Storybook Land, Egg Harbor, New Jersey, Trick-or-Treat: Sparkle Kitten

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Storybook Land was opened in 1955.  A man was a painter, and he had breathing problems.  He was looking for a different line of work, and loved kids.  He and his wife bought 5 acres and cleared it by hand.  They built a kid themed park and diner for people to stop at on the way to the coast.  Later they expanded the park to 20 acres!  It is completely designed for children ages 2-10.  All of it is very kid friendly.  You can ride all the rides without being scared.  Today they had tons of trick-or-treating too, and also a maze made out of hay.  We spent 4 hours there!  My favorite ride (and Einstein07’s) is the Bubbles the Dragon roller coaster (they had bubbles floating around while you rode it).  I also liked the Hickory Dickory Dock ride that took you up in the air and dropped you down.  It was really busy, but it didn’t seem like it since it was so big.  Most of the little kids were dressed up in their costumes.  You could ride things as many times as you wanted.  The park also has tons of storybook themed places to stop, with things like the Three Bears, Mother Goose, etc.  The couple that started the park loved children.  The husband died, but the wife who is 90 still comes by every day.  Her children and grandchildren run the park, and she visits and helps.   We were lucky to be able to wear our costumes twice this year!  We had a great time.

How Egg Harbor, New Jersey got it’s name: Sparkle Kitten

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We stayed for a few days in Egg Harbor, New Jersey.  Egg Harbor was named when a Dutch explorer first landed in about 1602 and saw sea birds everywhere.  The birds laid their eggs all throughout the grass and on the shore.  Apparently the eggs could be seen everywhere, so he named it Egg Harbor.  There are still lots of sea birds, and many marshy areas around the area.

Cape May (southern tip), New Jersey: Sparkle Kitten

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Cape May is a peninsula, but has the designation of an island because of the Delaware bay.  It was first documented by Henry Hudson in 1602.  When we visited today it was rather cold, and windy.  You can see the sand floating in some of our pictures.  We didn’t mind!  You can see “sand yachts” or “land yachts” using the flat beach and wind here for racing!  They are hard to steer, so we had to be careful not to get run over on the beach.  They went really fast, even though they were small.  All they use is the wind for speed.  We also saw our friends, the “horseshoe crab”.  If you remember from one of our previous posts, these are not actually crabs at all.  The fun part was finding just the shells.  We used to think that meant the “crabs” had been eaten.  After visiting Acadia we now know they actually molt their old shells when they grow.  We picked one up, and realized that it was paper thin.  Cool.  Since it was so cool (literally – well let’s call it cold), we pretty much had the beach to ourselves.  It was great.  We even saw a wedding, but we think everyone was cold since they didn’t have coats on.

On the Boardwalk (yes my favorite game is Monopoly!): Einstein07

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Atlantic City is located on Absecon Island in New Jersey.  It started as a tourist destination, and after railroad tracks were put in in about 1854 Atlantic City took off.  One major problem was all of the sand tourists were tracking into the expensive hotels and train cars.  A conductor was asked how to fix the problem and he came up with the Boardwalk.  (you thought it was to keep people’s shoes clean, didn’t you?)  🙂  The Boardwalk was the FIRST boardwalk in America.  It took 1/2 the cities tax revenue to build.  The one today is a replaced version.  Also fun to note, is the fact that the Miss America pageant was introduced in 1921 because the flow of people dwindled so much in the winter months. The pageant was designed to draw people in.  Gambling and designer stores were introduced in 1960 after Atlantic City saw a decline in visits by tourists.  It was really windy and cold when we went, but it was nice.  The beach is very flat.  They also have a restraint on the Boardwalk called the Rainforest Café with motion detectors that move animals.  img_7081

Edison, The first motion pictures!: Sparkle Kitten

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Thomas Edison created the first silent motion picture.  In 1903 the film was shown in theaters with no sound and accompanied by music only.  At a time when electricity was relatively new, recordings were new, and motion pictures were unheard of many people thought this was some sort of trick.  Audience members were reported to leave the theater during some early films thinking a train was going to drive off the screen right into the theater.  The Shea theater we visited in Buffalo was one example of a silent movie house.  Many ended up having large organs, and orchestra pits.  The photos above show one of the first motion picture cameras, his library with the very first pull down screen (it’s rolled up over his desk).  Edison showed movies in his library.  The black building was built specifically for recording motion pictures, and rotated to follow the movement of the sun.  It was made black for a reason, but we can’t remember why.  We are attaching a link to our blog of his first silent film, The Great Train Robbery.

Thomas Edison’s West Orange, NJ Lab: Sparkle Kitten

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Thomas Edison was not born in New Jersey.  He lived in Ohio as a child.  He lived in New Jersey during most of his inventing years.  We were in Edison, NJ at “Menlo Park” earlier this week.  Edison was known as the Wizard of Menlo Park because he had a lab there for a long time.  That was where he began work on the phonograph, recording machines, and the light bulb.  When he was 40 he moved to West Orange, New Jersey.  That’s closer to New York City.  He had a huge lab that covered 2 blocks with about 200 people working for him.  He worked all the time; even on vacation.  These are some of the buildings from that lab.  He even had a library in the labs and a little bed because he was known to go to sleep right on the floor.  Thomas Edison invented a recording device and it worked in the first try!  He was working on a device to speed up the telegraph process.  When a telegraph message came in, someone would have to decipher the message, and then re-send the message to the next operator, over and over again. It would take a long time to get a message across the country.  Edison’s idea was to record the beeps so you could send the beeps across the country and do many more per minute.  He read the message “Mary Had a Little Lamb” into the machine and it worked!  He was immediately called to the White House to show the machine to the President.  It was an amazing discovery.  I think I am going to use his lab as a template for my own.

Menlo Park, Thomas Edison, Edison New Jersey: Einstein07

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We are in Menlo Park (literally – “park”). It’s in Edison, New Jersey.  This is the location of Thomas Edison’s laboratory right before he moved it to West Orange, New Jersey when he was 40 years old.  He invented the phonograph and the incandescent light when he was at this location.  It’s beautiful here.  We are visiting Edison’s West Orange lab later on so we’ll have more to right about then.  Did you know that Edison had more than 1,000 patents.  He was often seen in wrinkled clothes, with messy hair and unshaven.  He might have been on to something!  He learned telegraphy when he was about 11 from a man as a gift.  He had saved the man’s child from being run over by a train.  Learning telegraphy was what got him interested in electricity.

Welcome to New Jersey! Trenton is the Capital City: Sparkle Kitten

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The New Jersey State Capitol Building is in Trenton.  It is the third oldest State House still in continuous use in the Nation.  The other two are Maryland and Virginia.  It is unusual when compared to most Capitol Buildings because it doesn’t try to look like the Nation’s Capitol.  It is built in an H shape and the dome is tucked in the center.  You can barely see the dome.  It isn’t in a park setting either.  It is surrounded with other legislative buildings.  You can walk up to it from the street.  It can be seen from the Delaware river which runs past the back.  It was built in 1790.  It has been expanded many times, and parts of the back buildings actually have peeling paint.  There are pretty fountains a bit beyond the State House, and you can park right out in front on the street.