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I grew up with parents who believed experiences were more important than things. Birthday gifts were ice skating lessons, horseback riding camp, dance classes, gymnastics, and pottery painting parties, so when I wanted to celebrate my 18th birthday I knew immediately what my “parent-approved” experience should be…a day in Manhattan, featuring a trip to The Museum of Natural History with my friends. I’m a history nerd majoring in Anthropology this fall so this is my happy place. Since Covid, we haven’t made many trips into the Big Apple and I’ve only been to the museum once when I was younger so it was like I was going for the very first time (and my friends never went so they really were going for the very first time). Because it was my special day, my parents surprised me with an extra special gift so my friends and I could ride in style.
A limo was the perfect compliment to my perfect day, and we cruised into Manhattan like celebrities! My driver, Brandon, from M & V Limousines made me and my friends feel like we were real VIPs traveling to the city. None of us had ever been in a limo so it was exciting and luxurious. My parents supplied us with breakfast, and luckily the limo supplied the drinks because we forgot them. I was not the only one relaxing. My friends and I are not familiar with the trains and subways of NYC so Brandon driving us to the city let my mom relax knowing she wasn’t going to get the “HELP! We’re lost.” phone call. Brandon dropped us off and picked us up in front of each stop on our big day. All I had to do was text him we were ready and poof…he was there.
First stop…The Museum of Natural History. I had last visited when I was just a child, and I had been fascinated with the amount of information available from huge dinosaur skeletons to Native American dioramas, there was too much to see. This is what made me think to go back there. But this time, my parents took my idea and tailored it to my specific interests with the help of Jared from Tours By Locals. Jared went above and beyond by creating this specific tour just for me. He guided me and my friends so thoroughly through the museum it was like he lived there all of his life. In every room, he moved us along the tour but gave me the freedom to divert the route and ask about each specific piece in the museum without losing our way. From the room that held rocks from outer space to the animals that roamed the Earth, the trip turned into a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for learning history up close and personal. My enthusiasm was infectious and I could feel my friends and Jared become more and more excited as we moved along. After our 3 hour tour, we left the building excitedly chatting about our favorite exhibits; we cannot thank Jared enough for the experience. If anyone wanted to check out the museum, I highly recommend getting a tour from him. It will absolutely make your New York experience the most amazing time ever.
A day in New York City is not complete without lunch! I had no idea where we were going, but my parents planned it with Brandon, and he dropped us right in front of Ellen’s Stardust Diner. If you’re looking for a place to eat with excellent food options and even better entertainment this is the place for you. Yup, it’s a diner but what makes it even more fantastic is that as you’re waiting to order and eat, the wait staff belts out songs like they’re on a Broadway stage. It’s no surprise there was a line out the door and the place was packed. My friends and I are in the Thespian Honor Society so this was the perfect place for my birthday lunch and everyone was able to order something different.
My adventure into the city was an even more amazing birthday than I had hoped for, and the experience my parents created will stay with me and my friends forever. Things don’t last long, but memories like this will last a lifetime.
April 3, 2023