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What Happens When A Small-Town Family Visits The "World's Largest"... Whatever!

Archive for Holidays

Holiday in the Park® at Six Flags, the World’s Largest Theme Park

Holiday in the park at Six FlagsWe haven’t been to Six Flags Great Adventure, the world’s largest theme park, in more than two years. The introduction of the Holiday in the Park event brought us back to Jackson, New Jersey last week, because I love a good holiday light display (remember this one?). I wrote about our experience for the Family Vacation Critic blog, so if you’re looking for more details, head on over there.

Here, I’m sharing some photos and impressions from our visit. It’s running at five different Six Flags parks across the U.S. through January 3, but this is the first time it’s in New Jersey. I highly recommend it!

In addition to the great entertainment, including live shows, visits with Santa, and story times with Mrs. Claus, you’ll see 1,000,000+ lights, and it pays to time your visit so at least part of the time you’re there after dark.


The Carousel at Dusk

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A World Record Christmas Light Display

Christmas lightsWe don’t have to travel far to see a BIG Christmas lights display. Right here in the Hudson Valley, the Gay family of Union Vale, NY puts on an incredible show every year in their front lawn. It’s not just any lawn, and it’s not just any light display.

The ERDAJT light display (the name includes the initials of the family’s three kids) began on a much smaller scale in 1995, and has grown to now include 392,887 lights. They are strung up on trees, fences, poles, and suspended in air. Big lights, small lights, blinkers, solids, strobes, colored and white. Any kind of light you could ever imagine. The newest elements include: three “Leaping Light” trees towering 50 feet high, each with 15 channels and 7,000 lights.

Last year, the family earned a Guinness World Record for the most lights on a residential property. Most are LED’s, so the estimated electric cost is only about $350. They use some 2,000 extension cords, or about eight miles worth.

And what’s more, they pulse and blink in different areas to the beat of music, which is piped through a radio channel, so you can listen in your car! The soundtrack they created includes 181 songs, a mix of holiday classics and rock.

Holiday light display

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Elf on the Road

Is anyone else bracing for the onslaught of “Elf on the Shelf” photos in their Facebook feeds? I’m all for holiday cheer, but I only have the energy to manufacture one fictional figment per season, and this one belongs to Santa. Still, this year I wanted to put a family travel spin on the Elf buzz. You know we’re always up for a little quirkiness around here, like our Halloween trick photos last year.

So, over the last few months, we’ve taken our still-unnamed Elf off the shelf, and on the road. He’s been to several states, and seen a lot. He tends toward mischief, though.

Elf on the shelf

For a little guy, he’s got a big appetite. At the giant fork in the road in Red Hook, NY. This is Matt’s elf from his childhood. Vintage!

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World’s Largest Gingerbread Exhibit

So, the plan was to get up early Sunday for a 9:00am wheels-up for the New York Hall of Science in Queens, to see the GingerBread Lane exhibit. Except it was dark and rainy, and we just switched over to flannel sheets. Flannel sheets are quicksand on Sunday mornings. My feet didn’t touch slippers until 8:30, so our plans were slightly postponed.

Still, the drive was worth it. GingerBread Lane, a 1.5 ton, 300-square-foot village made entirely of edible gingerbread, royal icing and candy, is a contender for the Guinness World Record for the largest gingerbread exhibit. The final decree has not been made, but we had to go see it. It’s pretty amazing to look at, and smells deeeeelicious.


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Giant Pumpkin Carving Weekend at The New York Botanical Garden, New York City

Today was a glorious, picture-perfect fall day in New York. The ideal day, in fact, to go see artists with saws and knives hack away at the flesh inside 2,000-lb. pumpkins. It’s the Giant Pumpkin Carving Weekend at the New York Botanical Garden, part of The Haunted Pumpkin Garden event going on all month.

NOTE: I’m posting this tonight in case you want to make last-minute plans to check out this event on Sunday. Totally worth re-scheduling your day of leaf-raking.

giant pumpkin

At 1,813 lbs., this carved pumpkin at the entrance was one of the smaller ones we saw!

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Our Top Three Valentine’s Day Candy Recommendations from the World’s Largest Candy Stores!

Dylan's Candy Bar

…as evidenced by the melted chocolate around her mouth.

