From a leisurely stroll down the picturesque Hudson River waterfront to the historic charm of downtown, my family and I have found countless ways to fill our days with fun.
We've discovered that Yonkers' unique blend of natural wonders, cultural institutions, and kid-friendly eateries make it a vibrant playground for families to explore.
Let me share with you some of our favorite spots and activities that have won the hearts of my little ones and, I'm sure, will win the hearts of yours too.
So strap in, because you're about to embark on an exciting adventure around Yonkers.
Stroll through Untermyer Gardens
You wouldn't believe the serenity I found in my own backyard. Well, not literally my backyard, but close enough.
Untermyer Gardens, a wonderfully landscaped park that spans over 40 acres of land, has been my refuge for the past few years.
Nestled in the heart of Yonkers, this circa-1912 park offers an escape like no other.
Now, you might ask, what's so special about a park? The answer lies in its center, where a breathtakingly beautiful Persian Garden awaits.
And the cherry on top? The Hudson River views that take your breath away every single time.
I remember my first visit to the park. It was an unusually warm day, and I decided to take a detour from my usual jogging route.
The meticulously maintained garden oozed tranquility and peace, making me forget the hustle and bustle of my everyday life.
Parking is a breeze, and guess what? It's free! The staff is friendly and always ready to help.
I’ve explored the park at different times of the year, and it never ceases to amaze me.
The winter is especially delightful, with the garden illuminated by colorful lights and a hot chocolate stand serving the most delicious cocoa.
The park is no less than a paradise for couples. The stunning waterfall makes for the perfect backdrop for photo shoots.
I've taken countless pictures there without even needing a professional photographer.
My friends often think I've edited the photos, but believe me, the beauty of this park needs no embellishments.
Untermyer Gardens is more than just a park; it's my haven, my wonderland.
It truly is a gem in Yonkers, one that surprises me with its beauty every time I visit.
And the best part? It's not some far-off destination. It's right here, closer than you think.
Step back in Time at Sherwood House Museum
Ever taken a casual Saturday stroll and found yourself traveling back in time?
That's how I felt when I first visited the Sherwood House Museum.
Nestled away in our very own Yonkers, it's a time machine hidden in plain sight.
Believe it or not, the Sherwood House was established in 1740.
It's like a historical novel, but instead of reading it, you live it.
The ambiance, the architecture, everything screams history and heritage.
A trip here truly feels like being thrown back in time to the 18th century.
What's more intriguing is that the house still has some of its original items from when it was owned by a local doctor.
It's like the walls themselves are echoing stories of a bygone era.
The artifacts, the furnishings, every corner of Sherwood House Museum is a treasure trove of history, waiting to be explored and appreciated.
And let's not forget about the lovely gardens that surround the house.
They've been maintained beautifully, adding the perfect touch of serenity and natural beauty to the historical atmosphere.
Walking through the gardens, surrounded by nature, you can't help but feel at peace.
Learn about the Renewable Energy Initiatives of Groundwork Hudson Valley Science Barge
One sunny afternoon, I decided to explore a hidden gem in our city- the Groundwork Hudson Valley Science Barge, a floating farm teeming with life and learning.
The moment I stepped foot on the barge, I was greeted with a refreshing sight of various plants - a green oasis amidst the urban setting.
The guided tour of the facility was an enlightening experience.
The staff passionately explained how the barge houses all kinds of plants, and even how some insects are friends or foes to these botanical beings.
I was also amazed to learn that the barge was not dependent on the city's power grid.
They generate their own electricity using solar panels spread across the boat - a testament to their commitment to sustainability.
What I found more impressive was that the barge was more than just a floating garden.
It was an educational platform, welcoming everyone, from curious grade schoolers to science enthusiasts like me.
The kids in the group were fascinated as the staff showed them the water creatures they were studying.
The Groundwork Hudson Valley Science Barge is more than just a local attraction.
It's a classroom, a laboratory, and a garden, all floating peacefully on the Hudson River.
Walk Your Fido at Habirshaw Park
I've strolled through the quiet lanes of Yonkers more times than I can count, but it was only recently that I stumbled upon the hidden gem, Habirshaw Park.
Tucked away on the city's waterfront, this park is a small, peaceful retreat that stands out from the usual hustle and bustle of city life.
