#21: Academy of Natural Sciences


One of my favorite things about Philadelphia is that no matter what type of history or science you’re into there, there’s a museum for you to learn at. If you’re into animals, then the Academy of Natural Science is where you should be, and where I most enjoy being!

This museum features animals from every class. Many are in the form of dioramas, placing animals that have been stuffed in a man-made scene similar to their natural habitat. The majority of the dioramas are from well over 50 years ago, but still in mint condition. There’s also an exhibit of live animals, all of which would not have been able to survive in the wild. From birds to reptiles, there’s something for everyone.

There’s also a butterfly exhibit, where you can walk through a butterfly filled hallway in the hopes one will land on you. Dinosaur Hall features large dinosaur skeletons, footprints of skeletons, and interactive activities. It’s impossible to visit this museum without learning a few things, no matter how many times you’ve been.

The dioramas are my favorite part, because it’s interesting to see the habitats of wild animals. My mom, a Philadelphia native, says she used to love the dioramas when she went on field trips in elementary school, and they haven’t changed at all!

If you’re ever in the New Jersey or Philadelphia area and just want to learn a little more about the animals with which we share the world, stop by the Academy of Natural Sciences—you’ll be glad you did.

Until next time,

~Kristen

**For more information, visit The Academy’s Website here!

#20: Dead Sea Scrolls


A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of being able to go to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia to see the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Franklin Institute is one of my favorite places in Philadelphia, so I’ll be sure to post about every aspect of it. The Dead Sea Scrolls, however, was a special exhibition that was only there for a few months.

The exhibit features multiple artifacts from over 2,000 years ago. They showcase life in ancient Israel, showing how they lived religiously and their everyday life. There’s hand-crafted pottery so well-preserved you can see cracks and stamps made in the B.C era. It’s breathtaking to look at these antique pieces and realize you’re looking at something from thousands of years ago.

It also features some of the earliest known texts of the Bible, some of which have never before been on display. A piece of the Western Wall is available for prayer requests, all of which will be delivered to the full Western Wall in Jerusalem. It’s an amazing way to connect to faraway places from generations ago without leaving the tri-state area.

Overall, this is an amazing must-see exhibit. I do, however, have to warn you about two things—first, the sooner it gets to the closing date (which is October 14th) the more crowded it gets. I would recommend buying tickets in advance and being prepared to deal with large crowds. Second, due to the fragile nature of the display, it must be kept cold—very cold! I would recommend bringing a sweatshirt or sweater to make yourself more comfortable.

As I’ve said, the Franklin Institute is one of my favorite places to be, so I’ll be sure to blog about all the other exhibits over the next few weeks.

Until next time,

~Kristen

#19: Saladworks


I’m sure everyone here can relate to going to the mall. I go a lot. And when I go, I love to eat. I always start off a fun night with my friends at Saladworks, so I was shocked to learn that they currently only exist in New Jersey and Florida. Locations around the country are coming soon, so hopefully I can convince you to try it when they come to your area!

Saladworks is a staple in most New Jersey malls, and a few stand-alone locations too. Their specialty is, obviously, salads! You can choose from a pre-created one made with fresh ingredients or make your own. Every topping imaginable is available—my favorites are pasta and ham. Each salad comes with a fresh white or wheat roll. If you’re not a salad person, they also offer wraps, paninis or soups.

The food is clearly healthy; according to their website the chicken Caesar salad has roughly 290 calories (that’s a big bowl too!) and the garden deluxe has 239. At around $8 to build your own, they are slightly pricey, but it’s definitely worth it!

Next time you’re in New Jersey, definitely make it a point to stop in Saladworks. And who knows, maybe soon, one will open near you!

Until next time,

~Kristen

**For more information, including prices and locations, visit here!

Twitter!


Hey guys! Sorry it’s been so long! I’ve been so busy with school, just getting adjusted and used to the schedule. I hope you all are doing well back at school or work! I plan on blogging a little more now that I’ve settled in, especially since this weekend is a four day weekend; I’ll be able to write a few posts.

In order to best connect with all of you as we all stay busy, I recently made a Twitter! I’m really excited to use it and Tweet on the go about things I’m doing. If you’d like to follow me, my name is @thenewnewjersey I’m really excited to talk to all of you on there! And don’t worry, I still plan on posting here!

Until next time,

~Kristen

#18: Bad Drivers?


It’s apparently well known that New Jersey drivers are terrible drivers. We’re the butt of many jokes concerning driving. A few of my favorites include “Why pass on the left when you can pass on the right and scare the oncoming traffic?” “Speed limits are suggestions not meant to be followed” “New Jersey drivers brake as late as possible to get a foot massage from their ABS” and finally, “Turn signals are clues to your next move in a road battle so never use them.” But is this fact or just another over hyped stereotype?

The answer is not…and yes. I should probably start off with a disclaimer: I can already tell under normal circumstances it’d be difficult to subjectively look at this topic. However, I have an added impediment—I’m a new driver. I just got my permit about six months ago, so any driving experience I have has been tainted by the fact that I’m scared to go above 45 mph and still don’t know how far away I should be when I put my turn signal on. Any knowledge I have has to come from driving with my parents.

