Welcome to the Mommy's (and Daddy's) Guide!
Here we post exciting things for parents that are inexpensive,
free (our favorite), or so awesome that it doesn't matter
how much it costs!We list the week's events and places
to go, review the ones we've gone to, and tell you about
the ideas we think are important as parents.We are based
in Lynbrook NY and our listings are always local- mostly
Long Island (usually Nassau County), sometimes the city,
always New York! We hope you enjoy the site, and comments
and suggestions are loved by us so feel free to
tell us what you think!

Reviews of Events and Venues!

                                  

     Soul Doctor, the new hit musical playing at the Circle in the Square Theater will blow you away.  Based upon the life of the "Rabbi Rock Star", the controversial Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach.  His life's journey is brought to the stage in an array of beautifully choreographed musical numbers that had you clapping and dancing in your seats from the moment the curtain rose.  The music playing blanketed everyone in the theater in an array of music that flowed through the room.  The performers roamed freely up and down the aisles using the uniqueness of the theater to its full advantage, dancing and singing to a mixture of tunes that made this Rabbi famous.

     The Carlebach family had to flee from Nazi Germany to America when Shlomo was just a boy. His father runs a small temple that has a hard time to bring in a congregation.  Shlomo fights within himself to follow his family's wishes to be a traditional Rabbi, to keep "the word alive" in the traditional way, while yearning to break away from those same traditions that confine him.  His dream is to bring music to the temple but does not know how to combine his two passions in a way that would work. During this journey of self discovery he forms an unlikely friendship with Nina Simone. Simone, who was known as the "High Priestess" of soul at the time, gives Shlomo the strength and inspiration to follow his dream and to spread the message of  his God in his own way.

     Eric Anderson, who played Shlomo, was an absolute sensation, turning the soft spoken Rabbi into a self reliant leader of a phenomenon in the span of two and a half hours was nothing short of a miracle.  He played the role as if he was Shlomo reincarnated and sang inspiration with every note.  When he would start singing beginning in a soft chant like melody and then literally jumping up and filling himself with the music you found yourself gripping your chair or jumping right along with him.
     Amber Iman who played Nina was incredible. In her retelling of the hardships that Nina endured during the civil rights movement she captivated the audience and brought some to tears. Her singing transported you to the time where those songs were sung, and she felt every word she sang and made you feel it as well. There was no one better at making a connection with the audience than Ms.Iman.
     Between the two leading actors and the amazing talent of the supporting cast, this show transported you through time and places with minimal amount of scenery and a overwhelming amount of heart and soul. The tale of Shlomo is an inspirational one-whether you knew of him before you went to see the play or left there just meeting him, you will have the same experience- utter and total admiration for the story, the cast and the music.

     I want to thank Culture Mom Media for giving us the chance to see and review this wonderful play. All opinions are my own, I truly did love every second of this play- if you hadn't noticed!

For more information please visit the Offical Broadway Page for Soul Doctor and follow them on Twitter @Souldoctor

      Amish Village is yet another great attraction that Lancaster County holds to the scores of visitors that go every year.  This tour begins in a house that was once inhabited by an Amish family and is filled with tons of information about this intriguing society of people. You are lead on a guided tour through the house itself. Our tour guide Kandy was amazingly knowledgeable on the topic having lived in the area all her life and having many Amish friends.  We were given a brief history of the Amish as well as shown what you would find in an Amish house. One thing is certain among the population of Amish in Lancaster (around 30,000) the one thing you will not find in the home is something that is NOT useful.  There are no frills in an Amish house so if they don't need it they won't have it.


     Walking from room to room Kandy described what you find in a typical Amish household of a family of eight- yeah eight I can't even handle my son and my husband so I can't even imagine. The kitchen is the heart of the home and although they do not use electricity they find ways to make their lives a little easier.  The Amish do use propane tanks that will light the room using a lamp adapted for that use as well as holding tanks for water which they can pump in.  They also use various hydraulic air machines to power small appliances. What I found the most interesting was why the Amish don't use electricity or gas lines. It's not the technology so much that bothers them than the fact that it is connected to every house, store, and street. They do not want to be connected to the "outside" world and this is a major connection. It was something I never knew and I walked out of the tour talking about the logic behind it with my family.
      The tour ends in the basement where Kandy held an open forum for questions. She was so amazing and kind spoken that no one felt afraid to ask her anything and she was soon bombarded with questions! Amazingly enough she had a answer to every single one. After the tour you are poured into a nice property filled with farm animals, miniature horses, and a couple of general stores.  You will find scores of  homemade goods including the famous shoo fly pie that my husband adores. There is a beautiful playground as well as chickens to feed, a covered bridge, and carriages you can hang out on and take pictures with. It is a wonderful way to spend the day; learn about a different culture right here in the midst of America and spend time in a beautiful area with your family.









Meeting A Baby T-Rex At Field Staion Dinosaurs! 






We had the time of our prehistoric lives over at Feld Sation: Dinosaurs a few weeks back, and if you haven't heard of this great New Jersey attraction, it is a park filled with 32 animatronic life sized dinosaurs! From the moment you walk in until the moment you leave you will encounter a dinosaur from all different
periods, built to scale- its's crazy! Get your passport, that serves as your ticket and try to collect all the stamps, stop by all the dinos or watch and participate in one of the many presentations and workshops that are spread throughout the whole park.  With the latest science utilized, you and your kids will be learning at every turn (but they will be so busy they may not even notice!) which is the best kind of entertainment in my book!  Every single dino is built to specific scientific specifications, making sure that you are seeing an authentic copy of the prehistoric giants. Some roar as you approach while others just kind of hang out, but they all have you going "Wow" and let me tell you it is a Christmas card lover's dream. With so many picturesque spots on this twenty acre Meadowland landscape that just happens to have lets say a giant T-Rex in the background, or a ninety foot long Argentinosaurus, which is the largest animatronic dinosaur ever made~ take that second cousin Ruthie with your matching sweaters! BooYA!  My tip for the trip, make sure you do not miss meeting the baby T-Rex, or watching Dinosaurs Alive 3D!  Just take a look at the picture as to why you should not miss meeting the baby T-Rex (amazing).  As for the Dinosaurs Alive 3D, this is a great flick for older kids that are interested in learning more about dinos, as well as getting some awesome 3D action. Remember to have a great time and go with it, because baby you are going to travel back in time!   -Jenny


     I'm not sure exactly what "booya" means, but I'm sure a picture with lifelike dinosaurs beats a picture with matching holiday sweaters. My family joined Jenny's family on this adventure, and we loved it as well!  The park is set up like a camp, making you feel like you are in Jurassic Park. The dinosaurs are all scientifically accurate models, with descriptive signs nearby featuring information on each one. Warning: the first one to greet you upon entry is a roaring carnivore.  There is a small food court (or kiosk really) but the menu does feature veggie burgers as an option so I was happy. Coffee is available in another area. You may also bring a picnic lunch if you wish.  The park was very nice and large, and since I have a bird-watching family, I'll include that there are many opportunities to view some birds along with the dinos! Some of the featured activities are: Dinosaur Dance Party (a hit with the little ones!), Dinosaurs Alive! 3D movie (may be scary for young viewers, and also quite loud), and Dino Whodunit? (and interesting mystery show about who killed the dinosaurs), among many others. I recommend this place to anyone interested in dinosaurs! The park is located at One Dinosaur Way (Ha!), Secaucus NJ 07094.  The  phone number is (855)999-9010.  You can visit their website at fieldstationdinosaurs.com. -Christina










                                                                Sesame Place "Dine With Me"




     During Fathers Day weekend we took Sesame Place up on the amazing deal that they had going on for a Dine With Me Character Dinner, using the awesome discounts that buying the season passes gives you. The three of us ate for $30 total. DUDE. Thirty dollars! You know how much I love a deal, so we were so there!
     Let me just say right off the bat that this is not a relaxing dining experience. Now don't take that the wrong way- that is not a negative comment. The fact of the matter is, the Dine With Me experience is basically a party with some food thrown into the mix. The characters come out of the curtained area, the music is blasting while the disco ball turns- and the characters are roaming around and dancing down the main aisle. When the characters dance, they want your kids to join them; they do conga lines around the restaurant, the hokey pokey, and other kid hits. Every kid has a look on his or her face of amazement because they are able to interact so freely with the characters- right there you know that it's worth it. Whatever you spent- whether it was a awesome deal like we got, or full price, the minute you see the light in your kids eyes, you know that there is no where you would rather be. The smiles of all the kids in the room were contagious. I found myself smiling, even if I felt like the music could be lowered just a tad-hey like I've said before, I'm getting old!

     The food was great, which wasn't surprising, because the food at the theme park as a whole is very tasty. The menu on the day that we ate there was pulled pork, hot dogs, salad, chicken fingers, vegetables, and french fries. The drinks were the only thing that was table service; everything else was buffet. The dessert featured ice cream with toppings, as well as a few different cakes. If you are celebrating a birthday the characters come out and sing which is amazing.
     One  issue I had with the dinner was the fact that there was no barbeque sauce and there was no honey mustard. I know you guys are probably laughing but I never understand why theme parks hoard the condiments like they are a precious gem. Let the honey mustard GO dudes. My son will only eat things with honey mustard, so that was an issue. Our server looked in the back for us, but alas there was nothing. Call me a stickler, but that actually really bugged me more than anything else. How do you serve pulled pork without the option of BBQ? No matter how much you pay for a meal, there should be everything available to enjoy it. However if that was my only real complaint I guess we are doing OK!
     The room itself is great, very big with plenty of room for the multiple families that are there. The seat you need to grab is by the aisle because that's where the characters do their dancing and the kids are able to join them in the fun. You can keep your eye on them easier, and your child has easy access to the characters at all times. Elmo goes to a corner that is set up with a Sesame Street backdrop where you can bring your kid over and take a great picture with everyone's favorite character. Grover, who happens to be my favorite, made a stop over there for posed photos as well.
     In closing go for it! If you are going to go to Sesame Place, give it your all.  If you have something to celebrate, or if it's the fact that you are GOING that is the cause for celebration it is well worth the experience. It is catered with the kids in mind just as everything there is and you will thoroughly enjoy the looks on their faces and that memories that will be made! Enjoy!




                    Our Second Time Around Strasburg RailRoad 





     I was so excited when we were invited to visit Strasburg Railroad during our most recent trip to Lancaster  Pennsylvania.  While it gave us the same great experience as we had last year, I was surprised to see all the wonderful updates since our last visit that I cannot wait to share with you!

      Tucked amongst the picturesque farms, the strolling Amish, and random WAWA's (I love saying that name) is the Strasburg Railroad.  You first pull past the train yard full of old steam engines and cars either in repair or already restored.  After you park your car and walk over the train tracks you pass by the switch tower which was built in 1885 and is a classic example of the Pennsylvania Railroad's signal tower design.  Once at the ticket booth the employees were all dressed in period outfits, and were just amazingly helpful. They didn't try to "up-sell" or try and push you along.  Instead they talked to each customer and helped them decide how they would like to experience the railway, and then told them what the best car (there are several to choose from: open air, coach, first class, and dining) price or package would be for them.  It was incredibly refreshing to see, and started off our visit very pleasantly.



This is the Coach Car that we rode in. Amazing right?
      The station had plenty of people on our Friday excursion but was not crowded at all and we had plenty of space to spread ourselves out and really enjoy the ride.  The car itself was just as beautiful as we remembered.  The seats were clean and comfortable and were also reversible so you could flip them over for the return trip so you wouldn't be traveling backwards!   So if your kid has to stand on the seats, like mine, please take off their shoes so they do not ruin anything on this amazing train car.  The floors were spotless and constructed with finished wood.  On the ceilings hung tiny chandeliers that were just beautiful, and on the tippy top there were small stained glass windows--really it was breathtaking.  It was like nothing I have ever seen outside of the movies.   During the ride you get a bit of trivia and local history over the train's internal intercom.  It was filled with fun facts, and did a great job of  explaining what we would experience riding around in a different era.
      On all westbound trains (so returning trips) you can even stop at Picnic Grove, a little area on the side of the tracks with a period playground, swings, and a ring-a-ma-jig (you know that thing you sit on and spins around as fast as you can),  picnic tables, and nice shade to enjoy a lunch that you packed ahead of time.  You can stay for as long as you like, just make sure you get on the last train back!
      Three times we had to stop. Once for a passing train where we all waved "hello" as they passed, the second time to turn around at what used to be "Paradise Station"(which was very cool), and the third was to pick up picnickers at Picnic Cove.

