Review: Big Snow at American Dream

Big Snow at American Dream

The idea of driving 30 minutes to ski instead of 90+ minutes is appealing. The idea of skiing indoors is novel enough to want to try it. So when Big Snow at American Dream invited my family for a visit as their guests, we said yes. But it’s indoors! It’s in a mall! What about COVID-19? I have an entire section on how they’re handling COVID-19 below. Because it’s a huge topic.

What is Big Snow?

Big Snow at American Dream is an indoor ski area that’s finally opened in East Rutherford. Yes, the massive mall and former Xanadu eye sore that was sitting vacant forever! Big Snow at American Dream is one of several large experiences you can do indoors there, in addition to the Nickelodeon Universe theme park (currently open), DreamWorks Water Park (currently open), and the Sea Life Aquarium (opening spring 2021). Big Snow opened late 2019, closed in March 2020 because of the pandemic, and reopened in October.

The top of the hill at Big Snow American Dream. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan
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Review: Primo Mercato at Short Hills Mall

Primo Mercato at Short Hills Mall

I guess it’s been awhile since I’ve shopped at the Short Hills Mall, because I didn’t realize there was a new Italian marketplace. They invited me for a visit to their 17,000 square foot space. Here’s my Review – Primo Mercato at Short Hills Mall!

The entrance of Primo Mercato at Short Hills Mall. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Primo Mercato is a cross between a fancier food court and a sit-down restaurant, kind of like a smaller Eataly but without the dry goods shopping – just the eating and drinking. They have five food stations, plus a cafe with bakery/gelato, a pizza making station, and a nice restaurant. And yes, there’s sit-down eating if ordering food fromt the stations. You’ll see some picnic style tables (much nicer looking, of course), and some other types of seating configurations.

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Amazon Tour with Kids

I write about supply chain management (logistics, operations, transportation etc.) so touring an Amazon fulfillment center (FC) seems like more than a fun thing to do – it seemed necessary for work! There are currently 23 warehouses/fulfillment centers in the U.S. that give tours, including 3 in New Jersey. You can take an Amazon tour with kids, but most tours are on the weekday, which can make it difficult unless you’re home schooling. Here’s what I learned on my Amazon tour.

The Amazon storage area, with robots moving the storage pods. Screenshot from an Amazon virtual tour.

By the way, you can’t take photos inside the warehouse, so these photos are screenshots from a virtual tour last week, run by Amazon for FIRST Robotics – an international STEM robotics program I’m involved with. You can watch the virtual Amazon tour here which was meant as an Amazon tour with kids, or at least for kids.

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Review: TreEscape with Kids – Aerial Adventure Park

My son and I have been to aerial treetop adventure rope/obstacle courses in Arizona and New York, and I had no idea that one existed in New Jersey. Fortunately TreEscape Aerial Adventure Park in Vernon Township reached out and invited us to be their guests, and we went last weekend. They opened in 2017.

TreEscape with kids – one of the green courses. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan
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Review: Paintball in New Jersey

This is Mark Kaplan, Debbie’s husband, guest blogger for this post. When Debbie daytripped to Philadelphia for a sorority reunion, it was left unsaid that there was no way the kids or I would be tagging along….for everyone’s sake. “So guys, what do you want to do this Saturday?” I inquired.

“Paintball!” said the boy.

Paintball: guys’ weekend. Copyright Daniel M. Hendricks, creative commons, Flickr.

It was one of those parenting moments – I’m sure you’ve had them too – when your child blows you away with a completely unexpected answer. Fortunately – unlike New Year’s Day 2015 when I was in California with the kids, Debbie was in Asia, I was hung over, and I asked the kids what they wanted for breakfast (bacon!) – this was a pleasant, unexpected answer. Yes, paintball! Why indeed not? None of us had ever done it before, and we were all interested in trying.

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Review Sojo Spa in Edgewater

I love Korean spas, and have visited and reviewed traditional Korean spas King Spa and Island Spa in Edison. A new upscale and less traditional Korean spa opened up last year, Sojo Spa in Edgewater. I brought a friend and our teen daughters. Given all the nakedness in the hot tub rooms/locker rooms in traditional Korean spas and for scrubs, we were a bit nervous – naked spa-ing with our kids was no one’s idea of fun. But that worry was for naught. Here’s our review Sojo Spa in Edgewater!

Sojo Spa in Edgewater. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

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Review: Grammy Museum Experience at the Prudential Center

How many of you are seeing Taylor Swift in concert? Based on the Facebook posts I’m seeing, that would be MANY of you! For Swifties fans, consider a trip to the Grammy Museum Experience at the Prudential Center, sadly not the same location as the concerts, or they’d be swamped before the show. They have a temporary Taylor Swift exhibit through the summer, though there’s more to see here than just Taylor. Here’s our review: Grammy Museum Experience at the Prudential Center.

The Grammy Museum Experience opened in Newark in October 2017. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

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