Even hosts with the most run out of ideas every once in awhile! If you're looking for activity inspiration, look no further—here's our Hank list of a few wonderfully weird, fun, educational, and entertaining things to do in and around New York, New Jersey, and Los Angeles for adults 55+, as of March 2023.
Unique things to do in New York:
- Looking for something fun and offbeat? Why not create an outing to the traveling Museum of Failure, which brings together over 159 products and services that were a total flop but—also paved the way for other great inventions". Opening in Industry City on March 17th through May 9th, a visit will take you about an hour, during which you'll come face to face with the toothpaste brand Colgate's (pretty hilarious!) beef lasagna frozen TV dinner, Donald Trump's board game, a Harley Davidson perfume and a bottle of Coca-Cola BlāK (the coffee-flavored Coke that launched in 2006), among other products. Look at it this way: even if the museum is a total flop, it'll pave your way to more friends, and more activities.
- For something more serious, organize a visit to the exhibit called Violins of Hope: Every Violin Has A Story. Now on view in New York for the very first time, this exhibit showcases a collection of violins and other string instruments that survived the Holocaust and have since been restored by Amnon and Avshalom (Avshi) Weinstein, an Israeli father-son duo of master violinmakers who lost over 400 of their own family in the Holocaust. Instruments include the violin of a Jewish inmate member of the Auschwitz Orchestra; another that belonged to one of the last Jews to escape Nazi Europe; an instrument that a young Italian Jew clung to in a forced labor camp; and klezmer violins emblazoned with the Star of David. The violins and photographs of their restorations are on display at the Herbert & Eileen Bernard Museum at Temple Emanu-El on the Upper EastSide through March 28.
- Get your jazz hands ready: the legendary Kings Theatre in Flatbush has re-launched tours of its majestic space. During the 75-minute tour, you'll discover historical and architectural highlights, beginning in the majestic grand lobby from 1929. You'll also be ushered through ornate speakeasy lounges and both levels of the 3,055-seat auditorium, ogling the baroque stylings of the opulent theatre, the “Queen of Kings” Robert Morgan Wonder Organ, and getting a sneak peek into the daily workings of the space.
- Don't miss Macy's Flower Show (it's free!) this March 26th through April 10th. The store's first floor will be transformed into a "dream-like city in the sky" with thousands of plants, flowers, and trees ... along with gravity-defying elements. Perhaps best of all, you can admire the blooms while you shop during normal Macy's hours.
Activity ideas around Los Angeles:
- We'd venture to bet that most of our Hank members still have a library card in their wallet ... but even if you've no interest in borrowing books, the Los Angeles Central Library is worth a visit. Designed by Bertram Goodhue, completed in 1926 and renamed after the city's former mayor in 2001, the city's main library is a stunner. The exterior is a Beaux Arts beauty, topped with a dramatic, tiled pyramid tower and decorated with bas-reliefs by Lee Lawrie; the main lobby features an unexpectedly colorful ceiling mural by Venice artist Renée Petropoulos; other highlights include a frieze that retells Walter Scott's Ivanhoe (International Languages Department) and a series of murals dedicated to California history (Children's Literature Department). There's also a fine program of lectures and discussions in the Mark Taper Auditorium.
- Nature lovers rejoice! Spend a day at the Natural History Museum’s Butterfly Pavilion, which will open from March 5 through August 13 with up to 30 butterfly and moth species, along with an assortment of beautiful California plants. The seasonal outdoor exhibit allows for visitors to witness nature up close—we’re talking butterflies on your arms! Prime time for these unique butterfly flight experiences are between 10 and 11am each morning. Be sure to invite other Hank members and book ahead—pre-purchased tickets are a must.
- Ready to chow and chat? Head over to Smorgasburg LA, where you can find dozens of food vendors, from much-loved pop ups to future foodie stars. Prime your stomachs for this year's new vendors including the Golden Skewer, Shlap MUan, and Thai Town's Rad Na Silom.
- With spring now 'springing', there's no better time to get out into the fresh air and try your hand at birding. Join birding expert Benny Jacobs-Schwartz on a Birds by BIJS excursion in the LA area—his enthusiam and expertise makes for a perfect tour whether you're a novice or a long time birder.
- Speaking of spring, hop on over to The Bunny Museum in Altadena, a where a giant topiary bunny welcomes you into one of LA's wackiest institutions. This private museum—the love child of Pasadena couple Candace Frazee and Steve Lubanski—is perhaps the greatest example of cutesy gift-giving run amuck. Starting with the first present of a stuffed bunny, the couple made a tradition of exchanging hare-themed tokens, which have multiplied in a completely crammed house filled with more than 28,000 rabbit items—including several freeze-dried pet bunnies. (There are live ones, too!)
Inspiration for get togethers in New Jersey:
- One of our favorite venues in Ho-Ho-Kus, the Hermitage offers plays, events, and music year round—along with 250+ years of American History. Take in a class or concert, or just amble through on a tour of the home and property purchased in 1767 by Ann Bartow DeVisme. Over the subsequent centuries, the Hermitage has housed names from our history books: George Washington and his troops stayed here following their Monmouth Courthouse battle, and Aaron Burr married Ann's daughter Theodosia on site.
- Find your feathered friends at Abma’s, where you can shop for fresh produce, poultry and eggs (from Abma’s own chickens), fresh baked goods from the “scratch” bakery, homemade specialties from the kitchen, and plants from Abma’s amazing greenhouses. Shopping at Abma’s is an old-fashioned country market experience and well worth the trip ... AND there’s a winery!
Have any other favorite activity ideas or venues in your neighborhood to share with the Hank community? Create an activity and invite other Hank members—or, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll add it to this list!