The new school term is fast approaching, and you and your kids are probably at each other’s throats by now. Or maybe you’ve been getting along all summer without a care in the world. Either way, you’ve got just enough time left to squeeze a quick road trip into your schedules before the summer is over, and we think we’ve come up with a few choice day trips that’ll raise both spirits and a few I.Q. points.
An absolute classic for animal lovers, this nearby “edutainment” facility sports a butterfly garden, petting zoo, and all the exotic animals you can imagine (and a few more you can’t), plus a 4-D theater, rides, and seasonal entertainment like camel rides, monorail and shuttle, and meet-and-greets with ambassador animals like penguins, birds, reptiles, cheetahs, and even fennec foxes!
20 min from Yonkers
30 min from White Plains
45 min from Katonahâ€‹
You’ve got two main routes that’ll ferry you to the Bronx Zoo, depending on where you’re coming from. If you’re heading back along the Bronx River Parkway/Sprain Brook Parkway, definitely consider stopping by Johnny’s Pizzeria in Mount Vernon for a few slices, then hit up the Ice Cream Factory for an after-dinner treat you will not want to pass up!
If you happen to be coming come via Route 1, however, you’ll probably be passing through or near either New Rochelle or Pelham. If that’s the case, you’ve got a few excellent choices for dinner. For sit-down meals on the higher end, we recommend both Dubrovnik and Alvin & Friends. The former specializes in Croatian cuisine (especially some amazing things they do with seafood), while the latter is more contemporary Southern American with a bit of Caribbean influence. For something a bit quicker/cheaper/easier to wrangle children around, Tailgate Dogs & Sausage just opened in NewRo and we are head over paws for these carefully crafted dogs.
Space, snot, weird animals, crazy obstacle courses, dinosaur fossils; Liberty Science Center really has everything. Added bonus: You can touch it. Yes, a museum where you’re not just encouraged to play with the exhibits, it’s actually kind of the point! It’s even great as an adult, but especially so at “LSC After Dark” events like “Booze and Boogers,” which tweaks the Grossology exhibit and a few extra surprises along with local snacks and cocktails.
60 min from Yonkers
65 min from White Plains
80 min from Katonahâ€‹
Your best bests for getting to Liberty Science Center in Jersey City are to take either Route 9A or the Saw Mill River Parkway. For the former, we highly recommend stopping off in Yonkers on your way back for dinner. Zuppa is relatively inexpensive for a well-crafted sit-down meal, or for a quick grab-and-go bite there’s always Frank Pepe, Westchester’s own branch of the famed pizza parlor. For those taking the Saw Mill, odds are good you’ll be passing in close proximity to Dobbs Ferry, which means trips to Harper’s on Main, The Cookery, or the Dobbs Dawg House, some of our favorite DF eateries!
Is there a budding marine biologist in your family? Or maybe you’re just bonkers for belugas! In any case, Mystic Aquarium is a wonderful adventure for all involved. Meet stingrays, seals and sea lions, sharks, reptiles and amphibians, fish from around the world, penguins, and of course the aforementioned whales! Wander about from exhibit to exhibit or get an up-close with some of Mystic’s favorite residents. (Or pop the question with the help of a water-bound friend.)
130 min from Yonkers
120 min from White Plains
120 min from Katonahâ€‹â€‹
Pretty much anywhere you’re coming from, getting to Connecticut will have to driving back along I-95, and that opens up a host of amazing eating options along the corridor. While we couldn’t possibly name every one, some solid options include CAVA and Westchester Burger Co. in Rye Brook depending on how healthy you want to go, as well as Sonora and bartaco in Port Chester where we suggest going for seafood to stay on-theme for the day.
All right, we never said education had to be historically accurate. Sometimes dressing up like Robin Hood and joining his merry band in Sherwood Forest is just as delightful. (Let’s call it a study in literary and cultural fields.) There’s also plenty to learn when you set that aside: Where else are your kids going to learn proper tanning, metallurgy, or glassblowing techniques, to say nothing of falconry and axe-throwing! Dear sirs, fair ladies, if not at the Renaissance Faire, wouldst thou prefer they learn it on the street? Nay! Take thy carriage Northward to Tuxedo Park and join in yon merriment.
55 min from Yonkers
40 min from White Plains
60 min from Katonahâ€‹
Well, assuming you can fit any food at all inside you after a few of those ginormous turkey legs, you’ll most likely be driving home along I-287. RiverMarket in Tarrytown is an excellent choice for re-entering the 21st Century after your afternoon time hop, and should generally be along the way for anyone. The local farm-to-table menu will remind you what village living can be like in the modern era. Depending on where you exit 287, you may alternatively want to stop by any of the above locations in Dobbs Ferry, or head a little farther North into Pleasantville. P-ville is hot right now in the foodie world, but two choice recommendations would be Playa Bowls if you’re looking for a light, healthy snack, or Wood & Fire if you’re hankering for some hardier fare. (You can also check out Wood & Fire’s new sister restaurant Southern Table.)