And the best part? It's a great place for my furry friend to stretch his legs and enjoy the outdoors.
From the park's paved parking lot, a leisurely walk leads you to a fence, a barrier that separates us city dwellers from the tranquil beauty of the Hudson River.
More than once, I've stood there, my breath catching at the stunning view of the river and the tidal marsh.
It's a place that encourages you to stop and appreciate the unique ecosystem thriving at our doorstep.
Habirshaw Park has a subtle charm.
It's a sanctuary that allows you to immerse yourself not just in nature, but also in contemplation about the environment.
Each visit leaves me contemplating the impact of coastal storms, the delicate balance of our ecosystem, and the need for conservation.
While it's not the typical children's park with slides and swings, Habirshaw Park offers something different.
It's a nature reserve in the heart of Yonkers, providing a slice of tranquillity amidst the urban setting.
A Day of Fun at Tibbetts Brook Park
Once in a while, I get a chance to go to Tibbetts Brook Park, my favorite local hideaway for family-friendly recreational activities.
Nestled in the heart of our community, this 161-acre park is a gem.
I'll tell you, there's nothing quite like taking a dip in the pool on a sunny summer afternoon.
After a hectic workweek, Mondays are my preferred day for a park visit.
Yes, it can get a little busy, with school groups and summer camps, but the crowd typically dissipates after half an hour or so.
For easy access, there's a parking lot near the entrance.
The fee is $5 with a park pass, or $10 without, provided you have an ID with a Westchester address.
My little one adores the Tibbetts Brook Park's lazy river.
Beware though, it's only 2 feet deep, so watch those knees.
Tthere are two deeper sections, each with a volleyball net and basketball hoops; it's quite a sight to see kids having a blast.
And did I mention the tubes?
They come in different sizes to cater to everyone!
If you are planning a visit with younger kids, the kiddie section is a hit, although it was a bit chilly during our last visit.
For the more adventurous, there are two massive slides, which require a bit of a hike up a mountain of steps.
But trust me, the thrill is worth the climb!
Defy Gravity at iFLY Indoor Skydiving
What's better than an adrenaline rush right in your own backyard?
A trip to iFLY Indoor Skydiving in Westchester answered that question for me.
My kids and I decided to jump right into a unique adventure on a lazy weekend afternoon.
The moment we hit their indoor skydiving facility, the buzz of excitement was palpable.
Yes, it did seem a bit pricey at first, but trust me, the whole experience is worth every cent.
The professional guides did an excellent job at making us feel safe while giving us the thrill of a lifetime.
My kids were all smiles as they soared high up in the air under the watchful eye of the instructor.
What made it extra special was the ease of access and their dedicated parking space, a real luxury in today's world.
Recently, my daughter attended a birthday party there.
Now, who would have thought of celebrating a birthday mid-air?
The sheer joy on her face was priceless. She's been raving about her 'best experience ever' since then.
They made sure the kids were confident and comfortable before they took their high-flying plunge.
It was an unforgettable experience for them, and for me, as a parent, it was rewarding to see them take on a thrilling challenge and enjoy it to the fullest.
iFLY Indoor Skydiving has definitely added a dash of thrill to our otherwise laid-back Westchester lives.
It's been a while, but the kids are already asking when we can go back.
Glimpse into the Heart of Emerging Art at Urban Studio Unbound
Finding solace in art has become a nightly ritual for me.
That's why I couldn't resist the allure of Urban Studio Unbound, a unique artist-run gallery that's just a short walk from my doorstep.
Nestled in a loft, this powerhouse for contemporary works offers a platform for emerging local artists to showcase their talent.
As I strolled through the gallery, I couldn't help but marvel at the stunning array of pieces on display.
Gone are the days of the old Warburton Gallery, as the new curator, a successful artist in his own right, has reinvigorated the space with his unique creations.
This is a welcome change from what I've seen from some Long Island galleries online, where the art can sometimes come across as mere children's scribbles.
At Urban Studio Unbound, the quality of the artworks truly stands out.
One particularly memorable experience was the Black Abstract Art show.
The collection offered a fascinating exploration of African American contemporary art, showcasing a rich variety that made for an engaging viewing experience.
What struck me the most was not just the excellent quality of the artworks on display, but also the warm and welcoming atmosphere the gallery exudes.