     First we learned that Paradise Station was one of the stops of Abraham Lincoln's body on his way home for burial, and second I learned that the steam locomotive is reversible.  Whether backwards or forward the locomotive can pull a train which my husband and I found very interesting, if not really weird to see!  All in all the trip was 45 minutes of just awsomeness. My son got such a kick out of it he sat on his seat with his train hat and Thomas book and waved to all the people, the trains, the trees, the horses we saw, and really anything else he deemed "waveable"! As parents we were comfortable, enjoyed our son's expressions, and the history of the train as  the conductor relayed it to us.  They even have a photographer in period attire going about the train that would take pictures of families!  I love that- it is so hard to get a photo of all three of us together that I jumped at the chance to get a snapshot of us enjoying ourselves. The picture was $10.00 which isn't a bad price at all and our picture came out great again! I was so thrilled- I am thinking of hiring one of those kids to take pictures of us full time because they make me look great! ( I mean yeah my husband and son look ok too lol)
       Even though the train ride was over that didn't mean our visit to the railroad was. You can stop for a bite to eat, visit the gift shop,  take a period picture, or dress up as conductors with overalls and pretend there is a train robbery... And again, it is affordable so you can get one of those pictures for as low as $10.  So if you can get your kid in those overalls, I suggest you do it and get an awesome picture!
  We were lucky enough to receive all day passes to the station, which not only included all you can ride coach trains but also unlimited rides on the little extras around the station. With everything updated and looking its finest this deal is hard to resist. Since we last traveled back in time they have added a brand new play ground that is GORGEOUS, and has free wifi for the parents to regroup and relax. They have improved the Pufferbelly Miniature Steam Train which is a mini steam engine that  takes you on a really great twenty minute ride through the station and train yard. On the ride you get some up-close views of those trains in need of repair that I mentioned earlier.  This car was built around 1920 and originally used at an amusement park. Its a super cool mini version of  the huge train we just took a ride on. You can  also let the kids enjoy the cranky cars until they are exhausted!  Those of you that live in LI- remember when they had those at Nunley's?  Well I do and I got a real kick out of seeing my son enjoying himself on those tiny pump cars- while having vivid memories of my own experiences on a very similar ride! The station was filled with flowers, small things to take pictures in, friendly faces, and the sounds of trains rolling on by. It was a perfect day.     
     Another great little surprise was running into the conductor I just raved about, Jack, from last year, and he remembered my son as well as me and my husband! He stopped and gave him a high five and took a photo and my kid's eyes lit up!  You can have a great venue with great activities but not walk out with the smile on your face like you do when visiting Strasburg. It is the people not only the venue that makes an experience just that much better and you will NOT find a better set of people than the ones that work here. Thanks Jack, AGAIN!
     All in all, we had a fantastic time.  It is still one of the most clean venues I have been to, everyone working there has safety in mind, and it was just as fun as the first time around for our little train fanatic.  I couldn't have had more fun during the trip, but the expression on my son's face on the train was just priceless. I suggest everyone take their kid there, and you don't have to wait till Thomas makes his appearance. Every single day at Strasburg is a great day in the making.  With wonderful staff members, history, and fun around every single bend, this is definitely a yearly trip for my family.  I highly suggest to make it yours as well.  For more information about Strasburg Railroad please go here.



   Make sure when you are planning your trip to keep the Day Pass in mind. It really is the best deal out there if you plan on spending the whole day there. You can go on multiple trips on the car and enjoy the rest of the station as well for a very reasonable price! 
Adult (12+): $18.00Child (3-11): $12.50Child (0-3): Free

   If you have been to Strasburg, or have any questions about your trip, please feel free to comment, share your stories with us, and with any questions we will do our best to get answers for you!







Build a Bear has taken a step into the future with its new even more interactive re-vamped store. We were invited to take a look at the new innovations that have been added to the Long Island Roosevelt Field Branch before its grand unveiling on Friday July 12th and I can assure you, it's awesome.
   Keep in mind that Build a Bear didn't have to change much- they are still one of the only chain stores out there that gives your child a truly unique hands on shopping experience. So the concept hasn't changed but the way the kids personalize that experience has.


The New "Love Me" Station 
       After your child makes the hard decision of picking out their "bear" they are brought over to the "Love Me" station by one of the amazing store employees. T
his all new addition is completely touch screen. You scan the barcode on the toy and it appears on the screen, your child gets to put in their name and birthday then picks a heart and places it on the screen. That's when magic happens- your child gets to pick out traits they want their bear to have. My son choose kind, strong and fun.
     From there you move to the sound chip area or the "Hear Me" Station were you can pick an array of noises, from a heart beat to the Star Wars theme song there is a sound your kid will flip for. Again this station is touch screen so your child can easily flip through and check out all the sounds.  After you choose your sounds ( you can choose up to five) your child places  the "chip" in the slot  and the sounds are then  magically transferred on. I mean clearly it isn't real magic (or is it?)  but I don't know how they did it so it  was magic to me.
Sound Staion! 
   From here you move along  to the unchanged "Stuff Me " station. A new addition is the barcode that is placed inside that will allow a Bear to be found if lost and returned to the store, and the ability to add a scent to the plush- from bubblegum to cupcake.  This is where your child goes through various acts to prepare the heart for their new toy. X had to rub the heart on his head so that he is cool, and rub it on his muscles so he will be strong.  After you give it the hug test approval. and the back is all sewn up you move right over to what I think is the best new feature the "Fluff Me". The already pretty cool claw foot tub where you groom your new pal has become even cooler with the addition of Pixel Sense technology. The touch screen tub reacts again like magic to rubber ducks (who now have feet) and boats who make waves as you clean up your cub. My favorite part- pulling out the stopper and watching the tub drain. Sooo cool.








     Hello guys! I would like to introduce a Mommy's Guide contributing author and yet another Jenn! She will be posting up reviews from time to time and has a great ability to bring both the good and bad into the limelight! Here is her first MG review of Long Island's "best kept secret" The Long Island Steamers! 



           Long Island Steamers is cool, but kind of far off the beaten path.  They only take donations, so there are no set prices.  You and your kids can ride mini steam engine trains on a mini track; the little ones love it.  It's kind of in the middle of the woods, and there really isn't much else to do in the area.(except for a Kmart on the way home! What up!-Jenny)  There are no real bathrooms - only portapotties which I do NOT do.  Bring hand sanitizer and lots of it!  Bug spray, too.  There's a small concession stand type thing for food, which is not overly priced,  but I suggest you definitely pack your own lunch and eat at one of the picnic benches.  Once you get on the train, it takes you around the track twice giving you more than enough time to take it all in.  It’s actually quite relaxing.  The only deal breaker for me is the lack of actual restrooms with soap and running water to wash your hands or to change your kid's diaper.  Parking is tricky – the tiny lot fills up quickly, so you’re most likely going to end up parked on the grass outside the entrance.  Otherwise, this is a great, cost-effective place to take little kids, especially ones who are really into trains.  It will blow their minds!  It’s run by adults who are passionate about trains and giving back to the community.  Gotta love it!

   Long Island Steamers runs from May to October on the second and last Sunday of the month. They are located in Southhaven Park in Suffolk County and is WELL worth the drive for an afternoon of train loving fun!

   Contributed by Jennifer Scalfani





Available in stores in July and online for a limited amount of time! 

Batman is awesome and Mezco toys are awesome.  Put them together at a venue like Ripley's Believe It Or Not NYC and you get one pow kick and bam event! Today Mezco launched their classic Batman Mez-Itz line by having an actual Batmobile drive them into Ripley's Believe It or Not on 42nd Street. That's right one of the most notable recreations of the Adam West 1966 Batmobile was driven into a full crowd of press and passers-by to applause and cheers!  I have actually seen this particular car many times (so I am very lucky) and it was awesome that owner John Sbrigato brought it out for the event.  Driven by professional Batman re-enacter Bob Desimone, he was in full gear and on board to take pictures with fans and to promote an amazing new toy from Mez-Itz.





My son with Jessica Mellow! 
I traveled from Long island to cover
this event, but others literally traveled miles upon miles for a chance to see this truly unique toy unveiling.  We all came to also get one of the coveted free toys that Mr. Drake from Mezco was handing out to the first 200 people that came to Ripley's dressed as a Batman character.  And there were lots of them, including my favorite, professional body painter and FX artist Jessica Mellow who painted herself as Batman and was one of the first people officially online for the event!  She even asked me if she could take a picture with my son!  He was clearly thrilled.  With so many in attendance Greg Drake and his crew had to go out and get even more toys to hand out.  They were so overwhelmed by the response and love of Batman they went out of their way to give the people what they wanted--more Mez-Itz and more Batman! What an AMAZING thing for a company to do, and I give kudos for making everyone's day!

 Mezco's Classic Batmobile is a Diamond Comic Exclusive and hit stores in July, but a limited amount are being made available on Mezco's website, www.mezcotoys.com/exclusives. I suggest you get your hands on one, before they are all gone!  I know I will!










     Ann-The Ann Richards Play, starring Holland Taylor, is about the life and career of one-term Texas Governor Ann Richards.  An amazing one woman show that had you captivated from beginning to end, and speaking of beginnings- lets start there.  The start of the show begins as Ann is making a speech at a Texan graduation ceremony.  The stage is set with the school's name in the background, wood paneling and a podium.  Part of the speech from the  1988 Democratic National Convention that would skyrocket her into the political arena is played in the background as Ann appears on stage.  She begins talking to us as if we are graduates- the future of the country.  Ms. Taylor, who speaks in a flawless Texan accent, and has a
traditional politician suit on and the iconic hair of Governor Richards, begins telling us all about her life in Waco, with her six foot tall dirty joke telling father and her mother whom she could never fully please. Her farther is drafted in the "Great War" and was stationed in California and after months of separation her mother packed them up and moved them to where he was stationed- it was the first time either one of them would leave Texas let alone the border of Waco.
     For the first time in Ann's life she took a public bus and went to a school with kids of ALL NATIONALITIES, COLORS, AND RACES.  This was where the "spark" was lit in Ann; all these children were the same as her, there was no difference at all. What  she didn't know was where that spark would lead her- and the country.
      Filled with lively anecdotes, a couple of dirty jokes, and superb acting that made you feel like the real Ann was in the room, this is a play that sheds new light on this iconic figure. Holland Taylor, who also wrote the play, spoke as if she were not only Ann, but that she was also talking directly to you throughout. You get a picture of where she came from and with a flawless set change a look at what it was to be governor of the state of Texas. You also watched as she took calls and called politicians "darling" or other names.  But most of all you learned more about this once Peggy-perfect housewife recovering alcoholic turned politician named Ann Richards and that my friends is something that should not be missed.  I urge you all, fans or not, to go see this limited engagement show and meet Ann Richards- you wont regret it.

Now I will end my review with one of my favorite lines from the play:
                        "You have to go out on a limb. That's where all the fruit is."

@AnnRichardsPlay
 http://theannrichardsplay.com/








 Hazzah!  We went to see Mike The Knight during the Hit Entertainment The Mission for the Hidden Treasure mall tour and it was a great afternoon!  We enjoyed the twenty minute interactive show that had all the kids dancing, grooving and moving to the music!  Mike the Knight, as well as his two sidekicks and puppet Sparky the Dragon, looked  amazing up close and personal!  We made paper hats, there was face painting, a bouncy house and a set up of all the amazing new Mike the Knight toys that we are definitely purchasing in the near future.  After the performance the kids got to meet Mike in person and all received a foam sword as well as a certificate of knightlyhood!  All the kids had fun and it was so cool that Hit Entertainment presented this to the public for free! The tour continues so make sure to check when they are coming to your town!  And remember to catch Mike the Knight on Nick Jr, on his website and to look for the awesome toys at a local toy store near you!


'




     We had the amazing opportunity to join the Bethpage Air Show and Geico Skytypers who gave out awards for acts of heroism for those who went above and beyond during the recent Hurricane Sandy. "It takes an everyday hero to make the world a better place" says Linda Armyn, who is the Senior Vice President of Bethpage Federal Credit Union. But their actions can do more than any of my words, so please read what these wonderful people did  for those that they didn't know, that they didn't have to help. Their strength in a time of one of Long Island's greatest times of crisis had me brought to tears and I was so proud to be there to watch them get recognized for what they did.


The Hero's: Photo Credit, Geico Skytypers

John Romandetti (Westbury) – NYS Sanitation employee who saved family under water from their burning house in Howard Beach, and then went on to save another family with small children.



Donna Christina Oliverio (Southampton) – Founder, Kids Stock the House; arranged for 15-year old Ronald McDonald House child to see his grandmother in NYC and meet Miss Teen USA, the day after the storm, before he had to return to Montana.
Justen Doney, age 15, and his family, flying in from Montana, who received help from contest winner Donna Oliverio during the storm.

Amy Castiglia  – Created Lindy Manpower Group of 20 volunteers to provide demolition, clean-up and construction relief, which continues to this day.

Andrea Curran – Founded Camp Bulldog, assisting 200 people per day, with hot meals, cleaning supplies, mobile health and legal clinics.

