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New York Family Fun

waterslideWhen your family needs a real time out, New York has more than enough ideas to take you from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekend. From the first cry of “Play Ball!” this season is the time to play hard, kick back and have some serious fun.

What’s summer without baseball and amusement parks? Watch minor and major league teams play baseball in stadiums from western New York to NYC – and then, just a couple of hours away, you can round the top of the historic Cyclone Roller Coaster or visit Darien Lake for a little “glamping” and waterpark action. All you need is a few vacation (or staycation) days and a little advance planning.

Summer means stargazing, swimming and hours of serenity in nature. Chances are, you’ll want to spend a lot of time outdoors, and New York beaches, lakes, rivers and streams offer many ways to cool off when it’s sultry. Pack a picnic lunch and strap the canoe onto the roof of the car. Pitch your tent at a waterfront State Park, fish from a boat anchored in a peaceful bay or just roll out your blanket on one of Long Island’s famous sandy beaches and get lost in the latest best seller, wearing little more than sunscreen and a hat.

Maybe you crave more excitement? So . . . go get some! Propel yourself down a NiagaraFallsStateParktwisty water slide, explore an underground network of caves or tube the Esopus. At Niagara Falls State Park, the oldest in America, you can marvel at the daredevils whose passion for an adrenaline rush carried them over the Falls.

New York is home to many fascinating wild creatures. Some live at the Bronx Zoo, the Long Island Maritime Museum and the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, but you’ll also spy them in their natural habitats, not far from woodland campsites and hiking trails. You’ll find many opportunities to watch things grow too, and even to see how raising crops has changed since the mid-1700s when the French planted the first gardens at Fort Ticonderoga.

Delaware & Ulster Railroad Fall FestivalTake a train ride from Thendara to Big Moose, or along the East Branch of the Delaware River to enjoy the views. Wander through the largest corn maze on the entire East coast. Up in the Thousand Islands, make sure you check out America’s longest go-kart track. The Glen is the pinnacle of North American road racing, and the go-to for anyone who loves cars, especially the ones that go really fast.

With hot air balloon festivals, horse shows, a rodeo, concerts and music festivals, even celebrations of the Erie Canal, the “spiedie” and, of course, fresh-from-the-vine, strawberries – what’s not to love about spring and summer in New York?

NEW YORK CITY (NYC)

Bronx Zoo
2300 Southern Boulevard
Bronx, NY 10460
Animal Activity Trail, Bug Carousel, Camel Rides, Penguin Feedings, Sea Lion Feedings

Historic Richmond Town
441 Clarke Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10306
Living history and museum complex, NYC's oldest continuously operating farm

Luna Park at Coney Island
1000 Surf Avenue
Brooklyn New York 11224
Coney Island’s first new amusement park in 40+ years; 19 attractions, historic Cyclone Roller Coaster, Scream Zone extreme park, & healthy foods at Cyclone Café

LONG ISLAND (LI)

Long Island Maritime Museum 
88 West Avenue
West Sayville, NY 11796
Pirate Festival (June), Classic Boat Show and Seafood Festival (August); or visit to browse exhibits and sail on 1888 Oyster Sloop Priscilla

Mattituck Strawberry Festival(June)
1175 Route 48
Mattituck, N.Y. 11952
Annual fundraiser with fireworks, midway rides; strawberries with shortcake, chocolate, any way you like them!

Vanderbilt Mansion/Museum/Planetarium 
180 Little Neck Road
Centerport, NY 11721-0605
Creative Workshops for Children, Shakespeare in the Courtyard & new Planetarium

HUDSON VALLEY (HV)

Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival (July)
Walsh Farm
1 Poultney Road
Oak Hill, NY 12460
Famous for its late night pickin’, presents national stars & regional favorites, all-ages, classes and stages; camping too!

Town Tinker Tube Rental
10 Bridge Street
Phoenicia, NY 12464
Let nature power your float along the Esopus Creek

Zoom Flume Water Park 
20 Shady Glen Road
East Durham, NY 12423
600-foot chutes, riptide cove wave pool, twists in the Black Vortex and Mighty Anaconda plunges

THE CATSKILLS (CT)

Delaware and Ulster Railroad
43510 State Highway 28
Arkville, NY 12406
24-mile scenic and historic roundtrips between Arkville & Roxbury (@ two hours); much of the route parallels one of the country’s finest trout streams, the East Branch of the Delaware River

Maverick Concerts
120 Maverick Road
Woodstock, NY 12498-2503
America’s oldest continuous summer chamber music festival; rustic and intimate 1916 concert hall; offers jazz concerts & Saturday morning children’s programs too

Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary
35 Van Wagner Road
Willow, NY 12495
Shelters farm animals rescued from cases of abuse, neglect and abandonment; tours, special events; education

CAPITAL-SARATOGA (CS)

Cambridge Valley Balloon Festival (June)
24 Park Street
Cambridge, NY 12816
Forty hot air balloons plus fireworks, tasty foods, craft fairs, rides, concerts and pilots’ breakfast

Corn Maze at Kettle Farms
5154 NY 7
Hoosick, NY 12090
An agri-tourism destination and the Largest Corn Maze on the East Coast!

