Review: Chihuly at New York Botanical Gardens

You’ve probably seen glass artist Dale Chihuly’s work before. But it’s lovely to see it in the garden settings of the New York Botanical Garden, where it will be through October.

An exploding star, or something. Fire and ice? Ice and ocean? I can’t remember. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

For this exhibition, there are plenty of his older works, and a few made for this show. We went over to see it on a beautiful summer day. It was my first time at the NYBG as well, so I didn’t know what to expect. We spent four hours there, and still didn’t see all the gardens (though we saw all the Chihulys, I think).

Starting from the entrance by the Conservatory gate, we went first to the library building to see what was inside. Outside at the fountain, there’s a Chihuly sculpture that’s actually not blown glass, but molded/layered plastic. It looked like giant ice cubes or icebergs. Inside you’ll find some stunning pieces of older works, and some videos. It’s worth a stop, even though it feels weird to go inside into a stuffy building when it’s nice outside, and most of the sculptures are in the conservatory.

This sculpture looks like icebergs. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

A few sculptural installations are spread out in the grassy areas. You’ll need to do some walking. The NYBG is huge, so even walking from the front gate to the conservatory took awhile.

Glass rods in wood, one of the outdoor pieces. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Given that it was our first time there, we walked around a lot before realizing we weren’t going to see it all. We then took the tram for part of the way (I was getting tired!). Here are some of the sculptures we saw.

A boat full of glass globes by Chihuly. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

The NYBG offers a number of interactive ways to see the exhibition, which is good with kids:

Interactive guide: get the app before you go or get on wifi there to access additional information about the Chihuly pieces. It also tells you the location of the closest sculptures, which is helpful when you’re wandering around the outdoor spaces.

This glass screen is one of his older pieces. There were two in the area. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Film screenings: Inside the library auditorium, they run screenings of short films. It’s a great introduction to his work and shows you how the sculptures are blown and assembled. You’ll also see other exhibitions and the Seattle permanent site for his work, by the Space Needle. The films are short enough so kids won’t be bored, and you can come and go as you please. No extra cost for these.

Chihuly at Night: Go at night, Thursdays through Saturdays, and you can see this sculpture (and others) lit up. This one is neon, though, and electrified. Reservations are required. It would make a great date night, as they offer cocktails, shopping and food. But they do have kids’ prices too!

These neon sculptures would look totally different at night. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Look for the poetry: The results of the kids’ poetry contest is displayed through the NYBG. Stop and read the poems. Your kids might like to read what other kids wrote. There’s also a teacher’s guide and lesson plan you can read and bring with you (look under the poetry section for the links) to help talk about it with your kids.

These glass flowers/bowls are in the conservatory. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

If you’re short on time or attention span, head there first. You do need a Chihuly ticket at the conservatory.

The children’s garden is also large and worth a stop. You need a ticket admitting you to the children’s garden.

A cute animal sculpture at the children’s garden. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

If you go

When: through October 29, 2017

Where: New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx

Review: iFly Indoor Skydiving

My kids have been wanting to try indoor skydiving for quite awhile. My mother surprised us all with a session at iFly when we were visiting them in Phoenix. While there is an iFly in Westchester, there is currently none in NJ, though they told us that one or two were opening up here in the next year. Here’s our iFly review.

Look, ma, I’m flying! Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

What was surprising to me is Continue reading “Review: iFly Indoor Skydiving”

What You Will Learn on a Maple Sugar Tour

Every winter we see listings for maple sugaring tours, and every year we seem to be busy or forget to go. This year we finally went. What will you learn on a maple sugaring tour? A lot!

We went to the Great Swamp in New Jersey for our education. They were offering two sessions on a weekend afternoon – for $3/person (though no one asked for or collected money – and we checked in at the outdoor education center desk).

Follow the maple sugar leaf signs to the sugar shack at the Great Swamp. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

While there’s no way to know for sure who discovered maple sugar, Continue reading “What You Will Learn on a Maple Sugar Tour”

Visiting Corning New York and the Rockwell Museum

We visited Corning NY on a beautiful fall day. While it rained in the morning, these were the sunny skies we got later. Most people visit Corning to see the Corning Museum of Glass (our review here) and even to make their own glass.


Corning's well-known tower with a picture of a gaffer on top. In the foreground is the corporate office for Corning Glass.
Corning’s well-known tower with a picture of a gaffer on top. In the foreground is the corporate office for Corning Glass.

If you have time to visit the Gaffer’s District downtown (gaffer being a term used for a glassblower), check it out. You can walk from the Corning Museum of Glass – it takes probably 15 minutes at a good pace. There is parking downtown, though. Continue reading “Visiting Corning New York and the Rockwell Museum”

Review: Corning Museum of Glass with Kids

What’s it like to go to the Corning Museum of Glass with kids? I heard its holdings were extensive and one could easily spend a complete day or two there, exploring the galleries. I thought they might be bored. Turns out they loved it. While others could spend days there, our visit was limited to 3 hours (including the “make your own glass” experience – separate post). And that was enough time to see much of the museum, even though we rushed through the very large 35 Centuries of Glass gallery, as the kids were running out of steam.

Corning Museum of Glass
Corning Museum of Glass

Interactive Fun Continue reading “Review: Corning Museum of Glass with Kids”

Adirondack Extreme with Kids

Ever since I went to Flagstaff Extreme a few years back with my family, my kids and I were dying to do it again. Especially since my son was now tall enough to do the full course (in Flagstaff he was too short/young). And my husband missed out on that experience and wanted to try as well. This “aerial treetop adventure course” has multiple courses of ropes obstacles and ziplines. On our recent trip to the Adirondacks, we booked some time at Adirondack Extreme near Lake George.

Continue reading “Adirondack Extreme with Kids”

White water rafting on the Hudson – Adirondacks

When you see the Hudson River in New York City, or even the Hudson River in the Hudson River Valley, whitewater rafting is not something you think about. But further upstream just past Lake George, you can raft in the white caps, over 17 miles of class III-V waves. While there are two handfuls of reputable companies, we went with Wild Waters, connected to the Glen River Lodge where we bunked. You can read our review of the Glen River Lodge here.

This outfitter has been around some 30 years, and on a busy Memorial Day weekend, we had several bus loads of eager paddlers joining us on the journey.

getting our gear

The gear shack had everything we needed – Continue reading “White water rafting on the Hudson – Adirondacks”