Sharon Guskin  – Following the destruction of South Nassau’s Outpatient Dialysis Unit, Sharon arranged for all 146 of her patients to continue receiving life-saving treatment.

Rich Cantwell  – Founded Friends of Freeport to help restore homes in Freeport.

Mabel Castro– Spearheaded an “Adopt a Child” during Christmas so that children affected by the hurricane would still receive holiday presents.

Mr. Earl – Despite losing his wife days before the storm, Mr. Earl was the first to offer help to all his neighbors, purchasing gas and dry ice for others.

Phil Rizzardi  – As a champion BBQ pitmaster, Phil arranged to have his brethren from areas including Maine and Vermont come together to cook for those affected; provided 27,000 meals.

Tony Brown - Ran one of the area’s very few pet shelters working tirelessly around the clock for months to care for displaced animals.

The Piolits: Photo Credit Geico Skytypers 



     "These folks put life, limb, finances, heart and soul to help their fellow man, we should not only give them a round of applause, we should keep giving them because what they did was amazing" shared  George Gorman, Deputy Regional Director of NYS Office of Parks and Recreation and Historic Preservation.  He is so right and  I am happy help share their stories with you. Each received a certificate commemorating them for what they did, and $250.00 along with the eternal thanks of everyone they helped and everyone that hears their story.  I personally tell my son that there are real superheroes, ones without capes and sweet costumes, and was happy to have him see them in real life- he may not appreciate it now, but he will, and my hope is one day he will do the same great actions as these men and women, who are all superheroes. 








     Super Why Live was an interactive mix of technology and good old fashioned children's show presence. Using a digital screen as scenery, you are greeted by Wyatt in his cartoon form surrounded by books at the entrance to Story Book Village. With the help of the cheering crowd Wyatt goes from digital to live in person, using the screen to show the transition via door. Half of Wyatt is cartoon, while the other half (his legs(, are live and sticking out the door. Finally there are enough cheers to bring him into the three
dimensional world  and there are streamers and confetti to celebrate; a great start to a great show. The digital background had the scrolling valleys of Storybook Village, as well as the super computer and the background of every other scene of the show. It looked fantastic. With the bright colors and great animation filling the entire stage, you really felt immersed into the world of Super Why!
Going from cartoon to live action
     The plot of this live show is based on the  Super Computer question "who has the greatest super power?" The  Super Why! crew  head out to convince the others why they have the greatest of all the powers leading to individual segments with Red, Alpha Pig, Princess Pee, and Wyatt.  With a great array of our favorite songs from the show as well as ones specially made for the live show, there were kids dancing from their seats, in the aisles, and on their parents laps.  The super letters that you find throughout the show shone on the walls leading to squeals of "here it is over here!" from the little ones and some adults (definitely not me). Another amazing aspect of the show was the fact that the characters literally flew through the air on wires.  Wyatt as Super Why flew more than once across the stage and Red did a high wire performance act in her segment as well. This show kinda had it all. It also answered a question that my son has been asking for months now: does Princess Pea have feet? Well in her Rock and Roll segment, he saw that she does! I am not sure why he didn't believe me when I told him- I guess seeing is believing!
Great digital scenery 

     I had high expectations for this show, since it is quite literally one of my favorites on PBS and on television as a whole for my son to watch. I was not disappointed and it exceeded all of them, bringing a show that was the appropriate length with an intermission as well, geared to all Super Why! fans of all ages, with graphics that left no wanting.  They incorporated our favorite songs as well as adding new ones for a great mix that kept everyone entertained. This is a must see for any Super Why! super fan. It really gives the children an experience they will be talking about for weeks after. I personally cannot wait until the tour stops by again in NY so I can bring my little guy for an encore! Good luck on the rest of your trip guys!

Special thanks to Shore Line Media for hosting our great Super Why! Giveaway and to PBS Kids Club Thirteen for the tickets! Hip Hip Hoooray!







  Ann-The Ann Richards Play, starring Holland Taylor, is about the life and career of one-term Texas Governor Ann Richards.  An amazing one woman show that had you captivated from beginning to end, and speaking of beginnings- lets start there.  The start of the show begins as Ann is making a speech at a Texan graduation ceremony.  The stage is set with the school's name in the background, wood paneling and a podium.  Part of the speech from the  1988 Democratic National Convention that would skyrocket her into the political arena is played in the background as Ann appears on stage.  She begins talking to us as if we are graduates- the future of the country.  Ms. Taylor, who speaks in a flawless Texan accent, and has a


traditional politician suit on and the iconic hair of Governor Richards, begins telling us all about her life in Waco, with her six foot tall dirty joke telling father and her mother whom she could never fully please. Her farther is drafted in the "Great War" and was stationed in California and after months of separation her mother packed them up and moved them to where he was stationed- it was the first time either one of them would leave Texas let alone the border of Waco.
     For the first time in Ann's life she took a public bus and went to a school with kids of ALL NATIONALITIES, COLORS, AND RACES.  This was where the "spark" was lit in Ann; all these children were the same as her, there was no difference at all. What  she didn't know was where that spark would lead her- and the country.
      Filled with lively anecdotes, a couple of dirty jokes, and superb acting that made you feel like the real Ann was in the room, this is a play that sheds new light on this iconic figure. Holland Taylor, who also wrote the play, spoke as if she were not only Ann, but that she was also talking directly to you throughout. You get a picture of where she came from and with a flawless set change a look at what it was to be governor of the state of Texas. You also watched as she took calls and called politicians "darling" or other names.  But most of all you learned more about this once Peggy-perfect housewife recovering alcoholic turned politician named Ann Richards and that my friends is something that should not be missed.  I urge you all, fans or not, to go see this limited engagement show and meet Ann Richards- you wont regret it.

Now I will end my review with one of my favorite lines from the play:
                        "You have to go out on a limb. That's where all the fruit is."

@AnnRichardsPlay








Learning the "art" of making LEGO bricks!




      As you may be aware, New York just got a little cooler, with the addition of  The LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester at Ridge Hill in Yonkers.  This is very exciting news for Lego lovers across the state, and at only a 40 minute drive from Long Island (Nassau County) this is a very accessible trip for every Long Island Lego lover. 
   The Legoland Discovery Center is smack dab in the center of the Ridge Hill Mall, yes moms that is right, this can not only be a trip for the kids but a great trip for adults as well!  I unfortunately had a wicked cold so did not partake in the shopping goodness but it is right next to a TJ Maxx and a restaurant so that is exciting! They offered a pre-opening tour that we were fortunate enough to attend so I had the opportunity to review it before the place even opened! Look at that! 
Main lobby of LEGOland 
             This place is GORGEOUS. You walk in to a Lego brick yellow and red room, the registers are covered in Legos, there are two Lego guys on the wall that your kids can put Legos on while waiting on line, and the entrance of the exhibit is a silhouette of a giant Lego man- awesome.  Stop to take a picture at the entrance and then enter the Lego Factory, learn how these famous little bits are made and participate in the "making" of a batch, collecting a souvenir brick at the end.  You are then transported to a land of princesses and dragons, with this great interactive ride Kingdom Quest.  Hop into the seat and grab a laser gun. Try and save the princess while competing with your fellow riders for the highest score. Hit marks both digital and interactive statues that will have you wondering which way to turn next. Beautifully done and fun to play- your whole family will enjoy this interactive ride experience.
Doorway to fun! 
     After the ride walk through MINI LAND, experience Lego built New York landmarks in this room that goes from daylight to night on a timer, bringing you Lego sized views of NY icons. From the tallest buildings, like the Chrysler Building and the Empire State, to the iconic fountains in Central Park you will see them all. Made with over 1.5 million Lego bricks and six months worth of work this is just a breathtaking example of all the amazing things you can do with Legos and imagination!



     After that display of awesomeness you are fed into a room full of fun. There is something called Lego Racers: Build and Test where you can try your hand at building the best race-cars and test them out on two different courses. Then there is The Lego Fire Academy which is a huge play area good for children 34” and up only. It is enclosed and your little ones can climb, slide, and scale the walls! For the younger ones they have the Lego: Construction Site. I am not really sure why it is called that, but its super cute with extra large soft Lego bricks that the kids can jump in, Lego animals, and a great slide that is perfect for those too small for the Fire Academy.  The Duplo house has an ADORABLE karaoke area set up, a cupcake area, small couches, and a little kitchen setup. Picture a mini dollhouse, complete with a mailbox with Lego letters! There are earthquake tables, where you build and hope that when the table shakes your building won't go toppling as well as the Lego Masters Builder Academy where your little Lego nut can go and find tips on how to improve their building skills.  Merlin's Apprentice is a must hit: this ride has you pedaling as fast as you can to help Merlin create the spells, as well as the 4D movie! This was a big hit with my little guy, and just so you know you will get wet. This movie is in brilliant 4D, and there are outside elements like wind, rain and snow that go on as this 12 minute movie plays. Hands down my favorite attraction, brilliantly done and good for kids of all ages.
 

     Like I said before this was an easy drive from Long Island, so don't let the distance stop you from bringing your kids and going. Located right by a parking garage (which is $3.25 for 3 hrs) The price is very affordable at $13.50 per person when you buy your Early Bird Ticket online before you go. This gives you a $54.00 total for a family of four to spend the day there. Each ticket gives you entrance to the facility, unlimited access to all everything- rides, and 4D movie included. You pick your time slot entry and stay for as long as you like.  I would say that you would need a minimum of 2 hours allotted for this venture, but expect to stay longer; there is so much to do, and to get the full experience you have to try it all!
      I would have to say that this is a great staycation attraction for the family during school breaks. It is close, very affordable and has a lot to offer for the whole family. I was so excited to hear that LEGOland Discovery Center was coming to the area and I am even happier that they did not disappoint. Go, experience, and tell me how you like it! 
Mr. Lego walking around greeting the kids 

LEGOLAND® Discovery Center
39 Fitzgerald Street
Yonkers, NY 10710
http://www.legolanddiscoverycenter.com/westchester/









Le Grand C
   The performers are mostly from France, although a couple are from other areas in Europe, and have all been trained in circus arts.  They put everything on the line—literally getting thrown through the air and relying on the cast as the only thing between them and the hard floor.  Every single movement they made was calculated and beautiful making it not only an acrobatic performance but also a piece of moving art.
   As the show progressed it went from each performer being a part of one collective to their solo personalities coming to light, bringing with it a wonderful pure sense of humor.  Although no words were said you could tell by their movements, facial expressions and the parts they played in each set of acrobatic feats the personality they were trying to portray.  Leaving you feeling somewhat connected to each and every one of them, they showed you that you don't need words to communicate, even on stage.
    There were so many amazing stunts and beautiful dance-like moves that it is hard to pick out one as a favorite.  That being said, towards the end of the show I was truly touched by this one specific piece of the segment.  It started out with one female whistling and then slowly everyone joining in.  Then, turning into a song being sung in French, each acrobat was turned into a chorus while doing flips and pyramids. They all left the stage until one man stood alone with the spotlight softly on him.  Besides the fact that he was amazingly good looking, his baritone voice had me close to tears.  Then, one by one other performers came up on stage and climbed up his back.  Still singing alone, he held three people on top of his shoulders until finally he stopped singing and the stage was once again filled with bodies and silence.  It was just beautiful.
    This is a performance that is awe-striking and with just enough comical effects without being forced. I would absolutely suggest going with children of a certain age (I would suggest five and up because you do have to sit still and be quiet through the performance) but also VERY entertaining for an adult.
   

I would suggest going to see this before they leave town on the 28th and to check out all the amazing productions that are coming up at the New Victory Theater!


For some reason I cannot attach a video of a segment of the program, so here is the link, watch it, they are amazing!










      Ripley's Believe It or Not! in Times Square NY is filled with all the oddities that they claim to have. Starting from the front of the establishment that holds sideshow performances to the lobby, that has a gigantic Bumblebee (transformer ) made out of actual car parts.  The ceiling even had you craning your neck to see a life size model of the world's largest man leaving you with the question of where do I look first? Which is something you want to say to yourself when entering a "museum" and Ripley's did not disappoint- just remember to take your time. We did and it was well worth it.

Here we are with Bumblebee


      When you enter the exhibit there are wonders to behold, and trials to face. Try the box that makes you appear legless, be astounded by the sheer size of the stone elephant and the oddity of the stuffed albino giraffe.  Then try my favorite- the tongue roll trial. Definitely stop and see If you can do the tricks.



