Yeah, Fall might’ve just arrived, but Winter will be here before we know it.
I know it’s weird, but winter really is my favorite season. The cold, the snow, the woodpeckers & cardinals, the quiet. My kids have a book called Winter is the Warmest Season and it pretty well describes why the snow season is my jam. It’s adorable – if you’ve got young kids and are looking for a great new bedtime read, check it out! But, I digress.
Growing up in Los Angeles, snow wasn’t a thing. Heck, winter wasn’t really even a thing. But, that never stopped our family from driving up north to the mountains for some skiing & snowball fights.
So, now that I’ve been transplanted in a place that boasts a winter wonderland on occasion, our family makes a point to actually get OUT and enjoy it. Sounds crazy, but it really is so much more fun than finding ways to stay cooped up indoors. Yes, even when it’s 10 degrees outside.
Some fun things to do with your kids in the Hudson Valley.
(Warwick) – Mt. Peter is so much fun! Not far from the city, it has an awesome snow tubing park at the base of the mountain. Seriously, this is fun for kids AND adults. We try to head up once a winter and make a day out of it, with lunch on the way home.
Bear Mountain Ice Skating
(Tomkins Cove) – This is one of those things that never ever gets old. Classic outdoor ice rink, frosty air, upbeat music playing overhead. You can rent skate or bring your own. It can get a little crowded at peak times, but it’s never been terrible. And it beats the old mall rink any day, hands down. Once you’re done skating, walk down the path to the historic Bear Mtn. Carousel for a little nostalgic fun.
Wolf Conservation Center
(South Salem) – While the endangered wolves eligible for re-release into the wild are generally not on exhibit, you can get up close and personal with some of WCC’s ambassador wolves at their many events throughout the winter. And, since wolves are more active when it’s cold out, this really is the time to see them. Check the center’s calendar for special photographic events (where you can see some of their endangered wolves) or other kid-friendly events!
(Katonah) – My entire family absolutely loves this place any season of the year. They have so many different events throughout the winter season, ranging from birding hikes on the trails around the farm, kids winter themed crafts, to maple sugaring demonstrations and lessons beginning in February. Also, the baby goats are pretty darn cute!
(Freeport, Long Island) – This one is new to me this year. I didn’t even know there was a seal watching season here in southern NY! But, what a cool way to spend a day. Dress warmly and head out on the water off Long Island to get up close to the seasonal seal colonies that reside here.
Liberty Science Center
(Jersey City, NJ) – The Liberty Science Center is honestly one of our family’s absolute favorite places to visit any time of year. But, on those super cold & blustery winter days when being outside just isn’t an option (and that’s saying A LOT for us), LSC is where it’s at. There are dozens of interactive exhibits for kids – last year our son duct taped his sister to a pillar in a contest to demonstrate the power of gravity & mass. The third floor houses the Hudson River animal exhibits, as well as interactive animal talks. The iMax theater is also always playing interesting nature-centric documentaries that are very kid-friendly. And, with a series of rotating exhibitions for kids of all ages, it’s always a five-star visit for our crew!
Greenburgh Nature Center
(Scarsdale) – The Greenburgh Nature Center is a wonderful place to take kids any time of the year, but their Maple Sugaring Party in late winter is always a fun way to spend a day! In New York, we forget that there’s fun to be had beyond the apple orchard (though the Nature Center also hosts an Apple Cidering event in November)…Far more than just tree tapping, the Maple Sugaring Party offers kids and adults the chance to (yes) help tap the trees, and then walk through the process making the sap into the maple syrup we all know and love. There are additional maple-themed crafts and storytelling, as well as an explanation of traditional Native American methods and traditions.
Hudson River Eagle Fest
(Croton-on-Hudson) – This annual festival takes place in early February each year. This year’s event will be held at Croton Point Park on Saturday, February 8th. Come out and embrace the winter chill with the return of the bald eagle to the Hudson Valley. There are birds-of-prey shows, food trucks, kid-friendly activities, other exhibitors, viewing areas, and shuttle busses (for an additional fee) to visit designated viewing sites.
New York Botanical Garden Train Show
(Bronx) – Each year the New York Botanical Garden hosts their Holiday Train Show. It’s a spectacle unlike any other, with all of NYC’s most famous landmarks on display. Recreated in miniature with only natural and/or live materials, the model trains happily run along the tracks through scaled replicas of the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Rockefeller Center, and other favorites. This year’s show will run from Saturday, November 23rd – Sunday, January 26th. Get your tickets early because times sell out fast!
Hudson Valley Rail Trail Winterfest
(Ulster County) – The annual Winterfest in Highland, NY offers a breath of fresh air from the city (literally, it’s outdoors). But, don’t be put off by the cold. With a lively chili contest, marshmallow & chestnut roasting, wagon rides, wood carving, and many other family-friendly activities; it’s a great way to spend the day outside embracing the season. Saturday, January 18th
(Randall’s Island Park, NYC) – It’s the start of the holiday season…what better way to celebrate the coming of winter than with some pretty lights?! New to the city this year, Luminocity is all about illuminating wonder and imagination. Geared towards families, kids & big kids alike will get to experience interactive events, including scavenger hunts, participatory light installations…also a lighted donut tunnel. Who doesn’t love donuts?!?! If you don’t, we can’t be friends. Open November 23rd – January 5th
Joyful & Honest Westchester NY Photographer
As you think about things to do with your family this winter, don’t forget to capture those memories so the fun isn’t forgotten! And, you’re still a part of it! By focusing on the relationships of parents and their children, she is able to go beyond the standard pose and capture the true emotion of her clients’ relationships. Visit the Details page for more info.