Being a Tourist in Upstate New York

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With the cold weather months upon us, you may be thinking what I’m thinking: how am I going to make it through yet another upstate New York winter? Couple that with the busy 16-month-old I now have in tow, I’m more interested than ever in discovering all that this area has to offer to keep smiles on our faces during the winter doldrums.

When living and working in a particular area, we tend to think we need to leave to experience something exciting. But, I can honestly say, I can’t remember the last time I thought to take a trip to the New York State Museum, which is full of exhibitions and programs, and also right in my backyard. So if you are finding yourself thinking the same thing, good news – the information below could be of great help to get you through until the tulips are blooming in Washington Park once again!

Children’s Museum of Science and Technology (CMOST) – In partnership with SUNY Polytechnic Institute, this museum serves as an interactive learning experience, and a way to teach kids about various science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts. All exhibits are hands-on and low-pressure; children are encouraged to move at their own pace, and use the combination of learning and playing to make exciting new discoveries. Find out more here.

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Olympic Center and Lake Placid Olympic Museum – Tour the Lake Placid Olympic Center, home of the 1932 and 1980 Olympic Games, as well as the legendary 1980 “Miracle on Ice” hockey game. Explore the museum, take in highlights from the Olympic Games, and view memorabilia, including the first gold medal ever awarded. Public skating is also available in the Olympic Center. Find out more here.

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Empire State Aerosciences Museum – Located in Schenectady and open on weekends during the winter, visitors will enjoy two galleries, interactive exhibits, and the air park. Check out the women aviators exhibit, including a replica of Amelia Earheart’s Lockheed Electra, a hot air balloon exhibit and interactive activity, as well as an exhibit on the space program and lunar landings. Guided tours are open to all age groups, and are 60-90 minutes in length. Find out more here.

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Executive Mansion – As a lifelong resident of the Capital Region, I’m embarrassed to admit that I have never toured the historical Executive Mansion, located on Eagle Street in downtown Albany. Home to New York state’s governors since the late 1800’s, you can choose the general or student tour, the former focusing on items such as décor and artwork, while the latter centers on four key time periods in history. The tour is free, but reservations are required. Find out more here.

Tourist- FASNY photo

FASNY Museum of Firefighting – Parents of truck lovers, rejoice! This incredible museum boasts 50,000 square feet of fire trucks and apparatus, spanning over 300 years of history. Located in Hudson, kids are invited to explore the space, with plenty of trucks to climb into, in addition to equipment and gear to try on. Find out more here.

Catch a College Game – With the abundance of higher education institutions in our area, there are plenty of exciting college hockey and basketball games to check out. Low cost tickets are available to cheer on the RPI Engineers, Union College Dutchmen, Siena College Saints, UAlbany Great Danes, and more!

Troy Night Out and 1st Friday – Albany and Troy provide opportunities to experience the best their cities have to offer, all while supporting the arts. Restaurants post specials, shops stay open later, and galleries and museums allow for eclectic cultural experiences. Find out more here.

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Museum of Science and Innovation (miSci) – Located in Schenectady, this hands-on museum inspires children to use their imaginations while learning about science and technology in a fun environment. Check out the planetarium, which features several weekend shows for children and adults alike. If you have a loved one with an autism spectrum disorder, check out their Sense-Able Science program, which encourages kids to touch and play, while also offering a quiet area and earplugs to limit noise stimulation. Find out more here.

United States Military Academy at West Point – With a few tour options to choose from, this destination is a manageable day trip to see the nation’s oldest military academy. Tours are a mix of motor coach transportation and walking (so bundle up, or save this one for a warmer day!), with stops at some of the most famous places on the West Point campus, including the Old Cadet Chapel and the Plain, all with breathtaking views of the Hudson River. Find out more here.

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Winter Carnivals in the Adirondacks – If we’re going to be forced to deal with cold and snow, at least these festivals are pretty, and offer a host of entertainment for all ages. Winter outings include snowshoeing, ice skating, snowmobiling, and treats by bonfires to get warm after all of that outdoor activity! The Lake George Winter Carnival even runs throughout the month of February, with live music, bonfires on the beach, and fun winter activities such as ice golf. Find out more here.

Stay tuned for our upcoming blog post on low-cost outdoor winter activities, and be sure to visit our previous post, Winter Hiking and Cross Country Ski Trails. Stay warm!

 

Lake Placid Olympic Center Photo by ROOST/adirondacksusa.com

Aerosciences Museum Photo by Joshua Nagy

NY State Museum Photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rkeefer/3867773011/

FASNY Photo by FASNY Museum of Firefighting

Adirondack Festival Photo by Kathy Ford, VisitAdirondacks.com

 

 

 

 

 

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