Get Your Loved Ones a Membership to the Newark Museum

NJ Museum

Founded in 1909 as an institution of art, science and industry by famed museologist John Cotton Dana, the Newark Museum is New Jersey’s largest museum, and one of the most influential museums in the United States. Bringing together art and science, the Museum allows for an educational and inspirational journey through 80 galleries of world-class collections including American, Asian, African and Classical. The Museum boasts the largest collection of Tibetan art in the Western hemisphere, the 1885 National Register Ballantine House, and one of the leading collections of American Modernism in the country.

The Museum complex also includes the Victoria Hall of Science, the Alice and Leonard Dreyfuss Planetarium, the Junior Museum, the Billy Johnson Auditorium, the Alice Ransom Dreyfuss Memorial Garden, an authentic Schoolhouse from 1784, and the Newark Fire Museum.

The Newark Museum’s distinguished art collections are international in scope and importance, and include 18th- to 20th-century American Painting and Sculpture; an important collection of Decorative Arts including the nation’s most acclaimed collection of pots; the Arts of Global Africa; a world-renowned Asian Art collection; Classical Antiquities, representing Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan and Roman societies and an unparalleled collection of ancient glass. The Museum’s holdings in the Natural Sciences include a far ranging 75,000-specimen collection.

The Newark Museum is a nationally recognized leader in arts education, with one of the most impressive museum education programs in the country. Offerings include lectures, gallery talks, group and public tours, classes and arts workshops for adults and children. Most drop-in art and science programs are free.

PURCHASE A GIFT MEMBERSHIP TODAY!

Visit our website at www.newarkmuseum.org or contact Membership Department at 973.596.6686 or [email protected]

A Christmas Story: The Musical at Paper Mill Playhouse

Disclosure- I received tickets to the below in order to review.  All opinions are my own and honest.  For more information,  please see ” I Disclose”.

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As most of you know, we love the Paper Mill Playhouse.  It has Broadway quality shows without having to travel into NYC- and the parking is a whole lot easier and less expensive, too.  My son and I have seen about a dozen shows there over the years, and never once have we been disappointed.   The acting, singing, and dancing are top notch- in fact, you can see many people who have been on Broadway, movies, and TV at the Paper Mill Playhouse, and many stars got their start there, too. It’s a wonderful place with fantastic shows, and we really enjoy it.

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The most recent show we saw, and is playing right now, is “A Christmas Story: The Musical”. This is one of my husband’s favorite holiday movies, and he actually came to see the show with us, which is somewhat miraculous.  He WANTED to see the show.  I know. The show was fun, just like the movie, but had lots of festive and some silly song and dance numbers, one being “Ralphie to the Rescue”, in which our hero Ralphie imagines all the ways he will save the day when he gets his cherished Red Ryder air rifle- and of course he really needs it!

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This show was great for the whole family, kids included.  My son enjoyed it, and it made him want to go home and watch the movie again.  Check out this cute video, I’m sure it will make you want to run out and get tickets right away (if you don’t want to already, that is!)

And this one as well, it’s really sweet.

More About The Show

Ralphie wants only one thing for Christmas: an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-shot Range Model Air Rifle. A Christmas Story: The Musical is the hilarious account of Ralphie’s desperate quest to ensure that this most perfect of gifts ends up under his tree this Christmas. Straight from Broadway‚ this musical captures holiday wonder with such deliciously wicked wit that it is sure to delight children and grown-ups alike. Bring the whole family‚ again and again. The holiday movie that the whole world loves comes to musical life.

Buy Tickets

A Christmas Story: The Musical will be performed at Paper Mill Playhouse eight times a week, Wednesday through Sunday. Performance schedule: Wednesday at 7:00pm, Thursday at 1:30pm and 7:00pm, Friday at 7:00pm, Saturday at 1:30pm and 7:00pm and Sunday at 1:30pm and 7:00pm. Check Paper Mill Playhouse’s website for special holiday week schedules. Tickets are on sale now starting at $29. Tickets may be purchased by calling 973.376.4343, at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn, or online at www.PaperMill.org. Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express accepted. Groups of 10 or more can receive up to a 40% discount on tickets and should call 973.315.1680.  College students can order $20 rush tickets over the phone or in person at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office on the day of the performance.

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Do You Have A Special Needs Child?

Paper Mill Playhouse will offer a special autism-friendly performance of A Christmas Story: The Musical on Tuesday, December 29, at 1:30pmThis performance is designed specifically for children on the autism spectrum or with other developmental disabilities, and is planned in cooperation with Paper Mill Playhouse’s Autism Advisory Team. This is the third time Paper Mill Playhouse has expanded its autism-friendly performances to a mainstage production after successful performances of Elf and Disney’s The Little Mermaid. The theater environment will be altered for this performance, providing a sensory-friendly, comfortable and judgment-free space that is welcoming to all families. The performance itself will be adjusted with special attention paid to lighting and sound.

