Friday Fun – Rochester, NY
One of the things I like about our current school district is the surprise 4 day weekend in October. It snuck up on me the first year we lived here because I didn’t know about it, but I am not letting another year pass without taking advantage of it.
Massachusetts celebrates Columbus Day on a Monday, and the district has a teacher service day the Friday before. The soccer teams also honor the 4 day weekend, so it is a delightful break and pick-me-up once the back-to-school newness has worn off and soccer fatigue is setting in.
This year, due to a set of converging circumstances, we decided to head to one of the most sought-after vacation destinations – Rochester, NY. Wait, not everyone thinks Rochester is an ideal vacation resort? Oh, I pity you fools. Rochester has a lot to offer:
On Friday we took the kids to Seneca Park Zoo. Although it is a smallish zoo, it has a variety of animals scattered throughout 15 acres. The exhibits are spread out and there are nice, shaded walking paths. Some of the kids’ favorites:
- The bald eagle exhibit. The birds were free outside and very active. (I imagine their wings are clipped). It was the first time the kids had a chance to see them up close.
- The lynx exhibit. While I just sat there and glared at the animals (due to their family relationship with bobcats), the kids enjoyed crawling through the tunnel that allowed them to stand up in a glass enclosed viewing room right in the center of the exhibit.
- The Africa exhibit. This was clearly one of their newer exhibits. There was a fossil digging pit and a safari tour bus that the kids could climb on.
Saturday found us at the National Museum of Play. I was a little worried that Numbers 1 and 2 are getting too old for this sort of thing, but the combination of exhibits kept everyone entertained.
We went jousting, rock climbing, skiing (with the X-box Kinect), grocery shopping, put on a play and ate in a box car inside the museum.
The second floor held an homage to games. There were large-scale versions of board games and a tribute to classic video games. Although some of the games needed tokens, many of them didn’t.
For an added fee you could go into a butterfly room, but since we live close to Magic Wings, we opted out.
3. Apple picking at Green Acre Farms
Coming from New England, I kind of think we own the fall season. Leaf-peeping, pumpkin patches and apple picking – these are all staples of my childhood.
We hadn’t done our yearly apple-picking trip yet, so I thought we could check out what New York had to offer (and no, my midwestern friends, New York is not in New England). There were tons of farms to pick from, so I picked one at random. And I am glad I picked Green Acre Farm.
This was a huge, organized orchard! No scrabbly trees with hard to reach apples. There was row after row of dwarf trees with low-hanging apples just right for small hands to pick. The orchard was so big that it was divided into sections that you drove your car to and each section had different kinds of apples. We were looking for dual purpose apples – ones that were good to eat and good to cook with. I am going to have a lot of cooking to do because in an amazingly quick amount of time we had 5 huge bags full of red and golden delicious and crispin (Mutsu) apples.
4. High Falls
In the center of Rochester there are water falls! Rochester is built on the Genesee River which has not one, but two water falls within Rochester. High Falls used to power flour mills and other industries, but is used today for hydroelectric power.
We viewed the falls by crossing over the pedestrian bridge, Pont De Rennes and continuing on the trail that led to a small observation area.
Even though Rochester may not be on everyone’s travel wish list, we found it to be a family friendly city, ideal for a little vacation. There are even a few more things we would like to do there. Maybe we will get a chance to go back!