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Saratoga Battlefield

Stillwater, New York

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  • Little kids (3-5)
  • Tweens (9-12)
Visited: 2012-10-01 | Submitted: 2013-03-09 12:21:29.0 | I traveled with little kids (3-5) and tweens (9-12)

A place for all seasons

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The Saratoga Battlefield National Park is a great place to take kids in every season. This park has something for everyone. On the grounds of the park in 1777, American forces defeated a major British army renewing the American Army’s spirit and served as a turning point in our war for independence. The visitor’s center offers a great recap of the events that happened and also has some fun hands on learning for kids. My three love to dress up in the period clothing and enjoy the movie recapping the events. The leaves in the fall are glorious, we often bike or walk a portion of the nine mile loop around the park. The guided tour is wonderful for history buffs. One of our favorite activities is to take a walk before dusk and then drive the rest of the loop counting the deer we see. Our record is 77 deer in one drive around the park. Lots of scenic overlooks over the Hudson River and valley. We love to take photos with the various canons.

Tips for Families

Lots of great events take place. We have brought the kids during various encampments and they enjoy a more visual and special tour!

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The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

1000 W Columbus Ave, Springfield, Massachusetts

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  • Tweens (9-12)
Visited: 2012-08-01 | Submitted: 2013-03-09 12:10:46.0 | I traveled with tweens (9-12)

Teenage Boy's Dream Hall of Fame

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If you love basketball and Hall of Fames, this one rocks! About 10 years ago, the hall was upgraded and the upgrades hit the nail on the head. Hands on activities for basketball loving kids around every corner. We brought a group of kids a couple hours to Springfield for son’s birthday and they LOVED it. The museum is shaped inside a giant basketball and the round structure is the heart of the space. A huge basketball court is viewed from all three levels of the museum. The history is presented in a way that is amazing for kids. Loads of opportunities to dunk, shoot, dribble are infused into each exhibit. The main arena hosts the evolution of the basket from a peach basket on the streets of Springfield to the modern hoops the game enjoys today. Can’t say enough great things about this hall of fame!

Tips for Families

Wonderful restaurants right on the site. We didn’t plan enough time to visit everything, come early, take a lunch break and then finish up. The boys love the picture they had taken by the staff.

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Hopkins Forest

Williamstown, Massachusetts

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  • Little kids (3-5)
  • Tweens (9-12)
Visited: 2012-03-01 | Submitted: 2013-03-09 11:57:43.0 | I traveled with little kids (3-5) and tweens (9-12)

2600 natural acres to enjoy

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Hopkins Memorial Forest in Williamstown is a family favorite of Berkshire based families and Williams College grads for decades. Over 2600 acres to enjoy. It is a wonderful place to enjoy a nature hike, tour a maple sugar house, x-country ski, learn about agriculture and just really unwind. A trip to the Berkshires for our kids is not complete without an afternoon in the forest. Great small hikes for kids with all kinds of excitement along the way. We planned ahead and contacted the manger to allow a group of 10 year olds boys the opportunity to walk on the canopy walkway. The walkway is 65 feet above ground and offers a unique perspective into the forest. It is mainly used for educational purposes. Our kids also love the weather station and monitoring area. The dams are also of interest to kids and adults alike.

Tips for Families

Check the Williams College website to see what activities or learning opportunities are taking place in the forest. Wonderful place to watch maple sugaring and exhibition is very cool.

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Hoffman's Playland

608 New Loudon Rd, Latham, New York

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  • Little kids (3-5)
  • Tweens (9-12)
Visited: 2012-08-01 | Submitted: 2013-03-09 11:36:43.0 | I traveled with little kids (3-5) and tweens (9-12)

Old School Amusement Park perfect for toddlers and parents alike

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Hoffman’s Playland is a nostalgic walk back through time and we LOVE it. It is perfect for children under 6 with a bunch of kiddie and grade school aged geared rides. The tickets equate to just over $1 a ride when bought in a book, which allows you to come for an hour or two and enjoy. Unlike Great Escape or similar, where you are paying for parking, paying for adult admission, etc. We go once or twice a summer and have been since our 10 year old was small. We have brought young cousins to the park during visits from Seattle and was a HUGE hit. Really a great bit of fun. The kids love the train ride around the park and the bigger kids had fun taking the younger ones on the mini ferris wheel, bi-plane and other fun rides. A subway is on site if anyone gets hungry and also an array of carnival type foods.

