When I was a child I spent every other weekend in the Catskills with my grandparents, and I loved driving down the winding roads, and looking at the beautiful lush green mountains. We use to frequent Drive INN Movies, our favorite restaurant called THE PLACE where we would get root beer floats and the root beer came in a glass bottle. We would go to Zoom Floom, a water park, Carsin City, a old time Western town, and Howe Caverns. Most of these places have closed, but Howe Caverns has stood the test of time and is not only still around but THRIVING! I was very nostalgic this summer and decided we had to go back to my old stomping grounds so of course Howes Cavern was on our list of must sees.
My son is very into rocks. I guess it is a boy thing, or maybe the Jeweler gene for my father and grandfather have passed down to him but he is all about precious stones, mineral formations, mining for gold whatever it is, he is reading about it, talking about it, collecting it. So I thought that he would enjoy traveling underground and walking through a real life cavern- a yea I was right!
Although there is more to do at the caverns these days then just the tour, like rolling around in a giant hamster ball down the mountain, or tower zip lines, rope courses, and an air jumper, which all look great- we only did the tour and the new mining exhibit!
Now they do not just have one tour they have several depending on what you are looking for. There is the adventure tour where you have to crawl through small spaces and travel to the largest room in the cavern, there is a flashlight tour- which is self explanatory, as well as a lantern tour. As I said I was nostalgic so we just did the regular 90 minute tour that I did as a child. You go into the main building and buy our ticket- and then head in to the first room where they give you a brief history of the caverns, which includes a talking manikin of Mr. Howe himself along with a very high production cartoon. It was a great little way to get familiarized with the awesomeness that awaits. after that you descend down an elevator (where they pack you in like sardines but don't worry you will be OK.) and go down 153 feet to the beginning of the tour. When you get off the elevator you are going to realize it is COLD. Yes down there it i a crisp 52 degrees so make sure to wear a sweater. Something that is very welcome in the middle of a heat wave! We had the cutest tour Guide. I forgot his name but for the purposes of this review we will call him J. ( Hi J, sorry I forgot your name! he had glasses, curly hair and he told us a story about how he fell into the water when he was rowing the boat and it was adorable.!) He looked young, and was young but boy did he know his stuff. he walked us through the amazing splendor that is Howe Caverns and not only described exactly what we were seeing with an amazing amount of detail but also with enough information that he could answer any questions thrown at him. He also told us about his adventures down in the caves including the previously stated mistake when he feel in, the water. Other than being wet and cold he was fine and everyone had a fun laugh. I have to say that this is one of those natural wonders that you just have to experience. I cannot describe what it actually felt like to be in the cave other than feeling like it was a profound privilege to be there. It was just so beautiful. I have to say that my favorite part of the tour however was the boat ride on the river. The boats that were brought down in pieces and assembled in the cave. They are steered by the guides who use their hands to guide the boats by pushing and pulling them off of the cave walls. It was reminiscent to that one scene in Will Wonka (you better know what I am talking about) except minus the creepy monologue and images of centerpieces.
After the tour ends you are brought back up via the elevator to the main lobby of the main building where you can purchase tickets to the other amenities, have lunch at the cafe, or go shopping in the gift store. We chose to eat, so we got one order of chicken fingers and fries, Mike got the lunch special with was Fish and Chips for $5.00! It was huge and we went around back to eat outside. There is a row of picnic tables that are right by the most amazing view of the mountains, definitely a must stop. After lunch we crossed the parking lot to the mining area. Inside the building they have some crystals and fossils on display for your viewing pleasure and a cashier where you buy a bag of dirt- yes dirt. After you buy the dirt they will give you a gem guide and you are sent back outside where there is running water and a sifter. You pour your dirt into the sifter and then gently place it in the water to reveal hidden gem stones. For a kid like mine who is super into gems this was a big deal! There are also some fossils like shark teeth to be found too if you are really lucky. For $12.00 this was definitely worth the experience.
Even though we didn't experience everything Howes Cavern has to offer, we still spent over four hours there, and had an amazing time. I got the nostalgic experience I was craving and my son experience something truly special for the first time. A must see for everyone go to the offical website to get all the details!