        My second favorite stop was the optional photo op. Take a try at posing in one of America's favorite photo of the men sitting on the beam wearing their hard hats. My three kiddo's had fun posing and I thought it was a great idea. When you move to the second floor, make sure you stop and admire the portraits of sideshow performers. I took the time to show the kids each one and explain that even though the lobster man had deformities at a time when no surgery could fix it, he made his life as a sideshow actor. They found that quite interesting and I got props as knowing something for once. At the end of that corridor we entered the " official" exhibit entrance where behind a glass there sat some books and a globe and a tiny holographic man that sung the tale of Ripley's, spinning the globe, and dropping some hot moves to the delight of everyone who watched. It was actually amazing really and if you didn't know it before this just proved that this was not your 'ordinary'  museum experience (which is good being that Ripley's prides itself on showcasing the "abnormal").   Walk through the tunnel and get ready to  start dancing!  A huge screen will make all your movements into pyschedelic video images on a screen. We spent a good long time striking a pose and the kids absolutely loved it (so did the adults). This leads us into a room filled with a two headed cow, a animatronic witch doctor and moose head, a huge T-Rex skull and lots more. With each new room you were lead from the exotic- like the huge sculpture carved out of camel bones, the gross- like sticking your head into a dome that is surrounded by hissing roaches, to the down right awesome like the laser challenge. In that one you get to pretend that you're in Mission Impossible and try to get to the end of the room and back without tripping on any of the laser alarms. It was a blast!  Rooms filled with medieval torture devices, shrunken heads, and meteorites.  Go through a tunnel that makes you feel as if you are walking into a black hole, holding onto the railing like you are going to fly off!  Or avoid that and go through the "Cowards Door" (yeah it's marked that) which my husband went through FYI...any way you go will lead you to discovering something that you have never seen or  things you never knew existed.

                                                              I LOVE this picture!

       This was a trip worth making and I cannot believe that even though it is practically on our doorstep it took me this long to go visit. Experience the unbelievable, just by walking  through the Ripley's: Believe It
Or Not's door!

For more information like ticket prices and times please visit their website

Oh and remember if you have children under 12, their LIRR train tickets should be only $1.75 round trip: don't overpay!








       Disney Live: Mickey’s Music Festival at the Theater At Madison Square Garden was a beautifully designed show for children of all ages. The amazing costumes were beautifully done and the use of  digital scenery was not only very "green", but made the whole production seem special.  The pre-recorded singing had you groovin’ in your seats and the amazing dancing that the performers brought to the stage made you even more excited to see three of our favorite Disney classics brought to life the on stage!



     The show starts with Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy then add a magic lamp and poof! Genie arrives and off we go to Aladdin's world!  Enjoy an upbeat rendition of "Street Rat" with Genie rapping and Aladdin bringing us all to a whole new world with a flight above the city on a magic carpet!
   After the Aladdin segment Mickey and Goofy try to open up a giant clam-shell that supposedly Minnie is in,except she is not, but Sesbation from the Little Mermaid is!  This was one of my sister’s favorite movies and one that I have long ago memorized.   I loved seeing some of my favorite scenes played out on stageincluding Ursula's Curse, Kiss the Girl and a kiddie crowd pleasing rendition of "Under the Sea", complete with black light dancing and puppets! Really cool.
    My son’s favorite characters Woody, Jesse, the Army Men and Buckshot all come out to do a very impressive jump roping dance, while Mickey and Goofy press the red button (never press the red button!) and we are all sucked into outer space! Meteoroids are flung into the crowd but all is well because Buzz Lightyear comes to the rescue!  This led up to the whole cast coming out for a great finale that will have everyone out of there seats dancing.

   This show is great for the kiddies but also the kids at heart.  I sang right along with the crowd to tunes that I grew up with and some awesome renditions of non-Disney tunes like "All The Single Ladies", "Cotton Eyed Joe" and "Hey Mickey" as well as others. As per usual any seat is a great seat at the Theater at Madison Square Garden so every kid is sure to enjoy the show.  With small details like the puppets during kiss the girl, the plastic "hair floating" wigs that the mermaids adorned, the sweet sweet dance moves of Aladdin and Genie and Woody’s lassoing, it’s a magically experience from beginning to end.  You couldn't ask for anything more—except for possibly another show coming to the area soon! Disney did not disappoint but indeed exceeded expectations and I highly recommend taking your family before the shows leaves town.


Disney Live will be at The Theater at Madison Square Garden until March 31st and has a 1pm and 5pm showing most days. Disney Live will also be at Nassau Coliseum April 3rd. To see all dates and to buy tickets please click here.
For More information on Disney Live please click here
To go to Disney Live's official website, click here!







Built To Amaze: Our Review

       Built to Amaze: A Ringling Bros And Barnum and Bailey Circus has made the circus experience even more amazing. Yep we didn't think it was possible, but this was a truly amazing performance with daring feats of bravery and of course some laughs. But before we get to the actual show let me just tell you that the pre-show all-access experience is not to be missed. With the purchase of your tickets you are entitled to go down under the arena and see the animals up close. Horses, elephants and tigers are all mere feet away, with information about each animal and a person on hand giving you some insider perspective- it was seeing the circus like never before.




Up-close and under the arena
       You can even get your face painted and a digital enhanced picture of yourself on a statue of a tiger (for additional cost). Then once you’re done you can go up to the arena and step foot into the circus itself! The clowns are at hand to take pictures with, there is a bounce house and performances right there by the talent themselves including the horses and the elephants!  The elephants even painted a picture that you can enter to win!  Enjoy standing in the midst of it all. Get a free removable tattoo, pick up a complimentary clown nose, try on some circus gear and be amazed as high wire acts are performed above where you stand. All amazing and all free with your ticket purchase. I couldn't believe that we were enjoying such a fantastic show before the real performance even started!
        Built To Amaze is all about watching the circus erupt right before your very eyes, and the costumes are built accordingly. There was a miniature dump truck instead of a small clown car, stilt walkers dressed completely in traffic cones and acrobats wearing painter’s clothes with spotted paint.  Let me tell you if building a house looked that fantastic I think everyone would want to build their own from the ground up, and renovations should be a breeze!
   The Ringmaster’s singing voice was just as magical as the circus he presided over, and the other acts left us without wanting for more. In fact they completely surpassed my other memories of any other circus from previous years.  It started with a very comical stallion act that was accompanied with acrobatic performances. Unfortunately it was interrupted by one very stubborn stallion that left the acrobats hanging around waiting for the show to go on and the crowds filled with laughter. The dynamic duo Alex and Irina had us all laughing with a rabbit disappearing act that had some technical difficulties. And a truly amazing performance where Irina comes out wearing a mink coat only to have all the minks hop off and run away!  There was a basketball game played completely on unicycles, a clown cleanup crew that caused more of a mess than they cleaned up, a truly amazing tiger segment as well as a beautifully sung boys vs girls segment that included a high wire act.  This was CRAZY!  The acrobats rode two bicycles with a bar held on their shoulders between them and a third acrobat walked in between them and sat on a chair!! The lighting went from fully lit up to darkness, black lights and strobes giving the show a very unique look for a circus performance as well. But the best part...The VERY BEST part was the youngest woman ever to be shot from a cannon. She was SHOT from a cannon! Dude! She was shot forty feet in the air at 65 miles per hour and landed safely onto a blow up trampoline. Amazing.  My son was so amazed that we immediately bought the cannon toy for $14.00 and he has been talking about it since we left.
     As usual I can go on and on about the amazing things we saw but honestly no amount of my talking about it will do it justice. This is a show that is indeed built to amaze and it does so. Whether this is your child's first time at the circus or not, Built to Amaze will have them all open mouthed and wide eyed, and you will be too. So go and enjoy a classic American pastime, eat some cotton candy, and witness all that Built To Amaze has to offer!

Built to Amaze: A Ringling Bros And Barnum and Bailey Circus will be at the Nassau Coliseum until March 17th and it will then move to the Barclay’s Center.   

                  Sesame Street Live: Our Review!


   We were so lucky to work with Vee Corporation productions to help spread the word all about Sesame Street Live: Elmo's Super Heroes! Well guys we all know that Sesame Street is one of  the best program for our children to watch on  PBS and Sprout. Vee Corporation along with Sesame Street and all the actors did not disappoint on this touring live production.   Lets start at the beginning: my first tip would be to make sure you get to the venue, in our case, the great Madison Square Garden, an hour early so that you and your family can enjoy the Sesame Street Live Play Zone.  They have a bunch of small areas for the kids to play on and great spots to take photos, including the steps of 123 Sesame Street, Hooper's Store, as well as talking cutouts of all our favorite characters! As cute as that is, that wasn't the coolest part; what really sealed the deal for me is was watching the small performances of Murray, Zoe, Ernie, and Bert in the lobby area of the Theatre at Madison Square Garden.   It was a great gift to all the fans to give this small close up performance before the larger performance. The kids' faces were all glued on the characters as they danced and sang around not on the the stage but right there where everyone was standing. AMAZING.

    Something else that was amazing, that I believe that MSG would of been in charge of, was the $4.75 Sesame Street boxed lunch available for purchase at the concession stand. For $4.75 you got a kids hot dog, apple slices, a bag of chips, and a juice box. I say this with kindness and love in my heart, thank you for not ripping us off! Really made a huge difference in our pockets and I appreciate that! No one enjoys spending ten dollars on a hot dog for a kid that we KNOW will not eat it. (although my son was starving  that day and actually ate everything in sight, but that is not the point!)
     Now, on to the show! I always expect the best from Sesame Street, from watching the show to going to Sesame Place. I know that when Sesame Street is involved expect great things, but even I was in total awe of the stage set up. With wonderful over the top drawn Hooper's store, to an extra large iconic street lamp, all adorned with lights (even on the curtains) it was really quite a sight.  Without giving much away, the premise of the show is that Super Grover lost his super powers! So with the help of the Super Five! (Elmo, Zoe, Zoe's pet rock, Telly, and Abby Caddy) Grover can dedicate himself to trying to restore his super self while they take care of all the problems in Sesame Street!  The five bring  us along while the Big Cheese (who is the boss of the superheroes and is literally a big cheese lol) send them out to save Old McDonald's  lunch, journey to Ernie and Elmo's World--which for some reason turned to Oscars world!  With great songs such as the ABC song, a very Sesame version of  I Need a Hero, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, I Don't Want to Live on the Moon (which made me cry-my son and I sing that song every day) and a great parody of Feels So Good, you were up dancing with your little ones the whole show through!

    Now I know I have kept you in suspense long enough I will tell you that YES Grover went back to being SUPER. By eating well, practicing good hygiene, resting and taking care of himself, Super Grover got his super powers back! So in the end everything worked out well, the kids sang along, danced in their seats and learned the whole way through. This show was well worth the trip to the city, the theatre at the Garden gave a great view no matter where you sat, the cast gave a wonderful performance, the stage was filled with amazing  props and lighting. From the smallest detail to the largest this show had it all and we loved every minute! I cannot wait for another Sesame Street Live Production to come into the area so we can have another truly memorable experience with our family! Thanks Sesame Street!  And thank you Vee Productions for giving us the tickets!


         





  Kids Club THIRTEEN EVENT: Thomas                   The Tank Engine at the NYBG


                              Kids Club THIRTEEN Membership: Why you need it!
                                                   &
               Thomas The Tank Engine Mini Show At The New York Botanical Gardens

The Mommy's Guide, meeting celebrities all the time :)

      So as you know here at The Mommy's Guide we are all about PBS. Their shows are top notch for children as well as adults. I mean on what channel can you guys watch both The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That, as well as Downton Abbey. No other channel that's where. So for my family joining Kids 
Club THIRTEEN was a very simple choice. For a donation of $75.00 all of which helps bring to you those two shows and a whole lot more you get a year membership to the best club around. With discounts at various stores and museums around the Tri-state area now including Bidawee animal shelters, that alone would be a good reason. But wait there is more. Along with those awesome perks you and your family (up to five people) get invited to thirteen free and fun events throughout the Tri-state area! So now I know you might be saying OK  you have told all of us this already, but I haven't shared with you our experience at one of those amazing events, so let me tell you about our recent adventure.

    This past weekend we were able to attend a Thomas The Tank Engine mini-show at the New York Botanical Garden! Yep that's right, our membership got us into a happening show (If you didn't know Thomas is kind of a big deal in the 9 and under range) the best seats in the house, as well as entrance to the beautiful gardens themselves.



      After we got to the garden and headed over to the building that Thomas is playing in, with my little one bubbling over with excitement, we walk right up to the Kids Club Thirteen table to sign in, get our bracelets and that's in we are in! We got great seats right at the edge of the stage and the kids really enjoyed the 20 minute or so show. With the help of Driver Sam, the show went very well and the audience loved it.  The amazing life-sized Thomas the Tank had a fully functional face and also blew real steam! We sang songs and helped Thomas be a really useful engine. The best part was the end of the show when row by row we were all called up to take a picture with the engine himself! My son was given a very official Jr Conductor certificate with Thomas on it as well as his name and then we were right next to the number 1 steam engine! The staff took the picture so we were all in it for once, and my son six hours later is still saying "I met Thomas!"

