Wednesday, December 26, 2012

New York Historical Society Museum

New York Historical Society Museum
Child-friendly score: 7 (they have a children's area)
Discounted/free times: Friday from 6-8 p.m. is pay what you wish. It is free for Cool Culture Pass Members.
Money saved for going free: $25
Things to remember: Keep curious children away from buttons they can normally push.
My 4-year-old pushed the wheelchair access button for the theater in the middle of the show, while I was sitting two feet away and helping other children, and two museums workers rushed to inform us that was not acceptable--they looked at me like we'd done it on purpose for the entire time the doors were open. It was a very long 30-seconds.

Instead of going right when you get there, go to the children's floor last because they will love it.  Also, if you don't want to fork out the $7-9 coat check--as per my two second glance, they have little open cubbies to put your non-valuables.  It's where we put our empty pocketed coats.

They have a section for those that were in the orphanage and it plays recordings of dear orphans expressing a desire for a mommy and daddy and it just about melts your heart!

The New York Historical Society Museum has a movie that plays every thirty minutes (in the theater I mentioned earlier). We missed it due to hunger and the need to get home because it was snowing, but the kind woman that gave us our tickets told us that it was kid appropriate. She said there is a small section about 9/11, but nothing that could worry sensitive souls--like my kidlets.

They had a room of sculptures that looked like they would start talking and moving about the moment you looked away.  I couldn't help thinking that someday, if I have sculptures around my house, I would love some of those smiling, family gathering ones.

This is the reason you want to go the children's floor last, not only do they have an exciting scavenger hunt sometimes, they have this area where you put what you want to be and it labels a picture it takes of you and displays it for a few minutes to other museum patrons.  My son looks shocked that he is the president of tomorrow. :) 

The traditional rabbit fingers hat, compliments of R.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Mommy Poppins Blog Entry and Cool Culture Pass Received

Mommy Poppins has a great giveaway for today only. Check it out.

I am really excited to tell you, I got a 2012-2013 Cool Culture Family Pass (thanks to my pre-schooler's school) and I'm over-the-moon excited about it. It gives families of schools that are part of the program access to 90 museums in NYC.  How awesome is that?! I just want to go right now. One of them is 20 minutes away and I'm just itching to go . . .  because NYC is amazing and visiting the museums are one of the things I like to do the most.

Also, Christmas break is coming and you know what that means. I could either stay at home with the kidlets watching dear, but corny Christmas movies and refereeing family fights or we could be adventures absorbing the city museum by museum.  

Now which ones will we visit first?!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fort Magic Building Kit Contest Entry

Mommy Poppins is giving away a Fort Magic Building Kit. This is a contest entry to win it. :)  Today only. Want to try?!  Go here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mommy Poppins Contest Entry

Mommy Poppins is having a great giveaway!  They are giving away a box of toys from Toys "R" Us worth $242!  So go and sign up for a try to win!

Thanks Mommy Poppins for all you do!  We appreciate you!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Louis Armstrong House

Louis Armstrong "What a wonderful World" for your listening pleasure as you read.

Louis Armstrong House Link
Age appropriate:  9+, unless your little one is a jazz lover
Cost:  We went for free on the Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day Live
Time: About 1 hour-ish to walk through the whole museum
Photography: Not allowed in the house portion

This had to be one of my most favorite museums in all of NYC, if not my favorite.  It was not about all the places Mr. Armstrong played or all the famous people he met or even all the fans he had (though we all know he is legend).