Tips for Families

Coupons will save you a bit of cash. Also we like coming late afternoon when it has cooled off a bit and staying until dusk. The neon on the signs and rides, makes night time very cool to be in the park. Plus it is less crowded. We have really never waited for a ride more than a couple minutes.

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Sterling And Francine Clark Art Institute

225 South St, Williamstown, Massachusetts

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  • Little kids (3-5)
  • Tweens (9-12)
Visited: 2011-06-01 | Submitted: 2013-03-08 14:49:38.0 | I traveled with little kids (3-5) and tweens (9-12)

Family Day at the Clark is well worth a drive to Williamstown

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The Clarke Art is a fantastic little gem hidden in the Berkshires. My kids always enjoy their visit and the artwork is amazing. It is best known for works of French Impressionism, especially the paintings of Renoir, academic paintings by Jean-Leon Gérome and William Bouguereau, and a fine collection of British and American silver. 3-4 times per year the Clark sponsor’s a Family Day. Events not to be missed! Hands on art and activities abound for kids and they are top quality. We attend the event at the end of June every year and it is something my kids look forward to. It is wonderful to expose them to the likes of Renoir, Gaugan, etc. In addition to the paintings, my kids really enjoy all the sculptures. The grounds are also wonderful to roam. During past events we have painted like Piccaso, played sprinkler games, pony rides, zip lines, danced, face painting, hair braiding, made all kinds of wonderful art projects. Watched movies, inter-acted with classic TV shows like Mr. Ed, learned to juggle, watched circus acts and more. Did I mention that all the children’s activities are FREE. Check out their website to really see all the Clark has to offer.

Tips for Families

After a day at the Clark, Williamstown is a great little college town to stroll through. Main Street offers a great little coffee shop, Tunnel City and in summer months ice cream. If you are around on a Sunday afternoon in the summer, often an outdoor movie on the Williams College lawn and activities in town. Really a great weekend getaway.

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The Eric Carle Museum Of Picture Book Art

125 West Bay Rd, Amherst, Massachusetts

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  • Little kids (3-5)
  • Tweens (9-12)
Visited: 2012-01-01 | Submitted: 2013-03-08 14:45:29.0 | I traveled with little kids (3-5) and tweens (9-12)

Amazing Light and Space make this museum shine

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Great physical space and awesome artwork make this little museum something special. Located on the campus of Hampshire College this is a children’s book lover’s dream. The space is huge and expansive. The hands on art studio with tons of supplies at the ready is a kid favorite. My kids always love the tiles in the bathroom, which feature the animals from the beloved Brown Bear book. The café is modern and offers a great place for a little snack. We often just hang out in the library and read books to our kids from an amazing collection. The movie about the making of Eric Carle’s books is a lot of fun. The two art galleries are the hit of the day for me. One is dedicated to Carle’s work and some of his good friends. The other gallery space rotates on a yearly basis and offers great looks of various illustrations from various genre’s of children’s books. This place is amazing!

Tips for Families

The gift shop / book shop is a great place to find some wonderful books and toys. We a poster or two each visit and makes the reading section of the kids playroom special. I like to visit the shop while the kids are busy in the art studio with dad and get the loot right into the trunk, avoiding them stepping foot into the store and all the purchases that would go with it. I have purchased great gifts and set them aside for birthday party gifts, great to have something unique to share with friends.

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Jiminy Peak Ski Resort

37 Corey Rd, Hancock, Massachusetts

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  • Little kids (3-5)
  • Tweens (9-12)
Visited: 2011-08-01 | Submitted: 2013-03-06 19:10:49.0 | I traveled with little kids (3-5) and tweens (9-12)

Alpine Slide and summer activities make for a fun day!

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10 year old son thought this place was the bomb! He brought three friends along for the fun and the boys raced from activity to activity from the time we arrived until it was time to head home. Lovely location in the Berkshires and lots going on during the summer months. The options of the mountain coaster or mountain slide offer all comfort levels a good starting off point. The boys loved the coaster because they could ride down together and it gets going real fast! The slide was a fun option because there are two tracks and they could race. Also the ride is quite long! I think they enjoyed riding the chairlift up almost as much as sliding down. Picture perfect scenery. Lots of other fun activities (you pay per activity) on the bottom like the euro-bungy trampoline! Complete with bungees and a swivel harness. You can get big air and practice those flips and twists. Also a big swing rocks back and forth. Little kids loved the large playground, climbing ropes tower and also plain old slides! Visit the website to see the new activities like a zip line and aerial ropes course (we have yet to try)

Tips for Families

It does get a bit pricy, so look around for coupons first. We found it was well worth doing a little research and talking to the kids upfront, to see what they really wanted to do. After a day at Jimney, all kinds of fabulous restaurants in the area. We are big fans of Williamstown!

