Minnewaska State Park Preserve

We have not been hiking or doing many outdoor activities with the recent heat waves. But we know that fall will be here before we know it, bringing some cooler weather. Therefore, we want to post about our recent hikes so you can start to plan some outdoor family activities for when the weather gets a little more comfortable. A great family hike can be found at Minnewaska State Park Preserve.

Minnewaska State Park Preserve is located in Kerhonkson, New York (Ulster County) and is about an hour and fifteen minute drive from northern Westchester County. Warning, this is a very popular state park! On a beautiful day in mid June, we had to wait about fifteen minutes just to enter the park, since the parking lots were full.

The Preserve is over 22,000 acres with over 50 miles of hiking trails. You will not be able to see it all in a day! I am a waterfall lover and I wanted to visit Minnewaska State Park Preserve after hearing about Awosting Falls.

From the parking lot it’s a short walk to get to the trail heads. We first started on the Awosting Falls red-blazed trail which lies adjacent to the Peter Kill stream. There are a series of smaller waterfalls, that of course we had to photograph! As you walk further down the trail there’s even a spot where you can stand above Awosting Falls.

The trail heads downhill into the woods before you arrive at the bottom of Awosting Falls. The falls are 60 feet tall and plunge into a large, clear pool. The amount and strength of the falls depends on the rainfall. Fortunately, the day of our visit there was a rewarding waterfall.

After spending some time taking in the beauty of the falls we continued our hike. We returned back up the way we came to the beginning of the red trail. We then switched to the orange-blazed Sunset Carriageway Trail towards Lake Minnewaska. This was about a 20 minute uphill hike to the lake.

But the views are amazing! And if you really want to, you can drive to the upper parking lot, skipping this hike altogether. Lake Minnewaska is less than one-half mile long and is surrounded by white cliffs. If you’re feeling really ambitious you can hike around the lake. We weren’t feeling very ambitious…..or more like our children weren’t feeling it.

I didn’t realize that visitors can swim in Lake Minnewaska, or I would have had the kids wear their bathing suits. The swimming area is roped off and staffed by lifeguards. Luckily, it wasn’t super hot the day that we visited, so we sat on the dock and enjoyed a snack and water break. There’s also a bathroom across from the lake if you need a rest stop. After our snack break we continued on the red trail until we reached the start of the blue trail, Castle Point Carriageway. At this point we decided it was a good time to turn around and make our way back to the car.

Like I mentioned, Minnewaska is very popular and was very crowded the day we went. Trails were filled with hikers, dogs, (SO many dogs! We felt a little left out that we didn’t have a dog to hike with) and mountain bikers. Although horseback riding is allowed on the trails, that is one thing we didn’t see on our hike.

The Preserve is located on the Shawangunk (“Gunks” to the locals) Mountain ridge, which is more than 2,000 feet above sea level. Altogether we hiked about four miles and saw some beautiful views. However, we never made it to the peaks of any mountains. For more serious hiking and trail tips, I highly recommend checking out Hike the Hudson Valley’s write up on the park. Mike writes super informative hiking guides for trails throughout the Hudson Valley, which we have referenced many times!

We didn’t get a chance to visit the Nature Center or to see Lake Awosting, another lake in the Preserve, where swimming is also allowed. Plus, with all of the hiking trails available, there are plenty of reasons for us to make a return trip.

The Details:
Minnewaska State Park
5281 Rt. 44-55
Kerhonkson, NY 12446

Hours: Park hours vary by season. Please check out the website for the most up-to-date information.

Parking: $10 per vehicle or free with the Empire Pass

Notes:
*There is a Nature Center that is open on weekends and holidays from Memorial Day through Columbus Day. Hours are 10 AM – 12 PM and 1 PM – 4 PM.

*If you are visiting the park to go swimming, park in the upper parking lot, or you will have a decent hike ahead of you to get to the lake.

*Again, check out Hike the Hudson Valley’s guide to Minnewaska State Park Preserve for information on hiking the trails!

*Minnewaska State Park Preserve has a carry in, carry out policy. Make sure if you are bringing food in to also bring a bag to store your garbage.

Family Fun at Playland Park {Westchester County}

Playland Amusement Park has been a Westchester County icon since 1928 and is a National Historic Landmark.  There are even seven original rides that pre-date 1930 that are still running!  For those not from the area, you may have seen parts of the park if you’ve watched the movie Big or Mariah Carey’s 1995 “Fantasy” music video.

