The Sound Shore offers up a terrific range of family fun, boredom-busting activities, both indoors and out. Here’s a sampling of some of the best.
Rainy, snowy, or just yucky outside? Head to FunFuzion at New Rochelle’s New Roc City entertainment complex (33 Lecount Pl 914-637-7575; www.funfuziononline.com). A favorite tween and teen destination, this spacious indoor amusement park features various fab “zones of fun,” including classic fun house games and rides and cool rock ‘n’ roll bowling in addition to billiards, glow-in-the-dark mini-golf, and go-carts. Don’t miss the futuristic laser tag arena. Once your tuckered-out kids have had their fill, take everyone for a movie at the adjoining Regal New Roc Stadium; with 18 screens and an IMAX, there’s usually some family fare on the billing.
The Rock Club in New Rochelle (130 Rhodes St 914-633-7625; www.climbrockclub.com) takes family fun to dazzling new heights when kids—and their ’rents—are actually encouraged to climb the walls. Featuring a 40-foot-high main wall, 80 climbing stations, and more than 200 individual routes, this premier indoor rock climbing gym is a favorite of both serious and recreational climbers, with terrain that ranges from “easy to radically extreme.” Instruction and supervision is first-rate, and there’s even a separate area for newbies and groups.
Share the joys of children’s literature with your “young people with an appetite for books” at the charming Voracious Reader in Larchmont (1997 Palmer Ave, 914-630-4581; www.thevoraciousreader.com). This pre-Amazon treasure, an independently owned children’s bookstore, knows what kids—and their parents—love, and all the classic, old favorites and enticing new titles are here, along with a knowledgeable staff happy to make suggestions. Check out its full calendar of special events including pajama story times and author readings.
The kids will eat up the fun vibe of lunching outside at an old-fashioned hot dog stand at Walter’s Hot Dogs in Mamaroneck (937 Palmer Ave; www.waltershotdogs.com). A county institution since 1919, the fourth generation of the family-owned Walter’s serves up its world-famous dogs—a proprietary blend of beef, pork, and veal grilled in a secret special sauce—from a you-can’t-miss-it, Chinese pagoda that’s a nationally registered historic landmark. Everyone from Bill and Hill to local high school kids line up to satisfy their cravings for its milkshakes, sweet potato waffle fries, and especially, the signature split hot dogs, voted number one in the nation by Gourmet magazine. The littlest ones will love Walter’s “puppy dogs”—snack sized hot dogs on mini-buns.
Tear the kids away from their screens with an outing to Miller’s in Mamaroneck (335 Mamaroneck Ave 914-698-5070; www.millerstoys.com). This classic, old-fashioned toy store, family owned since 1908, specializes in open-ended toys with quality play value—think FAO Schwartz-type selection and personalized service. A perfect place to send any grandparents looking for that special gift for their own little treasures, it’s sourced with imagination-powered playthings from around the world, and has a lower level devoted to bicycles where generations of county kids got their first set of wheels. Woodplay backyard redwood play sets, Springfree trampolines, and such classics as foosball, air-hockey, ping pong, and pinball mean afternoons of fun for the whole family—plus Miller’s delivers and assembles it all.
Scooters and other kids’ favorite toys are offered at Miller’s.
Power down their devices—and yours—and introduce your offspring to the myriad wonders of the natural world at the Rye Nature Center in Rye (873 Boston Post Rd 914-967-5150; www.ryenaturecenter.org). A visitor center full of animals, hiking trails, and a complete calendar of engaging indoor and outdoor activities are offered for all ages—from pre-school ecology clubs and school vacation camps to a pre-teen Naturalist In Training program and animal volunteer positions for teens. Numerous special season events throughout the year—featuring everything from hayrides to maple sugaring demonstrations—round out the options for all sorts of natural family fun.
Kid central on the Sound Shore starts with Playland in Rye (100 Playland Pkwy 914-813-7000; www.ryeplayland.org), the iconic Art Deco-style amusement park dating back to 1928. Open early May through Labor Day, it features more than 50 attractions and rides, including the landmark Dragon Coaster—with close to 3,500 feet of track, it’s been sending riders screeching happily down a 128-foot drop into the mouth of a fire-spewing dragon for more than 80 years—and a special Kiddyland just for the little ones. A beach, pool, arcade games, live performances, and in the off-season ice skating and mini-golf, round out the fun at this treasured National Historic Landmark.
Have some little guys who are bouncing off the walls from boredom? Bring them to Leapin’ Lizards in Port Chester (421 Boston Post Rd 914-937-5867; www.leaplizards.com). This cool, clean, and supervised “soft play” indoor playground—it also has a game room and snack bar with healthy options like yogurt and gourmet coffee for mom and dad—has saved many a parent’s sanity since it was first opened by a mother of three. An exciting assemblage of tunnels, mazes, slides, ball baths, and foam forests will have even the antsiest youngster happily climbing, bouncing, crawling, jumping, and sliding around with pals old and new—and enjoying racing contests through obstacle courses at pop-in visits, play dates, and birthday parties.
Ball baths, tunnels, mazes, and foam forests await at Leapin’ Lizards.
Dinner doesn’t get more delicious—and family friendly—than at Q Restaurant & Bar in Port Chester (112 N Main St 914-933-7427; www.qrestaurantandbar.com), where everyone’s invited to eat with their hands then wash ’em off at communal sinks. Authentic slow and low-cooked Midwestern barbecue—delectable smoky brisket, St. Louis-style ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, and the like—are the stars at this fun, down-home eatery where meals are served on old-fashioned tin trays and iced tea in take-home mason jars. Special barbecue sauce is made in-house, and the pitmaster smokes meat daily. A yummy kids menu, including Southern fried chicken fingers—made in zero trans fat oil—and mac ‘n’ cheese, will satisfy even the pickiest little gourmand.