Additionally, Paper Mill Playhouse will host a free open house titled Meet Your Seat on Monday, December 28, 2015, from 4:00 to 6:00pm.  This is an opportunity for children who are new to the theatrical experience to visit the theater space before the show. Often children with autism or other developmental disabilities become anxious in new surroundings, new experiences, and they need time to transition. The Meet Your Seat open house provides an opportunity for children to come to the theater in advance of the performance and take time to feel comfortable in this new space.

What’s Next?

What’s coming up next for Paper Mill Playhouse?  Shows you won’t want to miss, like A Bronx Tale, Pump Boys and Dinettes, and Westside Story.  Sign up for their email list today so you won’t miss a single show!

Win Tickets to Nickelodeon’s Dora and Diego at Liberty Science Center

The Liberty Science Center is a great place to spend the day with your children, and with its constantly changing exhibits, it is always worth the visit.  It is located on the Hudson near the statue of Liberty st Liberty State Park.

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One of their newest exhibits stars Nickelodeon’s famous Dora and Diego, as well as a whole plethora of their friends.  The exhibit is called Dora and Diego- Let’s Explore and is geared toward fans of the hit shows Dora the Explorer and Go, Diego, Go!

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In the exhibit, kids will explore various settings from the show including the purple planet, Isa’s Flowery Garden and Tico’s Tree and Car.  Each is a fun place to explore, teaching kids using hands on methods about a topics from the constellations to plants and animals. Many topics are touched upon and will get your little ones asking questions, a bit more curious about the world around them.  There is even an opportunity for your little ones to board a rocket ship and dress up as astronauts, pilot the ship, and test their memory.  For the buccaneers in your crew, there is even a pirate ship manned (or rather pigged) by the Pirate Piggies crew.  Kids can to dress as pirates, dig through treasure, and share the coins among the piggies’ banks.

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Of the exhibits, one of the biggest is the Rainforest Maze, which lets kids explore the rainforest looking for animals while swinging across the Bobo Brothers’ monkey bars, crawling through a fallen tree, climbing across Jaguar Mountain and jumping across the River Rocks.

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The Dora and Diego – Let’s Explore exhibit is open now through January 24, 2016 at Liberty Science Center and is presented by the WellPoint Foundation and Bank of America.  Liberty Science Center is a great way to spend a day during the Winter break to keep your kids active and learning for hours on end.

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One of you can win 4 tickets to the Liberty Science Center- just leave your name and email address in a comment below if you’d like to win.  Ends Dec. 18, 2015. Thanks!

SmashBurger’s new better-for-you Kids Meal Menu

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SmashBurger has become one of my favorite burger places, and one that is rapidly growing in my home state of NJ. While it is a chain, many in this area are owned by a local husband and wife team, who take their restaurants very seriously. When you walk into Smashburger, you order at the counter as you would from a fast food restaurant, and then you are given a number to place on your table. A server brings the food to your table once it has been properly smashed (or cooked).

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The burgers start on a butter greaser grill to sear in a delicate butter flavor.  This butter flavor is seared into Angus certified beef, which is fresh (never frozen) and shaped into a loose ball.  The ball is then smashed with a special masher which caramelizes the burger’s bottom and brings its juices to the surface.  As each burger is cooked to perfection, a medley of spices are added to the top of it to bring out the burger’s flavor.

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My fella trying out the new kids meal with fried chicken and fries (and a chocolate milk drink). They also gave him a cup of BBQ sauce, which is his favorite.

The burger itself is then dressed in a variety of options from the traditional burger to avocado, bacon, cheddar cheese, blue cheese, Swiss cheese, onions, etc.  For a change of pace, make up your own burger, with any sauce you wish, add cheese, and etc to your liking.

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The sides at Smash burger are very good as well and includes fried pickles and light flavorful Smash fries.

All those all those options sound great for the adult patrons, but kids may not be as easily impressed. For them there is the kids menu, which includes chicken strips, now available in grilled or crispy, the kids mash burger, hot dog, or grilled cheese with your choice of sides including Musselman’s Unsweetened Squeezable Apple Sauce.  The newest additions to the kids menu are the better for you options available (the grilled chicken strips and the unsweetened apple sauce).

