40 Things to Do Outdoors in Westchester, Rockland, and Bergen Counties with Your Kid

40 Things to Do Outdoors in Westchester, Rockland, and Bergen Counties with Your Kid

After being cooped up all winter, it’s finally possible to head outside for some family fun. You’ll find outdoor activities galore to do with your kids in Westchester, Rockland, and Bergen counties. Here are some you’ll want to check out this month If you visit any of these places.

Westchester County

1. Croton Point Park

Croton Point Park is home to the Croton Dam and a huge waterfall, which is the centerpiece of the park. Rich in natural and human history, the park is also the site of historic wine cellars that are thought to be the oldest in New York State and the Croton Point Nature Center.

2. Kensico Dam Plaza

Take in the beauty of the Kensico Dam Plaza. Kids will gaze in wonder at this dam that’s 307 feet high and 1,843 feet long.

3. FDR Park

Rent a rowboat or pedal boat to use at Mohansic Lake or Crom Pond, which are part of FDR Park. You can also stroll along the 2-mile paved loop or play at the playground with climbing walls, swings, and other equipment.

4. Scenic Hudson RiverWalk Park at Tarrytown

This public park, Scenic Hudson RiverWalk Park at Tarrytown, offers magnificent views stretching to the Manhattan skyline. It features a riverside esplanade, grass terraces and lawns, and an eco-corridor filled with native plants.

5. Untermyer Gardens

Located in Yonkers, Untermyer Gardens is a natural gem that your whole family will enjoy. You can visit it throughout the year, and you’ll always experience something new at every visit.

6. Faraway Farm Alpacas

High on a hilltop in the historic Hudson Valley, Faraway Farm is home to award-winning huacaya alpacas, prized for their soft, colorful fleece. Schedule a visit to tour the farm and see the alpacas and Icelandic horses here.

7. Greenburgh Nature Center

Enjoy forest trails, native meadows, seasonal organic gardens, and open green spaces at the Greenburgh Nature Center. Explore one of the many outdoor animal habitats surrounding the Manor House.

8. Brookside Mini Golf

Tackle challenging obstacles at the 19-hole Brookside Mini Golf. The course has been totally renovated including reconstructed bridges, putting greens, and landscaping.

9. Saxon Woods Park

A 700-acre property, Saxon Woods Park has an 18-hole golf course and mini-golf course. It houses the county’s largest swimming pool and the county’s only accessible playground.

10. Teatown Lake Reservation

A nonprofit nature preserve and environmental education center, Teatown Lake Reservation has 15 miles of hiking trails ranging from novice to moderately difficult. You’ll find a 2-acre island refuge for more than 230 species of native wildflowers, and wildlife exhibits.

11. John Jay Homestead

John Jay Homestead was the home for five generations of the Jay family, including Founding Father John Jay. Walk through the Sun Dial Garden, Herb Garden, and Terrace Garden. Picnic on the grounds, shop at a farmers’ market, or see an outdoor movie here.

12. Pruyn Sanctuary

Pruyn Sanctuary protects 92-acres of open space. Enjoy more than 2 miles of hiking trails through diverse habits including a system of boardwalks through Gedney Swamp.

13. Lasdon Park and Arboretum

The 234-acre Lasdon Park & Arboretum has woodlands, open-grass meadows, and formal gardens with flower and shrub specimens from around the world. The park is also home to a museum that honors Westchester veterans.

Rockland County

1. Bear Mountain State Park

Bear Mountain State Park is just over the Bear Mountain Bridge. Picnic and enjoy the views as you eat near Hessian Lake. Kids will love the old-fashioned carousel, playground, and open spaces where they can run.

2. Nyack Beach State Park

Nyack Beach State Park is home to one of the best hawk and raptor viewing areas in the U.S. Enjoy breathtaking views of the Hudson as you look for birds flying overhead.

3. Tappan Golf Center

Play the 18-hole miniature course at Tappan Golf Center. Have fun at the driving range, batting cages, and go-karts, too.

4. Piermont Pier and Marsh

See if the fish are biting at Piermont Pier and Marsh. Park at Bridge Street and enjoy a leisurely stroll along the marsh edge. Or canoe/kayak (available for rent) to the marsh and Sparkill Creek.

5. Stony Point Battlefield

History buffs get ready. A historic site, Stony Point Battlefield is the location of the 1779 Battle of Stony Point during the American Revolutionary War. Check the website for updated schedules: Stony Point often hosts living history re-enactments.

6. Edward Hopper House Art Center

Explore the birthplace and celebrate the legacy of artist Edward Hopper at this unique art center, Edward Hopper House Museum & Study Center. Not only did the house influence young Hopper’s vision, the neighborhood where he grew up did too. See more of Edward Hopper’s world through a self-guided walking tour map here.

