Review: Is War Paint Appropriate for Kids?

How can you not want to see a musical featuring Patty LuPone and Christine Ebersole, two giants of the Broadway stage? I was shocked to see these tickets discounted, relatively early in the run (admittedly this review is from late July). War Paint is closing on November 5, earlier than expected as Patti LuPone is getting hip replacement surgery. So get your tickets now!

War Paint. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan


The show is about two smart business women who changed the world, through beauty, Helena Rubenstein and Elizabeth Arden. Continue reading “Review: Is War Paint Appropriate for Kids?”

Review: Is The Play That Goes Wrong Appropriate for Kids?

If you find yourself looking for a play that both you and the kids will enjoy – that is not a Disney-type show aimed at kids – The Play That Goes Wrong is a great option. I took my teen daughter and realized that my younger nieces would have loved it as well.

Photo credit: Jeremy Daniel, courtesy of The Play That Goes Wrong

The show starts even before the curtain time. Continue reading “Review: Is The Play That Goes Wrong Appropriate for Kids?”

Treat of the Day: A La Mode in Cranford

You may recall we reviewed 10 Below, a new rolled ice cream store in New York City a few years back. The trend continues, evidenced by the recent opening of A La Mode in Cranford. This is Union County’s first rolled ice cream store. We stopped by earlier this week and indulged, as well as chatted with the owners, Dan and Kevin, friends from childhood in Kenilworth. They both worked at Galloping Hill Golf Course before this, and Kevin may go culinary school in the future – he’s the ice cream base maker.

A Halloween concoction with a ghost Peep. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

What is rolled ice cream? Continue reading “Treat of the Day: A La Mode in Cranford”

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”

Review: Gulliver’s Gate With Kids

The new Gulliver’s Gate opened in May, in Times Square. This permanent exhibit is a miniature world with more than 100,000 tiny people. It’s also interactive, with technology features that will make your jaw drop. I spent a good two hours in there and didn’t want to leave. Should you go to Gulliver’s Gate with kids? Here’s what you’ll see.

Adding some trees in Asia. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

I viewed it during previews, a few days before the official opening. At that time, not all the technology features were fully functional, but most were and I was thoroughly impressed and want to return. My son saw the photos and is begging me to go. Continue reading “Review: Gulliver’s Gate With Kids”

Houseboating in Raystown Lake, PA

When we told people we went houseboating last weekend, we got a lot of questions. A lot of questions means a lot of interest, hence here’s what you need to know if you want to rent a houseboat in Pennsylvania on Raystown Lake!

One of the houseboats at Raystown Lake. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

My travel planner (i.e. my husband) planned this rental out probably six months in advance. These things book up quickly, so if you’re interested, don’t wait. Continue reading “Houseboating in Raystown Lake, PA”

Review: Lincoln Caverns in PA

For cave lovers like me, Pennsylvania is a hotbed of cavern activity, with eight commercially developed caves in the state. I have a lot of driving to do!

We checked out Lincoln Caverns after houseboating at Raystown Lake. Lincoln Caverns were discovered in 1931. The William Penn Highway was being built just above it, and a large steam shovel machine fell through into the caves during the blasting process. It fell into what is now called Devil’s Pit. I’m not sure what damage it die to the formations below, but that area is full of wonder after wonder.

One of the formations in Lincoln Cavern. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Continue reading “Review: Lincoln Caverns in PA”

Review: Medieval Times with Kids

If you’ve been to the Renaissance Faire, you’ll love Medieval Times. I thought it was going to be a little bit hokey, but we had so much fun. My son can’t wait to go back.

Waiting to meet the king at Medieval Times. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

What is Medieval Times?
Medieval Times is a dinner show with tournament. It’s not just jousting, though there is jousting. It’s a show with horses, a falcon and a princess too. It takes place in a castle. Continue reading “Review: Medieval Times with Kids”

Waitress Broadway Review: Is Waitress Appropriate for Kids?

Waitress the musical was not high on my list to see in terms of Broadway shows. But I went for my annual writer’s group show night during a conference, and that was the show selected. My goal was not only to hopefully enjoy the show but answer this question for the blog: is Waitress Appropriate for kids? I did no reading about the show beforehand, though I knew Sara Bareilles was playing the lead and that she had written the lyrics. I knew it had something to do with pie. That’s it.

That pie smell wafted by the second we walked into the show. What a cute set-up. It smelled good, and we passed by a dessert stand. Inside the theater, the women selling snacks and drinks were wearing diner uniforms. The screen looked like a lattice cherry pie. It had the possibility of being too cutesy. But it wasn’t. Continue reading “Waitress Broadway Review: Is Waitress Appropriate for Kids?”