How did we exist before this awesome invention! Poorly is the answer, This adorable portable nipple holder not only holds the fresh sterile nipples and bands, but also has a separate storage system on the bottom for the dirty nipple and collars. Making it sooo much easier when you are on the go. Now instead of packing several protective containers for the nipples you only need one or two holders, and the nipple caddy bam! you have enough supplies for six feedings. Great for road trips, visits to grandparents, or just every day on the go traveling. Honestly I am angry I didn't think of it myself! You can buy The Nipple Caddy for $14.95 and I personally believe that it is worth every dollar. Even for simple storage in my cabinets, it has been a game changer and I think you will feel the same! So run do not walk your fingers over to Amazon where they are ready for purchase!
Jenga is a favorite pastime in our house, I have had my Nightmare Before Christmas set for ten years and counting- as I know it is in many other households. As board games regain popularity, it is nice to know that our old favorites keep thriving and keep growing- and in Jenga Giants case quite literally! Bring Jenga off the tabletop and onto the lawn with its newest version ! Yes we are talking about THE largest authentic hardwood Jenga game ever sold and you can have one for your next BBQ.
At first setup the game starts off at two feet- that is the size of a toddler! With stone cold professionals it can reach the high of FIVE feet! Five! Each one of the 52 Jenga blocks are 15 times the volume of a regular size game piece, think of that. The complete set also includes a hefty carrying case as well as the Jenga SPORTS Tournament Charts for the professional competitor in all of us!
Now that we have the legalistic's down let me explain to you why you need this is your life. Other than being a five foot Jenga game- which I think everyone needs- this is the perfect game for any outdoor occasion- Kids party, JENGA, BBQ- OK lets play Jenga, oh impromptu gathering by the pool hey lets play some JENGA, Camping? Lets bring JENGA! It's quite simple when you pull out the large orange bag and open it, you are opening a huge bag of fun! The game play is about 15 times more fun because the higher you go the higher you want to go. A lot of the time you are working WITH each other just so you can see how far you can go before it topples. Oh and the toppling, nothing brings a smile to everyone's face- adults and kids- a like than a tower toppling down. Even if it also brings the fresh frustration of the loss of the game.
The funny thing is you would think it would be less difficult to play, being the pieces are larger- at least I did- but that is not the truth is it? The reality is the weight of the pieces as well as the length give the game the same if not more intense game play that you get with your normal tabletop game version.
To Actually play the game I suggest a small TV tray type surface. If you place it directly on the ground it is a little to low to bend- for us old folks. as well as protects the pieces from the dew on the lawn. Also keep in mind that when the Jenga falls- it is HEAVY! Yea five feet of Blocks makes a big boom! So make sure there is plenty of non breakable, all around the area as well!
I could go on and on, but the truth of the matter is this, if you love Jenga, if you want to play for fun or up your competitive spirit this is the game for you. Since getting it two weeks ago we have played every other day, with repeat players as well as guests dying to play the minute they see it on the lawn. There is something that draws you to it, and that something is just plain fun. Its just fun! So my suggestion, go get it! You have nothing to lose and plenty of smiles and laughter to gain!
This game was given to TMG for the purpose of review- however all opinions are our own
Have you ever wonder what it felt like to be under the sea? Well with the magic of lights and film you now can experience it- without even getting wet! The National Geographic Encounter which home is in the fabulous Times Square is the perfect way to spend a jaw dropping afternoon in New York City.
As you descend the escalator down to the attractions entrance you will be put in a line with numerous giant Nat. Geo. Covers that you can insert yourself in which is quite fun, as are the trivia questions on the various screens all which makes the wait- which is quite brief, enjoyable. The tickets are timed so that the experience is not over-packed and every person can truly enjoy their time under the sea instead of being packed in like a bunch of sardines (see what I did there?). You will be herded into the introduction room that has various screens with lifelike animations of the under world you are going to be visiting, there your host will give you some facts, some rules and then reminiscent to Willy Wonka opening up the doors to his chocolate room, the doors will open- but instead of chocolate you will have a feast for your eyes. All along the floor as well as on the wall you will see as well as feel (with that tricky filming magic) that you have been dumped onto the floor of the ocean! There are small gatherings of fish swimming around your feet that scatter when you stomp. The floor with its moving tide makes you feel as if you are being pushed forward and back. Honestly you KNOW you have your feet firmly on the floor, but your mind is still convinced that you are swaying- fantastic! Guys, I honestly do not know how to express it in words. It left me speechless Wtith words like ooooh and ahhh and Oh MY GAWD being the only expressions able to leave my lips. My son had the same reaction all while jumping and splashing around the ocean floor. On the wall you will see schools of various tropical fish as well as sharks which look so realistic you would not even know (if you didn't know, ya know?) that you were looking at digital images instead of a professional aquarium set up. Thinking about it now all I want to do is go back and visit again- it was that amazing.