Located in Westchester County, Playland is conveniently located off of I-95 and offers a full day of family fun. With 50 rides, it is great for families, as  there’s something for everyone. Kiddyland has over 20 rides and is geared towards toddlers and younger children.  Most Kiddyland rides have a minimum height requirement of 36″ but will allow smaller children to ride with an adult. Katy the Kat makes daily appearances and has a comedy show that takes place in Kiddyland.

For older children and adults, there are plenty of thrill rides.  Double Shot, Super Flight, Wipeout, the Yo-Yo, Skyflyer and the Thunderbolt are some of the attractions that adventure seekers will enjoy.

On the Derby Racer the horses imitate the motion of a steeple chase horse.  Only two known original rides of this type are still in existence, one of them being here.  Don’t let the horse fool you into thinking this isn’t a thrill ride.  From personal experience, this was my least favorite ride, due to the speed and fear of falling off the horse.  Did I mention that there’s not safety belt?  It’s hold on for dear life! This ride, as well as the Carousel, are on the National Register of Historic Places.  Just last week, the county Board of Legislators approved financing for restoration of these two rides.  I can’t wait to see what the restored Derby Racer will look like!

And of course, riding the Dragon Coaster is a must!  This wooden roller coaster has been running since 1929 and is a Playland original! For hard-core coaster enthusiasts, this is not a super fast, thrill ride.  However, it’s an historical one.

For the first time since 2008, Playland has a new ride.  Part roller coaster, part spinning ride, it is currently called Disk’O 24 by the manufacturer.  However, Westchester County residents have been asked to submit names for the new ride and a Westchester Camp group will be choosing the winning name from the submissions.

There is plenty of food to be found at Playland.  Louisiana Kitchen has fried chicken, chicken tenders and fried seafood.  There’s a Nathan’s that sells hot dogs and fries, a Smash n’ Shake Express that has burgers shakes and Pizza Village.

There’s also lots of treats available including funnel cake, cotton candy and ice cream.  You will not go hungry during your visit!

There are lots of games to play and an arcade if you are looking to take a break from the rides.  This is an old school arcade with 25 cent skee ball machines!

There’s daily entertainment and concerts throughout the season.  During the summer, there is a fireworks display every Friday night.   On select nights there is also a laser light show set to music.  For some close-to-home summer family fun, a trip to Playland is a must!

The Details:

Playland Amusement Park
1 Playland Parkway
Rye, New York 10580

Parking:  $10/car ($15/car holidays and special events)

Admission:  $30/adult ($25 for Westchester County residents with proof of residency) wristbands
$20/junior (under 48″) ($15 for Westchester County residents with proof of residency) wristbands
Free/children 2 years old and under
Spectator (no rides)/$10 (Free for Westchester County residents with proof of residency)

**In 2019 every Westchester County town, city and village gets its own Town Day.  With proof of ID, each resident receives a special coupon booklet that offers special discounts.

**On select nights, admission is $20 from 5-10 PM.

Fun Cards can be purchased with a spectator admission to go on rides.  It costs $1 per point, with rides costing 5-6 points each.

Open now through September 8, 2019
Hours:  (please check the site for specific dates and hours.  The park opens earlier and stays open later on selected dates throughout the summer)
Closed Mondays
Tuesday – Thursday: 11 AM – 10 PM
Friday: 12 PM – 11 PM
Saturday:  12 PM – 11 PM
Sunday:  12 PM – 10 PM

*No outside food or drinks are allowed in the park.
*There’s a fireworks show on Friday nights in the summer at 9:20 PM (July 12 – August 30).
*Check the entertainment schedule for concerts.
*Lockers are available for rent.

20 Fun Things to Do in Putnam County

Living in northern Westchester County, Putnam County is so close and accessible.  Both my husband and I grew up in Putnam County and are very familiar with the sites and attractions.  However, creating this list we realize that there’s still a LOT that we still need to do!  Here’s our list of some of the fun things to do in Putnam County. Please let me know if there is anything that I should add to my list!

1.Play a round of miniature golf at Red Rooster in Brewster and then grab a burger and shake.

