New Jersey – What to do with the kids this Summer?

As school draws to an end, I’ve been collecting lists of places to go and things to do this summer. Here are a few links to get you started:

Summer Family-Fun Guide – fairs and festivals in the Garden State this summer (Star Ledger)

Summer Camp Guide – in case you are still making plans (Star Ledger)

New Jersey Summer Beach Guide (New Jersey Monthly)

Jersey Shore – Guide for Summer Fun Activities (New Jersey Monthly)

–Shore happenings – Jen Miller’s Down the Shore with Jen blog. The second edition of her book Explorer’s Guide – The Jersey Shore: Atlantic City to Cape May is being released now.

–I recently heard Kevin Woyce speak about Jersey Shore history – totally interesting stuff. He has a book out, Jersey Shore History and Facts – check it out.

–Head to a New Jersey State Park

–Go to a small amusement park (Mommy Poppins)

–Read Jersey Kids’ review of Land of Make Believe

Any helpful links you love? Add them in the comments!

Boston – What the Kids Like to Do

We had a plan for what we’d do and see in Boston. It was educational. It was cultural. It was physical ( lots and lots of walking).  The highlights for the kids, however, were not the ones we planned for them. They did not love the Freedom Trail. They did not love seeing Daddy’s alma mater and hearing fascinating stories of the building donors and founders. Here’s what they’ll remember from Boston:

#1. These are doors leading into and out of the Boston T stops. They open in a funny way – going in, then up. The kids found this endlessly amusing.

#2. The vending machines. Our hotel (the Midtown Hotel) had an endless supply of interesting vending machines, like this one that Continue reading “Boston – What the Kids Like to Do”

Shark Speed Boat Ride in NYC and discount tickets

it’s not a NYC boat trip without the Statue of Liberty

The kids were not overly excited when I told them we were going on a speed boat ride – with a bunch of other people. What fun is it if you don’t get to drive the boat yourself? And my husband chalked this one up to another of my crazy ideas.

You know what? The kids had so much fun that they asked to go again during the next visit to Manhattan. And my husband had a grin on his face the whole time. (discount info for Shark Speed Boat Ride at the bottom) Continue reading “Shark Speed Boat Ride in NYC and discount tickets”

Cherry Blossom Festival – Branch Brook Park

Did you know that Newark’s Branch Brook Park has thousands of cherry blossom trees, with more variety (and number) than those in Washington DC, which is so well known for their trees.

The Cherry Blossom Festival is coming up in April, and it’s popular, with 10,000 visitors a day at the peak.

Aside from just looking at the blossoms, come for some activities, including:

April 9 – bike race – the Cherry Blossom Challenge.

April 10 – 10K and one mile fun run

On April 17th, check out Bloomfest, with lots of events, including Japanese cultural demonstrations, live music, kids’ activities, crafter’s marketplace and food. Free admission, open from 11-5. Activities are mostly around the Essex County Cherry Blossom Welcome Center.

 

Review: Smuggler’s Notch in Winter with Kids

When we found out the kids had President’s Day Week off, we started looking into vacations. The kids hadn’t yet learned to ski properly (a two hour lesson three years ago didn’t count). We figured they should learn to ski at a place specializing in teaching kids. And after a lot of research, we booked our vacation at Smuggler’s Notch in Vermont. We don’t know the East Coast resorts very well, but this one was highly rated as both a family resort and a great place to learn to ski. I’ll cover all that!

Bottom line – we had a great time and the kids learned to ski. There was plenty to do off the slope, and on. The best way to sum up the resort is that it’s like a cruise on land. Or a quasi all-inclusive (lots of free activities, pay for your own food and lessons).

Continue reading “Review: Smuggler’s Notch in Winter with Kids”

NYC Holiday Fun with Kids

New York City is such a great place to visit in December. If you’re going to New York City with the kids, here are our ideas for what to do to make it festive.

HOLIDAY LIGHTS

Of course you’ll want to see the tree at Rockefeller Center.

Just outside you’ll find Sak’s Fifth Avenue, with sparkling snowflakes (coordinated to music) and window displays. Also with winter window displays: Lord & Taylor, Bloomingdales, Barneys, Macy’s and more.

ICE SKATING

Rockefeller Center has a tiny rink, but it’s so picturesque. Enter from 5th Avenue, between 49th and 50th. Skating is first-come, first-served and you can skate for as long as you stay there. Expect waits up to 90 minutes, unless you skate in the weekday mornings. They’re open on Christmas Day. Continue reading “NYC Holiday Fun with Kids”

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Tips, and What to Do in NYC on Thanksgiving Day

This post has been updated for 2011.

It’s time for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. If you want to be one 3 million on-site viewers, you’ll want to do some research first. Jersey Kids has some places for you to start. And once the parade is over, we have ideas for what you can do in New York City.

Where to watch:

It’s most congested around Macy’s, at the end of the route. The parade starts at 9 a.m. but takes about 90 minutes to get to Macy’s. The performers apparently don’t stop along the way to perform, but do in front of the viewing stand. Most suggestions we got are to get to your viewing spot at 6:30 a.m. and wait in the cold like idiots. Look for us! We’ll be those idiots. Best viewing spots are in the 60s and 70s along Central Park West. You can watch the balloons get deflated right by Macy’s. So if you’re late, maybe head over there.

this is where you stand if you arrive at 7:30 a.m.

Continue reading “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Tips, and What to Do in NYC on Thanksgiving Day”

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”