Lakota Wolf Preserve – With Kids

Did you know that those magazine photos of wolves in the wild usually aren’t taken in the wild? They’re not, because wolves can smell you a mile away and they want no part of you. Those photos are usually taken at a wolf preserve, like the Lakota Wolf Preserve in Columbia, NJ.

We stopped by there recently for a tour, chock full of interesting information not only about wolves, but bobcats and foxes, which they also have there. I thought the 1.5 hour tour might bore my 10 year old daughter, but she paid rapt attention, possibly because the caretakers told us interesting stories and facts about the animals, and she got to watch them being fed.

Lakota Wolf Preserve. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Continue reading “Lakota Wolf Preserve – With Kids”

New Jersey Corn Mazes and Pumpkin Patches

I did a corn maze for the first time last year, and am making it a yearly tradition. The kids are now old enough to last in there for more than 10 minutes. We wandered around for probably two hours (maybe an hour longer than was really fun for the kids).  Interestingly, I was dizzy when we got out.  So many twists and turns.  I let them take turns picking the direction.  If it weren’t for the staff positioned at one spot in the maze, we never would have made it out.  Even after getting directions out (it was something like – turn right at every turn until after the bridge, then turn left at every turn), it still took us 15 minutes to exit! I look forward to the day when my husband and I go together, and we compete, Survivor style, to see who can make it out first.

Let me share some corn maze tips with you, before giving you a list of New Jersey corn mazes to consider!

Alstede’s 2009 maze

CORN MAZE TIPS WITH KIDS

–Before you go in, use the bathroom. This cannot be stated enough.

–Bring food and water. Your kids will need some nourishment during their breaks. Bring your own, or buy something on site. Most farms sell food too.

–Wear comfortable shoes – that can get muddy.you can't see over it!

Continue reading “New Jersey Corn Mazes and Pumpkin Patches”

Apple Picking in New Jersey

Pick me! Pick me!

Fall air brings apple picking. Did you know:

– it takes 36 apples to make a gallon of cider
– it takes 8-10 years for an apple tree to begin producing fruit
– the science of apple growing is called pomology
– a bushel of apples weighs 42 pounds
Thank you Hillview Farms for the apple facts.

Too many apples? Learn how to make caramel apples here.

Here’s a list of some great apple picking farms and orchards in New Jersey.

Peaceful Valley Orchards in Pittstown
In addition to apples you’ll find fall decorations, baked goods, and an observation bee hive.

150 Pittstown Road, Pittstown, NJ
(908) 730-7748 Continue reading “Apple Picking in New Jersey”

Miller-Cory House Museum – and kid-friendly downtown Westfield

If you’re looking for some New Jersey history, and a chance to see what things were like in the 1700-1800s, head over to the Miller-Cory House in Westfield, NJ. (And read on to see what to do in downtown Westfield when you’re done).

The house was built in 1740 – on 100 acres of land. You wouldn’t believe it now, since it’s in the middle of a residential neighborhood where most lots probably don’t exceed .3 acres on average. Inside you’ll find the house with typical period furniture, and kids can see what a kitchen with no electric dishwasher looks like! Pots and pans hang from the walls, the floor is uneven and the walls wood-paneled.

The house is open on Sundays in fall through spring, or for prearranged group programs on weekdays. It’s staffed by volunteers – including a lot of elementary school teachers. They dress up and lead kids in crafts, read stories and talk with kids about the theme of the week. There’s also open-hearth cooking demonstrations in the building next door. Continue reading “Miller-Cory House Museum – and kid-friendly downtown Westfield”

Review: Six Flags Great Adventure – Plus Discount Codes

“He said he was in Paris. He said it was urgent I come.”

“To Paris?” I asked.

“No, to Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey…”

Long Lost by Harlan Coben

Six Flags Great Adventure

This Jackson, NJ location is the is the largest Six Flags in the country. Woo hoo! Having been to several in California, I was pleasantly surprised with this one. It was clean, the employees were helpful (except one) and the other visitors weren’t quite as skanky as at other Six Flags parks. Continue reading “Review: Six Flags Great Adventure – Plus Discount Codes”

Review: Six Flags Wild Safari in New Jersey

Jersey Kids review of Six Flags new Wild Safari Park is here – 2013 review)

This New Jersey park claims to be the largest drive-through safari outside Africa. It’s 350 acres, and it does take awhile to drive through. You’ll see something different each time you go through, but at least early in the day, it’s cooler for the animals and you may see more of the 1,100 that live there.

(Of note: on August 30, 2012 Six Flags announced that Wild Safari would close to individual cars starting in the 2013 season. Instead, the park will become a regular Six Flags theme park attraction – Camp Aventura – where guests will ride in open air vehicles driven by park employees. Guests may be able to hand-feed or pet some of the animals. For an extra fee, guests can zip line over the camp. Read the review of the newly opened attraction here.)

You won’t find these rides in the background in Africa!

Admittedly it was a bit odd in the beginning and end, because you can see Great Adventure rides in the background. It’s hard to picture these animals in the wild, with the Kingda Ka coaster doing its thing. But once you journey a little further inside, you forget about the amusement park (you can’t see it anymore) and just focus on the animals.

It’s a nice park – with signs in each area telling you what animals you’re seeing. They apparently have a CD/DVD you can buy (CD to listen to in the car, DVD to watch at home) – but I didn’t see anything about this on the website. Continue reading “Review: Six Flags Wild Safari in New Jersey”

Land of Make Believe – Review

If you’re looking for some clean, family fun, and your kids are on the younger side, head to the Land of Make Believe in Hope, New Jersey. They have lots of kiddie rides and a fun water park good for both younger older kids.

The park is quite manageable for families with young kids. It’s not too big (but not so small that you’ll get bored). The rides are geared toward kids age 6 and younger (preschoolers will be quite happy). My 8 year old was bored with most rides, and I was surprised that my 6 year old was happy to ride them.

The Rides: Expect everything from a carousel to a small tilt-a-whirl. The mini roller coaster was fun for us – it goes in a loop and is good for the younger set. There probably 15 rides.

Attractions: We didn’t check out the arcade, Haunted Halloween House, jump houses or Dog Pound (games). There’s also a train circling the park and a hay ride.

The Show (Middle Earth Theater): The park put on a very cute interactive show featuring any kid and adult who wants in. Dori and I were part of it, and we could choose our part. The skit was funny and the kids had a great time dressing up and acting in it. Zack had fun watching. They said they want to do it again next time we go.

Continue reading “Land of Make Believe – Review”