Looking for a great kid-friendly getaway from NYC? What about traveling back in time!? Then you've gotta check out Wild West City in NJ where we went yesterday for the first time, just under an hour and a half drive from up here in Hudson Valley. For the full experience and all the details, check out our fun highlights reel here:
At Wild West City you are transported back in time to the 1800's Wild West! With live action every 15 minutes on the Main Street - we're talking shootouts (with powder blanks, don't worry - no danger here!!), cowboy horse riding competitions, stagecoach holdups with audience participation, can can dancers and more!)
The Main Street also acts as a living history museum where you can go into each building and explore - bank, jail, saloon, saddle shop, post office, barber shop, one room school house, chapel, and more!
There are a few dining options, including the Golden Nugget (with the usual fast food i.e. not historically accurate LOL, great live music, and booze options for the adults), a confectionary with cotton candy, ice cream and sno-cones, and a pizza parlor (they only space with AC).
Seeing animals in the barn and panning for gold are also included in the admission fee. Fun extras include $6/person stagecoach ride, $5/person train ride, $5/person mini golf, $5/person pony rides, and more.
We honestly had such a fun time!! They keep it "historically accurate", with words that are not PC in today's world ("Indians" for example), and yes, they do shoot, and kill, and the guns are loud (but fake - firing blanks), so consider if your kids will be ok with this. After gloriously and often hilariously dramatic shootouts and "deaths", the actors jump back up and wave, so your kids will quickly understand it's all just playing, of course you should discuss this before, during, and after to make sure they understand it was acting, and how dangerous real weapons are! Safety first!!
LOCATION: 50 Lackawanna Drive Stanhope, NJ
TICKETS: $29.50 for adults, $24.50 for kids, $22 for seniors.
Visit their website for more details.
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We were thrilled to attend our first ever Sweet Suite by The Toy Insider this year - typically held annually in person but this year virtually from home - it's a massive press & influencer event with hundreds of brands sharing their latest and greatest toys!! My kids and I had a blast playing games and exploring the virtual event online, and then we got our swag box in the mail and WOW!!!
So now I'm here to share WITH YOU our Sweet Suite Swag unboxing, with some of the best toys 2021 - seriously, get out your birthday & Christmas wish lists, cuz you're gonna wanna add many of these to them!!
Watch our super fun unboxing video here, with links to products below (though some aren't released yet!):
(Affiliate links below, you don't pay more but we receive a small commission from purchases made after clicking)
For more toy inspiration, see my highlights videos from past years at Toy Fair New York!
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by MGAE but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Who doesn’t love a good come back, am I right? Well, if you’re a fan of cutie patootie dolls and cartoons then this one is for you. After an incredibly successful #BringBackLalaloopsy campaign, Lalaloopsy will be coming back to the shelves with a brand new line of dolls on August 3!!!
If you haven’t heard of Lalaloopsy, let me catch you up quickly so you can jump on board with our excitement! Lalaloopsy are rag dolls who magically come to life when the last stitch is sewn. They’re SEW CUTE, wholesome, and their whimsical world of characters inspire kids to develop their own creativity and imagination!
Their last doll release was back in 2018, and we are SEW excited for our favorite Lalaloopsy characters and a whole batch of new friends to be available at Walmart, Amazon, Target, and other toy retailers in just a couple of weeks!!
The two dolls we received are fully plastic, not fabric as you might expect of a “rag doll”, but it’s a relief for me because they seem incredibly durable (my kiddos get pretty rough with their toys!!)!
With black button eyes, a “stitched on” sweet little smile, a circle of rosie cheeks, simple ragdoll-esque bodies, and fingerless hands - they are not realistic dolls, and they’re not glammed up like many of the dolls out there these days. They’re cute and innocent and help your kids explore their creativity and imagination! Lalaloopsy are truly a refreshing and incredibly unique doll and we’re SEW psyched to welcome them into our family!!
Each doll has a unique personality and look, with pets and accessories to match! Designed for ages 3+, each package includes a reusable house playset, uniquely expressing the personality of each doll. With the box becoming the playset, we’re talking practically zero waste, we LOVE that!!! We did find the house a tad difficult to set up, but it’s part of the fun - you have to read the instructions, fold, insert and build their homes!
I love how each character has a very specific personality and interest, so any child can find one that they can connect with! For example, Storm E. Sky is a punk rocker chick with a cool electric guitar, while Mittens Fluff ’N’ Stuff is into knitting, Dot Starlight is a science buff, and Crumbs Sugar Cookie loves baking!
We got the full sized Sweetie Candy Ribbon, with bright neon pink and orange hair, wearing a matching tutu dress (made of tulle), and an adorable yellow dog with coordinating neon pink and orange ears and bow! Sweetie is too floppy to stand (they’re supposed to be rag dolls, after all) but does sit nicely and I love the way her legs flop around when you carry and play with her! Her house is super bright and exciting, filled with candy decorations of course that’ll have your mouth watering, if you have a sweet tooth that is! There’s even an extra cardboard set that you fold and insert into the side of the house that turns into a cute little doggy door!!
We also got the "Littles" smaller sized Sprinkle Spice Cookie. The first thing my kids noticed was the little smudge of chocolate on her cheek! HA! Little details like this are so special, am I right!? She’s got a fabric bib that says “yum” on it, and itty bitty bloomers under her dress. What a cutie!! Her accessory is a cookie, of course, with a bite taken out of it. And her hair, with thick bangs and tiny pigtails, reminds me of my twins when they were toddlers!!!