2. Visit the Putnam County 4-H Fair.

3. Have breakfast at Countryside Kitchen in Mahopac (home of the famous cannoli pancake).

4. Visit Putnam County’s Veterans Memorial Park and go for a hike or a  swim. This is also where the Putnam County 4-H Fair is held as well as the Daniel Ninham Pow-Wow.

5. Ski or snowboard at Thunder Ridge in Patterson.

6. Go antiquing in Cold Spring.

7. Enjoy tea at Florrie Kaye’s Tea Room.

8. Visit Fahnestock State Park.  Hike part of the Appalachin Trail, swim in Canopus Lake or even camp.

9. Visit the Chuang Yen Monastery in Carmel.

10.  Visit Green Chimney’s Farm & Wildlife Center in Brewster.

11. Visit the Constitution Marsh Audubon Center in Garrison. Visit the nature center, take a walk out to the marsh and/or join one of their guided public canoe trips (see their program page for details).

12. Walk or ride the Putnam County Trailway.  This 12 mile path has trailheads in Baldwin Place and Brewster.

13. Have an ice cream cone from Moo Moo’s Creamery in Cold Spring.

14. Visit Boscobel in Garrison.  Tours are available of the house, gardens and grounds April through December.  In the summer you can see the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival perform and in December you can see Sparkle.

15. Take a picture with the Sybil Ludington statue in Carmel.

16. Enjoy dinner at Clocktower Grill in Brewster.

17. Visit the Stonecrop Gardens in Cold Spring.

18.  Visit a Farmer’s Market in Brewster, Cold Spring or Putnam Valley

19. Take a kayak or canoe tour on the Hudson River with Hudson River Expeditions (in Cold Spring).

20.  Enjoy some delicious Indian food at Jaipore in Brewster. We love their lunch buffet.

Fun June Holidays to Celebrate with the Family

Although my teen would love to spend all of her time snapchatting, watching YouTube videos, binge watching Netflix shows and hanging out with her friends……my husband and I are big proponents of family time. As the kids get older it’s harder to find events and attractions that they are interested in going to. But, that doesn’t stop us from trying….even if we have to put up with some eye rolls and attitude! In just a couple of weeks, June will be here. Here are ideas to help your family celebrate some fun June Holidays!

June is Aquarium Month. Celebrate by taking a trip to your local aquarium.

June is also Candy Month. Surprise your kids with some of their favorite candy. Or, try MunchPak, a subscription box that includes candy and snacks from all over the world, for a monthly treat!

The first full week in June is National Gardening Week. Visit your local botanical garden. Plant some flowers. Or start planning your own garden.

Celebrate National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month by taking a trip to your local farm, farmer’s market or grocery store. Have the family pick out a new fruit and/or vegetable to try. It’s also a great time to join a CSA.

Here are some other fun holidays to celebrate with the family in June:

June 1National Trails Day: It’s a Saturday this year, which means that it’s a perfect day to celebrate by taking a hike! For locals, Rockefeller State Park has some easy hikes. It’s also fun to do some geocaching while you’re out hiking.

June 4 – National Cheese Day – If you have cheese lovers in your family, pick up some new cheeses to try. Or, go out for some fondue at The Melting Pot!

June 6 – National Yo-Yo Day – Have your kids ever tried to yo-yo? If not, today is a good day to try! Have a contest to see who can do it the longest.

June 7 – National Chocolate Ice Cream Day – Visit your local ice cream shop or pick up a pint of chocolate ice cream. If you want to have even more fun, pick up a couple of different brands of chocolate ice cream and have a family taste test to see which is everyone’s favorite.

June 7 – National Doughnut Day – If you don’t have chocolate ice cream lovers, celebrate National Doughnut Day instead. Pick up a doughnut from your favorite shop, or try making some doughnuts.

June 12 – National Peanut Butter Cookie Day – It’s a good day to finish up those Girl Scout Do-Si-Dos. Or bake a a batch of cookies to celebrate.

June 16 – Father’s Day – Today is all about dad! Find out what dad wants to do today. Make sure the kids have a card made. If you aren’t going to see your dad, make sure to call or send a card.

June 18 – Go Fishing Day – You may have to wait until the weekend to celebrate this day. But if you or your kids have never gone fishing, now is a great time to start!

June 21 – International Yoga Day – Celebrate by doing some yoga together.

June 21 – Summer Solstice – Today is the first day of summer. Make your family summer bucket list, if you haven’t already!

