Family Fun and Learning in New York
- Family Fun and Learning in New Jersey
- Family Fun and Learning in Ohio
- Plan on Pennsylvania for Family Fun and Learning
- Fun and Learning in Florida!
- Must-Sees in Michigan for Family Fun
- Kid-Friendly California Fun and Learning
It’s hard for many to believe, but the nonstop bustle of New York City is not the only attraction for families in the Empire State. There is open farmland, three major mountainous sections (Catskills, Adirondacks and Allegheny,) lakeside villages and plenty of cultural activity in smaller cities like Rochester and Albany. At every turn, kids can visit places that played key roles throughout centuries of American history. Here are our top picks for spots that will lay on the fun and learning in New York State.
1) Ellis Island – About 40 percent of the US population can trace their roots to one of the 12 million immigrants who came through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1954. Now a part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, the park offers excellent guided or self-guided tours, activity sheets for kids, multimedia galleries, live theater productions based on oral histories (spring through fall) and a chance to research your own family at the American Family Immigration History Center.
2) New York State Museum – In the state capital of Albany, the history of New York is on display under one roof, including artifacts from the Adirondack wilderness, the Sesame Street set, a conserved and reassembled Cohoes mastodon and an exhibit on Harlem during its 1920s heyday.
3) Lincoln Center – A trove of incredible arts riches for children, the Center has Jazz for Young People concerts hosted by Wynton Marsalis, eclectic world music, dance and storytelling performances during August’s free Lincoln Center Out of Doors, the Midsummer Night’s Swing outdoor dance events, Young People’s Concerts with the New York Philharmonic, children’s workshops with the New York City Ballet and the Family Series with the New York City Opera.
4) FDR Home National Historic Site – The nation’s first presidential library is here at Hyde Park, home of the man who was elected to the Presidency four times, and who as a boy enjoyed building model ships and collecting coins and stamps. The grounds include several buildings like Top Cottage, where FDR escaped for maximum privacy, and Eleanor Roosevelt’s own escape hatch, Val-Kill. Kids 7-12 can join the site’s Junior Secret Service program.
5) United Nations Headquarters – Take a virtual tour online or visit the UN’s CyberSchoolBus Web site before taking the informative guided 45-minute tour. If the national flags are flying out front, the Assembly is in session. Member state art exhibits and delegates dressed in their traditional clothing add to the international atmosphere, as does a meal with the diplomats in the Delegate’s Dining Hall (make a reservation and enjoy international cuisine from member countries.)
6) Adirondack State Park – A massive state park encompassing over six million acres, the park offers spectacular natural scenery, sports opportunities (Lake Placid hosted two Winter Olympics), historic forts, robber baron “roughing it” at Great Camps like Sagamore, literary attractions like Almanzo Wilder’s “Farmer Boy” childhood home, a working 1812 farmstead in Willsboro and diving on historic wrecks in Lake George. The Saranac Lake area offers the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, an annual ice carving/winter festival and the nearby St. Regis Canoe Wilderness.
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