Winter is the ultimate DIY season: homemade gifts and wrapping, fuse-blowing light displays, and precise pumpkin pies that transform aunts and uncles into master chefs — at least for an evening. But the pinnacle of joyful ingenuity may lie with John Lovitch, the constructor of the largest gingerbread village in the world: GingerBread Lane at the New York Hall of Science. The man and his display put those tree-dwelling, cookie-crafting elves to shame, so grab your kids and hop on the 7 train to Queens and check it out. Your tots will gasp at all the mounds of sugar before them — and happily get messy making their very own gingerbread house to take home.
Follow the aroma of freshly-baked cookies to a candy world you only dreamed of as a kid. More than a thousand gingerbread houses, all made of edible materials, fill a round display several hundred feet long. Play “I spy” for cookie trolleys, nutcrackers done in goopy icing, an ice rink with peppermint siding, and a hot chocolate brewery (who doesn’t want a cup from there?). Last year, the Guinness World Records folks certified the display as the largest gingerbread village in the world. This year’s town sports around 5,000 pounds of sweet treat goodness. Share that sweet morsel of trivia with the kiddos.
Guests aren’t allowed to sink their teeth into GingerBread Lane (not yet, anyhow), but you’ll still have an opportunity to get a sugar buzz. Head straight to one of New York Hall of Science’s Gingerbread House Workshops, lead by John Lovitch himself. Get sticky fingers decorating your own home with frosting, gum drops, and chocolate chips – then take it back to your kitchen for the kids to nibble on.
On January 11, the exhibit’s last day, lucky ducks can snag a building from the actual GingerBread Lane itself. A year in the making, Lovitch puts in about 1,500 hours of labor into this confectionery opus – only to see it all given away. That’s holiday spirit done right, and ready to satisfy your family’s sweet tooth on a very fun afternoon.