The people I've met there - both artists and fellow art lovers - have been nothing short of outstanding.
Marvel at the Elegance of W. B. Thompson Mansion
Believe me when I say, there is no place quite like the W. B. Thompson Mansion, a place that once echoed with the grandeur of its prime.
The mansion's majestic beauty is a sight to behold, even though, sadly, it is in a dreadful state of disrepair, and the walls are on the brink of crumbling down.
The opportunity to capture this architectural marvel is rare, as the mansion is private property.
However, I have managed to click a few pictures, until the security personnel spotted me and politely asked me to leave.
The mansion is so breathtaking that you'd wish you could sneak in just to get a glimpse of its timeless beauty.
Reflecting on what W. B. Thompson Mansion must've looked like in its heyday is a captivating experience.
The elaborate gardens, the sparkling water fountains, and the luxurious pools, all paint a picture of a time when opulence and grandeur marked every corner of this mansion.
As someone who has traveled around the world, I am yet to come across a sight that can rival the old-world charm of this mansion.
I find myself dreaming of what the future may hold for this magnificent edifice.
It has the potential to be a cultural hub, hosting art galleries or a museum, showcasing its splendid history to the world.
Surround Yourself with Butterflies at Lenoir Preserve
The serene Hudson River views from the preserve are truly breathtaking.
The air is fresh, the trails are well-maintained, and the whole atmosphere just brings peace to your mind.
However, the preserve is not vast. It only offers one trail which is less than a mile long. But believe me, the short walk is worth it.
One of the most enchanting features of the Lenoir Preserve is the seasonal butterfly garden.
Though my visit in February didn't offer the sight of butterflies, I can just imagine how magical it would be in the warmer months.
I could see myself coming back just to watch the butterflies dancing around the flowers.
Adding to the charm are the old homes or mansions, nestled right within the preserve.
Although you can't tour inside them, they present a pleasing sight from the outside and lend an air of old-world charm to the surroundings.
This little park is also a haven for dog owners.
Contrary to some information I found online, dogs are allowed at the preserve, provided they are on a leash.
There are even stations at the entrance supplying poop bags.
Despite its small size, the Lenoir Preserve offers a unique and tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Practice Your Skates at E J Murray Memorial Skating Center
If you're looking for an engaging way to spend the evening, stop searching, and head straight to the E J Murray Memorial Skating Center, a favorite among locals for years.
This place has so much to offer, and there's something for everyone, regardless of whether you're a first-time roller skater or a seasoned hockey player.
Imagine having your child’s birthday party here, a memorable roller skating experience with music filled atmosphere that keeps the energy up.
The staff has always been nothing short of fantastic—friendly, approachable, and ready to help out.
As for party arrangements, they allow you to reserve picnic-style tables at the entrance of E J Murray Memorial Skating Center where you can set up balloons and party decorations.
However, remember to carry only the cake from home, as outside food and drinks are not permitted.
But hey, they’ve got a concession stand where guests can order what they want and pay at the end.
Now, let's talk about the rink itself.
As it doubles as a hockey rink, you might find little bumps of raised paint while skating.
As long as you're cautious of them, you should be just fine.
The bathrooms here are really nice and have been updated over the years.
But if you're someone who prefers paper towels, you might be a little disappointed as they only have hand dryers - probably to prevent people from clogging the toilets with paper towels.
One thing to note, though, is that this place could do with some improvements.
For instance, it desperately needs small lockers like the ones you find at bowling alleys, and more seating in the main lobby.
They do have a few benches, but it’s not enough, especially when you need to change rentals for different sizes.
Also, consider carrying your pair of shoes along if you aren't comfortable walking barefoot.
Travel in Time at Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site
Ever had one of those days where you just want to slip back in time?
I found myself having one of those days recently, so I made a beeline for the Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site.
And let me tell you, it was a journey worth taking.
When you first step inside the Manor, you're greeted by a stunning rococo ceiling and a multitude of portraits that date back centuries.
It was built in 1682, making it a tangible piece of New York's rich history.
The Manor is one of the few remnants of the Dutch settlers who were the first Europeans in New York.
You can see their influence just about everywhere, especially in names like Brooklyn, Van Cortlandt, Yonkers, and Roosevelt.
To actually see and touch something they built, something they lived in, it’s a surreal experience.
