Orange Reservoir at the South Mountain Recreation Complex is Overflowing With Fun

BY  |  Tuesday, Jul 15, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (1)

South Mountain Recreation ComplexFor a long time, the Orange Reservoir was just some water you saw on your way to the Turtle Back Zoo or Codey Arena. But one piece at a time, Essex County has transformed the reservoir area into the South Mountain Recreation Complex—and now it’s a place for a pretty full day of family fun.

In May of this year, Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. and Orange Mayor Dwayne Warren cut the ribbon on the new 1.7-mile walkway around the reservoir. The freshly paved path has a pair of footbridges, nautically themed decorations and lighting, new landscaping, access to hiking trails, and lots of benches and Adirondack chairs for kicking back and enjoying the views across the water.

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Day Trip: Flat Rock Brook Nature Center

BY  |  Monday, Jul 14, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Flat Rock Brook Nature Center

Everyone knows that walking is great exercise and a fun way to get the family out in the fresh air together. But what do you do when you’re tired of walking around the neighborhood or your kids have declared the local stroll boring? You head to Flat Rock Brook Nature Center, that’s what!

Located in Englewood (about 20 miles from Montclair), Flat Rock Brook is a nature oasis in the midst of suburbia. The 150-acre area is the remains of the Palisades Forest, situated on the western slope of the Palisades. The lush greenery shields you from the brunt of the sun and the beautiful sounds of the birds and animals who live there create a symphony in their own right.

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Day Trip: Pier 25 in Hudson River Park

BY  |  Tuesday, Jul 08, 2014 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (1)

 Pier 25 in Hudson River Park

Sometimes, Mama is a genius. My two boys, ages 5 and 7, and I had a plan to meet up with their dad after work in Manhattan. Dad loves to share music with his boys, and he thought it would be a great idea for us to meet him in a parking lot in lower Manhattan to see the legendary John Doe (of the band X) perform a free concert.  I was skeptical of this plan, but for the sake of family harmony I agreed to it.  This is not the “Mama is a genius” part of the story — or maybe it is?

So what to do with the children before the concert? Given that we would be on the west side of town, I looked into Hudson River Park, the string of piers and bike paths along the river that I’ve often driven by. And there was my answer!  Pier 25 my Barista Kids friends, located in Tribeca at North Moore Street, just across the West Side Highway. And bonus points — there is a traffic light/crosswalk at the corner so you don’t have to dodge speeding taxis to get there.

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Day Trip: Bobolink Dairy & Bakehouse

BY  |  Thursday, May 29, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (1)

Bobolink Dairy & Bakehouse

When I got the invitation from my friend Alma Schneider to visit Bobolink Dairy & Bakehouse over Memorial Day Weekend, I was not initially sold on the idea. I’m not a particularly ‘outdoorsy’ kind of gal, especially when the temperature pushes past a balmy seventy-nine degrees. As my husband reminded me, “You like the ‘farm to table experience.’ You just prefer the ‘table’ part, especially if it’s in cool and comfortable atmospheric setting… and if it ends with chocolate.”

Alma (who, by the way, is one fabulous Montclair lady and if you don’t know her – you should), sent the invite to all the members of our weekly group for parents of children who have special needs. There, nestled in Alma’s comfortable, temperature-controlled kitchen, we partake of her delicious eats, share resources, commiserate in each other’s stories and bask in the company of other parents in similar special needs situations. Though I don’t get to go as often as I’d like, I always breathe easier after I leave.

The invite, though, promised a tour of a working farm (she almost lost me right there) where all of our kids could meet and we could taste the farm’s fresh cheeses and homemade breads. A chance to gorge myself on (I mean sample) farm-fresh foods and introduce my older daughter to new friends? Sounds good. And I knew my youngest, who is still awed by her own ability to walk, would love seeing the animals that we read about at home. Despite the threat of spending a day in the hot sun, I replied with an enthusiastic, “We’re in!”

And I’m glad I did. Bobolink Dairy & Bakehouse is located in the very beautiful and scenic setting of Milford, NJ. And the farm, I learned, has an interesting back-story.

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Day Trip: World of Wings

BY  |  Sunday, May 25, 2014 3:00pm  |  COMMENTS (1)

World of WingsI’d like to imagine that after laying out the initial plan for World of Wings, the founder sat down and thought, “What would round out a perfectly nice butterfly and reptile museum? I know — everything kids like!”