Two of the crafts available 
    The fun didn't end here however. After the show we received a fun goody bag filled with stickers, tattoos, and a pair of little people sunglasses as well. The members were given a Thomas The Tank reusable bag-  another member perk- and then directed us to the members only area where fun train-related crafts were being done with the help of the wonderful staff. After crafts we were free to walk the grounds as well as go to the children's garden where the kids could play around the grounds, and also to go play in the preschool play area that was filled with wonderful Thomas toys for the kids to play with. All in all a simply wonderful day spent with my family. My son had a great time and Kids Club THIRTEEN didn't fail in providing a great experience for all the little ones!
The Kids Club THIRTEEN activity room

    So if you were still wondering why you should get your membership to Kids Club THIRTEEN, wonder no longer! Join today and 13 events like this will be there for you and your family to create lifetime memories.


               Harry Potter: The Exhibition at Discovery Times Square







     What can I say about Harry Potter The Exhibition at Discovery Times Square. Hmm. Maybe that it is awesome!  And let me just add that a Sunday in January seems to be the way you go. The place was full but  not extraordinarily crowded, and our wait time to get into the exhibit was minimal. This is a timed entrance exhibit so when you order your ticket (best to do it online) make sure to pick a time that you can get there. The exhibit is set up so that you work your way to the line taking a picture before you enter with your group wearing scarves from your favorite house and choosing a fun pose!  The staff  is super organized: our "guide" Snovia gave us instructions on what to expect once we enter through the doors. She was clear, she was pleasant  and we saw her throughout our visit making sure everyone was all good.      
               
     When you enter you are ushered into a black room and there sits a stained glass window surrounded by  castle brick, a stool and the Sorting hat! Soo much fun! Christine, a red headed Englishwoman gave a great performance, giving us details about Hogwarts, what we were going to see but first of course we had to be sorted. She chose three people from the crowd, asked them what house they favored, held the hat over their head, and then voila! They were sorted into their favorite houses. What a hoot!  You then walk down the hall to a series of high def TV screens and watch a montage of all the characters as well as important parts of the movies/books. Then the TVs went blank and the doors to the far left open. You see a lantern shining and the front of the Hogwarts train. Someone somewhere says "Welcome to Hogwarts" and as you walk through the doors snow gently falls from the ceiling.  Listen I am no fan of snow but this indoor fake snow thing was truly something magical.  I was actually debating on leaving out this part of the tour because I hate spoilers, but I really feel like if you are a mother of a Harry Potter fan whether they are 5 or 45 you will get such a kick out of the face they make when this happens.  It was all oohs and ahhhhs. My sister is 24 and I am hummahuh hummahuh and I know we both got a thrill out of this and watching each other experiencing the moment as well. My son who is two and clearly just along for the ride was amazed as well. I mean come on snow, train.. Yeah he was good. That's when the exhibit begins.


                                                               
     You go through room after themed room. First there was the Gryfindor common room holding clothing, from the movies as well as Harry and Ron's beds. My favorite was actually seeing the howler in Ron's chest.  This is the letter his mother sent him after he flew his dad's car to school. It was so cool. By listening to the audio tour (more about that later) I learned that the howler was actually made by a Japanese intern who knew origami and gave life to one of my favorite scenes. So amazing.
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      To see the props that me and my sister watched in the movies up close and see all the detail that went in them and all the work they did to being the magic to life was breathtaking.  Every detail from the textbooks to the clothing were so rich in texture and craftsmanship that you really felt like you were looking at artitifacts from another world.



Pulling out Mandrake Roots! 

       From the dormitory you went into Hagrid's hut and the Herbology classroom. You get to pull mandrake roots up from their pots, sit in Hagrid's chair, and then proceed to the dark forest. Meet the hipogriff that stole our heart and the spider that spooked us. Play Quidditch and see the trophies and see a full fledged Dementor in all it's frightening glory. Then end your tour in the grand hall and see all the food props we have drooled over, meet Faux the phoenix and exit through the gift shop.

Buckbeak! How Neat! 
     This is where you can view the picture you took in the beginning, pick out your very own broom, get some house gear and pick up some Hogwarts treats.  After exiting you can even sit in the little cafe area of the discovery facility and talk all about all the amazing things you just witnessed.
       If you chose the audio tour option, your experience was greatly enhanced.  Throughout the exhibit there are numbers placed next to items- plug in that number and listen to the story behind the props, the thought that went into them, the creator's voice, all the work and thought behind the magic. It adds so much you will not regret it.
     What you will regret is taking pictures. Please listen to them when they say "No Photography". They mean it.  I know as a society we are camera happy, but try and keep yourself in check or employee Katrina will come over and ask you to delete your pictures immediately!
      The magic of the day will last with you for a long time to come. I enjoyed myself thoroughly. I learned so much about the movies, saw props that I have seen over and over again in the movies in person,  and experienced a little bit of the Harry Potter magic in my real life.  This exhibit will be here until the beginning to April, but don't wait too long, this is something you are going to have to see before it leaves the city!



                                     Jack Hannahs: Into The Wild! 


  Jack Hannah's Into the Wild was an amazing production, mixing film footage of Jacks many adventures and live animals. Performing at what Jack himself called one of his favorite venues, NYCB Theater at Westbury, every seat was a great seat. If you are unfamiliar with the name Jack Hannah don't think that means you don't know who he is. You may have seen him on David Letterman, The Today Show and many other late night or live TV programs, sharing not only his knowledge but his animal friends as well.  
     Although over 300 people were in the audience, it felt very much like an intimate gathering. Mr. Hannah talked freely about his life experiences, sharing his knowledge of animals and even talking directly to us in the audience about the appearance of protesters at the entrance of the theater saying that "All animal groups mean well, some just get there information wrong.  I have dedicated 45 years of my life to the animal world. When I started many of the zoos that were open maybe shouldn't have been, but times have changed. No zoo that is open now have animals captured in the wild to be put on display. They are rescued or been brought up in captivity. Those are the facts." he told us.

     Although on a schedule, these animals were full of surprises. The honey bear decided that he was a bit shy and burrowed not once but twice down the female handler's shirt!  "That is the first time that has happened in ten years" Jack laughed "I can tell you right now things may be going down here from now on. " It was joking comments like this along with the real life experiences he shared and the amazing facts he knew about the animals that made this one of the most amazing shows I have seen in awhile.  We laughed but also learned such amazing facts about the animals.  For instance, did you know that there are 15 different species of penguins and out of those 15 only 5 are the ones that can live in cold weather! I did not know that! And now I do! 

     Along with the animals, Jack also shared with us footage from many of his adventures, taking us with him to see the Mountain Gorillas, a hibernating bear's cave, and how orphan elephants are raised by humans. He gave us a very interesting view on nature, animals, and the crazy adventures he has experienced throughout his life! 
     My very favorite experience that I took away from this was while walking to our seats I hear someone behind me saying "hey there little buddy wait up" to my son, I turn around and see that it is  Mr. Jack Hannah himself stopping us! He said hi to the little guy and gave him a high five and an autographed picture. How cool was that! Two minutes later he was on stage and my son is carrying around his picture calling him his friend! To think that even when rushing to the stage, he stopped my little boy so that he could give him a awesome souvenir makes me truly believe that Jungle Jack is a stand up guy! When this tour stops in your city make sure to get your tickets. You will take away an experience that is not only a great time, but an educational way to spend the afternoon!  We will be waiting on pins and needles until he comes back to see us again!
                   


                          The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses : A Review


***Warning—the following review has some spoilers for those of you planning on attending this show in the remaining tour cities***


  In this house when a new Zelda comes out it’s like a national holiday. There are preparations: snack food, new pillows for back support and plenty of caffeinated beverages. Excitement: countdown to the day that it is released into the store and into our hands. And finally thanks to the Nintendo gods for their gift of Zelda!

    So obviously when I saw “The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses” I was beside myself with joy!  This amazing event was a classical performance of a very unique kind. The music to Zelda was performed by New York’s own St. Luke's Orchestra with video accompaniment featuring game footage.  It is conducted and composed by Eimera Noone who works with an orchestra from each city it plays in, making the show unique ever single time.
    This had a Comic-Con feel to it. Adults and kids were dressed up as Zelda, the Twilight Princess, and of course Link among other characters. People who were in costume were all too thrilled to stop and take pictures with those of us that didn't think of dressing up ourselves!
    On a Wednesday night I was so happy to see so many young kids there dressed up as their favorite hero or villain from the game!  This is an event that you pull you kids out of school the next day for. It was special and just one look at those kids’ faces told you that, if you didn't know already.

    The Overture of course featured The Legend of Zelda theme as well as a video montage of the game through the ages. To discribe the crowd... rowdy! There were cheers and whooo hoos throughout the performance. There was no stuffiness about it. No hushes from the crowd, you could cheer Link along on the screen and applaud your favorite tune or scene without fear of being ejected from the premises.

   The composer was friendly and wearing an amazing top. You could tell how much she really enjoyed what she was doing and the crowd’s excitement. The host and producer Jeron Moore shared his love of Zelda as inspiration to this long overdue concert series. Although he humbly admitted that he may not be as big of a fan as some of us in the crowd (that I don't know about, I mean the dude made a concert out of it!)
    After the overture we journeyed through the original Zelda games in all their 8-bit glory.  The first Zelda also holds special memories for me even though I was about six years old when it came out. I remember my father being obsessed with it. I remember him letting me buy the potions in the store (or shopping as I still call it in the game) and then the major meltdown he had when I accidentally erased the entire game on him! ( totally understandable if you ask me) and my mother laughing at him.
    We then went into the first movement of the symphony: The Ocarina of Time….And the crowd goes wild!!!  On screen you see Link go on his adventure to save the princess and his world! Fighting the evil Ganondorf and other evil foes. It was awesome.  The second movement was the video game that my husband, his best friend and I played during the first month of our courtship. (Of me and my husband not his best friend although admittedly it did feel like that at the time.)  Yep that's right we had romantical evenings just the three of us playing The Wind Waker until the wee hours of the morning, enjoyed romantic meals of take out and many many snacks.  It took me into a complete time warp I loved every minute of it and cheered and whoohooed along with the crowd.  I will leave the rest in a cloud of mystery as the show is still going on tour and I hate spoilers but I will tell you that after the fourth and final movement...don't get up... And expect a very special piece featuring a crowd favorite, Majora's Mask.
    There are some things in this life that may seem like a simple, silly thing like a video game, but to the people that play it, it can be so much more--a way to escape the everyday realities of the world, a joining of friends, and yes a start of new relationships. An event like this is not just a concert, it is a celebration of the game that we all love, the memories it inspires and friendships that incur because of it. Or even a reminder of a time when for twenty hours or so you had an escape and an adventure, not only of the game but with the people you shared it with.
  I was so happy to attend and must say a big thank you for the tickets. This was a great experience and I can only hope that it will stick around until my son is of an age to see it and I can make him play hookie for a show that he will remember for the rest of his life. Good job guys!



                                                          Yo Gabba Gabba Live : A Review

     If I wanted to describe this concert in one word, I couldn't. There is not one word to describe the amazing time we had at this show or the show itself. As a woman who is humina humina years old I can honestly say that I enjoyed the show just as much as my son!

     Held at the theater in Madison Square Garden it was a perfect venue giving people seated in any area a great view of the adventure happening at the stage. The show begins with a huge screen displaying the famous Yo Gabba Gabba boom box and the sounds of  footsteps echoing throughout the theatre.  The crowd is silently awaiting what is going to happen next.  They are silently waiting...  I mean isn't that amazing in itself... In a crowd of literally hundreds of 2 year olds and up the crowd is SILENT. Only the power of  Yo Gabba Gabba can make that happen.  When DJ Lance appears on stage the crowd goes wild and with the help of the audience screaming YO GABBA GABBA! Brobree, Muno, Foofa, Tuti, and Phlex are brought on stage with confetti and streamers being shot in the air, now that is a way to start a show!

       With the help of the enormous TV screen in the background and the lighting, it feels as if you are not only watching a extra awesome episode of the show but you are actually part of it.  We hear tons of our favorite  Gabba tunes, like "There's a Party in my Tummy" and our personal favorite "Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle Stop"! There was even a super friends music show featuring the  Freelance Whales!  And a dancy dance segment with the awesome Fred Armisen.  Biz comes out to drop some of his beats bringing some of the kids on stage to help him and then awesomness happened- he  performed Just a Friend with DJ  Cool V  and it was time for the parents to go crazy! It was a concert within a concert for the second time. This is exactly why there is no one word to describe this event. There were so many components that made it unlike anything I have ever seen. Between the visual effects to the live music performances this is a completely unique children's performance. Just like the T.V. Show Yo Gabba Gabba Live proves to be one of a kind in the children concert arena.


    The special guests, the surprise performances, and high tech stage show are nothing compared to my little boy's expression though. That kid loved every single minute of it along with every other kid in the place. When the show actually ended that's when kids cried. They didn't want it to be over, they wanted to shake more sillies out and I can't blame them.