7. High Tor State Park

Take in scenic views of the Hudson River at High Tor State Park. The 691-acre park has two peaks—High Tor at 797 feet and Little Tor at 620 feet. They’re the highest peaks in the park as well in all of the Hudson Palisades. See the New York City skyline from the summit of High Tor, a striking landmark.

8. Tallman Mountain State Park

Tallman Mountain State Park overlooks the Hudson River and Piermont Marsh. The park boasts a running track, tennis courts, walking trail, hiking, and picnic areas.

9. Haverstraw Bay Park

Haverstraw Bay Park, a 27-acre park on the Hudson River waterfront, houses a large gazebo in the middle of the field. Watch the kids run around the three playgrounds (each geared for different ages), fish at the freshwater pond, fly a kite on the field, or reflect at the Sept. 11th Memorial & Patriot Garden.

10. Rockland Lake State Park

Cool off at this park (located on a ridge of Hook Mountain above the west bank of the Hudson River) thanks to its new water complex with a 5,000-square-foot, zero-entrance swimming pool with diving boards, a spray ground, and two large water slides. Walk, jog, roller blade, or bicycle on the 3.2-mile, non-motorized use, paved trail that goes around Rockland Lake at Rockland State Park.

11. Blauvelt State Park

Blauvelt State Park is 590 acres of forested green space in Rockland County. Hiking trails give the only access and spectacular views of the Hudson Valley.

Bergen County

1. Van Saun County Park

Within its 146 acres, Van Saun County Park has a zoo, train, carousel, spray ground, and large playground. Enjoy lunch or a snack at one of the pavilions with tables or the grassy picnic areas located throughout the park.

2. Abma’s Farm

Come on down to Abma’s Farm and check out its barnyard petting zoo. Visit the goats, sheep, alpaca, donkeys, ponies, bunnies, pigs, and more. Kids will love one-of-a-kind features like its goat walk, duck pond, and ‘Bunnyville.’

3. Flat Rock Brook Nature Center

A 150-acre preserve and education center, Flat Rock Brook Nature Center is on the western slope of the Palisades in Englewood, NJ. Explore the 3.6 miles of trails as you hike, birdwatch, or have other outdoor fun.

4. Paramus Mini Golf

Challenge the kids to a round of mini golf at Paramus Mini Golf. It’s right next to the Paramus Golf Course if the mini variety is too easy for your crew.

5. Fort Lee Historic Park

American history buffs will adore this spot. You’ll find a 33-acre, cliff-top park area with scenic overlooks and a reconstructed Revolutionary War encampment at Fort Lee Historic Park.

6. Aviation Hall of Fame

Learn about New Jersey’s role in achieving innovative air and space accomplishments. Founded in 1972, the Aviation Hall of Fame houses historic aircraft right in the great outdoors.

7. Lorrimer Sanctuary

Lorrimer Sanctuary in Franklin Lakes has a self-guiding trail system that winds through the 14 acres of land. You’ll find lots of second-growth woods (mostly oak, maple, ash, and beech) and small stands of planted evergreens.

8. Palisades Interstate Park

Enjoy 2,500 acres of Hudson River shorefront, uplands, and cliffs at Palisades Interstate Park. The park boasts 30 miles of hiking trails, a scenic riverside drive, and cliff-top overlooks.

9. James A. McFaul Environmental Center

This 81-acre wildlife sanctuary features a waterfowl pond, bird shelters, nature trail, memorial gazebo, and natural science exhibits. At the James A. McFaul Environmental Center, you’ll find gardens and a naturalized field and woodland area with many plant species.

10. Ramapo Valley Reservation

The Ramapo Valley Reservation is a popular destination for hikes and nature lovers. This 3,000-plus acre county park offers hiking along a mountain brook with a waterfall and fishing without a license for kids younger than 14.

11. Demarest Farms Drive-In Movie

Watch a flick from the comfort of your own car. Demarest Farms, a farm and garden center in Hillsdale, transforms into a drive-in theater so you can catch movies all spring and summer.

12. Demarest Nature Center

This center aims to educate the young and old about the beauty of nature and the importance of protecting our environment. At Demarest Nature Center, take a walk and explore the wildlife in their natural habitat.

13. Closter Nature Center

Enjoy this oasis in the middle of suburban Closter. With 136 acres of ponds, brooks, meadows and forests to explore, you’ll relish the beauty at Closter Nature Center.

14. The Hermitage Museum

The museum building and visitor’s services are closed, but the grounds are open daily at The Hermitage Museum, a National Historic Landmark and historic house museum. The original house was built in the 1750s and was the home of Theodosia Prevost during the American Revolution, when the house was visited by George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and Aaron Burr, who later married Theodosia at the Hermitage.