When it comes to Valentine’s Day candy, chocolate isn’t the only kid on the block. If you want points for creativity, pass on the red heart-shaped box from Walgreens. I can also do without those chalky pastel message hearts, thank you.

Our travels have brought us to several BIG candy stores where the selection is vast, and the ideas are limitless. For inspiration, I recommend visiting one of the world’s largest candy stores from this list before buying sweets for your sweetie. I’ve also made a few suggestions on what to buy to commemorate Valentine’s Day, if you want to go a step beyond predictable!


b.a. Sweetie Candy Company, Inc.

While Sweeties Candy is the largest candy store in Arizona, its no-frills warehouse in Cleveland, Ohio bills itself as the “largest candy store in the U.S.A.,” offering the “largest selection of candy in the world.” Those are some pretty BIG claims, so we went to check it out last summer on our Cleveland road trip.

You’ll need at least an hour to cover the 20,000 square feet housing ten aisles of candy – over 3,500 different varieties, stocked floor to ceiling. You’ll find a lot of bulk candy on display in addition to small packages, and all the tools – molds, sprinkles, sugars — to make your own candy.


b.a. Sweetie Candy Company

There’s an entire wall dedicated to PEZ dispensers and hard-to-find candy flavors like chocolate and cola. I loved discovering brands I’ve never heard of before, like Pearson’s Nut Goodies, Chase Cherry Mash candy bars, and Annabelle’s Abba-Zaba Taffey.

Best Bet For Valentine’s Day – Head to the large Jelly Belly display, and mix a custom blend from the vast variety of colors; including all sorts of red and pink hues.

Jelly Belly

World’s largest jelly bean?

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See you next month!

We’ve been quiet for the past week on GBOGH. It hasn’t felt right, since the Newtown tragedy, to cheekily post about our travel adventures. So, we’re taking a couple of weeks away from the blog to celebrate the holidays, and to spend time as a family.

You may still see us showing up on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Look for us is this space in early January, with posts on the world’s largest Pez dispenser, Van de Graaf generator, living history museum, and more! There’s plenty in the hopper!

January will also bring a guest post on the world’s largest turban; and our first site in India! Remember, we welcome guest posts, so if you’ve been somewhere BIG and would like to write for us, contact us.

Best wishes for the BIGGEST and happiest of holidays!

— Traci, Matt, The Boy and The Girl

Lights on the Lake

“Lights on the Lake” at Onondaga Lake Park, Liverpool, NY



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World’s Largest Group of Christmas Carolers, Westport, CT

On Wednesday night, 502 Christmas carolers in Westport, CT set a Guinness World Record for being the world’s largest group of singers caroling door-to-door!  We weren’t there, but two of our friends were! You may remember Fiona from her guest post on the world’s largest Rubik’s Cube. She and Libby got their official numbers to wear in the “One Voice” event:

One Voice

Ready to sing! Libby’s the “high-spirited” one on the right.


The caroling took place in Westport’s Compo Beach area Wednesday night, and raised more than $4,000 for a local charity.

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BIG Balloons at Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Balloon Inflation!

We had a BIG evening in the BIG Apple tonight! We had burgers at “Big Nick’s.” {meh} But the highlight of the day was going to watch the BIG parade balloons being inflated for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (the world’s largest Thanksgiving parade, BTW)!


Doesn’t this smurf look like he’s leering at the kid?

We’ve never been to the actual parade as a family. Matt and I went once, waaaaay back “b.k.” Based on what we went through this evening trying to find public bathrooms suitable for the kids, the parade is off limits until they’re old enough to hold it for seven hours straight, or their bladders grow to adult size.

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Halloween: Trick Photos, Day Two!

We received so many responses to our invitation to share “trick” photos in honor of Halloween that we decided to post them over two days. We thought we were the only clever ones out there, but we were wrong. For these imaginative photographers, holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa is amateur hour!

I don’t really know how she did it, but Sonja from To Europe With Kids managed to make it look like her kids are falling off a cliff at the Grand Canyon. Let me be clear: I wouldn’t be this close to the edge without a double dose of valium.

Grand Canyon

Adrienne  from Albany Kid is getting some help from her daughter in holding up the Washington Monument in DC. Well, someone’s gotta do it.

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