Which is what makes World of Wings worth a day trip up the Garden State Parkway to Teaneck. The museum has the kinds of exhibits you’d expect: a large butterfly atrium where kids can watch the insects flapping their colorful wings and feeding in a natural-ish habitat; snakes, frogs, lizards and such in displays that let little ones get close without feeling scared; and plenty of educational information and exhibits.

If that was all you got for the admission price ($16 per adult/$11 per child), it wouldn’t fill the day. But see, there’s also: coloring and craft areas; a bubble room next to a space filled with optical illusions; reading areas and 3D videos; indoor climbing walls and a princess dress-up room; a small video arcade and a cafeteria; and a large area for 5-and-under children (socks required!) that has a ball pit, several climbing structures, a train table, soft building blocks, a let’s-play-house space and a toddler scooter track.

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Weekend Highlights: Your Guide to a Fun Memorial Day Weekend

BY  |  Friday, May 23, 2014 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day Weekend is here and there’s so much to do with the family.

Check our Upcoming Events to find out all the local happenings. Also, if you haven’t already, sign up for our newsletter to get some great deals and find out about more great events and subscribe to our daily newsletter so you don’t miss a thing on Barista Kids. While you’re at it, “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and check out our new Pinterest page. We post a lot of important information over there, so you don’t want to miss out.

Here are your weekend highlights:

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Day Trips & Mini Geteways To Take Over Memorial Day Weekend

BY  |  Wednesday, May 21, 2014 2:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Day Trips

Monday is Memorial Day and you’ll have three day weekend with the family — just enough time for a mini getaway or to take a Day Trip or two. Grab your keys, pack the kids into the car and arrive at your destination in less than two hours!

Here is a list of Day Trips we’ve reviewed that offer fun for the entire family:

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Day Trip: New Jersey State Botanical Garden at Skylands

BY  |  Tuesday, May 20, 2014 2:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

New Jersey State Botanical Garden at Skylands

Spring has sprung in the Garden State! All our local parks, The Presby Memorial Iris Gardens and lush grounds at wonderful estates like Duke Farms are blooming in vivid color. Gardening enthusiasts flock to the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx but did you know there is a New Jersey State Botanical Garden less than an hour away? Skylands in Ringwood, NJ offers both a historic home, Skylands Manor, and gorgeous cultivated gardens and walks to enjoy.

Located in the Ramapo mountains on the border of NJ and NY, Skylands Farms was a working farm estate created by Francis Lynde Stetson (1846-1920.) He hired Samuel Parsons, an esteemed landscape designer who trained under Frederick Law Olmsted, to design the grounds, drainage system and roads on the estate. In 1922, Clarence McKenzie Lewis purchased the estate intent on creating a botanical showplace. He tore down the original stone home and built Skylands Manor, a Tudor mansion made from native granite. He collected plants from all over the world and had 60 gardeners working on the estate during peak seasons. Manor tours guided by docents are available on Sunday afternoons – see website for schedule www.njbg.org. The “Castle at Skylands Manor” is available for catered events and weddings and has rooms for guests but was closed to tours the day I visited.

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Spring Break: Day Trips & Mini Geteaways For Families

BY  |  Tuesday, Apr 08, 2014 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Family Road TripIf you’re not one of the lucky ones vacationing for spring break, and don’t need vacation camps because you’re off from work too, day trips are a great way to feel like you did something special.

Grab your keys, pack the kids into the car and arrive at your destination in less than two hours. A few of our suggestions could be made into an mini geteaways:

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A Special Day Trip: Sahara Sam’s Indoor & Outdoor Water Park

BY  |  Monday, Feb 17, 2014 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Sahara Sam's Indoor & Outdoor  Water ParkSahara Sam’s Oasis Indoor & Outdoor Water Park, located in West Berlin, NJ, is about two hours away and makes a fun Day Trip for families looking for a full day of water fun, especially in the midst of winter. Sam’s offers 58,000 square feet of aquatic and arcade attractions. Sam’s also makes a great Day Trip for families with children who have special needs, because it hosts Special Evenings at Sam’s, also known as S.E.A.S.

S.E.A.S. events are hosted throughout the year on Friday nights from 6 pm – 9 pm. The evenings are safe, judgment-free, and any modifications are made to the park’s operations with the unique challenges of special needs individuals in mind including:

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