Back in Business!

After a long break, I’m back to blogging. It’s the run-up to the holidays, and a few days after Halloween, the Christmas and Hanukkah decorations are already out in the stores. That means it’s time to start thinking about holiday shopping. [Insert scary music here!]

Supporting small businesses is a great thing, but that doesn’t have to mean buying “stuff.” Liz Bremer of Put It Simply Organizing suggests that we can reduce clutter in our lives and in others’ lives by buying experiences for the people we care about. Although I may feature a few traditional “shops” in the coming weeks, I’d like to feature several places from which you can buy the gift of a good time.

First up, I absolutely adore the Funny Bone Comedy Club at Destiny mall. It may be part of a chain, but Funny Bone is regularly bringing in nationally known talent and showcasing local talent as well. My friends know that my husband and I go there regularly. Most of the time, we get a good laugh. I’ll admit there have been a few acts I’m not fond of, but I’m always entertained. The shows starts with the “host,” which is someone local who performs a small standup routine as a “warm up” act, and they are usually pretty funny. Next up is an opening act followed by the main act, so at each show there are three separate comedians performing. Funny Bone serves food and drinks, and there is a decent variety of both. I also appreciate that they have two shows every weekend night, which gives us flexibility with other commitments and babysitters.

While I’m looking at Destiny, my next recommendation is The Museum of Intrigue. I adore this place, and I recently learned that it is the only location – a Syracuse original. It is not cheap, so I strongly recommend that the budget-concious keep an eye out for a Groupon or other coupon deal. Luckily, there is usually one available. We recently went for the third time after I won passes in a silent auction. We started our adventure at 6:45 pm and finished at 9:00 pm, which is a lot longer than the Museum’s one-hour estimate, but we weren’t complaining. Guests choose a mystery to solve, and only one group at a time can work on that particular mystery. You receive a guide book with clues, as well as a few starter hints, and then your party will move around the Museum finding clues and figuring out riddles in order to solve the mystery. If you get stuck, staff are there to provide clues and suggestions. The reason I love this activity so much is that it requires all of our attention to solve, and each member of the family is able to use their skills and abilities to answer a different part of the puzzle. No one needs to use technology or smartphones to complete any part of this task, so an evening there is truly quality family time spent together.

Finally, Apex Entertainment is the re-opened bowling alley at Destiny, and I love this bowling alley because they offer lightweight balls, bumpers, and ramps for the little ones. But it is so much more than a bowling alley! Apex also offers laser tag, bumper cars, an arcade, and virtual reality experiences. The food and drinks are good, and they have regular happy hour food and drink specials. Whenever we plan a “family fun night,” our son wants nothing more than to go to Apex. Unlike the previous business in this location, Apex plays age-appropriate videos on the TV screens. Staff are friendly and attentive. Our son had his birthday party there this year, and they did an excellent job with the food and all of the details. A gift card here would be a fun gift for just about anyone.

If you have local places you’d like to suggest for this blog, leave a comment below. I’ll be featuring several locations in CNY over the coming weeks, but there is room for more! For those who have off on Monday, enjoy the long weekend!

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