      The show itself was approximately 75 minutes long which I personally think is just enough time for a kids' concert. The intermission was a great way to get the diaper changes done and give all the performers a well deserved break. All in all I was more than thrilled with the experience, but I am sure you figured that out already.
    But it doesn't have to end with the concert. You can also purchase tickets to the after party!  This gives your kids the chance to meet all the characters up close, get your picture taken with them, and see your child's face light up when they actually get to give the real Muno a high five. My kid was beyond delighted and three days later he is still re-enacting the experience with his Brobee doll. Seeing him sitting there listening  while DJ Lance and Leslie actually read them a story right out of Gabba land was just amazing and dropping beats with Biz and giving him a hug was the icing on the cake.  They had organic snacks from Plum and Yo Gabba Gabba juice boxes from 50/50 free for the taking, balloons scattered all over the floor and a DJ playing the Gabba songs all night long.
      The memories created during this event will be carried with me and my husband for a lifetime.  To be able to see my son meet his idols, to see them live on stage and watch him dancing along was priceless.  The show itself is nothing compared to the memories made, the time spent as a family and the look on your kids' faces.  It sounds corny, and maybe it is, but I will always be thankful to Yo Gabba Gabba giving me these memories.  Thanks guys!






 


     What a great time we had in Historic Hudson Valley this past Columbus Day weekend!  We arrived on Saturday and enjoyed lunch and a dip in the pool, and prepared ourselves for the night ahead. True to form the Great Pumpkin Blaze was very well organized. We arrived for the 7:30 showing and the parking attendants led us to a spot. We walked through the awesome pumpkin arches and into the tent where we stood in a line that went super fast up to the gates of the BLAZE. That is where they scan your tickets and the tour begins!






     As you walk up the winding path, with mouth open wide letting all the flies in because holy WOW the pumpkins are laid out everywhere!  Funny faces, scary faces, anything you can think of spread across the whole lawn as you make your way over to the house itself all lit up. There was a whole new set up and new additions from last year when we went so it was fresh and new to our eyes. We passed pumpkin tombstones, pumpkin bats hanging from the trees, there was a ghostly bonfire in front of the historic house, and as you waited to go down the path by the house (that is a bit narrow) the pumpkins on the house had timed lighting to the blaze original sound track. Really great. After the bottle neck walkway you encounter a museum of dinosaur bones which was my son’s favorite part hands down. To be perfectly honest every single part of this event is amazing, but my favorite part was the new grandfather clock that had a pumpkin pendulum swinging back and forth with moving hands, awesome! You walk by an array of pumpkins with Celtic knots carved in them, a gaggle of witches making a brew, zombies and of course spiders, skeletons and a whole bunch more. All in all we spent a little over an hour taking in every single one of these wonderful sculptures all of us ooohhing and ahhhing the way around. You have never seen anything like it and every year we go, we get more and more impressed with what they do.


     The staff is friendly and helpful, guiding the way and sharing a smile with you and the occasional “I know isn't it great!”  The path at some points are very narrow, so if you have a baby carriage, like we did, try and stay in the middle of the path. Also if you have a baby carriage, try not to run over passers by as it is dark so take it slow and steady--the pumpkins will not wilt if it takes you a moment longer to get to the next exhibit. It is dark, so keep your kiddies close, and watch your step.  Remember, slow and steady wins the race! The gift show also has a bunch of great things to buy; my top pick there is the soundtrack to the blaze itself. The music sets the tone for the whole event and I am sure it will be a great accessory for your own Halloween party, and at $8.95 you're not breaking the bank!


     We went home feeling great and satisfied with our experience and are very thankful to Historic Hudson Valley for providing us with the tickets and for just doing such a stand up job with the event itself. In this day and age it is easy to cut corners and make something look bigger than it is, but that is not the case here.  They put in the work, they hire an amazing staff, everyone from the parking attendants to the lovelies holding the flashlights are amazing, and they produce an event that I am proud to promote and happy to attend. THANK YOU and I cannot wait until next year!













A Review! 

   This past Sunday we had the pleasure to see Max and Ruby Live! A Nutcracker Suite!  The show was held at one of my favorite venues, the NYCB Theater at Westbury, mainly because any seat you have is the best seat in the house! The facility is clean, the staff is friendly, and we always have a great experience there!  Now on to the show--this was a very interesting performance, as is the actual T.V. show. With a mix of adult language, messages of how to behave, and of course the occasional mischief, I was wondering how they would have all of that plus the Nutcracker on stage!  Well I should have known that they had it covered.  From the helpful "Stage Elves" (who were also the characters of the Nutcracker)  whisking away props during the scene change and who also sang a wonderful rendition of the Max and Ruby theme song that my son and I had a great time singing (screaming) along with. As to the rendition of the Nutcracker's dances themselves, this had the best of Max and Ruby and The Nutcracker all up on stage. Plus a robot dance. You can't go wrong with dancing robots. I am about to show you that this show really has it all.


      Like I said the helper elves did a great opening number of Max and Ruby's theme song. There was  a sparsely decorated stage which I actually liked because it left the focus on the characters, Max, Ruby, and Grandma, and the dancing of the the nutcracker--not over stimulating the kids with a bunch of things that really could be left out of the show.  Ruby explains they will be reading the Nutcracker and even goes into a bit of history about the play. Then as Grandma Bunny reads, Max and Ruby's imagination transports you into the story. Ruby comes out in a beautiful red gown as "Clara" from the story , and Max is all smarted up as  "Nutcracker Max". Then we are off!  This show was surprisingly interactive: from counting the gingerbread men that Grandma made, to pretending to be swaying daisies and twirling tulips from the "Waltz Of The Flowers". It was also surprisingly like an actual ballet with numerous dances from the actual Nutcracker appearing which left the whole audience going through rounds of ooohs and ahhhs. The cast gave a wonderful performance that was professional yet reachable to the children.

     All in all this performance had the best of the Nutcracker itself, the sound affects, story-line, and smart interpretation of children’s minds that we come to expect from Max and Ruby, and some down right funny dances-- like the dancing robots, plus dancing gingerbread men, candy canes and all other kinds of Christmas time magic, all brought to life.  I would recommend this to any fan of  Max and Ruby, and the Nutcracker, alike. It had enough of each to give you a truly magical experience that you will remember sharing with your child for years to come!





 



Choo Choo Barn Part Two Strasburg review!
The Zoo, at Choo Choo Barn

  After we visited the amazing Strasburg Rail Road we headed on over to the Choo Choo Barn, literally three minutes down the road.  The Choo Choo Barn is an amazing 1700 square foot model train display and a train lover's dream.  With over 150 hand made models, some of which are animated, and 22 trains running throughout, you will be staring in awe at the detail in each scene.  There are ponds with live goldfish, Amish neighbors building their homes, a circus with twirling acrobats, and my absolute favorite, the firehouse.    A house goes on FIRE while you watch!(its not real fire, only smoke lol)  But do not fret my pets, the fire truck (placed only a couple of houses away) is on its way! The fire engine leaves the firehouse and drives down the block and parks in front of the blazed house. Firemen come out of nowhere, hose and all, and put out the fire.  You even witness a fire man rescuing a cat! So cute! We watched it about three times.
The Amish Building their house, watch as the people actually hammer on top of the roof
       The room also goes from daytime to night on rotation so you get the extra bonus of experiencing its grandeur with the lights off. All in all, this is a must stop for any train enthusiast  whether he or she is 2 or 29! I really enjoyed our trip there and can't wait to see it again soon! Little tip though, if you have a tired child, or one prone to temper tantrums be prepared, you walk in through the gift shop! So of course all my little monster wanted to do was play with all the merchandise and didn't even realize how cool it was just beyond the curtain! Prepare to glide right in (have one person get the tickets first and then swoop right through the curtain) or if your child can understand, tell him or her that she will have to wait to look at the toys after you see the display! Once my monster child actually stop screeching and embarrassing us he was actually completely silent as he watched in that child like amazement that we all try and get our children to experience at these magically places! Thank You Choo Choo Barn! 
One of the several ponds with Goldfish on display Really cute










  A few weeks ago, my family and I were lucky enough to be invited to visit Starsburg Railroad, in Pennsylvania.  This is going to be a three part review, because I had such a fabulous time that I would like to share EVERYTHING about it. First let us talk about the station itself!

 





      Tucked amongst the picturesque farms, the strolling Amish, and random WAWA's (I love saying that name) is the Strasburg Railroad.  You first pull past the train yard full of old steam engines and cars either in repair or already restored.  After you park your car and walk over the train tracks you pass by the switch tower which was built in 1885 and is a classic example of the Pennsylvania Railroad's signal tower design.  Once at the ticket booth the employees were all dressed in period outfits, and were just amazingly helpful. They didn't try to "up-sell" or try and push you along.  Instead they talked to each customer and helped them decide how they would like to experience the railway, and then told them what the best car (there are several to choose from, open air, coach, first class and dining) price or package would be for them.  It was incredibly refreshing to see, and started off our visit very pleasantly.



This is the Coach Car that we rode in. Amazing right?
 A train pulled up soon after we got our tickets and we picked our train car and seats.  We went on a Sunday and caught the 1pm train to "Paradise".  The station had plenty of people, but was not crowded at all and we had plenty of space to spread ourselves out and really enjoy the ride.  The car itself was simply beautiful.  The seats were clean and comfortable and were also reversible so you could flip them over for the return trip so you wouldn't be traveling backwards!   So if your kid has to stand on the seats, like mine, please take off their shoes so they do not ruin anything on this amazing train car.  The floors were spotless and constructed with finished wood.  On the ceilings hung tiny chandeliers that were just beautiful, and on the tippy top there were small stained glass windows--really it was breathtaking.  It was like nothing I have ever seen outside of the movies.  The day was not very hot so the opened windows made it very comfortable. Our conductor Jack introduced himself outside the train then boarded and while we rode gave us a brief history and tour of what we were seeing and what we were riding.  His voice was soothing, and instead of hindering the experience he definitely added to it. His vast knowledge of the rails was filled with fun facts, telling us what was going on all around us and the history of the area, and what we would experience riding around in a different era.
             


Conductor Jack
      On all westbound trains (so returning trips) you can even stop at Picnic Grove, a little area on the side of the tracks with a period playground, swings, and a ring-a-ma-jig (you know that thing you sit on and spins around as fast as you can),  picnic tables, and nice shade to enjoy a lunch that you packed ahead of time.  You can stay for as long as you like, just make sure you get on the last train back!






      Three times we had to stop. Once for a passing train where we all waved "hello" as they passed, the second time to turn around at what used to be "Paradise Station"--which was very cool.  The third was to pick up picnickers at Picnic Cove.


     First we learned that Paradise Station was one of the stops of Abraham Lincoln's body on his way home for burial, and second I learned that the steam locomotive is reversible.  Whether backwards or forward the locomotive can pull a train which my husband and I found very interesting, if not really weird to see!  All in all the trip was 45 minutes of just awsomeness. My son got such a kick out of it he sat on his seat with his train hat and Thomas book and waved to all the people, the trains, the trees, the horses we saw and really anything else he deemed waveable! As parents we were comfortable, enjoyed our son's expressions, and the history of the train as Conductor Jack  relayed it to us.  He even stopped and said hello to the children he passed and made the experience even more enjoyable with his train enthusiastic presence!  They even had a photographer in period attire going about the train that would take pictures of families!  I love that, it is so hard to get a photo of all three of us together that I jumped at the chance to get a snapshot of us enjoying ourselves. The picture was $10.00 which isn't a bad price at all and our picture came out great so I was so thrilled!




       Even though the train ride was over didn't mean our visit to the railroad was. You can stop for a bite to eat, visit the gift shop,  take a period picture or dress up as conductors with overalls and pretend there is a train robbery. I would show you the one we took but my son wouldn't have it and started screaming and yelling so we will have to wait till next year to take the ADORABLENESS that are these pictures. And again, it is affordable so you can get one of those pictures for as low as $10.  So if you can get your kid in those overalls, I suggest you do it and get an awesome picture! I will be jealous!  They also have small rides like the Cagney Train which is a mini steam engine that  takes you to the Train Yard.   On the ride you get some up-close views of those trains in need of repair that I mentioned earlier, as well as going in a "tunnel" which my son thought was amazing.  This car was built around 1920 and originally used at an amusement park.  There is also a Pump Car that we skipped because my son was just a bit too small, but did snag a couple of snap shots on it!


     All in all, we had a fantastic time.  It was clean, it was safe, and it was just tons of fun for our little train fanatic.  I couldn't have had more fun during the trip, but the expression on my son's face on the train was just priceless. I suggest everyone take their kid there, and you don't have to wait till Thomas makes his appearance. Every single day at Strasburg is a great day in the making.  With wonderful staff members, history, and fun around every single bend, this is definitely a yearly trip for my family and I.  I highly suggest to make it yours as well.  For more information about Strasburg Railroad please go here.  We also have a preview listed on this page, please click here to view that as well.


