. We didn’t get much sleep, but we enjoyed the experience! The aquarium focuses on the marine life of the Long Island Sound.

Copyright: Deborah Abrams Kaplan


The big draw for a lot of kids is the shark tank – it’s the largest tank in the aquarium, holding 110,000 gallons. It has 8 sharks. They keep the temperature constant at 63-65 degrees, so the sharks don’t know about seasons, for mating. The sand tiger sharks are around 8 feet long. Boy sharks have claspers near the anal fin (guess why?).

Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Continue reading “Review: Maritime Aquarium, Norwalk CT – Taking the Kids”