Category: Holidays



Interactive museums are quickly becoming popular throughout the United States. One of the best in the country is the Liberty Science Center, which hosts the largest IMAX Dome theater in the country. The museum opened in 1993 as New Jersey’s first major science museum, and has been popular ever since.

The museum is conveniently located in Jersey City, a city of 240,000 with 11 miles of prime waterfront across from Manhattan; set in a region easliy accessible by millions of residents  by car or Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, which connects to PATH and NJ Transit. It hosts nearly 300,000 square feet of exhibitions and “fun stuff” to do, due to the recent expansion and renewal project of $100+ million in 2007.

The top floor is the recommended story to start on, which hosts an exhibit known as “Energy Quest”: to help teach and explore different types of energy and how to harness them. Also on the floor is a cooking workshop and an exhibit of animals displaying the food chain.

The third floor is undoubtedly the best. It is home to the Communications exhibit, offering skills such as language learning and reading body language, as well as discussing the differences that communication devices have made in everyday life. One can also learn about global health issues and infectious diseases in a different exhibition on the level.

The second floor, which I bypassed, is solely devoted to the biggest IMAX Dome theater of our nation, and from what I’ve heard, is impressive. The first floor contains the Skyscraper exhibition, the largest of its kind in the world, with artifacts from The World Trade Center, an I-Beam walk two floors above, many hands-on activites for younger children, and many videos about the architectural design of famous buildings.

Being the first time I visited the center, I was very impressed, as I expected a very boring museum devoted to nuclear fusion, the periodic table, and lots of other topics that I am not fairly interested in. Take a look at some of the photos I took there..


There is just one more day until one of the most patriotic holidays in the world. 234 long years ago, Thomas Jefferson and 55 others signed one of the most important documents in American history, the Declaration of Independence. Over the years, traditions have been shared within families, and BBQs have been shared with neighbors. Everyone has his or her own way of celebrating this All-American holiday, whether going to a traditional baseball game or relaxing at home with family and burgers. But one tradition remains popular among the diverse population of our nation: fireworks.

I went out 2 nights ago with my handy-dandy camera to go see some of the colorful explosions famous throughout the land. I got a little bit of help from @ShutterBugGeek’s blog post and got my camera set up to take these wonderful photos for all you readers out there, and I decided to mix it up a little bit and turn it into a wonderful video. Check it out:

If you want to see this video in higher resolution, click this link provided: http://animoto.com/play/70WLrZ01o6iVhYkV0VMRFw?

You can see the photos in my blog sidebar to the right or at my Flickr.

So how do you spend your 4th of July weekend? And where do you like to hang out and watch fireworks? Don’t be shy, feel free to drop me a comment anytime!

Happy Independence Day Weekend,
@alexmaxbir



Well, it’s Saint Patrick’s Day, and what better day to wear green? Coming from a mostly Irish region of the country, anyone not wearing green looks like a freak. However, the holiday has been so Americanized that it is mostly celebrated as a “feast day”.

The holiday, as its name suggests, is named after Saint Patrick who lived around 400 AD, and is one of the most commonly recognized patron saints of Ireland. Believe it or not, the holiday was originally associated with the color blue, but over the years, Saint Patrick’s Day and green stuck together like glue. Green ribbons and shamrocks are often worn on this March 17th holiday as early as the 1600s! In the late 1700s, however, a few Irish soldiers made a political statement by wearing all green uniforms, and well, the tradition stuck.

The Chicago River on St Patricks Day

The holiday also started as a day off from the Christian season of Lent, thus alcohol comes into the picture. It was officially pronounced a “feast day” in the early 1600s and a holy day of obligation for the Roman Catholic Irish. Nowadays, this originally Catholic holiday is celebrated all throughout the Western world.

The biggest Saint Patrick’s Day parade is held right here in nearby New York City! More than 2 million spectators line the 1.5 miles of 5th Ave. The 5-hour-long parade features hundreds of thousands of marchers participating in it: what other way to boast about your city than saying it has one of the most popular St. Paddy’s Day parades in the world, let alone being in a heavily Irish area.

Does your family have any March 17th traditions? Do you head out to the pub or talk to the local leprechaun? Share your secrets below! Check out the NYC St. Patrick’s Day 2009 Parade video below also:


Last night, billions of people celebrated the coming of the new year (and decade), 2010. Yet there’s no better place to celebrate the new year than in New York: Times Square. Despite the fact that I couldn’t be there, I could tune in on Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve Special with Ryan Seacrest on ABC. This was the first time in about 5 years that I was celebrating New Year’s at home, and I believe it was the first time ever that I stayed up and watched a New Year’s special at home, so I was obviously new to it. The first entertainer of the night I saw was J-Lo, who sang various songs including one of my favorites, “Let’s Get Loud”. And of course, Ryan Seacrest had to bring some American Idol into this and call a break at a suspenseful moment. Go figure.

After switching through channels for about 3 minutes, I went back to ABC and saw Chris Daughtry and Marc Anthony on, but I didn’t see them perform. Bummer. They were ‘interviewed’ for a short 2 minutes in total until it was about 11:58. That’s when I learned these interesting facts (comment if you already knew these or if you have any other astonishing info about the ball): the crystal ball in New York has 32,256 LED lights and weighs a whopping 12,000 pounds. Let’s see Hercules pick that up.

Finally, the moment we were waiting for came. 11:59:50. The 10 second countdown seemed to last relatively short compared to the time before it. When the clock struck midnight, I could see everyone celebrating on TV as confetti fell and I could hear fireworks in the distance. Yet I never saw the ball drop, let alone see the ball after 11:58. Either way, I was excited and wished all my tweeps a Happy New Year!

The crystal ball in New York weighs a whopping 12,000 pounds.

Afterwards, the first performers I saw in the new decade were the Black Eyed Peas singing “Boom Boom Pow”. Fergie was just working up a storm singing and dancing like 2012 was tomorrow and it was her last performance ever. Unfortunately, I was too tired to stay up any longer and I missed people like Colbie Caillat, Justin Bieber, Kris Allen, Selena Gomez, Robin Thicke, and Keri Hilson (sure isn’t my cup of tea!). I just learned that their Las Vegas performances from the Aria Hotel were pre-recorded. I guess next time I’ll have to record it too.

Happy New Year to all,
Alexander