Snow Tubing at Mt. Peter

New York has finally gotten a substantial amount of snow! For those families, like ours, who don’t ski, snow tubing is a fun winter family activity. We enjoyed our first snow tubing experience last year at Mt. Peter in Warwick, NY. Mt. Peter is a perfect for a day trip and only about an hour’s drive from northern Westchester County.

Neither my husband nor I had been snow tubing before, so we weren’t sure what to expect. We had made reservations for a 3-5 PM Saturday tubing session. (Reservations are highly recommended, as they have limited two hour sessions.) We arrived at Mt. Peter a little early to make sure we had time to get our snow gear on. The 1 -3 PM session was still taking place when we got to the snow tubing area so we got to watch others snow tube down the hill for a little bit.

Mt. Peter has six snow tube lanes that are 600 feet long. Once our time slot began we walked over to the attendant to get a tube. You can choose between a single or tandem (double) tube. You must be 42″ to ride in a single tube. If under 42″ you MUST ride in a tandem tube with an adult. Fortunately, both our kids were over 42″ so we got to enjoy both single and double rides.


You carry your tube onto the carpet lift that takes you up to the top of the hill. There are attendants at both the top and bottom of the hill. They let you know when it is safe to start tubing. The speed of the runs vary, depending on the size of the person, as well as the snow conditions. I found that my tube kept slowing down and stopping near the bottom of the hill. I ended up trying my daughter’s tube and went speeding down the hill, almost too fast for my liking! Over our two hour session we went down the hill at least 8 times, maybe even more. The lines at the top of the runs get backed up, but move fairly quickly.

We had such a fun time snow tubing! This was a great way for us to enjoy some outdoor winter family fun. Food is available for purchase in the onsite cafeteria. However, the town of Warwick is a short drive away and has lots of restaurants where you can grab a late lunch or dinner after your snow tubing adventure!

The Details:
Mt. Peter
51 Old Mt. Peter Rd.
Warwick, NY 10990
(845) 986-4940

Sessions:
Wednesday – Sunday: 11 AM – 1 PM, 1 PM – 3 PM, or 3 PM – 5 PM
Friday and Saturday: additional 5-7 PM session

Rates:
$30 weekends/holidays
$24 non-holiday weekday

Tips:
*Make reservations to guarantee you get the date and time that you want.
*Dress warmly! Snow pants and waterproof gloves are highly recommended!
*Bring a signed and printed waiver with you to help speed up the checking in process.

*There is a Little Tikes tubing play area for children under 42″. As my children are older, we did not experience this area. For additional information, please check out the Mt. Peter site.

Westchester County Bucket List

As a long-time resident of Westchester County, I am still amazed at all there is to see and do here.  I’ve created this Westchester County Bucket List as a means for my family to get out and experience all that Westchester has to offer!  We haven’t experienced everything on this list, but we plan to!  Please let me know if there’s anything missing from this list that you think families in Westchester County should experience!  Listed in no particular order:

1. Visit Untermyer Gardens.

2. Walk part of the Westchester RiverWalk.

3. Ride the Dragon Coaster at Playland.

4. Build with Legos at the LegoLand Discovery Center.

5. See a Westchester Knicks game at the Westchester County Center and get a picture with Hudson.

6.  Indoor skydive at iFLY at Ridgehill in Yonkers.

7. Climb the rock wall at The Cliffs in Valhalla.

We enjoyed apple picking at Wilkens Farm. It was a hot day but we picked apples and enjoyed cider dougnuts!

8.  Go apple picking!  Westchester County offers several options including Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm, Outhouse Orchards, Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard and Stuart’s Farm.

9. Visit the animals at Muscoot Farm.

10.  Get an ice cream from King Kone, the Hudson Creamery,  The Blue Pig, Longford’s and Penny Lick Ice Cream.

11.  Visit the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze.

12. Cool off in one of Westchester’s pools or splash pads (Harbor Island Park – Mamaroneck, Wilson’s Wave Pool – Mt. Vernon, Tibbett’s Brook Park – Yonkers, Saxon Woods Park – White Plains, Pierson Park – Tarrytown)

