Visiting Gulliver’s Gate: Stepping into a Miniature World {Family Fun}

(We were provided tickets to Gulliver’s Gate.  However, all opinions are our own.)

My family and I recently visited Gulliver’s Gate on a recent trip to New York City.  Based on the name alone, you probably aren’t quite sure what exactly this attraction is.  Named after the Jonathan Swift’s classic novel, Gulliver’s Travels, Gulliver’s Gate is an amazing miniature world.  Using the latest interactive technology, the creators of the exhibit hope to “ignite your imagination and challenge your perspective.”

Gulliver’s Gate covers the equivalent area of an entire football field and is divided into eleven different exhibits.  The exhibits have been created by artisans from eight different countries and four continents.  This $40 million dollar attraction took sixteen months to complete and has been open since May of this year.

Before you enter the Gulliver’s Gate exhibit floor, each visitor will be given a key. which can be used to interact with the different exhibits.  Each blue kiosk will tell you what motion element you will activate and some kiosks even have two different interactions depending on which direction you turn the key. For example, the kiosk above started the parade.  After your visit, you are welcome to take your key home with you as a souvenir, or drop it off in the return box in the lobby.

You will also be given a visitor’s guide when you enter the attraction.  Inside, you will find a map of the exhibits as well as a scavenger hunt.  We had a fun time trying to find all of the items in each exhibit.  If you have difficulty, each exhibit has a guide that will help answer questions (and show you where the hidden items are!).  As you can see, we weren’t quite successful in finding everything!

The first exhibit you see when you step off the escalator is New York City.  This miniaturized version of the Big Apple was created in Brooklyn, New York and took 258 days to make.  Here you will find landmarks like the Empire State Building, Central Park and the Guggenheim.  See trucks cross the Brooklyn Bridge, take a peek inside Grand Central Terminal and watch as the subway pulls into the station.

The major monuments and attractions in each exhibit have informational tags to tell you more about them.  Altogether, there are over 100,000 miniature people, 1,000 trains and 10,000 cars placed throughout the exhibits.  Most of the elements are in HO scale 1:87 and many of the vehicles move.

After visiting New England and Niagara Falls you will make your way through Europe and the British Isles.  Great detail was put into all of the exhibits and there is so much to see!  One of our favorites finds was spotting these famous musicians in the British Isles exhibit.

Gulliver’s Gate has done a great job of infusing pop culture icons into the exhibits, some of which are hidden for the scavenger hunt.  Snoopy is in the Middle East, Batman and Spiderman  are in New York City and the Knight Rider Car is in Europe.

We had recently seen a special on Netflix about the Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore.  We were surprised to find a model of the hotel in the Asia exhibit!

As you make your way through the exhibit you will come upon the control room.  Here you will see technicians monitoring all of the exhibits and making sure everything is running smoothly.  The exhibit has its own GPS system and self-driving vehicles move via sensors and a computer system.  In the airport, planes actually take-off.

In between the Asia and Middle East exhibits is the Model Workshop.  Behind the garage doors, we could see artisans working on models. When the doors are lifted, guests can actually talk and interact with the model workers.

Special for the holidays, each exhibit has surprise themed miniatures including The Grinch, Grandma getting run over by a reindeer, the Twelve Days of Christmas, lots of Santas, menorahs and much more!  Look closely to see if you can find them all!

If you’d like a memento of your visit, you can have a miniature version of yourself created!  There is a 3D scanner that can make a mini model of yourself  (your choice of three different sizes) for a cost.

The length of your visit will be determined by how long you wish to stop and look at each exhibit.  There is so much to see that you can make multiple visits and probably find something you missed the first time. They are also continually adding to the exhibit.  Currently in the works is an airport system that will connect the different exhibits to the main airport hub.

If you are looking for a fun and unique outing in New York City, visit Gulliver’s Gate!

The Details:

Gulliver’s Gate
216 West 44th Street
New York, NY 10036

Visit the website for the most up-to-date information.

