The Hudson River Museum in Yonkers is, as they say, a hidden gem of Westchester. It doesn’t get nearly as much traffic as it should, but is totally worth checking out for its manageable size, inexpensive admission and engaging activities for kids. For our visit on a gray winter day, we were planning on stopping in for a couple of hours and ended up staying until closing.
The biggest reason to go is the state-of-the-art planetarium, which is the only one in Westchester. We’ve written about it in the past (post here), but it’s worth mentioning again. The experience is awesome. It feels like you’re watching a 3-D movie about space, only without the annoying glasses. And there are shows geared for kids as young as 4.
After the planetarium show, we spent the bulk of our visit at the free art workshop (held every weekend and during most school holidays, from 1 to 4pm), building a model of the new Tappan Zee Bridge. Super friendly junior docents handed my kids the art supplies and showed us how to construct the bridge. The kids were very proud of their results.
It was half an hour before closing by the time we finished, so we took a whirlwind tour of the rest of the place. We got glimpses of many exhibits that made us want to come back: The extension into the Trevor estate, a Victorian mansion built in 1876 that now features restored interiors and period furniture, including a ginormous dollhouse with so many details you could stare at it for hours. Beautiful oil paintings of residents of the area during the 19th century; my kids were especially interested in the portraits of the children. Displays of sea creatures that inhabit the Hudson (did you know there are seahorses in there?) in a room with a gorgeous panoramic view of the river itself – binoculars are supplied for looking out the windows.
Plus, a brand new play space opened at the museum earlier this month, designed for children ages 4-7. It features a dollhouse, a puppet theater and other fun things for imaginative play. The play space is free with admission from noon to 5pm on weekends.
Hudson River Museum, 511 Warburton Avenue, Yonkers; 914-963-4550