If you've got the time, do explore their interactive exhibits.
Whether you're just passing through or planning on spending the day, you can tell a lot of effort has been put into renovating and maintaining this historic site.
The new exhibits are honestly a highlight.
They're clear, concise, and provide a deep dive into the lives of both Europeans and the indigenous and enslaved peoples during the colonial and pre-colonial era.
It paints a vivid picture of New York's past.
If you're keen on learning more, the staff is incredibly passionate and helpful.
They can provide more context and answer any questions.
Recently, they've added a new exhibit, and it’s a must-see.
It's informative, inclusive, and really gets you thinking about history from different perspectives.
The staff at Philipse Manor Hall is passionate about the history they're tasked to preserve, and they make sure to share that passion with their visitors.
Go Mountain Biking at Sprain Ridge Park
When I want to escape the urban hustle and surround myself with nature's serenity, my feet just automatically steer me towards Sprain Ridge Park.
Over the years, I've found it to be an ideal location for my hiking and mountain biking adventures.
The trails are well-marked and range from easy to challenging, perfect for beginners and experienced bikers alike.
On days when I prefer a leisurely stroll, I bring along my furry friend – the park is very welcoming to dogs.
And for those who enjoy a good barbecue, the park is equipped with designated areas, making it a perfect spot for family gatherings or casual get-togethers with friends.
The park’s amenities like restrooms and ample parking make the experience hassle-free.
One of my most memorable experiences was when I decided to take a dip in the Sprain Ridge pool one hot summer day.
I was impressed by the maintenance and service.
Sprain Ridge Park also features a kiddie pool for the little ones, and the best part is – parking is absolutely free!
Have a Family Time at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester
My daughter's eyes light up like a Christmas tree every time we head out for our special adventures to LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester.
It's this magical indoor attraction, perfect for those chilly winter days or the all-too-frequent rainy afternoons.
Imagine a world created entirely of LEGO bricks!
Now, that's what I call a childhood dream come true.
Packed with vibrant toy displays, thrilling rides, and even 4D films, this place is the perfect recipe for a whole day of fun.
However, don't let that fool you into thinking it's only for kids.
Us grown-ups have our fair share of fun too.
We've spent many an hour awed by the creativity and engineering behind the elaborate LEGO displays.
One memory that stands out, in particular, was when we attended a masterclass here.
My daughter and I got to construct our very own LEGO elephant, that could double up as an ice cream van.
The sheer delight on her face was priceless.
We also caught the new 4D movie, Dreamzz.
It was an immersive experience that had us ducking and dodging in our seats, trying to avoid the imaginary obstacles.
Of course, all this excitement can make one peckish.
Thankfully, the on-site cafe has us covered.
Be it a quick snack or a hearty meal, they whip up some really good grub. Do keep in mind, though, that they only accept cards.
In all, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester is a must-visit.
Whether it's a special occasion or just to shake up the everyday routine, it never disappoints.
Burn off Some Energy at Ridge Hill Playground
I've always had a soft spot for Ridge Hill Playground.
There's something incredibly refreshing about this quiet, clean space nestled away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
It's a safe haven where I can let my children burn off some energy and engage in play in a safe and clean environment.
Let me recall one sunny afternoon where my kids and I decided to spend the day at Ridge Hill Playground.
The sun was shining and the skies were a bold, brilliant blue, providing the perfect backdrop for a day of fun.
Despite its simplicity, the playground has a certain allure for children.
My little ones adore it here, and their laughter when they are running around free and wild is infectious.
The equipment is suitable for children aged four and up, as clearly stated on a signpost within the playground.
This guidance helps ensure that all the kids playing here have a safe and enjoyable time.
One little snag, though, is the lack of cash parking lots.
Have Some Bouncing Fun at Sky Zone Trampoline Park
I must confess, there's nothing quite as infectious as the sound of my children's laughter echoing throughout Sky Zone Trampoline Park.
The sheer joy on their faces as they bounce around is worth every penny.
The place is a barrel of laughs, and, let's face it, a fantastic way to get the kids to burn off some energy!
Sky Zone Trampoline Park is an amazing place to take your kids for a day of fun and excitement.
I took my 13-year-old there and she had a blast.
The park has sections designed specifically for different age groups, including a special area for toddlers.
It's pretty well maintained and the staff do a fantastic job at keeping things in order.