13. Enjoy a picnic out in one of the many county or state parks.

14. Bike on the Bronx River on Bicycle Sundays.

15. Attend Teatown’s EagleFest.

16. Go on a food tour (in your town or any of the other towns in Westchester).

17.  Support local!  Visit one or several of Westchester’s farmer’s markets.

18. See a show at the Paramount Theater Hudson Valley.

19. Visit the PepsiCo sculpture gardens.

20.  Try a new restaurant during Hudson Valley Restaurant Week.

21.  Enjoy a meal from one of the many food truck’s including Walter’s, Dough Nation and The Souvlaki Truck.

22. Visit the Westchester Children’s Museum.

23. Tour Kykuit:  The Rockefeller Estate.

24.  Walk across the Croton Dam at Croton Gorge Park.

25. Take a tour of Stone Barns.

26.  See a show at the Westchester Broadway Theater.

27. Visit the Hudson River Museum and see a show in the planetarium.

28. Enjoy Sheep-to-Shawl or Djembes and Dance (or both) at Philipsburg Manor.

29. Visit the wolves at the Wolf Conservation Center.

30. Go to the beach – Glenn Island, Playland Beach, Island Harbor Beach, Oakland Beach, Hudson Park East and West and Croton Point Park Beach.

31.  See a movie at the Jacob Burns Center, the iPic theater and the Alamo Drafthouse.

32. Try to Escape from an Escape Room.

33. Visit Teatown Lake Reservation.

34. Climb the ropes course at Boundless Adventure and Spins Hudson.

35. Attend the Clearwater Festival at Croton Point Park.

36. Walk the Croton Aqueduct.

37. Enjoy a Freak Shake from Sugar Hi, Mt, Kisco Diner, Lazy Boy Saloon or the Hudson Creamery.

38. Visit the Neuberger Museum of Art.

39. Attend one of the many heritage festivals held at the Kensico Dam.

40.Visit the Hammond Museum’s Japanese Stroll Garden.

41.  Ice Skate and enjoy Winter Wonderland at the Kensico Dam.

42. Check out the crafts at the Lyndhurst Craft Festival and the Armonk Outdoor Art Show.

43. Listen to some jazz at the White Plains Jazz Festival.

44.  Attend a food festival – Westchester Magazine’s Wine and Food Festival, Lohud’s Food Truck Festival, Westchester Magazine’s Wingfest and more!

A Day of Contemporary Art at Dia: Beacon

(Thank you to Dutchess Tourism and Dia:Beacon for hosting NY Foodie Family.  As always, all opinions are our own.)

Dia:Beacon opened in 2003, bringing a significant collection of contemporary art to the Hudson Valley.   Housed in a former Nabisco box-printing factory, this art museum has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. It’s a short walk from the Beacon train station, and on weekends it is filled with visitors traveling up from the city.    NY Foodie Family visited Dia:Beacon a couple of years ago.  However, our most recent trip was a day date, sans kids, and proved to be an entirely different experience! My husband and I were able to view the exhibits at a much more relaxed pace.

Artist Dan Flavin is well-known for his work with florescent lights.  He has several works on view at the museum, but untitled is one of my faves.

Another interesting display is On Kawara’s Today series.  The paintings were completed on the date depicted on the surface in the language and date format of the country where the artist was at the time.

The art at Dia:Beacon is not just paintings that you see on the wall.  There are exhibits on the ground like Robert Smithson’s Map of Broken Glass.

You can walk on a set path through Francois Morellet’s No End Neon on the bottom floor of the museum.  You can also walk inside Richard Serra’s series of Torqued Ellipses exhibition. On nice days, you can walk out to the gardens designed by artist Robert Irwin.

 

The museum is large and you can spend a couple of hours looking at the exhibits. I’m going to be honest, some of the exhibits perplexed me.  Strands of yarn, different shaped holes in the ground, a pile of rubber……please don’t ask me to explain or understand it.  But, it’s all definitely interesting to look at!  Many of the pieces are on long-term view at the museum.  However, they also continuously bring in new exhibits.

After visiting Dia:Beacon, I highly recommend traveling into the town of Beacon.  There are lots of great restaurants, shops and the Hudson Valley Brewery, which are all a short drive away.

The Details:
Dia: Beacon
3 Beekman  Street
Beacon, NY

Hours:  January – March, Friday – Monday 11 AM – 4 PM,  April – October, Thursday – Monday 11 AM – 6 PM, November-December, Thursday – Monday 11 AM – 4 PM

Parking:  Free parking

Admission: $15/adult, $12/students and seniors, Free/children 12 and under and members

Additional Info:

*There is a cafe and bookstore/gift shop onsite.