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I would suggest going and checking out a Smash Burger today, because not only is there a good burger with your name on it, but your kids will like it as well.
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Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament

 

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A feast for the eyes as well as the stomach, Medieval Times is a great show that the whole family can enjoy. For your moms and dads of little ones- no worries, the little ones won’t be afraid- the show is very tame (rated G!) while still offering tons of fun and action. Make sure you arrive early to give yourself time to check out the torture exhibit should you so desire- not recommended for kids, obviously. You can also (for an extra fee) have your child knighted for their birthday or other special occasion by the king in a special ceremony. My son was “knighted” at our recent visit, and it thrilled him!  It was a little hard for me to get a decent photo (parents jostling), but no worries, because you are given a photo keepsake afterward.  It is brought right to your table.  Your child’s name is also announced at dinnertime, and everyone claps for him or her, it’s very cute.

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Launched in Spain in 1973, and in the USA just 10 years later, it is widely regarded as the longest running and most popular dinner attraction in North America- and I have to concur. During this 2 hour live performance, you and your family will experience a glimpse back in time- when knights defended the realm, and chivalry was not dead.
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Diggerland – Family Fun in NJ

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A fleet of amphibious 8-wheeled black-and-yellow vehicles, otherwise known as ARGOs, may be a rare site to see in the United States. Perhaps more rare, would be children and their families operating the all-terrain machines on an off road course.

The Argos are added as Diggerland’s 25th attraction, following the World’s Fastest Backhoe and JCB WorkMax UTVs that were introduced earlier in the construction theme park’s second season.

“The ARGO furthers our goal of providing one-of-a-kind entertainment for families visiting our park,” said Yan Girlya, co-owner of Diggerland USA. “Diggerland is the only place in America where kids and their families can operate heavy equipment; and now we’re the only place you can get behind the wheel of an ARGO.”

The construction-themed adventure park covers 14 acres of centrally located land in Camden County, NJ and offers visitors the opportunity to operate full size excavators, dumper trucks, and backhoes among a range of other heavy machinery in a safe, family-friendly environment.

Guests can operate the ARGOs as early as Friday, June 19 as Diggerland is now open everyday through Labor Day for the summer. The newest attraction seats four people; three guests and an operator and is driven along a fixed course in the park.

“We are always looking to add new attractions to our park,” said Ilya Girlya, co-owner of Diggerland USA. “We instantly knew the ARGO was a must-have. It’s like nothing we’ve ever seen before and we’re very excited to give our guests the chance to drive them.”

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Visit Diggerland with your crew today!  

Stay at Crystal Springs Resort

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Photo via Crystal Springs

 

Sometimes, you want to get away, but maybe not too far away- that’s when a place like  Crystal Springs Resort is just the thing.  It’s close to home, but not too close, and has all sorts of fun activities and things to do, both right on property and very nearby.  It is a great NJ vacation destination, in the New York Metro area and less then an hour from New York City (traffic free). It is open all four seasons, and has plenty to do year round as well.  The perfect nearby getaways!
20150707_091336My son and I stayed in a very nice room, with a king bed and a couch sleeper sofa.  There was a balcony off the room, a fireplace, a small countertop and refrigerator, desk, kitchen table and chairs, and a large bathroom.  We got in on the later side, and headed up for dinner after check in.   At Kites, the restuaunt right in the main area (right above the check in and lobby), my son and I ordered dinner.  The restaurant was pretty empty, but the wait was not short.  I’m not sure if this is typical, but be aware if you are hungry or have hungry kids- get there a little early.  The food was very good (one thing you really need to order are the parmesan cheese fries-  just delicious), if a bit on the pricey side.  There was also a kids menu, which is always a bonus for parents.   The tables are covered with white paper, so bring crayons with you as well so your kids can color.

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The room was easy to get to, and my son and I had no trouble finding it.  The parking lot (free parking) is also quite nearby. The hotel had quite a few indoor and outdoor pools, so many it seemed hard to count, and a few actually flowed into one another.  There were also several hot tubs, jacuzzis, steam rooms, and a cold pool for refreshing yourself afterward.  There was also a splash park for the younger kids, which my son loved.  The pools were beautiful, and some had exercise classes you can take right in the main pool.

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The hotel has a large gym, basketball court, racquetball room, and more.  It a great place for being active with the family .  In addition, Action Park is right down the street (an amazing and fun waterpark) and the hotel offers free shuttles for you and your family.  There are also art villages, farmers markets, skiing, and more.  Check out all the area attractions.

There are some great packages as well, that will save you and your family some cash when you book.

