I was hoping to break out of my Camp Mom and blog-writing malaise by ending the summer with a grand flourish. At a friend’s suggestion, I entertained the idea of an overnight trip to Sesame Place in Buck’s County, Pennsylvania, but after some initial due diligence, decided that as much as I would love to pay over $50 per person (children and adults are the same price and this doesn’t even begin to cover parking, the hotel, and overpriced food) to wait in impossibly long lines in subtropical temperatures for a glimpse of some Muppets, I was going to have to pass. I still often feel like a complete neophyte idiot when it comes to parenting, but one thing that experience has taught me so far is that less is (usually) more when it comes to young children.
In keeping with that maxim, head on over to the Bergen County Zoological Park with your toddlers and preschoolers for some good, old-fashioned, less-is-more fun. This antithesis of Sesame Place boasts a very manageable, accredited zoo, an adorable train, a carousel, pony rides, and last, but certainly not least, the budgie (also known more boringly as a parakeet, but that’s not nearly as much fun to say) exhibit—all within a half hour’s drive of Manhattan.