Plenty of fun things to do over Christmas break

It's the day after Christmas. The kids are dancing with the Wii, playing with their Elsa the Snow Qu
Roller skating at Rollarama in Rotterdam (Gazette file photo)
Roller skating at Rollarama in Rotterdam (Gazette file photo)

It’s the day after Christmas. The kids are dancing with the Wii, playing with their Elsa the Snow Queen toys, building a LEGO Star Wars cruiser or tapping away on their new iPads.

But soon everyone will be itching to get out of the house, especially Mom and Dad.

Here are a few suggestions of places to go and things to do, until they go back to school on Jan. 5.


Take your crew to John Boyd Thacher State Park near Voorheesville for a nature lesson.

Four programs are scheduled during school break. There’s a snowshoe walk on Saturday, a talk about feeding winter birds on Tuesday, another talk about fishers, which are large weasel-like mammals, on Friday, Jan. 2 and a moonlight snowshoe walk on Saturday, Jan. 3.

Programs are free but registration is required by phoning 872-0800.

With the exception of the Indian Ladder Trail, all trails are open year-round at the park, which is known for its magnificent views of the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys.


Light up those young imaginations with a trip to the planetarium at miSci.

With the Schenectady museum’s GOTO Star Machine, you can see 8,500 stars, 24 constellations and much more.

Shows are scheduled at 2 p.m. Monday through Friday; at 10 and 11 a.m., 1, 2 and 3 p.m. on Saturday; and 1, 2 and 3 p.m. on Sunday.


At the New York State Museum, children can learn about how people lived in North America before the white man landed.

From 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, an art instructor will demonstrate how birch bark baskets were made and used. Children will make a paper version and learn how they can gather birch bark from the forest floor and make their own baskets at home.

At 11 a.m. Tuesday, there will be a guided, 40-minute tour of Native Peoples Hall.

From 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, in Adirondack Hall, an afternoon of Native crafts and games is planned. Children can make an Iroquois headdress and a dream catcher or try weaving. There will also be real Iroquois artifacts.

Museum admission is free, programs are free.


If we get some snow, grab the cross-country skis and head to Columbia County.

At Omi International Arts Center in Ghent, visitors can ski on groomed trails in an outdoor sculpture park, stopping to admire the snow-dusted artworks.

You can also snowshoe, go sledding or take the dog for a walk.

If there isn’t any snow, it’s an interesting place for a family stroll.

The sculpture park is free and open daily from dawn to dusk.

The Visitors Center is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily but closed on New Year’s Day.

There’s even a cafe, which serves lunch on weekends, drinks and snacks on weekdays.


Roller skating or ice skating, we’ve got ’em both.

For wheelin’ around, there’s Guptill’s Arena in Latham and Rollarama in Rotterdam.

On Jan. 2 at Rollarama, you can skate to Taylor Swift tunes.

If blades are your thing, there’s the outdoor rink at the Empire State Plaza and the indoor rink at the Schenectady County Recreational Facility in Scotia.


Shout and cheer for the hometown hockey team.

At the Times Union Center, the Albany Devils play home games on Saturday (Springfield), Tuesday (Providence) and Jan. 2 (Syracuse).

The Adirondack Flames are home on Wednesday (Toronto), Jan. 2 (Utica) and Jan. 3 (Rochester) in the Glens Falls Civic Center.

For ticket info, go to or


Steamer No. 10 has been entertaining kids for 23 years in an old Albany firehouse at Western and Madison.

On this vacation break, you can see Magician Dave McDonald, the Airborne Jugglers, a variety show by The Fourth Wall and “Hiawatha” by the Catskill Puppets.

McDonald is scheduled at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday; the comic jugglers are at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday; The Fourth Wall at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Monday; and “Hiawatha” at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Tickets are $15 at the door, $13 in advance at


Young children love to climb into the tree house and play grocery store at the Saratoga Children’s Museum in Saratoga Springs.

In Glens Falls, the World Awareness Children’s Museum, also called Go!, has interactive exhibits, from a Chinese dragon boat to a Nigerian marketplace, that take children on a trip around the world.

The museum collection includes more than 7,000 works of art created by children from 79 countries and more than 5,000 artifacts from 140 countries.

At, you can see the museum’s school vacation programs.


And don’t forget two smaller museums that are close to home.

The Empire State Aerosciences Museum in Glenville is open Saturday, Sunday and Jan. 3-4.

In Amsterdam, the Walter Elwood Museum, with its hands-on Discovery! exhibit and a room filled with vintage toys, will be open on Friday, Monday and Tuesday. Phone 843-5151 for more information.

Reach Gazette reporter Karen Bjornland at 395-3197 or [email protected]

Categories: Life and Arts, News

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