15. Tenafly Nature Center

Located on nearly 400 acres, Tenafly Nature Center offers a dozen trail options. They can be combined for a little over 7 miles of hiking, with trails varying from short to about 2 miles.

16. Easton Tower

A scenic tower built next to the Saddle River in 1899, Easton Tower is part of a landscaped park of the estate owned by Edward Easton, a notable figure in American technological history. The tower was built in 1899 on land where a grain mill, the Red Mill, once stood.

psst… https://www.newyorkfamily.com/free-outdoor-summer-concerts-for-kids-in-new-york-city/

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Penguin Coding School

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Dedimus Potestatem

<p>Dedimus Potestatem provides fun, engaging, academically challenging programs to students in primary, middle, and high school. Programs include Leadership, Debate, Model United Nations, Computer Programming, Financial Literacy, Filmmaking, Philosophy, Model Congress, Mock Trial, Etiquette, Bioethics, Stem and Bioethics, and more. We currently offer both virtual and in-person private, semi-private, and group sessions and after-school programs. Contact us to bring us to your school today!</p> <p>Sessions</p> <p>We currently offer both virtual and in-person private, semi-private, and group sessions as well as after-school programs. To register, visit <a href="https://www.potestatem.co/bookclassesnow" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://www.potestatem.co/bookclassesnow </a>or email us at <a href="mailto:[email protected]?subject=REGISTER" target="_blank" rel="noopener">[email protected]</a></p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/leadership" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Leadership: Middle School ages 10-13, High School ages 14-18</a></p> <p>This is a unique leadership course that gives students the skills they need to succeed in life. Using an activity-based syllabus centered around character traits most sought and admired in leaders (initiative, honesty, self-control, adaptability, empathy, persuasiveness, resourcefulness, diligence, tolerance, determination, generosity, punctuality, courage, reliability, endurance, deference, creativity and integrity) students learn how to deal with situations they encounter in life. These building blocks will ensure they grow to become the leaders so sought after by our burgeoning society. Our grading rubric was adapted with the permission of Neil Mercer, the Director of research and Head of Faculty at The University of Cambridge.</p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/little-leaders-prek-and-kindergarten" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Little Leaders: Primary School Ages 6-9</a></p> <p>Developed by former pre-school and elementary teachers, this ethics-centered program utilizes a play-based method to encourage students to explore and apply soft skills in their daily lives. While cultivating the skills they will need to build strong, successful relationships, they will learn how to find their voice and showcase themselves in the best way. Students will learn to communicate and negotiate so they can be better team leaders and team players. Students will learn how to deal with situations they encounter in life, such as bullying, cheating, conflicts between two or more parties, and more. The inculcation of these values in our children's formative years will ensure they grow to become the leaders so sought after by our burgeoning society.</p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/classes/beginnersdebate" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Speech & Debate</a> (competitive and non-competitive programs available)</p> <p>This online after-school program prepares students for formal and informal presentations. Participants learn to craft and present arguments and inform, persuade, and motivate an audience in a variety of ways. According to the English Speaking Union, debate is a natural fit for students and compliments common core standards. Debate builds literacy and multi-media research skills, fosters critical thinking and expanded perspectives, enhances public speaking skills, increases confidence, trains students to listen effectively, supports diverse learners and strengthens civil engagement and discourse. </p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/model-un" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Model United Nations (Ages 11-18)</a></p> <p>Model UN simulates the six major organs of the United Nations. Students role play as delegates from a country of their choosing and learn to write and present resolutions based on topics they are passionate about-just as if they were representing member states of the United Nations. We utilize materials from National Model UN and video tutorials to teach students how to write and present position papers, working papers, and draft resolutions. Students use debate and negotiation to enlist the support of other delegates for their resolution. Model UN is a great way to teach students leadership skills like communication, conflict resolution, negotiation, and delegation.</p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/self-defense-classes" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Self Defense and Empowerment</a></p> <p>Developed by a veteran Krav Maga specialist, this self-defense program will focus on the principle of healthy minds in healthy bodies. Students will focus on de-escalation techniques as well as safe and active means of self-defense. Through active games and fun drills, students will learn the disciplined focus, critical thinking, adaptability, and resilience necessary to achieve goals, as well as gain valuable social insights into leadership and teamwork. Students will expend energy and reduce stress while learning to stand and present confidently.</p> <p>Mock Trial (<a href="https://www.potestatem.co/classes/mock-trial-classes" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Fairy Tale Mock Trial for ages 7-9</a>, regular <a href="https://www.potestatem.co/mock-trial-classes" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Mock Trial Ages 10-18</a>)</p> <p>Mock trial is a hands-on simulation of the American judicial system. The goal is to help participants acquire a working knowledge of our judicial system, develop analytical abilities and communication skills, display leadership in a court of law, and gain an understanding of their obligations and responsibilities as participating members of our society. Materials for this course are provided by The American Bar Association.