My twins turned nine last week, I became a bit wistful remembering rocking their curled up, sleeping little bodies.
Their birthday, while surely celebration-worthy, made me want to recapture the years past by going back in time. And so we did in a way-- all the way to the Middle Ages!
We held their party at Medieval Times in Lyndhurst, much to the delight of attending kids, and parents both.
There is a castle beyond Exit 16W on the Jersey Turnpike, with a king and lords and ladies. The knights joust and compete in games of skill as spectators excitedly wave their banners to root on their knight.
Our showtime was 2:00 p.m., but we were told to arrive by 12:30 p.m., because that is when His Majesty and the royal court come out to welcome everyone in. Our party of 25 was organized for a group photo with the king and we were crowned with black and white crowns as members of the black and white team.
We then entered the main room of the castle where my son was knighted by the King and my daughter became a Lady. The gift shop was an arm's length away (as was the bar) and so we had to buy the Knight the light-up sword for the big event. The Lady needed the tiara with matching necklace and bracelet. They both received loud applause and walked around the castle feeling quite special as we waited to take our seats in the arena.
In the arena we had a front row view of the Andalusian horses trained to dance, bow, and carry an armored knight into battle -- but that seating is an upgrade to the King's Court and costs an extra $10 per person on a day that already averages $65 per adult and $40 per child (that's without the gift shop.)
But the view was great and it allowed for interaction with our knight, who threw a flower for the girls to catch and offered a handkerchief from his sword.
We all swung our banners and watched the show intently. The boys, whose attention spans can be fleeting, never took their eyes off of the show. They literally sat on the edge of their seats during the sword fights and jousts, as did the girls, who also seemed to enjoy the princess and the chivalrous nature of the knights.
The adults were amazed at the skill that went into choreographing these elaborate battle scenes and games, such as charging full speed ahead and placing a lance through a small hole in a ring.
Servers unobtrusively brought tomato soup, bread and butter, roasted chicken, ribs, potato, apple tarts, and oh, yes, birthday cake and strawberry slushies (another upgrade at $7 per person for the birthday package). The servers were pleasant and attentive, refilling soda and water glasses, and politely fulfilling everyone's requests, except for silverware, because there are none in the Middle Ages. That's right, we ate with our hands.
It was a successful day. My kids had their birthdays announced during the show and the black and white knight won, in a WWF kind of way. Our group was very excited and felt quite victorious. The show itself lasted a little over an hour and a half.
Overall, a great time was had by all. People were calling us later that day and the next to tell us what an awesome time they all had. One friend said his son could not even pick out the best part, because it was all the best. The price tag was a bit heavy, especially with the upgrades, but the website offers various deals at different times that are worth looking into at www.medievaltimes.com. It was only 40 minutes away, but we were temporarily transported back in time, and we liked it there.
Medieval Times is located at 149 Polito Ave, Lyndhurst, New Jersey 07071