This museum was about his family life.  It was about his amazing wife Lucille Wilson and Louis' life with her. It was about his love of music and how he devoured it and how he recorded everything (what a gift to the world!). He even recorded himself eating dinner with his wife.
Source--in their den 1970
It was about how Lucille Wilson Armstrong planned on getting a bigger home and hoped that the Corona, Queens one would be a starter home, but Louis loved the neighborhood so much (even though it changed a lot over and over) that they didn't want to move. It was how they wanted a house of the future. It was about their relationship with each other, their neighborhood, their home and even  to God.  Lucille was a devout Catholic and she had her own little special space set up with a little place to ponder, read, pray, knit and sew.
Many of the neighbors would come and sit on the front steps just to chat.  The neighbors protected the house from any vandalism throughout the years for the loving memory they have of the Armstrongs.  H, our tour guide, said that when Mr. Armstrong sang "It's a Wonderful World" he said that he pictured the faces of the neighbor children.
When inside the home, you can almost picture that the Armstrongs had just stepped out for a few minutes to get you a drink of water and you can hear them chatting to each other.  It's like you could sit and have a conversation with them, but you don't even have the desire to talk, you just want to watch and listen.  They laugh and tenderly correct each other in front of you and you can't help but smile and hope that someday your relationship with your dear one will be like that.  You can almost hear the doorbell ringing and the neighbor kids coming to ask of Louis could come play. . . almost.

The rooms were not roped off, except for two, they had a special rug they asked visitors to step on. It was difficult for my children not to want to touch everything, and they were watchful and kind. My dear husband, a great jazz musician, held my 4-year-old through the entire museum. I think I had a huge excited smile on my face the whole way through, because it gave me a whole new respect for the Armstrongs and just made me feel happy.

Go! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

If you're reading this and you can't go but you'd like to see photos of the inside, just do an image search--there are many photos of the inside on the internet or click on the source links of the photos above. I couldn't find photos of the prayer nook.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

NYC Fire Museum

The New York City Fire Museum is a wonderful, educational museum.  Not only does this gem offer a child-friendly fire simulation, but it houses hundreds of FDNY antiques it has been gathering since 1934.  

My personal favorite antique was a sign that read "Faithful and Fearless."  (I would really like that in my home some day).

You and your crew can try on the fireman's gear--all the way to the breathing mask and oxygen tank.

There were several beautiful fire engines, that may just make your child want to go and save souls from fires.

There were some mannequins completely dressed in fireman's gear so children know not to be scared of them. If children see them during a fire, they should follow the guy in the gear.

Before you go into the simulation they will have you watch a movie from Allstate. This movie was shown in schools in NYC and I think they showed it in schools when I was a kid.  It has some catchy music and succeeds in getting everyone excited about fire safety. If you'd like to use it in a family night or something you can find part one and part two.

Once in the simulation you will go into a faux-apartment into the faux-bedroom when faux-smoke will stream in through the door. They'll show the fire dangers, which in normal light appear harmless, but when the ultraviolet light it on you see all the dangers.

The volunteer fireman will talk you and your children through the process of escaping your home on fire.  A child will feel the door to see if it is hot or cold. If the door/handle is cold they will go out the door, if it were hot they would go out the window.  Then they open the door carefully. The room will be full of faux-smoke and the children will lead the way crawling and feeling along the wall to the exit out of the apartment. . . the description may not sound thrilling but the children will feel empowered knowing exactly what to do.

My four-year-old, after going to the museum ran into the kitchen and with gusto exclaimed, "Mom, if you catch on fire; stop, drop and roll." He proceeded to show me what to do in the next room.  It was a proud, validating moment.

The museum is not pay-what-you-wish and not free, except for once a year on September 11, to honor their fallen friends.  The museum is free to NYNJPA, DSNY, FDNY and NYPD and their family members, and to those that have the Cool Culture Pass as well as to active service members during the summer (part of the Blue Star Museums program). Visit their website: for more information.

This reminds me. . . I need to move my fire alarm further from the bathroom.

Monday, July 9, 2012

American Museum of Natural History

What to bring:  snacks, money for extra stuff at the store (like astronaut food), and a camera.

What to see: Everything you can--it is all amazing! My children always want to see the dinosaurs and the whale.

Extras: Try the food in the cafeteria, it's reasonably priced and pretty tasty.

