Jul 4, 2016

Family-fun places in Central New York

Children are often taken to beaches and amusement parts but there are many other places where young and old can have fun and learn at the same time. Many destinations touted as places to take the children are just as much fun for adults.  Traveling with children allows adults to see the world through fresh, young eyes. Visiting Old McDonald’s Farm in Sackets Harbor is great fun for young and old. Old McDonald’s Farm is not
owned by Farmer McDonald but by the Robbins Family. What started with 100 acres in 1977 has grown into 4000 acres where they raise a variety of field crops, tend a 700-cow dairy farm, and from May 1 to the end of October open their farm to visitors. The farm is more than cows, there are 1000 animals. At Old McDonald's Farm they have combined reality, fantasy, and music to set the stage for an educational, agricultural, hands-on adventure for “kids” of all ages.  

Another place for animal-lovers of all ages is The Rosamond
Gifford Zoo. The family-friendly zoo is home to over 700 animals of all sizes from various parts of the world. The zoo is located on 43 acres in Burnet Park, just one of Onondaga County’s several parks. There are birds of all sizes and colors; on the Penguin
Coast watch them dive, swim and cavort from the large viewing windows; on the half-mile wildlife trail be on the lookout for wolves, Amur tigers, red pandas, bears; and stop to watch the zoo’s biggest animals at the Asian Elephant Preserve. Make it a day adventure by bringing your lunch or dining at the Jungle CafĂ©. There are many demonstrations and activities. 

Looking for a rainy day place to visit then visit The MOST. The
 Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology is another of Syracuse’s great family destinations. Learning is fun. The MOST hands-on exhibits entertain, amuse, and teach visitors about the body, physics, the earth and space. Practice landing an F-16 and guide a plane on the runway of Hancock International Airport. The Science Playhouse makes learning scientific principles fun. The museum is also home to the Bristol IMAX Omnitheater, and the Silverman Planetarium. 
Another great indoor place is the Strong Museum in Rochester.
Margaret Woodbury Strong agreed with Plato who over 2000 years ago said, “Life must be lived as play.” A prolific collector of dolls and toys, Strong founded her namesake museum in 1968. Today it is larger and more dynamic than ever due to a major expansion project that was completed in 2006.  The carousel and diner are still by the entrance but the museum offers new adventures for young and old. The National
Toy Hall of Fame is home to toys that have withstood the test of time. Visitors can visit Sesame Street, the Berenstain Bears, and Reading Adventureland before heading to the Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden. In a lush, humid rainforest setting there are 800 free-flying tropical butterflies. The guide explained, “Butterflies taste with their feet. They may want to taste you. They are beautiful to see but easy to injure. So watch where you step and check your body in the mirror on the way out to make sure you don’t have any hitchhikers.” There are also great outdoor learning adventures especially at Beaver Lake Nature Center with nine miles of trails and many programs.