Family fun in the winter can prove daunting. It’s often too snowy or cold to be outside for a considerable amount of time, and it’s understandable if you don’t want to put layers upon layers of clothing on your kids until they look like cocktail weiners.
But you don’t always need to brave the cold to have fun in the winter. Plenty of happiness can be found in a museum, an activity center, or a theater. The great indoors provides opportunities for all ages to exercise mind and body, while beating cabin fever.
1. climb a ‘mountain’
Want to climb, but the kids aren’t quite ready for the Trapps? The Inner Wall (234 Main Street, New Paltz, 845-255-7625, theinnerwall.com) has 4,500 square feet of climbing space and more than 100 routes. That’s more than enough to get comfortable with the idea of facing some gnarly cliffs when the young ones are ready for the Gunks. Classes available; day passes are $12 for students and children and $15 for adults, with many other options.
For more climbing, The Gravity Vault (6 Neptune Road, Poughkeepsie, 845-462-1920, gravityvault.com) has 65 top-rope stations and 14 lead-only stations, plus bouldering areas, classes, and space for birthday parties. Day passes are $12 for children, $14 for students, and $18 for adults, and many other options are available.
2. nurture the creative spirit
Taking the kids to a museum might not sound like the most exciting idea, but the Hudson Valley is home to several that offer unique and fun experiences for kids.
At Dia:Beacon (3 Beekman Street, Beacon, 845-440-0100, diaart.org), kids love walking in circles in Richard Serra’s torqued ellipses, interacting with Dan Flavin’s fluorescent light sculptures, and craning their necks to see all the way down Michael Heizer’s cavernous “North, East, South, West.”
The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art (1 Hawk Drive, New Paltz, 845-257-3844, newpaltz.edu/museum) not only has cool modern art, but it also runs family days each month.
Kids can get their hands messy with arts and crafts, potentially kick-starting their own artistic careers. And it’s all about kids at the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum (75 N. Water Street, Poughkeepsie, 845-471-0589, mhcm.org), which offers hands-on exhibits like the Science Center and the Imagination Playground (so many blocks). The museum also offers workshops and education programs.
3. take in a show
Local theaters often present shows for children and their parents. One example that’s sure to be a hit with little ones: Eisenhower Hall Theatre at West Point (845-938-4159, ikehall.com) will feature a live performance of Cinderella at 5pm on Sunday, February 11.
Also look for various shows happening over the holidays, like A Christmas Carol by the Ulster Ballet Company at UPAC (December 1–3, 601 Broadway, Kingston, 845-339-6088, upac.org) and The Nutcracker by the New Paltz Ballet
Theatre at the Bardavon (December 7–10, 35 Market Street, Poughkeepsie, 845-473-2072, bardavon.org).The New York Conservatory for the Arts will be performing Babes in Toyland at The Woodstock Playhouse (103 Mill Hill Road, Woodstock, 845-679-6900, woodstockplayhouse.org) December 1–10.
And, for slightly older kids, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts (200 Hurd Road, Bethel, 866-781-2922, bethelwoodscenter.org) will show the 1990 Christmas classic Home Alone on December 2, and its sequel Home Alone 2: Lost in New York on December 3.
4. pump it up
For another active day, why not check out a kids’ gym? The Little Gym of Kingston (1200 Ulster Avenue, Kingston, 845-382-1020, thelittlegym.com/kingstonny) has classes for kids from four months to 12 years of age. After getting the moves down, kids can learn gymnastics, dance, karate, sports skills, and more. Local gymnastics centers also include: Excel Gymnastics (2314 Route 9W, Saugerties,
845-336-6706, excelgymny.com), Kennett School of Gymnastics (41 Washington Terrace, Newburgh, 845-562-0620, kennetts.com), Dutchess County Gymnastics Center (986 Main Street, Fishkill, 845-896-5270, dutchessgymnastics.com), Ziggy’s Gymnastics Academy (15 Industrial Drive, Middletown, 845-692-3547, ziggysgym.com), and Mr. Todd’s Gymnastics (12 Olympic Way, Poughkeepsie, 845-473-3966, mrtoddsgym.com).
5. do a 7-10 split
By now you’re aware that bowling alleys aren’t just places for funny shoes and tucked-in polo shirts. They’re family fun centers, typically offering other activities for kids (laser tag, pool, arcade games), with pop music playing over neon lights, and even serving pub grub and mixed drinks for parents.