Stay 2 nights and receive the 2nd night at 50% off
Stay 3 nights and receive the 3rd night free!
Stay mid-week and enjoy up to $225 in resort-wide credit
Stay one night at Grand Cascades or Minerals and receive $50 in resort credit
Stay two nights at Grand Cascades or Minerals and receive $150 resort credit
Stay three nights at Grand Cascades or Minerals and receive $225 in resort credit

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Crystal Springs Resort offers a breadth, uniqueness and level of amenities not found elsewhere in the region, including:
-3 unique upscale lodging properties highlighted by the sophisticated Grand Cascades
Lodge
-6 award-winning golf courses (Ballyowen, Black Bear, Cascades, Crystal Springs, Minerals,
Wild Turkey) including NJ’s 1 rated Ballyowen
-2 luxury spas – Reflections and Elements, voted in top 100 Spas of America
-135,000 bottle wine cellar of Restaurant Latour (“Excellent” – The New York Times; 4 stars –
The Star Ledger; Grand Award winner since 2006 – Wine Spectator)
-10,000 sq. ft Tropical Biosphere Pool Complex at Grand Cascades Lodge and multiple
indoor/outdoor nature pools throughout the resort
-The exciting Adventure Center, featuring archery, hiking, canoeing, fishing, kayaking,
paddle boarding, water trampoline and lounges, and horseback riding in a mountaintop
setting with pristine lake

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Photo via Crystal Springs

 

Spa
For the widest selection of treatments and appointment times, we recommend reserving your spa services at least two weeks prior to your visit. Please allow additional notice when booking for groups, holidays and weekends. Special packages and arrangements can be made for wedding parties and baby showers. If your rate plan indicates you have a Reflections Spa & Stay or a Girlfriends’ Getaway package, $130 is allocated per adult. If your rate plan indicates you have an Elements Spa & Stay, $110 is allocated per adult. If you book additional treatments or upgrade your treatment, you will be responsible for the difference.

Golf
Tee times may be booked as far in advance as desired for the current golf season. Tee times are subject to change if there is a conflict with an outing or event. Modifications to course, date, day and tee time may affect your package pricing. Vouchers must be obtained from the hotel front desk prior to checking in at the golf course.

Enhance Your Stay

  • Room upgrades starting at $40
  • Late Check-Out $50
  • Add an amenity basket – such as chocolate covered strawberries, bottle of wine, etc
  • Add a spa treatment
  • Add a round of Golf or FootGolf
  • Add ski tickets, snowtubing, waterpark or bikepark – depending on the season

To add any of these enhancements, call 855.665.7800; or inquire at the Front Desk.

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Minerals Sports Club
Minerals Sports Club usage is included with your stay. Be advised that there are specific policies/hours and prohibited uses for children under 18 years of age. Please call 855.665.7800 X2 for questions or details.

Dining At The Resorts at Crystal Springs
For your dining pleasure, we offer 12 unique restaurants, bistros, pubs, and cafes. Your dining experiences at the Resort will make for delicious memories. It is strongly recommended that reservations for dining be made in advance to ensure availability. For dining reservations call 855.665.7800.

Golf At The Resorts at Crystal Springs
The Resort offers an unparalleled golf experience within the Garden State. No other resort in the Northeast has seven award-winning golf courses, all located within a five-mile radius. Tee times for Resort guests can be made in advance by calling 855.665.7800.

Area Attractions
Discover a world of fun-filled family entertainment near The Resorts at Crystal Springs.

Call and book your stay now, it is the perfect alternative to a family staycation.

What Are You Doing Over Holiday Break? Head to the Liberty Science Center!

Not only is the Liberty Science Center a whole lot of enjoyment, but it will also keep the kid’s brains engaged while they are off from school.  Don’t worry- they will be having so much fun they won’t notice that they are learning things.  With the kids soon to be out of school for holiday break (in general driving you stark raving mad, especially since you can’t let them outside as long as you might in warmer months), you will be glad to have a day out at the Liberty Science Center.

Liberty Science CenterThe kiddos had such a good time- we easily could have spent even longer at the LSC, but by 4:30 mom and dad were ready to call it a day.   (We got there at 11 am, so it was a fairly long day.)  There are tons of activities and exhibits, in a bunch of different genres- animal science, biology, earth science, working out puzzles and mind twisters, ecology, weather, music- if you can think of it, they have it.  They even have live animals, reptiles, and aquariums.  There is also plenty of physical activity for the kids to engage in.

IMAG0593One of the newest fun activities is the Infinity Climber. The only one like it in the world, it is suspended several floors up and relies on just one point of contact for stability and suspension. Kids and adults can climb into it and go crazy- find their way up and down and through- in any way they desire.

About the “Infinity Climber”

The “Infinity Climber” is a free-form, three dimensional, multi-story climbing structure created for children. Designed by Spencer Luckey, the sculpture is made out of bent plywood platforms that are suspended by steel pipes and cables. Located in the large atrium of the Liberty Science Center, visitors have the opportunity to climb, crawl, and balance through this extraordinary experience in a safe, but physically challenging environment designed to promote sensorimotor learning.
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