Since having my girls, my husband and I have only taken 3 short weekend trips away from home. Six nights. Four years. Exactly six times where I have slept past 7:30 in the morning. Now before you call me a loser… just wait… it gets even worse. Those six nights were all spent at the exact same place. A place which is less than a two-hour drive from our house!
But look – it’s not that we are afraid to leave our children with the grandparents for a few days – it’s just that we really love going here and honestly, when it comes right down to it… vacation for us at this juncture in our lives means sleeping past 7am, eating well, taking a bath without someone banging on the door, and long stretches of quiet. (more…)
This past weekend we did a Saturday field trip to New Jersey to a place called Turtle Back Zoo. A quick 14 mile drive from lower Manhattan, the large 15-acre zoo has over 850 animals and it was a truly incredible place to spend the afternoon. Not only was I blown away by the huge selection of animals but I also loved that they had large and open natural spaces to roam around in. It almost felt like visiting a giant rural farm and I was surprised at times how close you could actually get to the animals.
When you are done checking out all the animals there are a bunch of other great things to do: a Carousel, a climbing area with slides, pony rides, even an old-fashioned train that takes you on a five minute ride around a nearby reservoir. We loved every second of our visit and on a sunny weekend day it wasn’t crowded at all! Heads up: If your kids complain about walking (like mine constantly do) definitely bring a stroller. You can also rent cute little wagons for $7.00. The one major downside is the café, which is sadly chock full of really gross fast-food so be sure to pack a lunch. Dare I say it… New Jersey wins again, first with a great museum and now with a zoo!
I kid. I am after all a New Yorker and it’s in my DNA to pick on New Jersey. Truth be told however, I find myself going there quite often with my kids on day trips. One of my very favorite go-to spots is the Liberty Science Center, which (dare I say) blows all of the kid’s museums in NYC out of the water. There are tons of things to do there and there is a separate contained Toddler play area with animal displays and all sorts of things to touch and climb on. One of our personal favorite exhibits is “My Hudson Home” which has giant tanks filled with fish and turtles and a water table with sand to scoop. It appeals to all ages beyond the toddler years and there is something for everyone to enjoy. The place is absolutely immaculate to boot and they have an incredible cafeteria with organic and healthy food for adults and children. Go early or late afternoon to avoid the school crowds and I guarantee a good time for all. Please note: bring blindfold for when you leave if you want to avoid the gift shop.