Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"...as my mind begins to spread its wings, there's no stopping curiosity."

You guys! Look at my blog! We got a makeover! Elle from Dig Deep Designs waved her magic wand and made us look amazing! Keep your eyes open for more Elle-induced improvements and Elle, thank you, chickadee!
I lovelovelove it!

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I adore going on "adventures" with my little family! Spending time with my husband Pete and my three year old son PJ fills my heart, and while I love a good, stay-inside-and-wear-pajamas-all-day kind of day, I enjoy getting out of the house and exploring with my best boys.

We were recently invited to preview a new exhibit at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ. Road trip! It was an hour and a half drive up the good old New Jersey Turnpike, but it turned out to be well worth it to check out the Curious George: Let's Get Curious! exhibit that is showing now through May 12th.

While my heart may love a good adventure, sometimes my brain can quash my spirit. My son PJ was diagnosed with Autism at the age of two, and what might seem to be no sweat for a typically developing child can be too loud, scary, difficult to navigate or stimulating for a child with special needs. Despite all of that, a trip to see one of my favorite monkeys was too good to pass up, so I just told my brain to shush, loaded my family into the car, and didn't take my foot off the gas until we were in Jersey City!

When we entered the LSC, I wasn't sure that we would make it past the entrance, as PJ was enthralled with the Hoberman Sphere, a "suspended kinetic sculpture" or, translated to three-year-old boy, a big silver ball in the sky that opens and closes!. PJ couldn't take his eyes off of it, but we tore him away and headed towards George.

The very first thing to catch PJ's eye was the Space Rocket, where he could climb into a space vessel and then exit down a bright yellow escape hatch- er, sliding board! PJ loved it, and it provided some great opportunities for body awareness and vestibular input for him as he climbed up the stairs and slid down the slide!

We left outer space and headed over to the Farm, where PJ spent the most time of any of the stations at the George exhibit. PJ built his own "whirligig" with Tinker-toy-esque wooden wheels and sticks. My husband and I really loved seeing PJ was explore imaginative play, along with using his fine motor skills. There was enough space for several children to work, promoting social skills and sharing.



Future Tinker-er.

Hi, George! I see you!
The exhibit was crowded with eager, happy families, all exploring the new sights and sounds of George's world. Everyone was very friendly and the children were playing so nicely, but the noise and crowds started to get to PJ. Thankfully, there are other areas in the LSC for younger learners, so we took a break and headed over to another exhibit. PJ was especially enamored with the turtles and fish in Our Hudson Home. And in the interest of full disclosure, I will admit- the turtle swimming around with his fishy friends was so cute, I wanted to scoop him out and give him a belly rub! We even spotted a familiar friend in the encased "shores" of the Hudson!


With PJ feeling calm, we headed back to George. PJ took a few more slides down the rocket ship and then took his father by the hand to go explore the Apartment. With colored windows and the look of a tall building, it was straight out of the cartoon! I half expected the Man With the Yellow Hat and the doorman to pop out to greet PJ! Much like the cartoon, it was colorful and bright while still soft and soothing- a quality that is one of my favorite things about the Curious George cartoons! Inside, PJ explored shadows, color and light, having a blast making shadow animals on the wall with his Dad. He also enjoyed building with blocks and shining lights on them to create different shadows.



If I met Adam Levine sitting on a park bench, I still don't think that my reaction could hold a candle to PJ "meeting" Curious George. It was one of those moments that are so sweet, you can't stop smiling! George sits, life-sized, perched on a circular bench filled with doors, knobs, wheels and other activities for the youngest visitors. PJ showered George with hugs, and graciously gave his Mommy and Daddy a smile and a pose.



PJ started to get tired (it was bedtime by the time we left!), so we said our goodbyes to George and his city world at the LSC. The outing that I had looked forward to, albeit with some trepidation, was a rousing success for my family.

If you have a child with an ASD, or with a sensory-processing disorder, try going to the museum at an "off" time, if possible. Right at opening or an hour or so before closing are often great times to avoid the crowds. You can even call and ask a customer service representative (the LSC website offers live chat!) and inquire about less-crowded times. We were there for a preview, so the crowds were unavoidable. Even so, if you child becomes overwhelmed, try another exhibit. In our case, the swimming fish and paddling turtle in the Our Hudson Home exhibit were soothing when PJ became hyper. PJ had some extra room to move, and with less people came less noise. After a while, he seemed centered again and ready to return to the George exhibit. Particularly, if you are like us and visiting the LSC with a child aged 2-5, there are many other exhibits that are age-appropriate. We found it very easy to navigate the museum and found so many things for PJ to try out!

We had an amazing time and I am very, very excited to have the opportunity to give a lucky reader two tickets for admission to the Liberty Science Center, to check out Curious George: Let's Get Curious and explore all of the amazing exhibits (be sure to say hello to my friend, the turtle!)! This is my first "real" giveaway and I am thrilled to pass on the opportunity to check out such a great asset to my lovely Garden State!

To enter, go visit the Liberty Science Center website and tell me what part of the Curious George: Let's Get Curious exhibit you think your child will enjoy the most by leaving a comment below! You can also enter by tweeting me at @abreezylifeblog, be sure to include #meetGeorgeatLSC in your tweet! Enter both ways to increase your chances, and be sure to pass on this giveaway to a friend with a young learner! This giveaway will end at noon on April 7th, with the winner contacted and announced that evening right here!

GOOD LUCK, FRIENDS!

Saying goodbye to the Liberty Science Center!

Disclosure: Our giveaway tickets are being provided by the Liberty Science Center. We were invited to to attend the preview of the Curious George: Let's Get Curious exhibit free of change and offered the opportunity to review it. That said, all of the opinions here are my own and completely truthful.

A few more pictures from our time at the LSC:





4 comments:

blogger said...

It looks great, my friend!! :) Thanks for working with me on it. You had such a fun idea! I had a blast doing it!! :)

Jenny Saul-Avila said...

Okay - I think this is how you enter. I suck at following directions sometimes.
Anyway - I can't see one thing that my son would not love (minus potential crowds). But if I had to pick...oy...the Apartment Building - he likes pulling stuff on pulleys. But then there's the Space Rocket - I mean ROCKET and a sliding board! Okay, I pick the rocket ship - that's be the fav part.

SMD @ lifeaccordingtosteph said...

Love that photo of saying goodbye to the science center.

Fabulous new header!

Shannon said...

I was just checking out the LSC bc I heard about their architect exhibit. My son would love, love, love that! He is definitely a bidding architect! Although, we would have to go on a low attendance day!