Our favorite spot:  The Hall of Minerals is sometimes quiet (if you need a moment to breathe).  If you can, see the Easter Island Head, it is a great photo op. :)

To do before you go: rewatch Night at the Museum.  My kidlets loved telling me things they saw from the movie in the actual museum (though most of it has been redesigned for the storytelling part of the movie).

Little known fact:  they have a FREE toddler story time in the Discovery Room--with a theme from the museum. Afterward they take the children to see certain parts of the museum relating to the story they read.  My children adored this and they have activities in the room for children to take part in--digging for dinosaur bones; hats from different regions; etc.  Also, it is pay what you wish all the time. Thank you AMNH people!

Brooklyn Botanic Garden Spring Break Addendum

Oh the beauty of the cherry blossoms after winter; the excitement that is felt when one sees a lot of fish vying for a really weird thing they think is food; the anticipation of a picnic on green grass--when little is to be found; and the joy of being with good friends enjoying the amazing beauty to be found in Brooklyn, NY.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Come with me and you'll see into my New York City

Plans in the works:

Roosevelt Island Tram/Red bus ride/Dylan's Candy Bar
Luna Park
Met Museum--especially some exciting exhibits
The Moxie Spot
China Town (dumpling tasting)
Museum of Modern Art
Madison Square Park
Firehouse Museum
Governor's Island
FAO Schwarz
Toy's R Us Ferris Wheel
Skippy Jon Jones
NY Botanic Garden

Eek! I'm so excited. I will be posting some of the other fun things we did! :) Life is so fun when you live in the Big Apple.

I'm not going to give you the details of when we will be going where, but if you want to come or meet us some place, feel free to leave a comment (they are private and I will only publish them if you wish them to be public).


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Connecticut Sweeps Entry

New Inspiration-- Mille Fiori Favoriti.    This woman loves New York and her blog is amazing, complete with photos and words that warm my heart.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Spring Break Botanic Garden Visit

Any time my kids are out of school I feel like throwing a huge party and inviting all the people I know with children so we can celebrate having no school.  Then my head starts calculating and I visit all the popular children's activities blogs in my area searching for the perfect activity.   There are some activities that simply must be done more than once. And one of these is undeniably visiting the Brooklyn Botanic Garden during the Cherry Blossom Festival.  It is crowded, but the blossoms are divine and you feel like you're staring at heavenly pink clouds and then you walk over past the near-dormant rose garden to the vibrant and oh-so-good-smelling lilacs--which seem to jerk memories out of my head.

Going with good friends is always the way to do it.  Snacks are required for endurance, but not permitted on the grounds (there is a playground near the Northern entrance--which is quite inviting for playing/eating purposes).  Jackets, at that time are advisable, as well as a camera, wipes, and a preface to all children not to pick the flowers.  It is also helpful for parents to remind themselves to ever vigilant of keeping children near them and not allowing them to pull on branches or such because the gardeners will notice and they remind, sometimes abruptly, all patrons to respect the plants. 
S was very gentle with the plants--she wants to be a gardener.

This place is awesome!
Sweet lilacs! Your smell makes me happy!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Staten Island Children's Museum

 Have you ever been to the Staten Island Children's Museum?
You may want to know, economically speaking: The museum has several free days scattered throughout the year, usually on the days the children are out of school.  Check their website to see which days.
Things you need: snacks, camera, patience, baby wipes, normal supplies and water.
How long to expect to be there:  All day! 
How to make it more fun:  Use some pictures from the web or even this page and come up with a scavenger hunt--see if your kids can find the different things (see photos for examples).  
What to note:  There is parking about a block away. The Children's Museum is a difficult place to find and there are several entrances to the group of public buildings, so stop take a good look at the map inside the gates and find the place. 1000 Richmond Terrace is also the location of the Staten Island Botanical Garden and Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden . . . I think they also have a theater and some other things too.

Other things to look for:

The Chess Set
Bowling Pins
The Mantis

Bug on a Rock
Puppet Theater
Bug zoo
Fire Truck

Sound Board