*Public tours are given on Saturdays and Sundays at 12:30 PM and 2 PM, free with admission.

*The museum is a short walk from the Beacon train station.

*On the last Sundays of the month Hudson Valley residents receive free admission with proof of residence.  City of Beacon residents, as well as residents of the adjoining communities of Fishkill, Glenham and Chelsea receive free admission every Saturday and Sunday.

Summer Fun at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom

(Thank you Dorney Park for hosting NY Foodie Family.  As always, all opinions are our own.)

Every summer NY Foodie Family tries to visit at least one amusement park.  Living in Westchester County, we have many choices within a couple of hours drive.  It had been several years since we last visited Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown, Pennsylvania and decided to make a stop on our way home from Lancaster.

Dorney Park is both an amusement and water park.  We visited on a summer day at the end of June.  It was a sunny, but not hot day so we opted not to visit the water park.  When we visit an amusement park, we all get to choose a ride that we “must-do.”  As we walk through the park to one of the rides on our list, we will stop at other rides if the lines are short.

Well, we lucked out on our weekday visit.  The park was not crowded and there were very few lines for the rides.

We love visiting amusement parks now that the kids are older.  Having a 10 and 12-year-old means that they can go on all the spinny rides together, like The Kaleidoscope, while my husband and I watch.

Our family loves roller coasters and Dorney Park has seven of them.  This includes the mild Wild Mouse, which was my son’s ride of choice, and the Woodstock Express, the kiddie coaster in Planet Snoopy.  My ride of choice during our visit was the roller coaster Talon.  This is the tallest and longest inverted coaster in the Northeast and riders turn upside down four times.  This was our son’s first time riding an inverted coaster.  Although he was a bit nervous before riding this, he did enjoy it.

Another favorite ride was Steel Force, which was my husband’s must-ride list. This coaster has a 205-foot drop with speeds reaching 75 miles per hour.  I am not a fan of coasters with huge drops and sat this one out, while my husband and kids rode it.  Unfortunately, the day of our visit, Hydra, one of the other coasters we would have enjoyed was closed.  However, there were plenty of other rides to keep us busy.

For those with young children, Planet Snoopy has a collection of fifteen Peanuts themed rides that are perfect for them.

For thrill seekers, there are many “aggressive” thrill rides that will sure to please.  The kids weren’t quite up to riding The Meteor, pictured above.

During the summer, Dorney Park offers a variety of entertainment, including meet and greets, music and dance parties and more.  They have a separate entertainment guide with all of the show listings, locations and times.  Since we visited so early in the summer, the only show was Cirque Imagine.  Many compare this show to Cirque du Soleil, as it’s a 30-minute live show of acrobatics and artistry.

The park has a variety of food options where you can get burgers, pizza, chicken, hotdogs and more.  New this year is Burrito Cantina and the Tidal Wave Cafe in the Wildwater Kingdom.  Although there are plenty of food options, we didn’t find any really unique or interesting choices.  We had a late, big breakfast before we arrived at the park and weren’t super hungry during our visit.  At our daughter’s request, we ended up stopping at Chicke’s & Pete’s for some Crabfries.  There are plenty of amusement park treats including cotton candy, fried dough and ice cream.  For those that plan on spending a full day at the park, the park offers dining plans that may be worth considering.

Visitors can see life-sized animatronic dinosaurs in the park’s Dinosaurs Alive attraction. This walk-through experience costs an additional $5 and visitors can travel back in time to learn more about these prehistoric creatures.  The park also has lots of games and an arcade as well, for those looking for some non-ride fun.

Dorney Park is a fun amusement park that kids of all ages can enjoy.  The park is large enough that you can make a full day of it.  You can even spend a couple of days if you want to enjoy the water park as well.

The Details:

Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom
4000 Dorney Park Road
Allentown, Pennsylvania 18104

Hours:  Hours vary by day and month.  Check the website for specific dates.

Admission:  Ticket prices vary but are cheaper when purchased online in advance.  Daily tickets start at $42.  Check the website for additional info.

Parking:  $20 (credit card accepted)

Tips:

*Buy a refillable souvenir bottle when you enter the park (or purchase online for an additional $2 off).  You get to enjoy free refills on your first visit.