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Saratoga Spa State Park

19 Roosevelt Drive, Saratoga Springs, New York

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  • Little kids (3-5)
  • Tweens (9-12)
Visited: 2012-10-01 | Submitted: 2013-03-06 18:51:26.0 | I traveled with little kids (3-5) and tweens (9-12)

So much to offer, great place to spend time in Saratoga

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LOVE this State Park, it is a real gem. Amazing architecture of the original spa buildings add to the allure. Wonderful, grand hotel on property. Public golf course. Walking Paths. Mineral springs. History. This park has it all! Our winter favorite thing to do is go skating on the outside rink or talk a 2 mile walk/bike ride loop ending at the warming hut. A great ski lodge kind of feeling with a fire going and bathrooms. In the fall my kids love to throw the football in the field where you can skate in the winter. The kids are crazy for the fish stocking that happens in the fall. This year they went nuts when the weather turned colder catching cray fish in the stream. We also love to walk along the stream up past the geysers and to the little water fall. the kids like to learn about limestone and all the minerals. This park has so much to offer it is hard to capture. Great new playground next to the big pool. If you are in town during the summer without a place to cool off, a few dollars gets you into some lovely public pools.

Tips for Families

We love to picnic near the old spa buildings and often pop buy with sandwiches and a soccer ball. It is a lovely scene to spend an afternoon. Also big fans of cross-country skiing and then took the kids to the spa for a soak in a mineral bath.

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National Baseball Hall of Fame & museum

25 Main Street, Cooperstown, New York

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  • Little kids (3-5)
  • Tweens (9-12)
Visited: 2012-08-01 | Submitted: 2013-03-06 18:33:37.0 | I traveled with little kids (3-5) and tweens (9-12)

Love the history, wish it was more interactive

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I will start by saying my husband and tween son are baseball FANATICS. They love everything pure about Cooperstown and the Hall. However, we live within a hour and a half and have been many times, we always leave wishing it was more interactive and engaging in a hands on way for kids. Cooperstown is a lovely, sleepy little town perched on the shores of the lake. It is a great place to spend some time. The museum is it's jewel and it does really sparkle from a historical, statistical and memorabilia filled way. It is great fun to see how baseball has evolved and grown. Great to see all the uniforms, equipment and how it has changed. The movie theater that is set-up like baseball stands is quite cute and fun and the movie keeps kids attention. I just think they have missed the mark by not adding in the "fun" factor. What about a batting cage, or pitcher's mound clocking kids pitching. Something, anything that is hands on. The little kids area is smaller than our basement playground and a lot less exciting. Sure who doesn't want to sit in a chair shaped like a baseball glove, but after 5 seconds, that gets old!

Tips for Families

Membership does have its privileges, it gets you out of the often long lines to get in during the summer months. The fall or spring is a great time to come and avoid the more crowded times. Induction ceremonies are great to attend with children, but also a crazy time to get into the actual Hall of Fame. We have attended the ceremonies (held outside on baseball fields) but chose not to tour the Hall during the same time.

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Saint Edward State Park

14445 Juanita Dr NE, Kenmore, Washington

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  • Little kids (3-5)
  • Tweens (9-12)
Visited: 2011-08-01 | Submitted: 2013-03-06 17:21:54.0 | I traveled with little kids (3-5) and tweens (9-12)

Wonderful park for family picnic day

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Lovely property on the grounds of an old Catholic Seminary. It is a 300 acre plus park nestled away from the hustle of Seattle and the Eastside on the shores of Lake Washington. It has a huge shoreline that is very peaceful to walk and play on. My kids spent hours skipping rocks, digging in the sand and just being at the beach with their cousins. The play structure is awesome as well. It is in the midst of a huge grassy field overlooking both the lake and the wonderful architecture of the seminary buildings. The playground really offers something for everyone and is a great combo of a wooden play structure and some new attractions. An abundance of wonder walking paths, make this a wonderful park! Even on a busy day the park is so large, that it never really feels that crowded. It can get a bit windy even when the sun is shining, so bring a windbreaker or fleece.

Tips for Families

A parking fee is charged, so we always try and spend a day here when we visit the Pacific NW from New York. Locals love buying the park pass, so they can zip in for a few hours without facing the parking fee each time. A change of clothes is a great idea, somehow my children always end up in the water!

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