Henry Hudson Planetarium
Albany Heritage Visitors Center
25 Quackenbush Square
Albany, NY 12207
Official NASA Space Place; offers young stargazer programs on third Saturdays each month

THE ADIRONDACKS (AD)

Adirondack Scenic Railroad 
Thendara Station
2568 State Route 28
Thendara, NY 13472
Catch a memorable ride from Thendara to Big Moose; stop off at the stations to explore trails on a mountain bike too

Great Escape/Six Flags Amusement and Water Park
1172 State Route 9
Queensbury, NY 12804
Pulse-pounding roller coasters, Splashwater Kingdom, Alpine Freefalls, the wettest, wildest Water Park, and -- with YOU in the pilot’s seat -- Screamin’ Eagles

King’s Garden Programs
Fort Ticonderoga
100 Fort Ti Rd
Ticonderoga, NY 12883 ‎
King’s Garden Programs teach children how agriculture has changed since 1756 when French troops planted the first Fort Ticonderoga gardens

Lake Placid Horse Shows 
5514 Cascade Road
Lake Placid, NY 12946
US Equestrian team members mount some of the world’s best horses 

THOUSAND ISLANDS-SEAWAY (TI)

Alex Bay 500 Go-Karts
43772 New York State Route 12
Alexandria Bay, NY 13607
New York State’s longest go-kart track; challenging 18-hole mini-golf course & amusement arcade too!

Canoe-Picnic Point State Park
36661 Cedar Point State Park Drive
Clayton, NY 13624
Only reachable by boat, quiet camping experience with nearby boat rentals; excellent fishing

Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park
Eastern Lake Ontario
601 CR 16
Mexico, NY 13114
Camp, picnic and enjoy special events such as Spring Eggtravaganza, Weird Science, Kids Are Special Week and Dinosaur Weekend

CENTRAL-LEATHERSTOCKING (CL)

General Clinton Canoe Regatta (Memorial Day weekend)
From Otsego Lake, Cooperstown to Bainbridge, NY
70-mile Susquehanna River course; the world’s longest single day flat water marathon canoe race; plenty of food, rides, live bands, fireworks and more!

Howe Caverns Adventure Park
255 Discovery Drive
Howes Cave, NY 12092
Stalactites, stalagmites and underground lakes; take the lantern tour to grasp its 1842 discovery; a great muggy day escape

Spiedie Fest & Balloon Rally (August)
Otsiningo Park
Binghamton, NY 13905 ‎
Celebrity concerts, car show, spiedie cook-off contest, co-ed beach volleyball and activities for kids, too!

FINGER LAKES (FL)

Balloons Over Letchworth 
Red, White & Blue Balloon Rally (May)
Letchworth State Park
Portageville, NY, 14536
Spectacular hot air balloon views of the “Grand Canyon of the East”

Roseland Waterpark 
250 Eastern Boulevard
Canandaigua, NY 14424
The largest in the Finger Lakes; The Cliff, The Twister, Adventure River, Extreme Tube Rides, Splash Factory & much more to make kids smile

Watkins Glen International Racetrack (Opening weekend, April)
2790 County Route 16
Watkins Glen, NY 14891
Since 1948, the mecca of North American road racing; Formula One, NASCAR, US Grand Prix, more . . . . vroom!!

GREATER NIAGARA (GN)

Canal Fest of the Tonawandas (July)
Locations near Sweeney Street
North Tonawanda, NY 14120
Largest event along the Ol’ Erie; celebrates its history with amusement rides, Diaper Derby, fireworks, music, golf tournament, parade

Darien Lake
9993 Allegheny Road
Darien Center, NY 14040.
Rides, waterpark, concerts, even “glamping,” at western New York’s epicenter of amusement park fun

Niagara Falls State Park
24 Buffalo Avenue
Niagara Falls, NY 14303
Iconic New York landmark and America’s oldest state park

CHAUTAUQUA-ALLEGHENY (CA)

Jamestown Jammers
Russell Diethrick Park
Falconer Street
Jamestown, NY 14701
Minor League Baseball team affiliate of Pittsburgh Pirates plays ball with Yankees and Mets MLB affiliates

Gerry Rodeo (late July – early August)
4351 Route 60
Gerry, NY 14740
Rounds up 130+ competitive cowboys & cowgirls; famous BBQ Beef & lighted midway

Point Gratiot Park and Lighthouse
Point Drive North
Dunkirk, NY 14048
AND
Lake Erie State Park
5905 Lake Road
Brocton, NY 14716
Swimming beach, picnic areas & one of the most prominent lighthouses on Lake Erie with a 61-foot tower; nearby camping, fishing, recreation at Lake Erie State Park

 

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