“Summer learning loss can follow students through high school, college, and beyond.” – OnlineCollege.org
Somehow summer always seems to pass in a whirlwind, but before you rush to the back to school sales, be sure to keep your kids learning over the summer months. The best way to keep those brains working is to engage them in ways they won’t forget. Family vacations are a great way to teach kids lessons they will remember for years to come. If you have an east coast vacation planned, here are 5 educational attractions in the beautiful state of New York you won’t want to miss, and their teachers just might thank you for all they learned.
NYPA Power Vista
Located in the renovated Niagara Power Project in Lewiston, NY, this interactive exhibit is an amazing educational experience for families open seven days a week with free admission…Yes, Free! It as an interesting look at electricity, specifically hydroelectric power. Kids receive a name tag which can be used to create a profile to track their progress throughout the exhibit as they collect points for each game played. They can learn about the famous feud between Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla and watch a video about water power in a theatre where the seats move and you can feel the elements in the film. It is a great way for kids to learn about the importance of finding clean, sustainable energy. However, one of the coolest features of NYPA Power Vista are the sweeping views of the river and the dam.
As the most famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks, Watkins Glen State Park in #NewYork has 200 foot cliffs, 19 waterfalls and a captivating hike along Glen Stream. The sedimentary rock that makes up the massive rock walls is about 380 million years old. With campsites available, an Olympic pool, picnic areas and plenty of outdoor activities, it makes for a wonderful family vacation. #iloveny #doyourthing #travel 📷: @kaitr27
Watkins Glen State Park
This New York State Park is the most famous of the Finger Lakes, and it is a breathtaking experience. The sedimentary rock is over 380 million years old, and it climbs skyward from the gorge creating over 19 waterfalls. In the summer, scheduled tours are offered through the gorge allowing kids to understand just how natural wonders form. It is the perfect way to get your kids interested in geology. Watkins Glen State Park is a must if you are in New York, and it is truly a unique experience. There is also camping available in the park which includes an Olympic size pool!
Old Fort Niagara
Located only 20 minutes north from Niagara Falls, Old Fort Niagara provides a day of lively demonstrations and depictions of life within the walls of what was once known as the gateway to the continent. With over 300 years of history, Old Fort Niagara was built during the colonial wars at the mouth of the Niagara river as to gain control of the Great Lakes as well as the westward route to the country. However, when the Erie Canal was built, its importance waned, but it remained an active military post into the 20th century. During both World Wars American soldiers were also trained at the fort. Today, families can walk from each authentic building receiving descriptions of life as a soldier in the fort. There is information on everything from battling to keep intruders out all the way to how their laundry was done. Soldiers dressed in traditional uniforms roam the fort providing musket and cannon demonstrations and informative banter. If you are in the area visiting Niagara Falls there is a free shuttle from the falls to the Fort. It operates mid May through mid October from 9 am to 7 pm.
In Cattaraugus County, nestled in the Enchanted Mountains are the Amish Trails. An important part of traveling and exploring as a family is introducing kids to other cultures and teaching them how to respect and appreciate lifestyles unlike their own. The Amish Trails offer an up-close look at Amish life with tours of farmlands, Amish shops, and locally owned restaurants. Tours are available through reservation only. It is an interesting look inside a culture right in our own backyard but so very far from our own lifestyles.
Letchworth State Park
Known as the Grand Canyon of the East, Letchworth State Park and its fantastic waterfalls and variety of outdoor activities make for an amazing family adventure. The Humphrey Nature Center is an important part of the experience. It offers guided lessons for field trips and scout programs in areas such as aquatic ecology, birds, invasive species, forest ecology, and geology to name a few. The Nature Center has interactive exhibits for kids (including a tree log slide), an outdoor classroom, a butterfly garden, a bird observation area, and solar panels as well as a cistern to collect rainwater. Once you explore the Nature Center, leave from one of the many trailheads and explore the park. Get your kids interested in nature by putting them right in the middle of it.
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