A few years ago, my friend visited the Hot Air Balloon Festival in New Jersey at the Solberg Airport. If you read my last blog, then you know NYers will cross a bridge or drive through a tunnel for a little fun--NJ is literally right next door. Anyway, she vlogged her trip and I made a mental note to visit the festival next year. Well, next year came around (2019) and I missed it. Then, I said I was surely going to make it “next year”. That didn’t happen because the world was on a pandemic pause in 2020. It’s finally 2021--I know, it’s been years! But better late than never.
Last weekend, the children and I left home for another adventure heading to Readington, NJ. The children were beyond excited when they found out we were going to a hot air balloon festival. The first question was, “Are we going to ride in a hot air balloon?” and, sadly, I had to break the bad news that we were not going to ride in the balloons.
When we arrived at the festival, I immediately realized that the festival offered a little more than hot air balloons. I was aware about the stage for performers because Laurie Berkner, a children’s musician, was scheduled to perform. My son no longer had an interest in the balloons because he spotted a bouncy house and it was over from there. I lost track of how many times I had to reassure him we would visit the bouncy house, but he would have to wait until AFTER the balloon ascension. If you have children then you know telling young children to wait a few minutes is like waiting an eternity.
The balloons were finally ready to go and it was such a cool experience to see so many hot air balloons taking off into the air. My daughter couldn’t get enough of it and she patiently waited for the unicorn hot air balloon to rise. The balloon show lasted about 20 minutes. What do you think was happening with my son? He was still asking about the bouncy house *sheesh*.
Next up, the coveted bouncy house. It cheered him up and that was the highlight of his night. When they were done with the bouncy house, I was ready to head home, but then I realized in the distance there was much more going on than bouncy houses. It was a legit festival (you may use the word carnival). We walked about 5 minutes to go further in and there were food trucks and rides. That was a game changer for the kiddos.
We stayed and they had the time of their lives on the rides. My daughter was so brave! She went on rides that I would not have gone on. I am not not that adventurous. I am the official bag holder when I visit amusement parks. *big laugh*
The festival ended with a firework show. Overall, the weather was great and my children had a great time at the hot air balloon festival. Mission accomplished. We will be returning next year. Have you ever experienced a hot air balloon ride? Let me know.
This year, I saw a lot of my friends posting pictures about strawberry picking and I wanted to get in on the fun because I love all things outdoors, and I knew my children would enjoy it, especially my son who loves strawberries. Unfortunately, by the time I made my phone calls to go strawberry picking, I missed the season. Bummer! There's always next year now that I know the official start and end of the season.
I did, however, find out that blueberries are in season in the month of July. I quickly put it on my calendar and loaded the kiddos up on a hot Saturday morning. When we arrived at Snyder's Farm, located in New Jersey, it was HOT!
Living in NYC would requires a little driving, sometimes over a bridge or through a tunnel if you want to do any kind of fruit picking (apple, strawberry, blueberry, etc). In my opinion, there aren’t many places in NYC. If you do find a place, it usually far out on Long Island or heading upstate. I’ve driven all the way upstate to take my children apple picking, but it wasn’t a day trip. We visited when we had a 3 day weekend from school.
I’ve also visited farms in NJ in the past, which is more convenient because it’s a day trip and I‘ll be home within an hour or two depending on how far I wanted to drive. There are so many options in NJ, so a day trip is worth it.
When we arrived at Snyder's Farm, the children were excited to pick blueberries, that is until my son saw a bug. It was over from there. He doesn't like anything bug-ish. Then, he started complaining about the heat and how tired his legs were. In a matter of fact tone, I told him we were not going home. If you have multiple children, then you can probably relate. One child is adventurous and the other is against all things outdoors. Fortunately for me, my son will do most outdoor activities just as long as you keep all the bugs away.
The farm was very lowkey and didn't have many people there which works out for Covid-19 guidelines. I imagine it will get very busy in the fall during apple picking season. We spent about 30 minutes picking blueberries and the cost was very cheap--just under $4.
Of course we didn't go home after that because a nice lady by the name of Janet who conveniently recommended the ice cream aloud. There's no way I'd be able to have a quiet car ride home without the mentioned ice cream--thanks, Janet. Hahaha. We found a shady area to cool off and eat strawberry ice cream. I typically don't like strawberry ice cream, but Snyder's wasn't bad at all.
Before leaving, we spent time taking pictures, because let's face it, who could resist taking photos on this oversized chair?
Just when I thought we were leaving, my daughter wanted to pick flowers. You can bring your own shears or rent a pair. She opted for 6 Zinnias and they looked beautiful on on dining table.
Overall, we had a great time at Snyder's Farm and we will return for their Fall Harvest. It will be a sort of do-over for my son who wanted a tractor ride sooo bad, but it wasn't available. I have to redeem my cool mom points. Stay tuned for that blog post.
Have you ever visited a museum with your children and spend a lot time telling them, “Don't’ touch that!” “Be careful”. If you’re a parent, then you know exactly what I am talking about because no one wants to be responsible for broken exhibit pieces. But when you visit places that are geared towards children and their little touchy hands, then it eases the stress away. I love taking my children to places where they are able to TOUCH EVERYTHING! We recently visited the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ and I must say, they had a blast.
So, let me give you the details. If you live in NYC/NJ, I would highly recommend paying a visit to the Liberty Science Center (LSC). Living in NYC would require crossing a bridge or driving through a tunnel depending on your location and a pricey toll---NYC has really high tolls *eyes roll*.
When we arrived at LSC, the kiddos were excited about the car displayed right outside of the center. They had a thousand questions about it and wanted a similar family car.- HAHAHA.
Once inside, they were ready to run. The entrance has a nice faux grass step and repeat with a dinosaur for photos. Of course, we snapped a few---okay, I lied---I took A LOT of pictures before moving on. 😆
Liberty Science has 4 floors of interactive exhibits. Here are some of the exhibits that we visited:
Hoberman Sphere is what you’ll see before right before the staircase. It is a large metal ball that expands. Watch the short video clip below.
Hot Wheels- Every child received a hot wheel car before entering the room to use on the many ramps in the room. There was even a mock racetrack to change tires and fuel up with all the sound effects.
Infinity Climber is a suspended climbing gym. My daughter was very excited about exploring this.
Making Mammoths- be sure to stop here. My son loved the giant wooly mammoth replica.
Block Party- a room filled with large blocks for little engineers. My son made a river with his set of blocks.
Pixel Art- a large display with color wheels that you can turn to change the colors.
Communication- This exhibit explains how we express ourselves and the origin of language. It explains ways to communicate such as Braille and using a speaking valve. Very informative exhibit about language, hearing, and seeing.
Dinosaurs- True or False. Each door had a statement and you had to open to find out if the statement is true or false.
So, there you have it. That’s our visit after 4 hours of exploration. There was so much to explore and some of it didn't even make it to this blog. It was well worth the ticket price because the children had an amazing time in all exhibits. I think it is a great place for children ages 4-12. If you're ever in the NYC/NJ region, carve out time to visit Liberty Science Center.
Hi, I am Odessa. I'm a mom of two wonderful children and a teacher. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education and a Master of Science in Childhood Education with over 10 years of PreK and Kindergarten experience. I am a lover of all things literacy for children and their curiosity of the world. Get comfy and click around my site. I hope you find something you'll like, and something your kids will love! P.S. Akwaaba means 'welcome' :)
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