Hours: 10 AM – 8 PM, Daily, seven days a week

Admission:  Timed Tickets – $36/adults, $27/seniors  (65+) and children (ages 6 – 12), Free/children (0-5)
Flex Tickets (allow you to visit any day or time) – $41/adults, $32/seniors and children
Family Flex Ticket – Good for 2 adults and 3 children for $108


*Visit early if you can.  We had 10 AM tickets and arrived when the attraction first opened.  There were no lines and the exhibits were not crowded.  By the time we left it was substantially more crowded.

*Try out the scavenger hunt included in the map.  It encourages you take a closer look at the exhibits.

*There is a gift shop that sells all kinds of travel-related souvenirs.

*No food or drinks are allowed in Gulliver’s Gate.  If you are looking for a nearby place to eat lunch or dinner, within a short walking distance you’ll find Junior’sGuy’s American Kitchen & BarCarmine’sSardi’sCity Kitchen and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.



Get a Golden Ticket to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Broadway!

The musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Many of you readers, like me, probably grew up reading Roald Dahl’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and watching the film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, starring Gene Wilder.  It was a childhood dream to be able to visit that chocolate factory! Although Tim Burton made a somewhat dark film in 2005 titled Charlie and the Chocolate Factory , starring Johnny Depp, Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka is still my favorite.

The joy of that infamous candy factory continues to resonate with children today, as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has made its way to Broadway.  The show, which opened in April of 2017, continues to attract crowds of all ages.  My eleven-year-old daughter and I recently caught a Saturday matinee showing.

the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, current home of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

(photo courtesy of Polk PR)

The show takes place in the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.  Opened in 1910 as the “Globe Theatre,” recent past productions at the Lunt-Fontanne include Finding Neverland, Motown: The Musical,  Beauty and the Beast, and The Little Mermaid.

The Candy Bar at Charlie and the Chocolate Factory musical.

(photo courtesy of Polk PR)

In a partnership with famous NYC candy store Dylan’s Candy Bar,  three concession stands in the theatre sell candy including giant lollipops and cotton candy tubs.  Wine, specialty cocktails and slushy drinks are available as well as the usual bottled water, soda and coffee.

I must warn you that you can’t go into this musical expecting it to be exactly like the movie.  There are too many production technicalities and scene changes for this to happen.  The musical adaptation is an updated, modern version, with social media references and different genres of music. There are even some references that younger children will most likely not understand.  Aside from a couple of classic songs from the movie, the musical features several original songs from Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman.

Act One sets the background of the poverty that Charlie endures and reveals the winners of the golden tickets.  The audience doesn’t get to visit the chocolate factory until Act Two.  I found the set to be surprisingly bare at times.  The whole scene where the children enter the edible candy room was set on a giant, wheeled cube, that lacked the “wow” factor that I had anticipated.  However, there were enough special effects and fun throughout the remaining act to keep us entertained.

(photo courtesy of Polk PR)

Two-time Tony winner Christian Borle does an amazing job playing Willy Wonka.  There are three young actors who rotate playing the role of little Charlie Bucket.  The day of our visit, Ryan Foust starred in the role.  The twelve-year-old actor stole my heart, perfecting the innocence of the character. I was a bit disappointed to see that only Charlie is portrayed by a child actor. The other ticket winners Augustus Gloop, Mike Teavee, Veruca Salt and Violet Beauregarde are all played by adults.  Mrs. Green adds humor throughout the show, selling her wares from her shopping cart.   The portrayal of the Oompa-Loompas was a fun addition to the show as well.

If you are going to shell out the requisite big bucks for a Broadway show, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory might be a safe bet for the family as it’s a story that most children are familiar with. It is a fun, family-friendly production that will entertain  and take viewers to a world of “pure imagination”, if only for a couple of hours.

The Details:

Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (the musical)
Lunt-Fontanne Theatre
205 West 46th Street
New York, NY 10036

Duration:  2 1/2 hours, with a 15-minute intermission

Showtimes:  Dates and times vary, please check the website for specifics

Price:  Tickets range from $69-$249 +, depending on date and seat choice


*The show is recommend for ages 6+

*Be sure to check out the doors and signs around the theater entrance for some fun, humorous photos before or after the show.

*If you wait by the stage door after the show you can get autographs and photos with the cast!

Ryan Foust is one of the three boys who plays the role of Charlie Bucket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.