"Sleepover!" Just the word spins a kind of magic for the young. Sleeping over in a museum minus parents? Sheer bliss!
At the Garden State Discovery Museum in Cherry Hill, any group of 15 or more can reserve the entire kid-centered museum overnight, with guarantees of trained supervision by museum staff.
Pillow fights are encouraged, along with karaoke in the museum's theater, and an immersion into the new Dinosauarium, where replicas of those gigantic creatures have recently been installed in a permanent exhibit. Parties run 9 p.m. to 8 a.m.; cost is $35 per child. More info: discoverymuseum.com or 856-424-1233.
Outdoor adventure. For those who love heart-stopping physical challenges, there's the Boulder Outdoor Survival School (BOSS) which teaches participants from all over the world to survive and thrive in the wilderness without modern equipment. The site is in the rough and ruggedly gorgeous south-central Utah area.
You can sign on for 3 days to 28 days, or customize the experience. Minimum age to participate is 18, and women typically make up 25 percent of the groups. Think spear fishing and starting fires the old-fashioned way. Also expect some hunger, thirst, and weather challenges, which are all part of building character, competence, and confidence in the wilderness. Cost is $1,375 for a week's survival experience. More info: boss-inc.com or 800-335-7404.
Phillies Phantasy Camp. To go to Phillies Phantasy Camp in Clearwater, Fla., is to experience the real deal: your own head-to-toe uniform, all the playing equipment, and face time with Phillies legends. Throw in baseball training, practice sessions, and real games with professional umpires, along with all lodging, meals, receptions, and special events, and it's the field of dreams come to life. The 2012 camp runs from Jan. 18 to 22. Packages vary from $1,785 to $3,890. Info: www.philliescamps.com or 610-520-3400.
The Flower Show. Winter is long. Days are short and cold. And then along comes the Philadelphia International Flower Show at the Convention Center to remind flower-lovers that there is beauty, there is spring, and it's around the corner.
A gift of tickets to the Flower Show is a gift to the senses, the spirit, and the soul. The theme for 2012 is Hawaii, and you can be sure that just walking those aisles among the lush blooms will be restorative. Look for millions of plant specimens along with demonstrations, special features, lectures, jaw-dropping professional exhibits, and the chance to support a worthy cause: Ticket proceeds benefit City Harvest, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's program to provide organic produce to those in need. The 2012 show runs March 4-11. More info: www.theflowershow.com.
The chef's table. Anybody can sit at a table in a restaurant and do the usual: order, eat, leave.
But the passionate foodie wants more than that, and can get it through the chef's table experience at one of the city's finest restaurants.
At the Chef's Table at Lacroix at the Rittenhouse Hotel, you'll sweep past the other diners and go straight into the kitchen, where you'll be seated right where the action is. And it's never dull in a restaurant kitchen, especially as you watch chefs prepare a meal custom-tailored for up to seven guests, and paired with fine wines. The sommelier is present to offer expert information about the fruit of the vine, and the chefs will explain everything from ingredients to preparation for the 12-course meal.
The Chef's Table at Lacroix is $165 per person, Monday through Thursday. More info: lacroixrestaurant.com/chefs_table/chefs_table.cfm.
- Sally Friedman