Both Sweetie and Sprinkle have removable clothes and shoes, which is a fun touch!
There will be a total of 25 characters available, both full size and minis, and you can even connect their fences to create Lalaloopsy Land in your own home!!
There are some fun collections as well, such as 3 Silly Hair dolls with, you guessed it, silly hair you can bend and style, 4 Sew Royal Princess Party dolls, and 2 Celebration dolls, each one coming with a pet, of course!
Lalaloopsy’s adorable cartoon premiered in 2017 on Netflix, where you can still stream the original 13 episodes, and they’ll be releasing a new “We’re Lalaloopsy” original series soon! You can also get excited for new goodies over on their YouTube channel, including ”We’re Lalaloopsy” animated shorts (3 minute versions of the Netflix episodes - new every Friday at 1PM), a new “Lalaloopsy Girls” sing-a-long video (embedded below - beware, it's SUPER catchy!), and starting July 24th, the new original show “Lalaloopsy: Let’s Create” with real kids cooking and doing crafts! Over on Amazon Prime & kidoodle.tv you will be able to stream “Lalaloopsy: Band Together” movie!
Sewwwww which doll(s) will you be buying first!?? Let us know in a comment below!!
As soon as I started seeing advertisements pop up for the new Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit in New York, I knew we had to go. It looked AMAZING!! However, I dunno about your kids, but mine... they're not exactly into art museums and galleries, so I decided to get creative with some pre-activities to get them more involved and excited! Watch our video (embedded just below) for the full experience from our educational pre-activities to exploring Chinatown to the Van Gogh exhibit itself, and read on for all the details!!
Learning about Van Gogh at Home:
My kids had already done Starry Night based art work at school (2 years ago), but I decided to print out some coloring pages for them from JustColor.net. We didn't look at the real Starry Night beforehand, because I didn't want it to bias our color choices :) I let them choose from crayons, colored pencils, and markers (no paint because I wasn't feeling like a big set up / clean up, but you certainly could do it!). You'll see (in the video above) we all ended up with very different masterpieces, which was fun to talk about!
Next we found a short kid-friendly biography on Van Gogh (embedded below). I was SHOCKED to learn that he died at 37, and had only ever sold 1 painting! How famous and priceless his works are now, it's just unbelievable (and sad)!!
Family Fun in Chinatown!
Now that we learned about Van Gogh, we were ready for the exhibit! But we don't live in Brooklyn anymore, remember? Heading into NYC from Hudson Valley is quite a trek - a 90 minute drive! So, I planned out a nice full afternoon for us to explore the area of the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit in New York's Lower East Side aka CHINATOWN! We hadn't walked around Manhattan with our kids since pre-pandemic, so it was an incredibly special and fun adventure! Our first "Sunday in the City" went so well we plan to do it on the regular (stay tuned, and comment below which activities and neighborhoods we should explore next)!
First, we luckily found free street parking near Pier 36, where the exhibit is held (you can pay $$$ at the pier for valet parking if you're not so lucky, or feel nervous with street parking). Then took off on foot to explore NYC's Chinatown, which included stops at:
Other things nearby you may want to check out that we didn't have time for:
IMMERSIVE VAN GOGH EXHIBIT
OK, so first let me make sure you are clear that there are currently TWO Van Gogh exhibits in NYC! I didn't realize this til I started planning our day IN THE WRONG NEIGHBORHOOD! Ooooops!!!
This one is THE ORIGINAL and it's "Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit New York" at Pier 36 in Lower East Side, created by Massimiliano Siccardi with Hamilton's David Korins as Creative Director! It's the largest Van Gogh exhibit in the world!!!
In a nutshell, it's 3 massive rooms of art installations like you've never seen before. 500,000 cubic feet of projections. 60,600 frames of video. They move, they surround you, the music hits deep in your SOUL! It was just breathtaking!! I could have sat there all day... were it not for our kids...
In first room, which has some big silver inflatable balls and large mirrored towers, we sat down and watched the entire full video which was wayyyyyyyy too long for our kids (maybe 20 minutes? I'm really not sure). They were really into it and sat nicely for the first 5 minutes and gradually got more and more antsy til they were rolling around and being totally crazy by the end of it. Looking back we probably shouldn't have made them sit through the whole thing but I'm glad us adults didn't miss anything.
The second room had some really cool reflective structures which stunning the way the lights and videos bounced off them. We walked around but didn't spend a lot of time in here.
The third room was breathtaking! The art was projected onto the walls and floor and you were just immersed and surrounded by it. Just beautiful!!! Walk around, take photos, take a seat, go upstairs for the overview. Enjoy!!
After that you go through a hallway with some costumes before returning to the lobby where you can buy (really pricey but amazing) merch, like a Starry Night tumbler for $46. You'll exit to a stunning view of the Hudson and Manhattan Bridge!
All in all we spent about an hour in there and I highly highly recommend it! If you live nearby and have a sitter I would say consider leaving the kids at home and make it an incredibly unique (stress free) date. Then you can relax and spend way more time there soaking it all in. With the kids it's a different experience but still we all had a great time and I don't regret taking them!
BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW!
Tickets prices vary (off peak / peak / prime) for $40 - $70 and the show is running through September 6 (though Aug 30 - Sep 6 are already sold out).
About Me ^_^
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1). This blog is chock full of product reviews, family travel guides, and giveaways galore! It's also home to Bay Ridge Families, and several guides focused on kid-friendly activities and guides to South Brooklyn, Hudson Valley, and New Jersey, as well as family-friendly destinations beyond the NYC area (check the menu bar!)