*The park may be crowded the day of your visit and you may not be able to enjoy all the rides and attractions that you want.  Have everyone choose a “must-do” ride to ensure the whole family has fun.

Fun in the Trees at Boundless Adventures

(Thank you to Boundless Adventures for hosting NY Foodie Family.  As always, all opinions are our own.)

I’m always on the lookout for fun, new experiences for our family.  When I heard that Boundless Adventures recently opened in Purchase, this sounded like something we would enjoy. My kids, especially my daughter, love to try new things and are pretty adventurous.  Boundless Adventures was a perfect family day out!

So, what exactly is Boundless Adventures?

Boundless Adventures is a treetop adventure park.  It consists of 4 different types of courses that are all developed to  “test your boundaries.”  Local owners Brian and Lorrie Funtleyder’s mission is, “to empower and inspire people to challenge themselves both mentally and physically.  With challenge comes greater self-confidence and achievement.”

What should I expect when I visit Boundless Adventures?

When you arrive on the Purchase College campus, follow the signs to Boundless Adventures.  You will arrive at the parking lot and registration building.  Although reservations are not required, they are recommended.  The park can get busy and a reservation ensures that you have a harness ready for your arrival.  At the registration building you will check-in and sign waivers, if you haven’t already done so prior to your arrival.  I didn’t realize that you can pre-sign your waiver online.  All climbers also get a wrist band.  Since there are age requirements for the different courses, they write the age of each child on their wrist band.  There are bathrooms at the registration area, which I recommend using before you head to the courses as you’ll be harnessed for up to 3 1/2 hours.  They also sell snacks, beverages, and branded apparel here.  Once your wrist band is on, you’re ready to head to the course.

The park is located across the street from the parking lot.  When you arrive, you will first get harnessed up with the assistance of a staff member and get a pair of protective gloves to wear.  The harness is full-body with a special carabiner safety system.

You will then stop at the Briefing Station for a 15-20 minute tutorial on how to use the safety system. Then you use the Practice Lines to ensure you can use the system properly.  I highly recommend paying close attention to the briefing session.  We found that the two-carabiner system with the tweezle safety measure does have a bit of a learning curve.  Your instructor will also teach you how to properly use the zip line attachment and how to slow it down, if needed.  Although you may be anxious to get out on the course and climb, this is the time to ask all your questions and make sure that you can properly use a tweezle to unlock your carabiner.

Once you have completed your briefing session you are ready to climb.  You are given 3 hours, starting at the end of your briefing session, to enjoy the courses.  Although there are plenty of staff on the ground to assist you, you complete the courses on your own.  There are 9 courses in four levels of difficulty: 3 Exploration courses (Beginner-Yellow), 3 Motivation Courses (Intermediate-Green),  2 Strength Courses (Advanced-Blue) and 1 Conqueror Course (Expert-Black).  Each course is made up of multiple elements including bridges, beams and zip lines.  Only one person is allowed to be on an element at a time, while up to three people can stand on the waiting platforms between elements.  All courses begin at the main starting platform but end up in various places throughout the park.  You must follow walking trails back to the beginning to start a new course.

My husband and kids started out on a yellow course while I took some photos. The yellow courses are 10 feet above the ground and feature low-speed zip lines and easier bridges.  I have to admit I was a bit hesitant to try the courses.  I’m not afraid of heights, but psychologically, standing so many feet above the ground, trying to transverse moving logs is a bit scary.

My son and I completed all three yellow courses together and then moved on to complete two of the green courses.  The green courses are 15 feet above the ground and include longer zip lines and more challenging, rolling elements.

My daughter, the adventure-seeker, quickly moved from yellow to green to the blue courses with my husband.  These are 22-26 feet above the ground and really test your strength with harder elements.  My husband noted that she wasn’t afraid of any of the elements and was even excited to do the ending “leap of faith.”  Yes, on one of the blue courses, you need to literally  jump off a platform (while you are attached to a safety belay system) to get to the ground .

My son quickly learned how to properly use his zip line attachment (make sure both carabiners are resting in notches of the zip line attachment) after getting stuck in the middle of the first zip line.  What happens if you get stuck?  Well, you can either use your muscles and monkey pull yourself backwards to the platform like my son did.  Or, staff members can come assist you, like this girl I saw who needed rescuing.