What more could a family ask for? Some of the best local lanes include Patel’s Kingston Lanes (644 E. Chester Street, Kingston, 845-338-1414), Bowlers Club (RR 9W, Saugerties, 845-246-4969), HoeBowl (305 W. Bridge Street, Catskill, 518-943-4980), Quinnz Pinz (13 Railroad Avenue, Middletown, 845-343-8121), Colonial Lanes (78 Brookside Avenue, Chester, 845-469-3005), Pat Tarsio Lanes
(173 S. Plank Road, Newburgh, 845-562-5250), and the venerable Spins Bowl with locations in Poughkeepsie (47 Taft Avenue, 845-471-1820), Wappingers Falls (1677 Route 9, 845-297-8110), and Carmel (23 Old Route 6, 845-225-8787).
6. lace ‘em up
If it’s winter, that must mean there’s ice. But you don’t have to be outside to enjoy it. Kiwanis Ice Arena (6 Small World Avenue, Saugerties, 845-247-2590, kiwanisicearena.com) is affordable ($7 adults, $5 students) and has public skating everyday.
Ice Time Sports Complex (21 Lakeside Road, Newburgh, 845-567-0005, icetimesports.org) has public skating on weekends and one weekday.
The McCann Ice Arena (14 Civic Center Plaza, Poughkeepsie, 845-454-5800, midhudsonciviccenter.com) also offers public skating on weekends.
For outdoor skating, check out the beautiful pavilion at Mohonk Mountain House (1000 Mountain Rest Road, New Paltz, 845-256-2775, mohonk.com) where hotel guests skate for free and visitors can purchase a day pass.
7. get your bounce on
Okay, indoor bounce houses and activity centers can be pretty scary from the outside. Often you just hear loud white noise and see children bouncing around like pinballs on trampolines. But some of these places are great for those two hours you need to get them all jazzed up, because the crash will come.
The Fun-E Farm (1300 Ulster Avenue, Kingston, 845-514-2431, fun-efarm.com) at the Hudson Valley Mall has plenty of bouncy inflatables to get your child moving. Plus, it’s farm themed, so there may even be some education about livestock in there. The all-day rate is $9.99.
Bounce! (2 Neptune Road, Poughkeepsie, 845-206-4555, bouncepok.com) has all the trappings: trampoline courts, dodgeball, slam-dunk basketball, and plenty of blocks for kids to get lost sorting through. It’s $15 for one hour, and $10 for each additional hour, or $24 for two hours. For kids ages five and younger, bouncing is $10 per hour.
8. craft in the stu-stu-studio
Crafts aren’t just Popsicle sticks and Elmer’s glue. There are some dynamic skills kids can hone at our local arts studios.
Fiberflame Craft Studio (1776 Route 212, Saugerties, 845-679-6132, fiberflamestudio.com) is the ultimate do-it-yourself studio. Walk in without an appointment and start painting some pottery, crafting a necklace, decorating a canvas bag, or using their many materials and supplies to create a unique piece of art. Makers pay $10 for up to two hours of studio time, plus a fee for each project.
Kids are the center of attention at the Beacon Craft Workshop (12 Coffey Avenue, Beacon, 917-318-7801, beaconcraftworkshop.com).
In past winters, kids had the opportunity to create perfect hot chocolate mugs, create clay gardens, and sculpt clay animals.
Unison Arts Center (68 Mountain Rest Road, New Paltz, 845-255-1559, unisonarts.org) regularly hosts craft workshops for children, in addition to concerts and more.
9. swing for the virtual green
Kids can hone their driving skills—or just put in a round of putt-putt—at DC Indoor Golf (10 Crannell Street, Poughkeepsie, 845-486-4004, dcindoorgolfny.com), which features three virtual mini-golf courses: Lost Lagoon,
Galactic Greens, and Mystery Reef. It also has closest-to-the-pin and long-drive competition games, perfect for family fun without ever having to step foot on an outdoor tee box. DC also has a Wappinger Falls location (1630 Route 9, Wappingers Falls, 845-632-6621).
10. just add wheels
If the ice isn’t your thing, maybe solid ground and a peppy soundtrack is more appealing. Go roller skating at Wood’n Wheel Family Fun Center (365 Route 9W, Ulster Park, 845-331-9680, woodnwheel.com), where sessions are typically three hours and cost $10–$11 (a few bucks cheaper if you bring your own skates). And when the kids are ready for a break from skating, there are several other attractions to keep them entertained (laser tag, an arcade, and more). Skaters World (1234 Old Route 17, Ferndale, 845-292-3288, skatersworldny.com) has been an institution for decades and still rocks with three-hour sessions during the weekend. Hyde Park Roller Magic (4178 Albany Post Road, Hyde Park, 845-229-6666,
hydeparkrollermagic.com) has open sessions on weekends and holidays. Skate Time 209 (5164 Route 209, Accord, 845-626-7971, skatetime209.com) offers both skateboarding and roller skating and is open Thursday through Sunday every week.