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Kid-Friendly Activities in the Finger Lakes Region, NY

map of the finger lakes region
map of the finger lakes region

Local Matt Montague shares his favorite kid-friendly vacation ideas in the Finger Lakes Region of New York.  Thanks, Matt!

“Sure, there are the wineries, the charming small towns and the gorgeous scenery, and the world-class restaurants, but the Finger Lakes are a great place for families in the summer:

  • THE LAKES – Eleven of them, long and lovely and deep blue, to swim in, sail on, fish in, canoe over, or just lie by to dream, plus a “north coast” Great Lake with sand beaches.
  • THE PARKS – More than 40 state and national parks dot the rolling landscape, with twisting, turning, Middle-Earth gorges and cool woods than run for miles.  
  • Go gliding at the National Soaring Museum, Go for a ride on a Formula One racetrack at Watkins Glen, go splashing at SeaBreeze or Roseland amusement and water parks, or go for ride on the Finger Lakes Railway
  • THE MUSEUMS – no dark and dusty kid traps here! –Strong Museum of Play – One of the nation’s top museums for families and children, Strong National Museum of Play is home to the National Toy Hall of Fame and the world’s largest collection of toys, dolls, games and other items that celebrate play.
    Corning Museum of Glass’ Little Gather – Introduce little ones (ages 3 and up) to the Museum with storytelling, magic shows, music and lots of fun. It’s the perfect activity for a summer morning with the kids! Kids will be spellbound by wizardly tales and amazed by spectacular science shows.
    Museum of the Earth at the Paleontological Research Institution — Experience what life was like beneath an ancient sea, track a herd of dinosaurs dashing across New York State or touch the relics of a world carved by ice at Museum of the Earth.
    Erie Canal Museum – The museum is housed in the National Register 1850 Syracuse Weighlock Building – the only remaining canal boat weigh station in America! Explore the history of the Erie Canal – the “ditch” that forever changed the nation. Climb aboard a replica canal boat, stroll the Locktender’s Garden, and discover Syracuse history and what makes the “Salt City” unique.

Our wines are world-class, and so are our restaurants and local food – all packaged in a romantic landscape of deep blue lakes, rolling green hills, and plunging cool waterfalls tucked into winding gorges. Families come for a peaceful summer’s week on the lakes; couples enjoy the wineries, small cities, history, arts and restaurants, and everyone flocks to Watkins Glen for racing, Ithaca for the Grassroots Festival, Rochester for Jazz, Elmira for soaring, and everywhere for the calm, cool class of the Finger Lakes. Most people, however, simply enjoy the wineries, the food, and the stillness of sitting on a lakeshore, the thrill of clambering up a misty, narrow gorge, or the exhilaration of striding across a hill with the land spread beneath.”

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  1. The William H. Seward and Harriet Tubman homes are nice museums to visit in Cayuga County. There is a lot of preserved homes that are museums today. These are interesting to children as they can actually see how these people lived right from their homes.

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