Let’s talk about the ‘no’ part first, shall we? New Jersey drivers are fast, I’ll admit that much. I wouldn’t say we’re aggressive with our driving though—we just don’t deal with slow people. If you’ve ever gone to Pennsylvania, they drive much worse than New Jerseyans (No offense to my Pennsylvanian readers, I love the state and people!). They drive slow, and in the left lane no less. It’s really not their fault, because the left lane can be used as a fast lane there whereas in New Jersey it’s a keep-right-except-to-pass kind of deal. I’ve noticed that if a lane is backed up, you can almost bet money that there’s a Pennsylvania driver in the mix—or a New Yorker. Once again, I love New York and the people in it; it’s just that their driving skills could use work. Now that’s an aggressive driving state. So no, we’re not bad per say, we’re just…not like other states. We’re different, I guess.

But remember that other part I mentioned, where I said yeah, we kind of are bad drivers? Well, while it’s true we’re not aggressive with our driving, we’re aggressive with our words and actions. A little road rage is not at all uncommon. Nothing abnormal really, just…verbal with our emotions really. People are traditionally scared to drive in New Jersey which honestly shocks me. Don’t be scared, we’re really pretty good drivers!

So I guess at the end, what I’m really trying to say is that New Jerseyans aren’t bad drivers. We may have different driving habits than your state, but that doesn’t make us bad! Let me know what you think in the comments below :>

Until next time,

~Kristen

#17: Year-round Fun


School starts tomorrow, and although I’m rather nostalgic about summer ending, I can’t honestly say I’m not excited. While this summer was amazing, there are so many other great things to look forward to in the coming year. I feel like so many people think that once summer is over, so is the fun. Although the school year can’t be jam-packed with fun the way this summer was, I still think there’s going to be a lot of good things to do. There are so many events in New Jersey that happen all year round! I thought I’d list a few that I’m looking forward to doing, and hopefully will blog about.

Fall is officially starting in a few weeks, and I’m more than excited. The leaves always become so magnificently colored, raking them hardly seems like a chore. Weather-wise, fall is tied with spring for my favorite season. I love when it’s just starting to get cool– not so cold you need to bundle up every time you go outside, but cool enough that you can wear long jeans and drink hot tea. I’m already anticipating going on haunted hay rides with my friends, getting hopelessly lost in corn mazes, picking and carving pumpkins or maybe even picking apples and making a fresh apple pie. Halloween is also on my mind. The weather here is just perfect for Halloween—cold enough so that you can go trick-or-treating without getting too warm, but warm enough so that you don’t freeze either! When Thanksgiving comes, we’re close enough to New York that it’s possible to spend it there—although if you’re like me and you hate crowds, I wouldn’t recommend it!

Winter is my least favorite weather season, but I can still appreciate its good points. It’s generally 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit for most of the winter, and although I naturally love warm weather, nothing really beats sleeping in on the weekends in freezing weather, or enjoying a nice mug of hot chocolate. I absolutely love the fact that we’re able to go to New York City almost every winter, to do Christmas shopping, to visit Radio City Music Hall, or even to spend New Year’s Eve there (I, personally, have never seen the ball drop live—like I’ve mentioned, I’m not a crowd person!) It usually snows a few times during the winter. Since I’m clearly not a fan of snow, I’m glad it’s only a few times, but when it does snow, it’s fun to go sledding or have snowball fights!

New Jersey Spring is just fabulous. The weather is finally starting to warm up (usually around April or May), all the trees and flowers begin to beautifully bloom. Philadelphia is a beautiful place to be during the spring, and even walking along the Jersey Shore boardwalk is nice at this time of year. As the weather warms up, little kids are always out playing and running around. It’s absolutely perfect!

So as you can see, New Jersey is brilliant really for the entire year. With so many things to do and so much to see, this next school year is bound to be full of fun things to blog about! I can’t wait to experience and share everything!

Until next time,
~Kristen

#16: Beach Tags: Good or bad?


Hey guys! Yesterday was another great day down the shore at Atlantic City. It’s a little sad to think it might be our last time down there all summer. Although I do love Atlantic City, I have to admit it’s not the most family-friendly beach destination. On one end of the beach, you can constantly hear the roar of helicopters taking people on tours. On the end where we were, closer to the casinos, you can constantly hear the music thumping. I think the reason so many people love it, aside from the casinos, is that you don’t have to buy beach tags. Which got me thinking—are beach tags, essentially charging to get on the beach, really fair?

Atlantic City, Wildwood and Strathmere are the only beaches that don’t require a purchased beach tag to enter. As for the price, that varies by location—Ocean City charges only $25 for a seasonal pass while Avon charges $90. Daily tags are generally between $5 and $10. The reasons cited for the charge actually do make sense—they help pay for the cost of lifeguards, trash removal, public facilities and other amenities. This, of course, has to raise the question if Jersey Shores are really worth $8 a day.

I’m willing to admit that the beaches you have to pay for are generally nicer—Ocean City seems cleaner; Surf City seems less crowded. And it is logical that to go on a beach and have services provided to, by which I mean lifeguards and general beach patrolling, you should have to pay a small fee. The only thing that bothers me is that as a New Jersey resident, my taxes are going to the government to keep our state clean and then I have to pay again to go on my beach. I feel that as a New Jersey resident, as a resident of a state on a shoreline, it should be the government’s responsibility to provide clean beaches to its citizens. That’s why I think New Jersey residents should be exempt from paying for beach tags.

Now it may seem unfair to charge only people from out-of-state. And don’t get me wrong, tourism is such a huge part of the Jersey Shore industry and I’m happy to have them here. But they’re not paying taxes. They’re not already giving money to the government. They’re coming here and using our services, and while we welcome them, they’re obligated to pay for it.

I know that this has been a controversial topic, so I’d love to hear your opinion. In the meantime, here are some pictures of our trip!

Until next time,

~Kristen