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Last week I shared the Top 5 Fun Activities my kids enjoyed in 2016. This week I am sharing with you our most favorite places to visit. We did a lot more traveling this year than what I’ve shared on the blog. I just haven’t had time to update you all on the details yet. We tend to stick to local places of interest and make a few day trips through the year. But in 2016 we took a bonafide vacation and squeezed in some amazing museums and art! Keep an eye out for those future posts.

As I was digging through my posts to share with you today, I was reminded of my life with two very energetic toddlers who had two speeds: nap and full throttle. I spent a lot of time scouting safe places we could go and let them roam. Of course it also had to be educational, fun, and help them burn off some energy.  So, I’ll start by sharing our favorite fun local places to go with little ones. We often look for free things to do, but sometimes fun comes with a price tag. With any luck it’s a small price tag. If you click on the name of the place it will take you to my original post about our experience at each location and you can find additional info links there.

LOCAL PLACES

Storm King– has to be our most favorite local place for sculptural art. Not only are the sculptures larger than life, but there is plenty of room for the kids to roam and run free. The paved walk ways make it easy to get strollers and wagons through. There are bathrooms and a café. It is very family friendly for all age groups and mobility. During the summer months they have one free admission day per month!

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Trevor Zoo– this little local zoo is the perfect size for little people to enjoy. The paved path lends plenty of space and traction for little feet, and the exhibits are interesting. There are animals beyond our usual backyard habitats. Plenty of photo ops and room to burn off some energy!

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Mohonk Visitor Center– this adorable area is perfect for moms who need a break from chasing kids. If your kids really need to stretch their legs, you can take them outside to the paved trail. Open all year and free to explore. If you want to check out other trails you can get a free one week pass offered once a year to Ulster County Residents. Or, you can sign up for the annual park membership and use any trail at any time.

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Michael’s Farm– this private little farm located in Saugerties has a nice array of animals. There are farm animals, lamas, deer, ponies, emus and chickens. There are a lot of experiences to have in just one visit. They also offer camp sessions during the summer and school breaks. It is located off the beaten path and is very family friendly. We’ve enjoyed many visits and it is always a lot of fun!

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DAY TRIPS

Animal Land– this one is our absolute favorite! The park is so clean, the animals are well taken care of and there are so many play areas for kids to enjoy. It is very stroller friendly, and is mostly covered by trees making it cooler on really sunny days. We traveled just over an hour from home, but spent half a day there playing and interacting with the animals.

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Lake George – before this summer I had only ever spent an hour or two in Lake George. I was stopping through on my way home from another trip so, I had absolutely no idea how much this area has to offer. Returning with my little family was wonderful experience! We enjoyed local beaches, games on the main strip and found a little hideaway park that is perfect for little ones to burn off some energy.

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Howe’s Caverns– this is a special place for me. I grew up visiting the caves during school trips and just for fun with friends. Before you go you have to read this guide for the inside scoop. There is a lot you should know before going down below. I was excited to see how many new activities they have besides the caves. Plenty for us to go back to experience!

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I hope this helps with planning out some fun trips in the new year, or maybe ideas for when you are feeling spontaneous. These are tried and true family favorites. We hope you enjoy them too!

The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here. You can also find her musings and popular shares on Facebook and Twitter. Stay up to date with her creative ideas and outings on Pinterest. 

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I am so thrilled that we can officially cross Trevor Zoo off of our Summer Bucket List!! After hearing so many moms talk about taking their kids we decided to find out what all the buzz is about.

Trevor Zoo is located in Millbrook, NY. A fun fact about the zoo is it is actually part of a high school. We saw many of the students working the grounds today. But, we were more distracted by the giant, noisy wood chippers and tree trimming equipment being used. Sadly, so were many of the animals we came to see. Several of them stayed inside their little shelters and did not come out. Despite the distraction we had a pretty good time!

This little zoo is home to 180 animals and 80 different species. We did not know what to expect when we arrived, but were so thrilled to see Lemurs, a Tamerine, a Raven, Emu, Kangaroos, Otters, Cranes and several varieties of reptiles. Once you pay the admission ($5/per adult and $3/per child) you are free to roam six full acres of well maintained zoo life.

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I discovered immediately the secret to the charm of this little zoo. It isn’t the exotic animals. It isn’t getting to see Archer fish up close. It’s that you can take your oldest kid and your youngest kid and still have a great time. My 19 year old nephew came with us and had just as much fun seeing the red panda as my four year olds. It was heart warming for me to see them all having fun together. One other important detail I noticed is the walkways are all paved. You can push your stroller (or even a wheel chair)through with no problems!

This was a really fun and inexpensive outing for us. We will definitely go back! Next time I may stop off at one of the many farm stands along the way!

TIPS:

The parking lot is a short walk from the zoo. But, the path is clearly marked and leads you directly to the zoo gate.

Food is not allowed in the zoo. But, feel free to bring your lunch and tailgate in the parking lot.

Feeding times are posted outside of the lemur building (the first building you pass as you get to the main zoo area). If you gather during those times you will get to see staff feeding the animals and they share fun info about the animals.

If the kids get a little antsy from being in the stroller, there is a tiny park they can safely and easily stretch their legs in.

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Even though most of the area is shaded by trees don’t forget to bring your sunscreen!

Be sure to bring your camera! How often will you be this close to a baby kangaroo?

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Don’t forget to check out the Hudson Valley Parent field guide before heading to the Trevor Zoo! Find other insider tips on local family outings in this guide! Enjoy!

The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

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