There are lots of places you can take the kids, but the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum in Poughkeepsie is one that’s both fun and educational. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a good place to stay cool, too.
Opened in 1989 in the South Hills Mall, the museum moved six miles north to its current home on North Water Street in 2002. It’s geared towards kids 10 and younger, with a special area dedicated to toddlers up to age 3. There are two floors of exhibits, many of them interactive, including a seasonal inflatable planetarium; a radio broadcast simulation booth; the Ride The Water Cycle indoor slide; and a fiberglass cast of the Hyde Park Mastodon, whose skeleton was discovered in a Dutchess County family’s backyard in 1999.
The museum hosts a number of activities specific to the day of the week. From creating collages to puppets to frames, every Tuesday kids can participate in a different art activity. On Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., kids up to 3 years old can experience Texture Activity Table Time, where they can explore, stack and sort items to develop language, coordination and motor skills. Every Thursday, children can participate in one of three playgroups clustered by age (newborns to 5 year olds; 1 to 2 ½ year olds; and 2 to 5 year olds) to learn about the world from a museum instructor. And on weekends, kids can enjoy fun, quick science demonstrations on the Science Cart, as well as explore different cultures through craft projects.
Birthday parties: If you want to host a party for your child and their friends, the museum hosts kids’ birthday parties, $120 for members and $210 for non-members for 20 guests. The party price includes admission and activities for every attendee (additional perks and party sizes are available; call or check the website for details).
IF YOU GO
What: Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum
Admission: $7.50 per person; free for members and children younger than 1. One-year memberships begin at $100 per family
Hours: Monday-Saturday: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Closed Mondays during the school year except for on select holidays
Good to know: From 1 to 5 p.m. every Friday, grandparents can enter for free with paid admission for a child. Food and drink are allowed in a designated area, and visitors can buy refreshments on site via vending machines.