Winter is a very long season in the Northeast. It can be gloomy and cold and grueling. The outdoors become mostly off limits and it’s easy to get cabin fever if you just stay at home all the time. As a mom to two young girls, I know that while temperatures drop in winter, my kids’ energy levels do not. So, I need to keep us active and entertained – it’s not as easy of a task as it is in summer, but I have some favorite winter activities. And I’m sharing them with you now! Here are 6 foolproof winter activities for families in the NYC area.
Get Artsy at the Katonah Museum of Art and the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
While neither of the Katonah Museum of Art in Katonah, NY or the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, CT are “children’s museums”, both offer wonderful ways for kids to get introduced to art, while allowing their parents the opportunity to also take in some culture. In Katonah, the museum offers Stroller Tours one Friday each month where parents or caretakers can enjoy the museum along with their babies, while mingling with fellow parents and caretakers and their babies. Light snacks are provided. If you have kids who prefer to be out of the stroller, don’t skip the KMA’s Learning Center, a beautifully cared for and regularly updated drop-in arts and crafts and activity space.
At the Aldrich, stop by the Studio: A Place for Making and Learning on the ground level of the museum. On the third Saturday of every month, the Studio offers a free and family friendly art making workshop there (10am to noon for ages 2 to 5 and 1pm to 3pm for ages 6 to 10). The Aldrich also regularly hosts drop in after school art studio events from 2pm to 4pm and Studio Tots from 10am to 11am for ages 2 to 5.
Bowl, Climb, Race and Play Some Arcade Games in Rockland, Westchester or Fairfield Counties
About 25 minutes from Greenwich is the GIANT Palisades Center in West Nyack. It’s an older mall with standard mall stores, but for kids of all ages, this place is a dream come true. On one side of the mall is a giant Ferris wheel. On the other side of the mall is a carousel. And that’s just getting started. Head up to the top floor and you’ll find the tallest indoor ropes course in the world. The Palisades Climb Adventure is an 85 foot high climbing and zip lining course that meanders its way from the mall’s 4th floor down to the ground floor. There’s even a baby version for the smaller or less brave kids. If that isn’t enough stimulation, the 4th floor is also home to a Lucky Strike bowling alley, a Dave & Buster’s and an ice skating rink.
In Mount Kisco, Grand Prix New York has go-karting, bowling and all the latest arcade games on site. It even has a small area of bouncy castles to entertain the littler kids. And if you’re closer to Stamford, CT, consider the newly opened RPM Raceway, which also has go-karting, bowling and high tech arcade games.
See a Movie but While Boozing and Relaxing
The winter with kids means seeing many G and PG movies. So why not do it comfortably and with a glass of wine in your hand? At the Bow Tie Cinemas in South Norwalk, Norwalk and Trumbull, Connecticut, the movie seats are cushy and reclining and a full bar is on offer. So, while your kids demand greasy popcorn and bad children’s movies, at least you’ll be comfy and liquored up. Hopefully one day Bow Tie will get around to making their NJ and NY locations similarly modern and boozy.
In Yonkers, you can order a full service meal while you watch a flick at Alamo Drafthouse. And in Dobbs Ferry, check out the iPic Theater with plush seating and full bar and menu. I wouldn’t recommend coming solely for the eats at either spot, but you could do worse than having some fries and an adult beverage with your kiddie movie.
Food Shop While Also Entertaining Your Kids
When in doubt, go to Stew Leonard’s this winter. It’s an easy way to entertain the kids in cold weather. They’ll meet Clover the Cow, they’ll see a bunch of animatronics that may or may not be operating, including a dancing Chiquita Banana, and they’ll spot some trains and flipping animals up overhead. If you come on a weekend, there’s usually free samples. And many folks love Stew’s soft serve ice cream, too. What started as just as a CT thing, Stew’s now has locations in Danbury, Newington and Norwalk in CT, as well as Yonkers, NY (Westchester) and East Meadow and Farmingdale on Long Island, NY. Check the Stew Leonard’s events calendar for extras going on in certain stores.
Ice Skate Under the Stars!
I love ice skating because it’s a way for everyone in a family to get some exercise, move around and have fun at once. Boys and girls, adults and kids all enjoy skating. There are local ice skating rinks everywhere but if you’re in Westchester or Lower Fairfield County, consider visiting the brand new and soon-to-open OUTDOOR rink in Stamford, CT’s Mill River Park. Earlier this summer, the beautiful Steven & Alexandra Cohen fountains opened in Mill River and very soon those fountains will become a 9,000 square foot outdoor skating rink. Get your skate on and then head over to Lorca for some third wave coffee or hot chocolate to warm you up.
Do It All at LEGOLAND Discovery Center
We make an annual pilgrimage to LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester and we always do it in cold weather because LEGOLAND is probably THE most exciting indoor activity for kids in the suburbs. There are multiple rides. There is a 4D movie. There is a play cube activity center. And there are all kinds of LEGO blocks to entertain everyone – DuploLand for the smallest guests all the way through the LEGO Racers: Build and Test attraction more suitable for the elementary school aged guests. LEGOLAND is located inside the large outdoor mall complex, Ridge Hill Shopping Center. If the temps allow, walk just a few paces from LEGOLAND for lunch or a movie after playtime.
A corporate lawyer by day and blogger at Donuts at the Disco by night, Marissa Millman is so excited to finally let her more creative side shine as a blogger. Marissa was born on Long Island and spent her entire life in New York before meeting her CT born husband, Michael, in 2006 and eventually moving with him to Greenwich, CT in 2011. Together, they have two CT-born little ladies, and over time, their passion for exploring and experiencing all that’s around them has become a family affair. Marissa started her blog in the summer of 2018 to share what her family is up to in hopes that it may inspire other families to do some of those same things.
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