At this point in my review- I am torn. For most venues you see I have no issue telling you about all the amazing things you will see inside, but for this particular venue I think I will have to depart from my previous outlines. You see, I do not want to spoil it for you, and I want you to not spoil it for yourself. I am just SO excited for everyone to see it that I cannot bring myself to go exhibit to exhibit to give it away. So excuse the vagueness, but I promise you it is for the best.
The part I have shared with you I believe adequately shows what you have in-store for yourself and your family. I will go as far to say that the wonderment extends throughout the entire exploration, You will find more of the same visual spectacles as when you first walked in, along with some 3d visuals as well. You will find yourself walking through a coral reef, playing with sea lions and watching an epic submerged battle. On more than one occasion you will literally feel that you are in the water (no no you do not need an umbrella no worries) you will be able to interact with your surroundings, and in a
whole have a wonderful time. So please heed my advice, run do not walk to this amazing exhibit. Be immersed in its magic, and maybe think to yourself- should this be the way we experince aquariums in the future?
For more information and to buy tickets please visit the official website: https://natgeoencounter.com/
Enjoy your time off with some family fun! Here are our top listed events, but remember there are weekly events listed on our calendar- click here to see whats going on! Remember to always check with the venue for availability and to make sure the event is going on!
Think Up! Old Westbury Whodunits: Scavenger Hunt
Events are including with admission
Remember to look at your local libary to see if you have a pass available!
Old Westbury Gardens
71 Westbury Road
Old Westbury, NY
Saturday And Sunday
Jones Beach Air Show!
Mars Rover at the Long Island Explorium
Hands on workshop at 2pm promomting art, math literacy, science and tec!
$5.00 per person
Long Island Explorium
101 East Broadway
Port Jefferson, NY 11777
Merrick Tain Station
Levittown Carnival Grounds
3025 Hempstead Turnpike
Levittown, NY 11756
Memorial Day Family Carnival
East Ent Arts Street Painting Festival
Beautiful Street morals appear on this annual one day event
East Main Street between Roanoke Avenue and East Street
Masked Pajama Breakfast at United Skates of America
$20 per adult and $15 per kid, kids under 2 are free. Full breakfast buffet with PJ Mask Characters and Roller Skating
United Skates of America
1276 Hicksville Rd.
Seaford, NY 11783
We here at the Mommy's Guide have had a hard year. We have had losses in our family, that took us by surprise, so unfortunately we were on a little bit of a stalling period... But baby we are back! Events are listed reviews are being written and we will have the must haves and have not's coming to you soon! Thanks for your patience- your emails of concern and the love you have sent our way at TMG.
Games For The Holidays That Will Last All Year Round!
As you are all aware I love me so board games. I have a huge closet filled with all types, from children’s must haves to total adult chaos. But not Monopoly…. Don’t ever bring me a Monopoly board- bad thing happen when my family plays including such famous lines as “There are rules for a reason Jenn.” I’ll show you rules…. Anyway, off the point here. This holiday season I have four great games that are brand spanking new that are worth the money and have high replay value.
Another game from Ravensburger is that AMAZING… Let me say that again... AMAZING Harry Potter Pictopia! The ultimate family picture based trivia game. The game content is completely
Vampirina is the newest in the long line of Disney JR. television program hits and this game is going to blow up right beside it! Aged appropriately at 3 and up Spin and Go by TMG’s favorite WonderForge is a awesome twist on bingo that the lil’s will love! With brightly colored pictures of the cast as well as two spinners (we know how much the kiddos and adults love to spiiin) this game is easy enough that the kids will catch on quick but not too easy that they will lose interest. There is that fine line- that WonderForge gets every single time with all their games- it’s not easy guys but hey nail it! So, everyone spins to see where you can play on the board the kids need to match the color patter shape OR character in order place a piece, then if you spin on Spin Go Round triangle everyone switches spinners!
Reviewed by Maureen Aucone
Reviewed by Maureen Aucone