22 Things Every Kid Should Do in the Hudson Valley This Winter

When winter settles into the Hudson Valley, round up the little ones for these fun adventures throughout the region.

During most of the year, no one has a hard time coming up with family fun activities in the Hudson Valley. But when the weather is bleak and the kids are bored, things get a little tricky. So we did a bit of digging and came up with this list of great places to go with the kiddos.

The Cliffs
Courtesy of The Cliffs

Scale an indoor mountain

The Cliffs at Valhalla, an indoor rock-climbing facility, offers a “Family Learn to Climb” class, a two-hour session where novices can learn basic climbing and safety techniques. Day passes and monthly memberships are also available. Other climbing spots include Gravity Vault in Poughkeepsie and BC’s New Paltz Climbing Gym. valhalla.thecliffsclimbing.com

New York State Museum
Courtesy of New York State Education Department

Step back in time

At the New York State Museum, the oldest and largest state museum in the country, you’ll find the skeletal remains of a Cohoes mastodon (a relative of wooly mammoths), a reconstructed longhouse like the Native Americans lived in, and a 20th-century carousel (which is open for rides). Albany; nysm.nysed.gov

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Adobe Stock / Kartouchken

Tee up

With a 7,000-square-foot indoor course, Space Adventure Mini Golf is the perfect place to hone your (mini) golf game—with black lights and 3D graphics, naturally. West Nyack; spaceadventureminigolf.com

Go on a mini vacay

There’s something for every member of the family at the all-inclusive Catskills resort Winter Clove Inn—think bowling, billiards, air hockey, skiing, hiking, sledding, and shuffleboard. Plus, from January–May, take advantage of discounted rates. (Three meals a day are included in the price. Children 3 and under are free.) Round Top; winterclove.com

Adobe Stock / Kaspars Grinvalds

Enter a virtual reality

VR is all the rage these days (did your kids ask for an Occulus for the holidays?) and at The Edge VR, they can get the full immersive experience of exploring space—complete with a headset, light belt, leg sensors, and gloves that allow for real-time tracking. (Must be at least 48 inches tall and 10 years old to play.) Croton-on-Hudson; theedgeunreal.com

Reach new heights

Strap on a chest and seat harness and get ready to tackle 75 different obstacles at the Palisades Climb Adventure—everything from tremor bridges, cargo nets, tightropes, and balance beams 85 feet in the air. (Kids must be at least 48 inches tall or 42 inches and accompanied by an adult to participate.) West Nyack; palisadescenter.com

Adobe Stock/ beckystarsmore

Get crafty

The Katonah Art Center, located in a renovated old schoolhouse, offers classes in virtually any medium you can think of—from painting to 3D printing to sewing to sculpture—for kids (and adults) of all ages. Trial classes are available before you commit to a full session. Mount Kisco; katonahartcenter.com

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Courtesy of FASNY Museum

Be a firefighter for a day

At the FASNY Museum of Firefighting, children can try on firefighter gear, climb on retired trucks, virtually respond to a fire call, and practice getting water to a fire—all while adults check out cool artifacts like vintage fire tools, photographs, and the museum’s 90 rare fire trucks dating back to 1791. Hudson; fasnyfiremuseum.org

Ice skating
Adobe Stock/ KPNCTNHA Nr ymhoaa

Embrace the great outdoors

Sure, you could go to an indoor rink, but there’s just something about skating outside at the Bear Mountain Ice Rink (with its awesome views) that makes you feel like you’re at a winter carnival. If you’re early risers, get there for the 10 a.m. session, which is less crowded. Afterward, head to the Merry Go Round Pavilion for a spin on the carousel or make your way to the Bear Mountain Inn and warm up with hot cocoa in the Hiker’s Café. Tomkins Cove; bearmountainicerink.org

Hang out with animals

It’s hard to find a zoo that’s open during New York winters, but the Forsyth Nature Center welcomes visitors to its 24 animal exhibits—from the Turtle and Reptile houses to Small and Large Mammals to Birds of Prey—year-round. (The wildlife like the attention, too.) Kingston; forsythnaturecenter.org

Have fun all day

Laser tag, bumper cars, roller skating, and arcade games are an excellent way to entertain (and tire out) the kids when the temperature dips. Two spots they’ll love: Wood’n Wheel (Ulster Park; woodnwheel.com) and Break Point Bowl & Entertainment (West Haverstraw; breakpointbowl.com).

