I have a good friend who recently moved to Belgium. One of the reasons I miss her most is because although she was a working mom she always took her two children on great adventures on the weekends. Luckily I was often invited along with my own three kids. Two years ago (when I only had my two boys), she introduced me to the NY Aquarium. I loved it, the kids loved it, and we had an amazing day inside the Aquarium, and enjoying the boardwalk. We’ve gone back many times and I’ve enjoyed seeing my boys grow up a bit and notice new aspects of the exhibits and learn new things. After Superstorm Sandy I was very sad to see the damage the Aquarium had sustained. It was hard for me to even look at the images on their website of the devastation. I wondered if I would be able to take my kids back…..and when?
Well, I am very happy to say that I spent the early part of last weekend visiting the Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Aquarium…which is now partially open while they continue to rebuild. Part of the Aquarium is still recovering, but many of the exhibits are open. This Aquarium is very special. Not only for my own sentimental reasons, but because its an amazing resource. Everything the Aquarium does is educational, including their summer camp for kids ages 6-14. And it’s the only venue on the Boardwalk that is open 365 days a year.
In addition to the Aquarium, Coney Island and the Boardwalk is open and ready for visitors. The Alliance for Coney Island has done an amazing job helping to recover from the storm. The Alliance is a nonprofit organization which works to help Coney Island improve and grow by brinign together businesses, community, and residents. In addition to the Aquarium, Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park and Luna Park, featuring the Cyclone, are now open for business. These parks are truly family friendly with many rides that are age-appropriate for little ones. The Boardwalk has also added new restaurants, including Applebee’s and renovated some old favorites such as Nathan’s Famous and Tom’s Restaurant.
The highlight of our day was definitely the Aquarium’s Sea Lion Celebration in the newly renovated Aquatheater. The show was based largely on the Superstorm and how they got through the long month rebuilding and repairing, while focusing on the three sea lions we were introduced to. We learned a bit about each sea lion while they performed for us. The kids were laughing and enjoying the show while I was fighting back tears. I leaned over and asked my husband if he felt emotional. He said no and looked at me like I was a little nuts, but I guess I was just happy to have my family enjoying the Aquarium once again….and hopefully for many more years to come.