From Bronxville to White Plains, there’s an abundance of everything you need to keep the kids occupied and happy, from nature centers full of scenic trails to horseback riding, mini-golf, rock-climbing, cooking lessons, and an array of cultural offerings.
For outdoor warm weather fun, nothing beats the ever-cool spray deck, cascades, and fountains at Willson’s Waves, a waterpark on the grounds of Willson’s Woods Park (E Lincoln Ave, Mount Vernon 914.813.6990) where the adventurous can body-surf on three-foot waves and take a ride on an 18-foot-tall water slide. If your kids are more the landlubber type, Twin Lakes Farm (960B California Rd, Bronxville 914.961.2192) on the Eastchester-Bronxville border may be a better fit. There are seven acres of farmland, and 150 acres of protected parkland that includes horses that know how to handle a nervous beginner. Lessons are offered daily.
Riding of a different sort can be enjoyed on wide-open car-free lanes on the Bronx River Parkway during Bicycle Sundays. The highway is closed to traffic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., allowing plenty of room for cyclists, joggers, walkers, scooters, and strollers. The course runs from the Westchester County Center in White Plains, south to Scarsdale Road in Yonkers, a round-trip of 13.1 miles. Venture off the hardtop onto the adjacent 807-acre Bronx River Parkway Reservation, Westchester’s oldest park. Here, you’ll find ponds, wooden footbridges, and hundreds of varieties of native trees and shrubs.
Another nearby park is Saxon Woods Park, a 700-acre property offering a variety of recreational facilities including an 18-hole golf course and mini-golf, the county’s largest swimming pool and children’s water play area, plus picnic areas. It’s additionally known for gorgeous open spaces, surrounding hardwood forests, and trails popular with hikers, cross-country skiers, and horseback riders.
If your younglings are more interested in what creatures live in the forest than the forest itself, then take them to say hello to the hundreds of migratory birds and Eastern box turtles at the Greenburgh Nature Center (99 Dromore Rd 914.723.3470), a 33-acre nature preserve with trails, woodland, wetland sites, a pond, and gardens. The property is a significant wildlife habitat refuge and includes a butterfly garden and animal area with chickens, honeybee hives, rabbits, and sheep. Also worth noting: Maple sugaring demonstrations are held in March.
There’s always someone furry, feathery, scaly, slimy, or cuddly as part of Saturday Nature Adventures at the Weinberg Nature Center (455 Mamaroneck Rd, Scarsdale 914.722.1289). This is also the place to experience Native American village life with a display showcasing a wigwam, fire pit, dugout canoe, and tripod for smoking skins.
Active tykes can get their skate on at Ebersole Ice Rink (110 Lake St, White Plains 914.422.1444), where offerings include individual and group ice skating lessons, hockey leagues, figure skating, clinics, and camps.
Education mixes with fun at the White Plains Public Library (100 Martine Ave, White Plains 914.422.1400), where the gorgeous children’s area, The Trove, offers a variety of programs and age-appropriate events. Keep in mind: All children’s events and programs require a ticket distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis 30 minutes prior to the start of the event.
The Westchester Italian Cultural Center (1 Generoso Pope Pl, Tuckahoe 914.771.8700) is another venue where learning and entertainment mix. Children and their families are invited to discover and celebrate the Italian culture through language lessons, art workshops, cooking courses, film screenings, music classes, and other special exhibits.
Your child can also stir up something delicious at a cooking class for kids offered at Sur la Table (125 Westchester Ave, Suite 2805 A, White Plains 914.220.9816) or Williams Sonoma in The Westchester (125 Westchester Ave, White Pains 914.644.8360).
Have a budding Idina Menzel or Matthew Broderick in your family? Sign her/him up for theater classes at The Play Group Theatre (1 N Broadway, White Plains 914.946.4433), where your child can take part in an original production. There are programs for all ages including classes for the youngest of PGT’s young actors, like Little Theatre for those ages 4 to 6.
For viewing, take your junior actor to the White Plains Performing Arts Center (11 City Pl, White Plains 914.328.1600), where family entertainment is offered year-round, including an eclectic mix of nationally and internationally recognized artists, performing arts companies, and self-produced theatrical performances. See a movie (including 3D and large format options) at one of the 15 theaters at City Center 15: Cinema de Lux (19 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains 800.315.4000). There’s also always as exciting performance happening at the Westchester County Center (198 Central Ave, White Plains 914.995.4050) like Sesame Street Live, Disney Live, the annual Metro Area Reptile Show, or a comic fest.
Weather not cooperating? Go for a strike at Bowlmor White Plains (47 Tarrytown Rd, White Plains 914.948.2677), where you can find kid-weight balls and bumpers, plus a full arcade and more indoor excitement.
That said, if your little guy or gal is a competitive gamer, there’s no place more entertaining than Sportime USA (380 N Saw Mill River Rd, Elmsford 914.592.2111), a hyperactive, hyper-kinetic facility decked out with all the stops to keep your little (and big!) ones busy. You almost don’t know where to start first: at the arcades (there are more than 120 games), or at the rock climbing wall, or perhaps at the VR rides or batting cages. There’s also laser tag, bumper cars, a pool hall, a soft adventure zone for little ones, and a three-level indoor playground.