Family-friendly Summer Fun in the Hudson Valley
Orange County, N.Y.
- Kids may not care that the Hudson Valley has been named one of the 20 "must-see places in the world for 2013" by National Geographic Traveler, but they are bound to have fun at Orange County's terrific attractions. The shepherding adults will have a good time, too, and the kids won't even know they're having a learning experience. School's out. Come play!
Press the buttons and open the drawers. That's what kids will do when they discover the amazing interactive exhibit Unpacked and Rediscovered at Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site in Newburgh. It's a fascinating back-in-time visit to the Revolutionary War as you tour the museum, the stone farmhouse where George and Martha lived, and the great lawn overlooking the Hudson River. Celebrate with them on July 4th and participate in the candle dipping! Kids can also join the children's wooden musket drill at nearby New Windsor Cantonment. Chat with the costumed re-enactors on July 4th and watch them perform their military drills. Hold your ears! There will be cannon firings! Just down the road, show the kids how life was lived in the olden days. At Knox's Headquarters, kids can use their best manners while touring the elegant manor house, but there are also the ruins of the 1741 mill to explore and trails leading to Silver Stream. All of these sites are just right for picnics and they'll be offering free admission on Independence Day.
Families have been going to the Great American Weekend in Goshen for decades. This spectacular on Saturday and Sunday, July 6th and 7th has hayrides and amusement thrills for young and old, and rows and rows of craft and antiques vendors set up on the green. Music and live entertainment will be ongoing with plenty of food when your tribe gets hungry. The Goshen Historic Track is right there with exciting Grand Circuit Harness Races happening daily at 1 PM from July 4th through July 7th. Admission for children under 12 is free. There's lots to do for children at the adjacent Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, another fabulous freebie! Kids can call a race, sit in a sulky, and really feel the spirit of the sport in the 3-D simulator.
Storm King Art Center, the 500-acre sculpture park in Mountainville, makes a special effort to appeal to kids. This world famous outdoor arts space hosts programs for children on most summer weekends. Take the "Stories in Stone" tour on July 7th; let them experience "Light and Movement" on July 21st, and "Material Matters" on July 28th, all focused on a child's interests. Stomp, clap, shake and holler, at the Spirit Family Reunion "homegrown American music" concert on July 14th. It's going to be a hootenanny!
An outdoor concert geared specifically for the younger set takes place on July 14th at one of the most scenic places on the Hudson. The West Point Band strikes up at the Trophy Point amphitheater on the grounds of the military academy with "Quintette 7- Kid's Night." It's a rousing evening with special interactive fun for the children. Bring a picnic and gaze at the Hudson River in all its glory. While you're there, take the kids to the West Point Museum for a fascinating look at cadet life.
Hey kids, Eggbert is back! He'll crack you up! The talking egg is making a rare summertime appearance at the Orange County Farmers Museum in Montgomery on Saturday, July 20th. After your conversation with this chatty phenomenon, explore the vintage farm equipment, blacksmith shop, saw mill, and tour Brick House. This 18th century estate, occupied by seven generations of the Hill family, has wonderful Colonial and Victorian furnishings and collections on display.
The Trailside Zoo at Bear Mountain State Park, another not-to-be-missed famous family attraction, is having a Bird Festival on Saturday, July 27th. Spend a day with New York State's native feathered friends. Themed games and activities are held for the kids who will love meeting the bears and other local animals. Bring your camera for some great family photos and capture the Hudson Highlands and iconic Bear Mountain Bridge in the background. Before heading to the zoo, see the antics of some pretend creatures at the Bossy Frog Band Summer Beach Party concert from 11am to noon at the Sugar Loaf Performing Arts Center. This modern theater space just happens to be in the quaint Sugar Loaf Art and Craft Village filled with art studios, craft shops and restaurants housed in barns and buildings dating back to the 1700s.
Kids love fire engines and we know where you'll see lots of them! The City of Port Jervis hosts their 163rd Annual Fireman's Parade on July 13th. Be there when the oldest continuously run fireman's parade in the United States kicks off at 1pm. Come a few days early and try a family rafting trip or a dip in the scenic Delaware River. Could anything top 163 years of parades? How about 173 years of family fairs! That's how old the Orange County Fair will be when its Ferris wheel starts turning this year from July 14th until July 28th from Wednesday through Sunday. Special events for this season include a wolf pack show, a flying trapeze show, and fireworks every night.
No kidding, for memorable summer getaways that will please the whole family, head to Orange County, just an hour north of New York City. Find a complete list of attractions, lodging, and events at www.OrangeTourism.org. For a free copy of the Orange County Travel Guide, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 800-762-8687. Orange County Tourism is headquarters for tourism in the county and is part of the I LOVE NEW YORK program.
- Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site, Newburgh. 845-446-4724, http://www.nysparks.com/
- New Windsor Cantonment, New Windsor. 845-561-1765, http://www.nysparks.com/
- Knox's Headquarters, Vails Gate. 845-561-5498, http://www.nysparks.com/
- Great American Weekend, Goshen. 845-294-7741, http://www.goshennychamber.com/
- Goshen Historic Track, Goshen. 845-294-5333, http://www.goshenhistorictrack.com/
- Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, Goshen. 845-294-6330, http://www.harnessmuseum.com/
- Storm King Art Center, Mountainville. 845-534-3115, http://www.stormking.org/
- Music Under the Stars, West Point. 845-938-2617, http://www.westpointband.com/
- West Point Museum, West Point. 845-938-3590, www.usma.edu/Museum
- West Point Tours, West Point. 845-446-4724, http://www.westpointtours.com/
- Orange County Farmers Museum, Montgomery. 845-926-2727, http://www.ocfarmersmuseum.com/
- Brick House, Montgomery. 845-457-4921, http://www.hillholdandbrickhouse.org/
- Trailside Zoo, Bear Mountain State Park. 845-786-2701, ext. 293, http://www.trailsidezoo.org/
- Bossy Frog Band at Sugar Loaf PAC, Sugar Loaf. 845-610-5335, http://www.sugarloafpac.com/
- Fireman's Parade, Port Jervis. 845-858-4000, http://www.portjervisny.org/
- Orange County Family Fair. 845-343-4826, http://www.orangecountyfair.com/
Mary Ann McCarthy