   If you have been to Strasburg, or have any questions about your trip, please feel free to comment, share your stories with us, and with any questions we will do our best to get answers for you!   




          Choo Choo Barn Part Two Strasburg review!

  After we visited the amazing Strasburg Rail Road we headed on over to the Choo Choo Barn, literally three minutes down the road.  The Choo Choo Barn is an amazing 1700 square foot model train display and a train lover's dream.  With over 150 hand made models, some of which are animated, and 22 trains running throughout, you will be staring in awe at the detail in each scene.  There are ponds with live goldfish, Amish neighbors building their homes, a circus with twirling acrobats, and my absolute favorite, the firehouse.    A house goes on FIRE while you watch!  But do not fret my pets, the fire truck (placed only a couple of houses away) is on its way! The fire engine leaves the firehouse and drives down the block and parks in front of the blazed house. Firemen come out of nowhere, hose and all, and put out the fire.  You even witness a fire man rescuing a cat! So cute! We watched it about three times. The room also goes from daytime to night on rotation so you get the extra bonus of experiencing its grandeur with the lights off. All in all, this is a must stop for any train enthusiast  whether he or she is 2 or 29! I really enjoyed our trip there and can't wait to see it again soon! Little tip though, if you have a tired child, or one prone to temper tantrums be prepared, you walk in through the gift shop! So of course all my little monster wanted to do was play with all the merchandise and didn't even realize how cool it was just beyond the curtain! Prepare to glide right in (have one person get the tickets first and then swoop right through the curtain) or if your child can understand, tell him or her that she will have to wait to look at the toys after you see the display! Once my monster child actually stop screeching and embarrassing us he was actually completely silent as he watched in that child like amazement that we all try and get our children to experience at these magically places! Thank You Choo Choo Barn! 






     August 4th was one of the most exciting days of the whole summer for my family thanks to the Circle Line Kids Cruise!  In case you didn't know, Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises are New York City's most famous boat tours (yes that is their slogan and it is true). It was an absolutely amazing experience and I urge all of you to check it out, because if you don't you will be missing out.  Not only was the ride itself spectacular, the cruise was loaded with super fun extras!  My son had a blast, I was impressed with every aspect of it, and I recommend it to everyone!



     First of all I have to say that the staff there are better than you could ever expect. We arrived a few minutes late and even though the boat was just about to move out into the water, they actually held it up for us as we ran and jumped on at the very last second! Remember people this is New York, and this city waits for no one!(except for Circle Line ticket holders, or maybe just me because writing for The Mommy's Guide makes me ultra VIP...actually I'm completely joking, please arrive on time guys...) Everyone at the ticket booth, parking garage, the dock, and the ship itself, including the concession stand employees were extremely kind and friendly.

     This cruise included a juggler and a magician, and a balloon artist with a rather long line since the balloons really were that cool.  There was live kid-friendly music, this time by Princess Katie and Racer Steve, who I must say were excellent.  The band was energetic, the songs were catchy, and they had a big group of enthusiastic kids (and adults) dancing and rocking out!  If for any reason your child isn't into the music, you could just go to the upper level where it is quiet. We went back and forth between the two levels and all around because there were so many things to do all over the ship.  There are plenty of seats inside and outside (even though it was sold out there was ample seating), two levels, and fantastic views from every spot.  On the lower level there is a concession stand with healthy options available, and not too overpriced either-don't forget this is in Manhattan, where they could get away with selling that water for $6 (it was $3).  Next to it is a little shop selling a large variety of souvenirs, including my favorite, the Statue of Liberty hat!  The upper level also has a small snack stand and outdoor seating.  Although there are no chairs outside on the lower level, there is standing room.  Bathrooms are located downstairs under the first level, and they were pretty clean!  There were raffles, prizes, and giveaways, including tickets to awesome places such as the New York Aquarium and Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, and also a meet and greet photo opportunity with the Berenstain Bears Live.  There was so much going on it was like a big party!
     Of course many of the activities were added bonuses to the cruise which is magnificent on its own! This one was 75 minutes (a perfect length for most kids) and it gives an extraordinary vantage point of New York City, whether you've lived around here your whole life or if you just moved here, whether you spend time in the city often or if it is your first time.  The kids got a kick out of seeing all the other boats, especially the water taxis.  People of all ages marveled at the skyscrapers.  Of course, the highlight was the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, where the boat pauses for a postcard-worthy photo op!  There is a tour guide explaining everything, and ours was both kid-friendly and informative.
     The pricing for the Kids Cruise is very reasonable: $28 for adults, $20 for children (3-12) and free for infants (0-2).  It is worth every penny! The fall schedule for the Kids Cruise will be on their website soon (unfortunately this was the last Kids Cruise for the summer), but if you don't want to wait, you can still catch a Circle Line Cruise for all ages any time-also at great prices! They have so many options going on all the time, including a 30 minute ride on the speedboat known as The Beast! Kids will love the bright green design with shark teeth, but must be 40" tall.  Other options are the 3 hour Full Island Cruise, the 2 hour Semi Circle Cruise, the 75 minute Liberty Cruise, and the 2 hour evening Harbor Lights Cruise. Circle Line also has many special events, so visit their website at www.circleline42.com.  You can also call them at (212) 563-3200.  I give this event and this company a million stars! 

P.S. Circle Line is located at Pier 83, at West 42nd Street & 12th Avenue.  This is directly adjacent to the Intrepid Museum of Sea, Air and Space.  If your family is up for it, you should definitely plan to do both while you're there.  If you happen to live in Lynbrook, your library has a free pass you can reserve for the Intrepid Museum and other libraries in Nassau County may have the pass also, so if you are interested in both and want to save time and money, plan accordingly!


Contributed by Christina





                                                            Pinkalicious The Musical


     This is yet another production of the Plaza Theatrical Productions Inc that I can say with all honesty was great! The sets were well done, and the theater was PACKED, all signs of a great show! This is a girl's dream play, and the crowd was packed with little ones all decked out in pink, princess gowns, pink dresses tutu-- it was adorable. That doesn't mean that a little boy wouldn't like it, as I can attest

, my son was grooving and shaking along with all the other kids (and tried once or twice to get onto the stage...)

     Pinkalicious, played  by actress  Caitlin Nofi, performed beautiful songs and solos along with her fellow cast members. The kids reacted to her beautifully and you really felt as if she was as pink crazed as her character would be. If you are unfamiliar with the story of Pinkalicious it's about a little girl who is just crazy about pink! So much infact, that when she eats too many pink cupcakes, she TURNED PINK! A very rare disease called Pinkititis which is the second cousin twice removed to gingervitous! (as told by the lovely doctor Emma Harrington) She is told that the only way to get rid of PINKITIS is to eat green food, which of course she does not, and after eating yet another pink cupcake, she TURNS RED! Only then does Pinkalicious change her ways and starts eating her green food, and all is well...until her father realizes that the rest of the cupcakes are gone.  When questioning where they went,  Pinkalicious' brother Peter comes in with his own case of Pinkitis! All along he loved pink just as much (which he sings, is perfectly ok for a boy to do!) and the crowd is all laughs!


All in all, it was a great performance, which of course I wouldn't think of getting anything less for this wonderful production company! Peter played by Michael Cifuni played a very amusing Peter, and his solo of “I Got The Pink Blues” was funny as well as a beautiful song. Mrs Pinkerton played by Carrie Heffernaan was funny as well as a beautiful singer and I throughly enjoyed her song “You Get Just What You Get”, a line that I may not sing, but definitely will be saying from now on! And not to leave out Mr. Pinkerton, who was played by TC Weiss who was a great actor who really made me laugh out loud (like I spelled that out long hand, instead of just typing, LOL.. Professional over here!) when he revealed to us all that he was the only other person in history who had... you guessed it PINKITITIS.


   

     I highly suggest that you read the book before you go to the show, just as me and my son had done so that your children will get the extra thrill of seeing the book come to life, I also suggest that you guys buy your tickets ahead of time, as this baby is selling out!!! Secure your tickets and seats and get ready for just a fantastic production that last a little under an hour!




Pinkalicious is playing

Saturday August 18th, 2012
Saturday August 25th, 2012
Sunday August 26th, 2012
At the Long Island Children's Museum and there are three perfomances a day at 11:00am, 1:00pm, and 3:00pm Tickets are $12.00 just for the show, not admission for the museum. If you order than ahead of time, which I suggest, you will save two dollars off each ticket!

To order Tickets please call the Box Office             516-599-6870    


Make sure you check back for our DORA Explora Live Review!!


Thank you for Plaza Theatrical Productions for letting us come see this great event!






Review of Le Play Cafe In Bellmore NY

                                                  Le Play Cafe, A Review!


        Parents who bring their childen to Le Play Cafe are in for a big treat!  I took my son there the other day and we both left having had a great time although in two completely different ways. My son because he just spent two hours running around having a great time and I just having spent two hours relaxing.


                         I arrived at aprroximetly ten-thirty on a Thursday morning. As I was walking into the small yet comfortable play area, I was greeting by the proprietor, Katrina, asked to fill out some general information forms, and then we were ready to play.  It cost twelve dollars for two hours of play which is a bargain.  The cafe is filled with comfy chairs and loungers and a few tables with chairs. The party room, when not in use, can be set up with pizza or other food (ordered by customers from an outside source- there is no actual food served on location other than snacks and drinks) and used as a  lunch room.  The Mommys and Daddys can sit and relax while their child over two can run around safely in the gated play area (younger children need parental supervision and of course parents of older children can go in if they wish). What makes it even more special is the member(s) of the staff that stays in the play area to watch over the kids.  She plays with them, cleans up after them, engages them to play and makes sure they play safely, all while parents sit mere feet away enjoying a coffee, water or soda available for purchase on premises.

                    There are costumes available for dress up with a boys side and girls side and a stage setup for impromtu fasion shows.  They have a Little Tykes castle, a pink tent castle, cars to ride, puzzles to play, a train table, a work bench, all the goods for a tea party or cooking bonanza, and much more! Movies play through a projector onto the wall and kiddie tunes play through the speaker.  What makes the place even more amazing is how clean it is!  Not a crumb on the floor, the toys are all in excellent condition, clearly clean and well kept. Very impressive.


              My Recommendation: Will I be going back?  ABSOLUTELY. This place is great!  It's clean with a laid back fun atmosphere and clearly loved and taken care of by the propieter.  It was twelve dollars well spent especially with the girl hanging out in the room keeping an eye on the kids. Please remeber to tip her well ( there is a box by the gate) - she is taking good care of the kiddies. As we were leaving around 12:30 the place was getting a bit busy, and the owner said on rainy days it can get a bit crowded however that is expected at all indoor play places.

                 After we played I took a moment to talk to the owner Katrina

                 Mommy's Guide:  what made you open Le Play Cafe?
                 Katrina:  I was living in Florida where they have indoor play places everywhere and I loved the idea. When we were moving to New York I thought it would be a really great idea to open up one here. My kids were getting a little older, so I started to do some research and I was ready to work, so we opened our doors In Nov of 2010.

                 MG: What is your favorite part of running Le Play Cafe?
                 Katrina: I love seeing the kids playing here; it is really a very happy place to come to work everyday.  I also get to see the kids grow- our repeat customers come in with this baby and I get to see them grow into little people. I get to see families grow!

                   MG: What are the Party Packages? Why have a Party here?
                   Katrina: The best part about having a party here is that it is great for both kids and adults. The kids get to go wild in the play area, while the adults have the whole cafe area just for them. They can mingle, enjoy something to eat and relax because the kids are taken care of. That is one of the things special about Le Play Cafe.
                
     The party packages range from $325 on the weekend, and $225 during the week, which includes Friday.  They also have promotions, the one currently running is $199 for any summer birthday parties, which is a super deal. The cost includes 11 kids, pizza, juice and other drinks. Le Play Cafe will also arrange the favors and cake if you want, so really you don't have anything to worry about! Christina, my collaborator from the Mommy's Guide had a birthday party last October for her son; here is her review of the party as well as her take on the place.
    


         *The party was just excellent!  They did all of the setup, cleanup, goody bags, and it was my choice to order the cake myself (I really wanted a particular cake) or they would order from a bakery they use.  There was an extensive catering menu to choose from, and many extras such as party themes, professional entertainment, decorations, etc. were available as well. They made the planning very simple, and the party went off without a hitch. They made all of the guests feel welcome and made sure that everyone was enjoying themselves.  The staff went above and beyond- asking the birthday boy what movie he wants to be playing, offering to wrap up food for guests who were leaving early, and just being as helpful as possible.  I have also been there for open play, and I love how they are so clean-they insist that parents do not go in the play area with shoes on (staff members actually have sneakers that they wear only there!), they have a bin for toys that need to be disinfected (yes they are cleaned as soon as possible) and they make sure nobody is putting the toys in their mouths.  They even inform the parents if it smells like someone has a dirty diaper!  I love everything about this place and so does my son!*


         
           MG: Anything else you would like to add?
           Katrina: Just that we are expanding, we are working on franchising, and for those of you out there wondering if there will be a Le Play Cafe in your town, we are working on it!