Tea time in winter with kids
Adobe Stock/ elennadzen

Enjoy an English afternoon

If your kids like pretend tea parties, they’ll adore Florrie Kaye’s, an authentic British tearoom. The littles don tiaras or crowns and can snack on scones, bite-sized sandwiches, and pastries while sipping freshly brewed tea. Carmel; florriekayes.com

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Visit an interactive museum

The Mid-Hudson Discovery Museum (ideal for kids 12 and under) is full of hands-on, STEM-focused exhibits such as magnetic pendulums and sculptures, tube tunnels, a Wonderdome with interactive sensory experiences, and RiverTown, a play community where younger kids can “work” as firefighters, café owners, or construction workers. Poughkeepsie; mhdm.com

sledding for winter fun with kids
Adobe Stock/ YouraPechkin

Take sledding to another level

Yes, it’s a half-mile walk back up to the 550-foot hilltop known as Burger Hill, but the gorgeous views of the Catskills and Berkshires make up for it. And when you’re done, head to Rhinebeck’s cute downtown for a treat at Samuel’s Sweet Shop or to peruse the selection at Land of Oz Toys & Gifts. Rhinebeck

Walk across the Hudson

If you still have energy to burn after a trip to the MHDM and it’s not raining or snowing, head to the Walkway Over the Hudson, the world’s longest elevated pedestrian bridge (1.28 miles across) which is open year-round, weather permitting. The walkway is completely flat (important for stroller-bound spectators) and wheelchair accessible. Poughkeepsie and Highland; walkway.org

Pottery making
Adobe Stock/ alfa27

Play with clay

At the Rockland Arts Center, kids can hone their pottery skills. There’s a “Ceramics for Families” beginner’s class for ages 5 and up and for more advanced artists, there are classes in pot throwing, Claymation, and cartooning. West Nyack; rocklandartcenter.org

Sample the sweet stuff

Every March, the Greenburgh Nature Center staff invites visitors into the sugar shack where they can watch how maple sugar is made—and taste testing is encouraged. Guests can also feast on warm porridge and other sweet snacks. Scarsdale; greenburghnaturecenter.org

Bowling for winter fun with kids
Adobe Stock/ tiero

Strike out

At Quinnz Pinz, a newly renovated, family-owned bowling alley, guests can not only throw spares, but also play arcade games, pinball, or try to break free from one of two escape rooms. When you need to refuel, grab a table at Sweet Onion Brewhouse located in the same building. Middletown; quinnzpinz.com

Snowshoes for winter fun with kids
Adobe Stock/ kosmos111

Strap on snowshoes

Not only is Belleayre one of the best mountains to ski on in New York, but it also offers six miles of snowshoe trails free of charge (you’ll need to bring your own equipment or rent from the Belleayre Ski Shop). Snowshoeing is an inexpensive way to introduce kids to winter sports—and it’s an excellent workout for parents, too! Shandaken; belleayre.com

Pretend it’s summer

It’s always 80 degrees at The Kartrite’s indoor water park, complete with enough slides and rides to tire any kid out. Favorites include The Krakken and Jiggerty-Jaggerty. And if you ever feel waterlogged, there’s an escape room, arcade, ropes course, bowling alley, and climbing walls to keep everyone entertained. Monticello; thekartrite.com

Defy gravity on a snow tube

With a 600-foot, multi-lane Tubing Hill, it’s hard not to feel exhilarated flying down Mount Peter, the oldest operating ski area in New York (it opened in 1936). Plus, there’s fun for everyone: Kids under 42 inches tall can ride in a tandem tube with an adult, and there’s also a Little Tikes run for kids under 3 feet. In between runs, warm up with a bowl of chili or soup or grab a warm drink at Pete’s Pub, located on property. Warwick; mtpeter.com

Winter roller skating with kids
Adobe Stock/ geniuskp

Roll with it

Cue the nostalgia with a trip to Roller Magic, a classic roller rink. (Disco ball and strobe lights included.) Follow them on Instagram for events like $5 Skate Club—Thursdays from 3–5 p.m.—or Glow Skate (complete with neon and a live DJ). Hyde Park; hprollermagic.com

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