When Sam’s birthday rolled around last month, I decided we were way better off gifting her an experience than giving her more stuff. She’s got so much stuff. I knew that anything she wanted would come from family members and the friends who came to her birthday party, so we decided to plan a special family day instead of getting a ton of things for her to unwrap.
When my brother-in-law’s girlfriend mentioned a puppet show in Central Park, I knew I had to look into it. Samantha watched Labyrinth with my husband recently and loved all of the behind-the-scenes footage that showed how the puppeteers worked all of the puppets. Add that to the fact that a puppet show isn’t too old for a three year old to enjoy and I thought we might just be in business.
And I have to say, we had a pretty awesome day.
First, we hopped onto Metro North to head into Manhattan. The girls’ excitement level had me fearing a loud and wild ride, but two old iPods stocked with kids games kept them entertained and unaware of the length of the ride. They were less impressed with the subway rides across town and then up to 81st, but we made it without meltdown and snacked on benches facing the Museum of Natural History before heading over to the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre.
We got to the tiny theatre (which is rustic and adorable and nestled in an area that feels way more like the suburbs than the middle of Manhattan) about a half hour early and the girls were bursting with excitement. They settled down on the benches inside and peered around in awe at everything inside.
There are lots of old marionettes from past productions hanging around, which the girls checked out while we waited for the show to start.
The show itself was really cute. We saw Bessie’s Big Shot, which is about a cow who longs to join the circus—even though she doesn’t seem to have any talents that make her a good candidate. The ringmaster lets her try out for a bunch of different positions—from acrobat to strong man—and the results are definitely giggle inducing.
After the show, the puppeteers came out and talked to the audience a little, which was right up Samantha’s alley. I’m pretty sure puppeteer has made it onto the ever-growing list of things she wants to be when she grows up.
The girls loved the show and immediately started talking about going to another one. We totally recommend it for families with young kids.
After the show we walked around the park a little before hopping in a cab down to Times Square where we had lunch at Virgil’s. Next we popped into Toys R Us and then headed over to 5th Avenue, where Samantha wanted to shop—she heard the shopping was really good there. We stopped in at the American Girl doll store where she bought a puppy and pet bed with gift cards she’d gotten for her birthday. Thrilled and exhausted, we headed back to Grand Central.
Samantha said it was the best day of her life, which means the day was a complete success in my book!