Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Daddy Day Camp, vol. 7, Final Edition, Jacob Riis Beach, the Rockaways, Queens, NY

Labor Day is past.  The Summer has ended.  Everyone is back at work. Yet here in New York there are two magical "extra" days negotiated in the teachers contract for training.  Two days where families freak out.  Two days when I really try on my new "stay at home daddy" hat for real. Mommy needs the car for work.  So we grabbed our beach toys and books to beat the hottest day of the summer yet at Jacob Riis. 

Riis is our fav city beach and we hadn't been here all summer, just Rockaway down the road.  When Elian's mom pointed out that the Q35 bus would get us there in an hour, we were in.  

I don't know where all the other kids are today.  Camp is over, after school not yet begun, but they weren't here with their nannies.  At 11 it was just us and a whole lotta national seashore at the end of Flatbush Avenue. But what made it most clear the summer was done was sadly watching the remaining lifeguards dig out their summer guard chairs from the sand and store them in the 1930's palace of a beach house behind us. Daddy Day Camp is done; I guess it's time to get to work. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Daddy Day Camp vol. 6, 80's Dadventures at Action Park, Vernon, NJ

"Jessie's Girl" blares over the pool side radios. Ghostbusters is in theaters. Cut Jersey boys swing from vines into deep pools like Tarzan.  The only give aways that we weren't in 1984?  The hair on the girls ain't that big, "Born in the USA" has been out for thirty years and I'm no longer  enjoying my last boyhood summer before junior high. 

None of this kept me from "bookin it" up the molten sidewalk in bare feet to the High Tide Wave pool.  Sure there are a few new rides, and the resort name has changed, but little else at this water park paradise. 

 We ate the same chicken fingers my dad bought me all those years ago under the same beach themed umbrellas. Sydney rode his christening Tarzan Swing ride, soaring twenty feet in the air over a deep clear pool. Liji, just at the 48" magic number tagged along for everything else. 

But what did we return to again and again?  That magical place where the waves are perfect, the water salt free and the lifeguards aplenty.  So if need a break from the beach and a little nostalgia in NW Jersey, this is your place. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Founding Philadelphian, The Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, PA

As a former US history teacher who was particularly passionate about the American Revolution I have a confession to make:  I love Ben Franklin! I love that he grew up in Boston. I adore his passion for public libraries. He was an amazing ambassador to the French with his coon skin cap. But mostly I love his passion for American scientific know-how. Where better to  celebrate  than in the institution committed to his work and memory. 

We began our journey in the new Brain exhibit. It had everything from optical illusions to experiments on reflexes and the senses. Grandpa Barry studies the brain and would love this place to share with the boys. 

I hadn't been since I took a junior class there in '08, but the heart exhibit still rocks! The kids got to walk two floors up through the valves and loved exploring their anatomy. They got to peddle a bike that powered opera singers belting out lyrics on fitness. 

In the Sports Challenge center we got to see how fast they could pitch, race a wheelchair and score on a soccer goal. If we had had more time would have even ridden the circus exhibit bike across the third floor of the entrance atrium. There were so many more fun, engaging activities left to do we will need to get back for more. What a great way spend a rainy day in the city of Brotherly Love.