</p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/model-congress" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Model Congress: Ages 10-18</a></p> <p>This civics course simulates the legislative process. Students will learn about the electoral process, lobby for issues they are passionate about, draft and deliver bills, amend legislation, debate international policy, and learn how to effectively represent a constituent body of their choosing. We utilize materials from The Constitutional Rights Foundation, ICivics (founded by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor) and the National Model U.S. Congress. These resources have been proven to improve students’ civic knowledge, presentation, and core literacy skills. New research has also shown that the use of the aforementioned materials has also led to increased participation in the democratic process. Our objective in this course is to educate the next generation, nurture and inculcate a passion for civics and history and encourage young people to advocate for themselves.</p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/philosophy" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Philosophy</a></p> <p>The focus of the Philosophy class is to examine and understand the ideas behind the most popular philosophies embraced throughout the world. To do this, students examine ethical situations through the lens of these philosophies and engage in a Socratic style debate. Students are presented with an ethical question and they must identify stakeholders and players within the dilemma, discuss the key moral issues and present opposing viewpoints. This class was built for students who wish to <a href="https://nhseb.unc.edu/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">compete in the middle or high school Ethics Bowl</a>. </p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/classes/money-matters-financial-literacy-for-kids-afterschool">Money Matters: Financial Literacy for Students</a></p> <p>The Money Matters course is built to help students manage their personal finances, from building credit and loan applications to interest rates and investing strategies. This class will cover the basics of financial health, savings, spending habits, and budgeting. After learning how to store, track, and spend responsibly, students will learn about risk management, APRs, and tax preparation. This class will use real-life examples and teach students how to set and achieve financial goals. This course is ideal for middle and high school students.</p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/stem-dna-ethics" target="_blank" rel="noopener">STEM and Bioethics: (Ages 10-18)</a></p> <p>Our STEM program will give kids the opportunity to think critically about science and society, and to practice communicating scientific topics in ways everyone can understand. To be a successful scientist in our modern world, one must not only have a broad understanding of scientific material learned at school, but also the ability to communicate effectively and share that knowledge with others. Each week of this program will build on the previous while also introducing new scientific topics for discussion.</p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/classes/virtual-after-school-etiquette" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Etiquette (Ages 5 and up)</a></p> <p>Due to increasing popular demand from groups and individuals, we have decided to offer our etiquette course as an eight week after-school class. 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This program is tailored to the needs of the individual(s) in question and can include essay writing, use of stylistic devices, and persuasive rhetoric and/or instructions on how to craft and deliver a persuasive or informative multidimensional presentation with compelling slides, audio, and videos.</p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/classes/visual-storytelling" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Visual Storytelling</a></p> <p>Multimedia platforms have increasingly become more popular for educators, artists and businesses. Young people all over the world have begun using media to amplify initiatives, educate, share science, poetry, art, movement, culture and more. In this class students will learn to capture brief videos that share their voice and vision with the world.</p> <p>College application course </p> <p>Discover the fundamentals of style, narrative, and theme for the ideal college application essays! In these sessions, you will begin by examining outstanding Personal Statements and by brainstorming your own. Then, move on to draft and edit the specialized supplemental essays for each college on your list. Space is limited to ensure personalized attention.</p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/classes/essay-writing" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Academic writing</a> </p> <p>These are sessions focused on academic writing. Our tutors have years of experience in drafting, editing, and teaching essay writing. Each package will include a consultation with our tutors to assess individual needs. </p> <p><a href="https://www.potestatem.co/classes/test-prep-sat-shsat-act-gre-gmat-asvab-tachs-more">Test Prep: SAT, SHSAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT, ASVAB, TACHS + more</a></p> <p>These classes are focused on identifying the quickest and most efficient path toward improving students' standardized test scores. Starting with a diagnostic practice exam, this program will target the key subject matter your students need to master while integrating timing, triage, and practice strategies. We aim to regularly emulate the real-life conditions of tests until students are comfortable working quickly, accurately, and efficiently. Sessions can be one hour or two hours in length, as needed.</p> <p>Computer Programming: Coding for Kids</p> <p>In these sessions, we start by discussing the basics of computer programming, what it is, what it can do, and what it was built on. Then we will begin experimenting with block-based programming languages. Students will learn the basics of computer architecture, binary code, compilers, and algorithms. By the end of the course, students will be able to produce small programs of their own. The cost of materials is not included. This class is available to younger students (Ages K-1) and middle and high school students. </p> <p> </p> <p> </p>