So as you can tell here at the Mommy's Guide, we are won over. Plain and simple this is a great place for a great price, so go over there today, and let us know what you think!


                                      National Train Day, at Grand Central Terminal

  Let me start by saying I was really super excited about this event. I thought it was a great idea--until I got there.  We arrived at exactly 11am and it was just insanely overcrowded. To the left was a stage were speeches were being made, but you couldn't hear anything due to the acoustics of the station, poor sound quality and the crowd.   There were booths set up giving out various tourist information about cities that Amtrak stops at, and Radio Disney had their equipment out pumping kiddie tunes. The Radio Disney guys did have activities for the kids at various times throughout the event.  Then there was an amazing setup of miniature model trains, but it was so crowded you couldn't even see it. If you did get your kid there eventually the "guards" of the model train setup pushed you back so they couldn't even see.


      To the right were the kid's activities. They had coloring activities, paper conductor hats, and there was a Chuggington setup where they gave you an activity book and poster, plus coloring at the kiddie tables that were set up.  They had TWO train tables, cartoons playing, Wii's set up towards the back and blocks on a mat in the middle. All very cute--if it wasn't so grossly over-packed. The train table had five train cars a piece and well over twenty kids surrounding it.  It was so sad watching the kids watching the other few kids play.  You could hardly move, let alone run after your child if they ran even a few paces in front of you.  It was more like sheep herding then a play space, and very unsafe; shame on them.  You could also take pictures a with cartoon train background, which I would have loved, but with all the people I couldn't figure out where the line was or how to get the photos anyway.  I didn't even make it to view the actual trains on the station platforms that they had to view. I am sure they were wonderful but I could only imagine the crowds so we didn't even bother.


      My Recommendation: Would I go back?  Sadly no, I would not, it was a great concept and a great way to give back to the community, but amazingly flawed in execution, overcrowded and unsafe. I cannot believe how they thought that setup would work. Grand Central Station is crowed on the slowest of days with travelers and tourists; add a free event on top of it, you better put everyone in the biggest room you could find! Oh well, we still had fun in the city. So even though I would NOT go back to the actual event at Grand Central Terminal, I will be celebrating National Train Day every year by taking a trip by train into the city. I suggest you do the same. Four Frowns For National Train Day at Grand Central Station :( :( :( :(. Four smiley's for celebrating national train day :) :) :) :)








Lido Nature Preservea review


     I brought my son to this peaceful 40-acre preserve for the first time last week, and it was awesome! Not only is it FREE, but we had such a great time that there was no complaining on my 4-year-old's part about walking down all the trails, and there are a lot! (you don't have to take them all, but he was excited to see what was on them!) It's definitely something different to do; a nice break from all the stuff geared for kids only.  It is on Lido Boulevard in Lido Beach, but the entrance is a white seashell path behind a chain link fence with a little sign that reads "Marine Conservatory"-easy to miss if you're not looking for it.  Please note that there is a rather misleading sign with a double-sided arrow that says "overlook trail"-the right side has only a few more feet of the trail; the left will bring you to the main area of the preserve. If you walk to the right, you will find the restroom sign which just leads you to the restroom for the marina.  This is exciting on it's own if your child likes boats!  If you walk to the left you can take the overlook trail, which leads you to the wetlands trail.  Both trails split off in various paths.  The view is amazing, and the trees and plants are beautiful.  Our favorite part was all the colorful birds. We brought binoculars and were able to see yellow warblers, red-winged blackbirds, barn swallows, glossy ibis, gray catbirds, ducks, terns, and much more!!  It is possible to see turtles and seals, but we were not lucky enough to see them. We are looking forward to going back to try again!


Contributed by Christina




Center for Science Teaching and Learning at Tanglewood Park and Preserve

   
  Last weekend we visited this park, located at 1 Tanglewood Road in Rockville Centre, for the Spring Festival. Although the festival is over, this is a lovely place that we plan on visiting often. The grounds are beautiful and a far cry from the overgrown place it was years ago before it was restored. The festival featured many events, such as outdoor story time, an animal show, a bee-keeping demonstration, a guided nature hike, nature-themed arts & crafts, and face-painting, in addition to the permanent attractions.  The regular attractions include a dinosaur dig- a spot where kids can dig and actually find "dinosaur bones", an indoor and outdoor animal exhibit, nature trails, and a gift shop.  Some of our favorite animals were the bearded dragons, the alligator, the macaw, the owls, and the rooster!  We knew it was going to be fun when we got out of the car and the first thing we heard was the rooster crowing!  Our favorite part of the day was when we strolled around the pond and saw two baby geese walking with their parents!  To enter the grounds is free (except during an event such as the Spring festival or the upcoming Halloween festival), and the "Amazing Animals" exhibit is only $6. They also have a number of workshops, camps, and a nursery school.  I highly recommend this park for people of all ages.  For more information you can visit the CSTL website at: http://www.cstl.org/index.htm

Contributed by Christina




The Wantagh Museum, a Review







The weather was beautiful last weekend, so I decided to take my train obsessed son over to the Wantagh Museum to see the train called Jamaica, that has its home there.  We arrived at exactly 2:00 pm and my son instantly started yelling "Train! Train!". We were off to a good start!  We were greeted by the days curator, a volunteer and member of the Wantagh Preservation society.  He greeted us and invited us into the train station, now a museum, and started telling us about the various items that were donned on the walls and in cases. To the right was a ticket booth, stocked inside with various things they would use back when the station was functioning. The pictures covering the walls showed population maps for Wantagh throughout the years,and historical houses, many of them still standing. In fact, we were informed that Wantagh has the most historical buildings still standing in the Town of Hempsted. The station itself was in use from 1885-1965. It was closed and then moved and restored into the museum we see today.
The only disappointment was when we learned that we could not go into the train itself as it is in a state of  disarray and being restored as we speak. I asked when it would be done, but was only answered with a shrug. They have the funds, but are working on the vendors.  The car itself was from 1912, and given to the LIRR for trips out to Montauk.  It has three bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen.  The curator believes it would have been parked for the weekend, and patrons could rent it out instead of moving themselves into  a hotel, which I thought was pretty cool. 
My recommendations: Will I be going back? Absolutely! Although disappointed with the train myself, my son could not have been more thrilled to be so close to something he has only seen in pictures! For a straight 45 minutes, the train and the station kept his attention. He ran all around yelling "Train," and "Choo chooooo" until he was almost hoarse. The museum itself  was interesting and well done, and the grounds were clean and well kept. Children  and their families came car by car, and soon my son had plenty of play mates to occupy him, when the train lost his interest.  It was Fun, it was Free, and it was Family Friendly. What more can a girl ask. Three Smiley faces :) :) :) out of four.





My son and his father walking the rails at the Wantagh Museum


The Wantagh Museum:
Open: Sundays 2-4pm
Cost:Free
Location: 1700 Wantagh Ave, Wantagh. Long Island 




   The Mama's Expo, Saturday May 5th
                                                             At the NYCSI

        We arrived at the Mama's Expo and were greeted by a lovely member of the staff dressed in pink. She gave us our guide with the list of vendors, activities, and workshops, and led us to where the Expo began-- all with a smile.  Listed on the guide were fifty vendors, but after a walk around I felt like there were many more. Everyone there had a great attitude and the tables were stocked to the brim with fun goodies--I couldn't wait to investigate them all!  I met with a lot of vendors who had great products and were easy to talk to. Of course, I did have my favorites, and I am super excited to tell them to you........but...... Since I am putting out this blog for the world to see, I have to really research all of those products, and in some cases try them out, before I recommend them to you guys or give them any promotion. So please bear with me and I will have the reviews for these items as soon as I can.
        Back to the Expo.  Along with the vendors there were free activities that included story times, crafts, and sample child activity classes.  There was a practice pitching mound set-up, circle time, story time, and workshops for expecting mommies. Some of the workshops were labor pain relief, infant CPR and Doula Q&A. I did not venture into any of them myself, being pre-occupied with the classes and activities for my little one, however I did meet up with an expected mother after the labor pain relief seminar.  She said it was excellent and was really excited about the information she came out with. I personally think that offering these semiars are a really wonderful addition to the expo itself. I myself paid to take a Baby CPR seminar when I was pregnant, and didn't get all the extra's that the Mama's Expo had to offer!
        Then there was my favorite part, and I think I can safely say my son's also, the SWEDISH COTTAGE MARIONETTE THEATER!!! Yes, that did deserve to be in all caps. They preformed  "Bessie's Big Shot!" about a cow with big dreams. It was really just so wonderful that I am going to write a review about that separately from this one.
        My recommendation: Would I go back? ABSOLUTELY!  The staff were so incredibly helpful and dedicated that the Expo went off without a hitch. Everywhere you turned there was a member of the staff to guide you in the right direction, recommend a lecture, or program and share a nice bright smile.  For example, the puppet performance was postponed because of the rain. The staff member I asked about it came and sought me out while I was waiting at another exhibit to let me know that the performance was starting. You usually don't get customer service like that at large events like this. A+ Mama's EXPO!  Everything from vendor placement, to the workshops, trial classes and seminars were well organized and ran fluidly.  The vendors were unique, helpful and catered to the crowd.  You could really tell the hard work the organizers really put in to make sure that everything there met their guidelines and respectability, which was refreshing. I was happy to attend, even happier to write about it, and will be waiting with baited breath until the next one. FOUR SMILES :) :) :) :)




    Free Comic Book Day, A Review
                          Also, a chance to win a Yo Gabba Gabba Comic

     I am going to be completely honest with you right now, and I hope you will continue coming back after you have heard my secret......I am a BIG Sci-Fi, comic book geek, and so is my husband. Not only that, but we plan to raise our son the same way, and hopefully, the geek will be strong in that one! So when I found out about the free comic book day, I was like WHAT UP!!! Then I saw the list of comics they were giving away, and I did a little jig. Yep, a jig. The Mouse Guard Labyrinth issue was my white whale, and alas, I did not get it. (So if any one out there has it, and doesn't want it, you know who to call!) There were so many others though that were worth getting, and even though it took me three different trips, I got them all. The Star Wars/Serenity issue, the Buffy/ Guild issue. Spider Man season one, all made it into my greedy little hands! (maniacal laugh,  maniacal  laugh.... Muppet's reference..anyone?)  Now I consider these in the grown up comics category (yes grown up and comics go together), but what really amazed me was the kid comic they were giving away. Three words my friends, YO GABBA GABBA. What!!!! Yes, I got it, and not only that, I got several and I think I may even give a few copies away.. yes I am that generous! (see details after this post) They also had Peanuts, Smurfs, Voltron, Mega Man and Tinkerbell- a little of everything, to make everyone happy.
       Like I said before, I did go to multiple stores.   I didn't get to leave my house until about 3:00, which was late. I mean this is a nationwide day of freebies, you have to get up and out early to get what you want!
Nevertheless there is one store I want to mention by name- Best Comics International, on 1300 Jericho Turnpike in New Hyde Park, NY 11040. Here is why:  like I said I started my free comic scavenger hunt late. Best Comics was the first stop I made, and to be honest they didn't have any of the comics left from the event, yet they still had a table full of comics, for free! One of the clerks approached me right when we walked in and said hello. I asked about the free comics, and he apologized and explained that they were out. "It's been a really crazy day." he told me, clearly tired, but with a smile. He told me they pulled out some of their own stock so customers wouldn't be disappointed. How awesome!  On top of that, they answered any questions that my husband and I had, and didn't even give my one- year-old the "oh no" look when he was running around.  This kind of service is above and beyond and hard to find.(I know I didn't find it anywhere else that day, and I went to four other stores)
        We all know offering a free comic is a way to promote the comics and the actual comic book store, but who doesn't like something for nothing, right? After walking into Best Comics though they made a customer out of me for life. So I am not only telling you to get your kids into reading comics because they are awesome, but I am also telling you to go to Best Comics International  if you want really informed, super friendly, awesome service.

***So for the Free Yo Gabba Gabba contest, head over to our Facebook page, hit like, and wait for the drawing date. When I hit fifty likes, I will randomly select one of you guys for your copy and mail it out to you. When I reach 100 I will randomly select another lucky winner! So go on, like our page, refer it to your friends, and get those number's up!


**********Just so you know, Best Comic's International did not know who I was, (can you believe that? ha) I did not make myself known, and I did not inform them that I would be mentioning them in my article. I was genuinely that happy with the service. So please go on and give them a visit!
http://www.bestcomics.com/ "We have the comics your mother threw out!"













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