Our city isn’t just the place to head for sites of admirable culture and great nights-out for young and older adults alike, it’s also the perfect destination for days out for all the family, whatever the time of year. Here are just three examples of Rochester, NY’s family-focused attractions…
Seneca Park Zoo
(2222 St Paul St NY 14621)
A perhaps small – at 15.5 acres – but arguably perfectly formed zoo that, being home to 90 different species of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and arachnids, is packed to the rafters with cuddly creatures and critters of all kinds, Seneca Park Zoo is a terrific destination for Rochester visitors who have the kids in tow. Especially as this site’s consistently expanding and updating, which means that, while it’s possible to dash about the place and do the thing in an hour (if you’re in a hurry and you and yours have lots to do), you might also spend three or more hours here, as you can take your time and take in all the different species and enclosures it offers. Not least because the staff and volunteers (the latter involved in what’s referred to as the ‘ambassador programme’) are extremely knowledgeable and especially friendly and chatty. Be sure to keep an eye out for the likes of the rhino, red pandas, snow leopards, otters, sea lions and, of course, the lions – plus, your little ones are bound to love the play area and you’ll be glad to know there are water fountains aplenty.
The Warrior Factory
(3150 W Henrietta Rd, Kohl’s Plaza NY 14623-2535)
You’re bound to have seen NBC’s American Ninja Warrior (who hasn’t – it’s now in its 10th season) and this high-activity-based, obstacle-course-like-featuring venue is verily inspired by the show – but aimed squarely at youngsters with energy to burn. A great idea, indeed! Created and run by a former contestant on the show, it was started by this ambitious entrepreneur with the aim of providing somewhere for fellow potential contestants to train – a ninja gym, if you will – but its focus on younger ‘ninjas-in-training’ is where it’s smartly found its niche, making it the ideal venue for parties at which little tykes get to tackle and conquer all manner of obstacles, while attentively, helpfully and enthusiastically coached and cheered on by the well-trained staff. Don’t doubt it then; there’s more than enough for the novice ninja here and lots too for ninjas who’ve been conquering courses for years.
Mendon Ponds Park
(95 Douglas Rd, Honeoye Falls NY 14472)
To be found just a few miles south-east of Rochester itself (in the suburban towns of Mendon and Pittsford), Mendon Ponds Park is a voluminous spread of glorious green that’s fully open to the public – indeed, it’s the largest park of any kind in the whole of NY State’s Monroe County. Fit to bursting with a conglomeration of woods, trails, ponds and all sort of nature experiences, it’s an ideal destination to head to for hiking or – at the appropriate time of year – cross-country (XC) skiing; for which it’s enormously popular. Indeed, while it’s just minutes away from downtown Rochester (so not at all far from the Riverside Hotel Rochester NY US), it’s the kind of venue where you feel as far away from a city as you possibly can, quite frankly.
However, what really recommends the park as a perfect visitors’ spot for families (besides all the nature and opportunities for picnicking) is the fact that the ‘Wild Wings’ center is located on site as well. A not-for-profit educational organization where permanently injured birds of prey are housed and cared for, it enables young people (and, indeed, all visitors) not just to observe these magnificent creatures up close, but also to learn about environmental stewardship via programs where the resident raptors act as the initiative’s own teaching partners. The organization also holds hikes around its property in the park, which are well worth giving a go.