12 kid-friendly summer activities in the Hudson Valley
GalleriesSplashdown Beach Water Park in Fishkill
With school almost out and the weather heating up, it's time to consider the vast array of kid-friendly activities offered in the Hudson Valley. Here are a dozen not-to-be-missed activities to help make 2012 a summer to remember.
1. Catch a wave at Splashdown Beach
Whether they want to get wet and wild or just wade, there's a water activity for every kid at Splashdown Beach in Fishkill. Water slides provide high-speed thrills, the lazy-river offers a relaxing ride and the wave pool will give them that ocean sensation without the jellyfish. For the littlest ones, there are tot-sized slides and water features at an adorable Bob the Builder-themed kiddie area, where they may get to meet Bob himself.
Info: Splashdown Beach, 16 Old Rte. 9W, Fishkill; 845-897-9600; splashdownbeach.com; $29.99 for guests 42 inches and up for a full day pass or $24.99 after 3 p.m., $25.99 for seniors and guests under 42 inches for a full day pass or $19.99 after 3 p.m.
When: Hours vary, check the website for details
2. Visit butterflies at the Pruyn Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden
Take in the sights, sounds and smells of Chappaqua's Pruyn Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden, specially designed to attract, nourish and shelter a variety of butterflies, moths and ruby throated hummingbirds. Visitors are invited to walk along trails and boardwalks through the lush woodlands of Pruyn Sanctuary and peek into creeks for frogs and fish, hide in the bird blind to catch a rare glimpse of some shy feathered friends or just stop, look and listen to what's living in this gloriously undisturbed place.
Info: Pruyn Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden, Saw Mill River Audubon Society, 275 Millwood Rd., Chappaqua; 914-666-6503; sawmillriveraudubon.org; free
When: Open daily from dawn to dusk; restrooms are only available during office hours, Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
3. Rent a boat at Mohansic Lake
Pedal or row your way around beautiful Mohansic Lake at Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park in Yorktown Heights. Any child who fits in the provided life vests can ride in the boats with an adult. The park also features sports courts, picnic areas and a newly renovated playground with climbing walls.
Info: Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park, 2957 Crompond Rd., Yorktown Heights; 914-245-4434; nysparks.com/parks/148/details.aspx; $30 cash deposit for boats; rental fees are $7/hour for row boats and $5/half-hour for pedal boats. Parking is $8 per car; free for Empire Passport holders
When: The park opens at 8 a.m. and boat rentals are available from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
4. Ride the Bear Mountain carousel
Parents can enjoy the beautiful scenic drive along the Palisades Parkway, confident that kids will enjoy the activity at the end of the trip: the chance to straddle a carved river otter, bobcat, fox, brown rabbit or skunk on the Bear Mountain State Park carousel. Historical and natural painted scenes from the area adorn the merry-go-round, which is housed in a pavilion.
Info: Bear Mountain State Park, Seven Lakes Drive, Bear Mountain; 845-786-2701 ext. 242; nysparks.com/parks/13/details.aspx; $8 parking fee, free parking for Empire Passport holders, $1 admission to the carousel
When: The park is open from 8 a.m. to sunset; carousel hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
5. Meet animals at the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum
Each weekend, kids can visit and learn about one of the resident creatures at the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum. The half-hour presentation could feature a dove, a rabbit, turtles, mice, frogs, toads or a small assortment of snakes. After the presentation, families are invited to follow the museum educator to the pond to watch a feeding of the frogs and turtles.
