Monday, August 8, 2011

Summer Fun Ideas

Trilobite Tail

I recently had the opportunity to go to take my kids on some day-trips in Western NY State.

We took a day-trip to the Penn Dixie Paleontological and Outdoor Education Center. It located in Hamburg, NY and it is a place where the public can come and dig for fossils. Trilobites, corals, brachiopods, and more. I was looking for trilobites and I wasn't disappointed. While I didn't find a complete one, I did find plenty of trilobite heads and tails - they molted in segments so these are common finds. We found a plethora of various corals and other fossils. It's a fun place to take all those budding young scientists at heart. (See two of my finds, a trilobite tail and head to the right.)

Trilobite Head
We also took a day-trip to Ithaca. While in Ithaca we visited the Museum of the Earth, Cornell Plantations, and Robert H. Treman State Park. A wander through the Mueum of the Earth teaches you about the wondrously fantastical myriad lifeforms, such as the trilobite, that once were teeming in the ancient world before the dawn of man and how over the successive periods of the world it changed. In some cases, that life evolved and its descendants may even still live on Earth. But in so many others, they ceased to be anyplace except in our fossil records. Makes you more deeply appreciate the history of our Earth.

Amaranth in the Herb Garden
Cornell Plantations features acres of gardens, an arboretum, and multiple natural areas. The gardens and other areas are beautiful.  I feel much can be learned about plants by seeing them living and growing. If you are interested in learning more about plants, visit some place like the Plantations. Many plants are labeled as to what they are. With some gardens like the Robison York State Herb Garden also at the Plantations, you also get information about how the plants were used. Take yourself on an herb class for the minor price of parking at the Plantations. (See the picture of amaranth to the right. Did you know that amaranth was a native grain valued in Central & South America? You would if you visited this garden and read the signs!)

Finally, we ended up at Robert H. Treman State Park to play and to swim in a stream-fed pool beneath a waterfall. Very unique experiences - all of them.

Did I pay much for these days of memories, learning, and fun? No, not at all! Outside of gasoline, our Penn Dixie trip cost us less than $20. Our Ithaca trip, less than $30.  We packed our own lunches, snacks, and drinks to take with us - a huge savings if you are looking for lower cost trips. And even gasoline wasn't all that much to figure on since my car gets at least 35 mpg on trips like these.

All this got me to thinking....Our own area has many attractions that make for a very inexpensive and fun day trip. How about a wonderful day mixing and matching some of these family fun attractions within a few minutes of Ganondagan? Any costs of visiting noted. Some places have memberships that offer free admission or may have specific events that vary in cost. Check the sites by clicking on their name for more details.

Inside the Longhouse
  • Tour the longhouse, hike the trails, see the Visitors Center, see our medicinal and vegetable gardens, picnic, take pictures, and shop at the gift shop. 
  • Longhouse tours are $3 adults and $2 children. 
  • Access to the trails, Visitors Center, gift shop and grounds are free.

Ontario County Historical Society
  • Learn about the history of the area. Of note, a copy of the Pickering or Canandaigua Treaty is kept at the Ontario County Historical Society. 
  • Admission - Free.

In the Schoolhouse
 Granger Homestead
  • Tour the house, grounds, buildings, and carriage museum. 
  • Adults $6 and children $2. 
  • Carriage rides available for an extra fee.

Victor Historical Society (Valentown Museum)
  • Valentown Museum contains thousands of artifacts, objects & heirlooms that represent the local 19th century history of the Victor area. Located across from Eastview Mall. 
  • Adults $5, students $3.

Sonnenberg Mansion & Gardens
Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park
  • Beautiful as well as historic gardens and mansion. Tour them all including the Japanese Garden with its very uncommon tea house. (See about the tea house restoration project here.) 
  • Adults $10, Students $5, and children 12 and under free.

Victor Hiking Trails
  • Oodles of well-maintained trails to hike. Some connect to the trails at Ganondagan. 
  • All free access.

Canandaigua City Pier
Kershaw Park
  • Stroll along the shore of Canandaigua Lake or take a dip in the lake to cool off. While here, walk over to the City Pier for fishing and to get a view of Squaw Island.  
  • Access to the swimming beach is Adults $3 and children $2. 
  • Access to the rest of the Park and City Pier is free.

Wizard of Clay
  • See master potters in their workshop create handmade pieces. Shop the retail store and visit the nature trails. 
  • Free except for your purchases.
Apples at the Apple Farm

The Apple Farm
  • Almost in sight of Ganondagan, this is a family run farm where you can pick apples, buy baked goods, drink cider, and when in season, enjoy tractor rides and more. 
  • Free except for your purchases.

Powder Mills Park & Fish Hatchery
  • Trails and fish hatchery access is free. 
  • Suggest a couple of bucks in quarters for lots of squeals and giggles as the hatchery fish gobble up the fish food you can get from quarter-fed vending machines. 

I hope you visit us and some of our other local attractions soon!


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