What was the experience like? 

Our family had such a great time at Boundless Adventures.  Before my husband and daughter went off on their own, I saw the kids working together, helping each other with their carabiners.  I also found such a camaraderie among guests.  When a woman was having trouble with her carabiner, my daughter jumped right in to assist her.  When I was having difficulty with one of the elements, another guest stepped in to help.  And, of course, the staff members also came to the rescue, like when I got stuck on the zipline!

It was a great bonding experience as well for us.  My husband and daughter went off together and my son and I teamed up.  He enjoyed not being rushed by his sister.  I loved that, when I was having a bit of difficulty, my 10-year-old would yell words of encouragement.  Leaving the park, we were all commenting on how accomplished we felt and how proud we were of ourselves for completing the various courses.

Enjoy an adventurous day of family fun at Boundless Adventures! 

The Details:
Boundless Adventures
735 Anderson Hill Road
Purchase, NY 10577
(914) 893-4550

Hours:  Dates and times vary by season.  Check the website for the most up-to-date information.

Parking: Free parking in lot E2.

Admission: Adults (ages 12+)/$59, Youth (7-11)/$54  (Ticket includes 30 minute orientation and 3 hours of climbing)

Tips:

*You must wear close-toed shoes on the course.  I recommend wearing comfortable clothing as you will be climbing and crawling.

*The courses are strenuous and will tire you out!  There are water dispensers and a supply of paper drinking cones in the park but you may want to bring your own water.

*Picnic tables are scattered throughout the park for family members who are not climbing and want to watch.  You can also bring snacks and food into the park and enjoy them at these tables.

*If you have a 10-11 year-old child who is adventurous and will likely want to try the blue courses, make sure you have an adult with them that is climbing.  Children this age cannot climb the blue courses without an adult with them.  Similarly, children ages 12-13 who may want to try the black course needs an adult as well.

Duckpin Bowling {Family Fun}

I’m sure many families have been bowling before.  But have you tried Duckpin bowling?!  Duckpin bowling is similar to the bowling that most of us are familiar with.  However, there are some differences. First, although there are ten pins, they are smaller and lighter than  those used in 10-pin bowling, making it more difficult to roll a strike.  Second, the balls are smaller in size and do not have finger holes.

Our family recently visited the only local Duckpin bowling alley that we are aware of, Danbury Duckpin Lanes, in Danbury, Connecticut.

This is an old school bowling alley. There are no televisions or streaming LCD screens.  The lanes don’t have automatic scoring or pin clearing.  But there is lots of memorabilia and look at that clock!

When you check-in at the main desk you are assigned a lane and given a scoring paper and pencil.  The time is recorded, as you pay by the amount of time spent bowling, not per game.  Scoring is calculated the same way as regular bowling.  Except in duckpin bowling, you roll three balls per frame. 

 

After each roll you hit the floor pedal to clear the fallen pins.

 

Then once you roll your third ball, you hit the reset button to load the pins for the next player.

There is a bit of a learning curve to Duckpin bowling, mostly in getting comfortable holding and throwing the ball. The smaller balls were a bit hard to hold, especially for the kids.  Although the bowling alley has bumpers available,  we opted not to use them.  They are the kind that have to be put in and everyone has to use them.  My son wasn’t very happy about this, since many of his balls ended up in the gutter.

We spent an hour and twenty minutes bowling two games, with my husband winning both.  Although there is a small snack bar at the lanes, we didn’t eat while we were there, as we had gone out to lunch right before bowling.

Duckpin bowling is a fun variation of ten-pin bowling.  We had a great time at Danbury Duckpin Lanes and plan on visiting again soon!

The Details:
Danbury Duckpin Lanes
7 East Hayestown Road
Danbury, CT 06811
(203) 744-4505

Hours:  Closed Monday & Tuesday
Wednesday & Thursday 3:30 PM – 6 PM
Friday 3:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Saturday 12 PM – 9:30 PM
Sunday 11 AM – 6 PM

Price:  3o minute minimum, price starts at $16 for 30 minutes
Shoes:  $1.50/pair

*Credit cards are accepted.

*The snack bar sells food at a reasonable price:  pizza $2.00, french fries $2.00, hot dog $1.75 plus snacks, beverages, ice cream and more.