Info: Hudson Highlands Nature Museum Wildlife Education Center, 25 Boulevard Cornwall-on-Hudson, Cornwall; 845-534-7781; hhnaturemuseum.org; $3 admission; free for members
When: Presentations are at 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays
6. Fly through the sky in a hot-air balloon
Treat yourself and your kids (ages seven and up) to a rare, bird's-eye view of the Hudson Valley from a hot-air balloon. Above the Clouds offers flights at sunrise and two hours before sunset every day from May through November, weather permitting. Flights leave from Randall Airport in Middletown. Other places offering hot-air balloon rides in the Hudson Valley include Blue Sky Balloons in Beacon (845-831-6917; blueskyballoons.com), Wandering Winds Balloon Company in Middletown (845-754-8540; wanderingwindshotairballoons.com) and Hudson Valley Enchanted Balloon Ride in Slate Hill (845-849-9654; balloon-rides-ny.com)
Info: Above the Clouds, 100 Airport Rd., New Hampton; 845-692-2556; abovethecloudsinc.com; prices start at $179 per person for a 20-30 minute flight; reservations should be made two weeks in advance
7. Get rolling at Skate Time 209
Lace up your skates and get active at an indoor roller rink and skateboard park. Saturday evening is Family Night at Skate Time 209 in Accord. Youngsters and beginners favor weekend afternoons, while the tween-to-teen set prefer Friday nights. In addition to the 175-by-75-foot indoor roller rink, there's a 10,000-square-foot indoor skateboard park. Group and private skateboarding lessons are offered for those who want to learn (group lessons: $15; private lessons: $50/hour).
Info: Skate Time 209, 5164 Rte. 209, Accord; 845-626-7971; skatetime209.com; $8 roller rink admission, $3 skate rental; $10 skateboard park admission, $3 helmet rental
When: Hours vary, call for details
8. Saddle up at Payne Farm Too
Experienced riders and first-timers alike can enjoy guided, instructional horseback riding at Payne Farm Too. The working dairy and horse farm features a round training pen, a large outdoor ring, an illuminated indoor riding arena and a 100-acre enclosed, private trail system in the foothills of the Shawangunk Mountains. Both horse and pony rides are available by appointment.
Info: Payne Farm Too, 125 Dubois Rd., New Paltz; 845-255-0177; paynefarmtoo.com; $50 for one riding lesson; $120 three-lesson special
9. Make a splash at Saxon Woods
Cool off in a wading pool while getting sprayed, squirted and soaked by an array of water features, including squirt guns and dumping buckets in the colorful aquatic playground at Saxon Woods Park in White Plains. This county park for Westchester residents reopens for the season on Friday, June 22.
Info: Saxon Woods Park, 1800 Mamaroneck Ave., White Plains; 914-995-4480 or 4481; parks.westchestergov.com/saxon-woods-park; Westchester County Park Pass holders pay a pool admission of $6 for adults, $4 for kids ages 5 through 12; free for kids under 5; admission is $10 for residents without a pass.
When: June 22 through Labor Day, daily from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
10. Play the day away at Castle Fun Center
Kids can zap each other in the laser maze or practice their swing in the batting cages at the Castle Fun Center in Chester. There's zero chance for boredom in this indoor and outdoor family recreation facility, which also offers mini-golf, bumper cars, bowling, a climbing wall and an arcade. Food is served at Jester's Restaurant & Pub.
Info: The Castle Fun Center, 109 Brookside Ave., Chester; 845-469-2116; thecastlefuncenter.com; free admission; arcade games range from 30 cents to $2 and activities range from $2 to $9; check the website for discounts
When: Hours vary, call or check the website
11. Go to a Kingston zoo
The Forsyth Nature Center in Kingston has 24 animal exhibits for kids and adults to explore. The variety of native, exotic and domestic critters include birds of prey, turtles, small and large mammals and tropical amphibians and reptiles. The zoo and learning center also features two ponds and a dozen gardens, including woodland, wildflower and hummingbird gardens, as well as a demonstration vegetable garden and berry patches.
When: Summer hours are weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., weekends and holidays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
12. Explore the Shawangunks at Mohonk Preserve
Children can unearth bones and feathers, learn about the weather across the Shawangunk Ridge, play with games and puzzles and read nature stories in the Kids' Discover Center of the Mohonk Preserve Visitor Center. After learning about the region, borrow a nature exploration kit and venture into the Children's Forest. Try the Shawangunk Sensory Trail, an easy quarter-mile loop that encourages curious kids to touch and observe nature.
Info: Mohonk Preserve, 3197 State Rte. 55, Gardiner; 845-255-0919; mohonkpreserve.org; admission to the preserve land is $12 for hikers, free for kids 12 and under; the Visitor Center is free
When: The preserve is open daily from sunrise until one hour after sunset; the visitor center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.