For some relatively local (to us) Pennsylvania skiing, we headed to Camelback Ski resort with kids this year. It’s funny to see the outdoor water park slides covered in snow, as this resort is also a summer destination.
Given all the crazy weather this season, we were happy to see a solid base. Plus, they make snow, and we got to experience that ourselves, with snow machines at the base and on some of the slopes. I never realized how loud they are. It’s like going past a jet engine. After one run where about 6 of them were blowing in a row, we had to go in and take a break, as our faces were so cold from the blowing snow.
Jersey Kids likes to do its part helping others, which is why we’ve been participating the past few years with Passports With Purpose. This blogger-run (and all volunteer) fundraiser chooses a new organization and project every year to raise much-needed funds for great projects.
This year we’re working with Worldreader, and we’ll be raising funds to bring digital readers (like Kindles) to five libraries in Kenya. Each library will get about 50 e-readers each, providing 6,250 children, teachers and parents with access to more than 50,000 books. The books will be in Swahili and English, with fiction and nonfiction books.The Worldreader program trains the librarians, and also provides field-tested solar chargers to keep the e-readers charged if electricity is scarce. This one speaks to me because I love reading, and so does my son. I can’t imagine not having access to books.
So you’re probably dying to know who is providing an amazing prize for this fundraiser, and what you can win. You probably got a hint from the photo above. The answer is:
If you live or work in Manhattan, you might be more familiar with Chelsea Piers. With lots of sports classes for kids and adults, plus a workout facility, this is a regular spot for many. If you live outside of Manhattan though, there’s still plenty you can take advantage of during trips into the city.
Here are a few things to do with kids at Chelsea Piers:
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.
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.
1. Going on a weekday (especially one when rain is expected and it’s cloudy and in the 70s) makes a HUGE difference in line compared to the weekends. Fortunately it didn’t rain on us and we only got cold once (took a break then went back out) and had a relaxing day without many lines. We waited at most 20 minutes (for the Tornado – video below) and most lines were less than 10 minutes.
We haven’t been to Branch Brook Park since 2011, to see the cherry blossoms. Each year we plan to go and then something gets in the way. We missed the festival (though to be fair, it’s super crowded) but went last weekend – a week after the festival – to catch the just-past peak trees. They were still gorgeous. This park has the largest collection of cherry trees in the country.
It’s hard not to be awed by the enormous balloons making their way down the streets in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This year I had the opportunity to go behind the scenes to how they were designed and what one of them looked like up close, inflated.
This year they’re debuting six new balloons this year, which is a record number. That’s a bit of a misnomer for attendees, since two of the characters (Pikachu and the Pillsbury Doughboy) are regulars at the parade. But Pikachu just went through a third redesign, so it is a new balloon and Macy’s counts that as a new one. The Pillsbury Doughboy is also technically a new balloon, though the design is the same as the last one, since it flew so well and the client wanted the same thing.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is celebrating its 88th year. If you haven’t already gone, maybe now’s the time. You’ll join 3.5 million people watching from the streets and windows, and an estimated 50 million sitting in front of the TV. As for participants? A whopping 8,000 are marching, wielding balloon strings or on floats. Look for some fun stats toward the bottom.
The parade is on Thanksgiving morning, this year it’s November 27 at 9 a.m. It takes about 90 minutes for the parade to make it from the start to the finish. Navigating the parade with kids isn’t that hard if you’re prepared. And that’s what we’re here for – your family guide to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!
Last time I was near the World Trade Center, the fences were still up and you needed tickets to get into the memorial area. That is no longer the case, as of May. This September 11 is the first anniversary of the memorial. You can just walk into the plaza now and visit. I’ll give more information on the bottom – you can see pictures from my visit as you scroll down.