But of course, it's not all just about bouncing around.
They've got a few arcade games on the side, although in all honesty, you're better off saving your quarters for something else.
You can also host birthday parties there, they have special rooms for it with cake and pizza included in the packages - my daughter's eyes lit up at the very thought!
However, it's worth noting that the food at the park is a tad overpriced and not exactly gourmet, so you might want to plan your meals elsewhere.
Also, when we visited, it was a particularly hot day and there was no AC in the building which made the stay a little challenging.
It's hotter than a trampoline in the Sahara desert in there!
Other Things to Do Nearby
Soak in the Stunning Foliage at the Palisades Interstate Park
I've always found solace in nature's embrace, a trait that I feel grateful for, especially living near the beautiful Palisades Interstate Park.
This sprawling 2,500-acre riverfront park has been my refuge from the buzz of city life.
With over 30 miles of hiking and ski trails, it offers a perfect blend of tranquil solitude and adventurous exploration.
There's this day last autumn when I remember walking through the park, the air was filled with the aura of the vibrant fall foliage.
It was October 5th, the peak of the fall season, and the park was swathed in hues of gold and fiery reds.
An 8.5-mile hike, including the intimidating yet exhilarating giant steps, was on my agenda for the day.
The challenge was met with a surge of adrenaline and rewarded with breathtaking views at the summit.
One of my favorite spots is the shore trail.
Walking along the river, with the gentle rustle of leaves underfoot and the soft murmur of the river by your side, it's a symphony of nature that soothes the soul.
Yes, parking might cost a bit, and yes, the park authorities are strict about it, but the experience is worth every penny.
The park’s playgrounds are a hit amongst the young ones, always bustling with laughter and joy.
And if you’re lucky, you might spot a few inhabitants of the nature sanctuary, a sight that fills your heart with awe and respect for these creatures in their natural habitat.
With every visit to the Palisades Interstate Park, I find something new to cherish; a newfound trail, a hidden scenic spot, or simply a chance to lose myself in the comforting embrace of nature.
It is more than just a park; it's a sanctuary, a playground, a hiker's paradise, and a constant reminder of the simple beauty that the world holds.
Hike towards Alpine Lookout
Every now and then, when the hustle and bustle of life gets too much, I escape to Alpine Lookout.
Nestled at the edge of my hometown, it's my sanctuary, away from the chaos of the city.
There's something about gazing at the sprawling views that calms my mind.
The sweeping panoramas of the river and the distant New York skyline is a sight to behold.
The lookout is more than just a beautiful vista, it's a piece of history.
I've grown up listening to the tales of the American Revolution connected to this land.
On lazy afternoons, I often find myself walking along the trails, the same paths that have witnessed the footprints of history.
The "YOU ARE HERE" information board serves as a reminder of our place in the grand scheme of things.
The hike between the canyon and the highway is a delightful journey.
It's a routine I relish, a respite from the monotony.
The parking is ample, making it a convenient spot for family trips or quiet solitude.
I love the peaceful ambience of Alpine Lookout, just the sound of the river and the rustle of the leaves.
However, the sight of clutter left behind by some visitors often dampens my spirit.
I hope we learn to value and maintain the beauty of our natural spaces.
The fence near the edge might look a tad bit sketchy, but it doesn't interfere with the mesmerizing view.
On sunny days, I find it particularly comforting to walk along the edge, feeling the cool breeze on my face.
Unleash Your Creativity at Pelham Art Center
It was a day like any other, until I stumbled upon this gem of a place known as Pelham Art Center.
The moment I stepped in, I was greeted by friendly faces and the vibrant energy of the place was almost palpable.
The artwork on display had me in awe.
It's the kind of place that calms your mind and takes you to another world, a world filled with creativity and inspiration.
One thing that stood out to me was the variety of programs they offer.
It's not just about admiring the art, but also about learning and creating.
As an art enthusiast, this was a dream come true.
I've always wanted to learn more about art and Pelham Art Center offered me just that.
One of my favorite experiences here has been the playful mindfulness yoga class.
It's not just a yoga class, it's an experience.
It's a unique class designed for special needs kids and it's been a joy to see how these kids light up during the class.
But what really sets Pelham Art Center apart is how they bring the community together.
Their events are the talk of the city, especially during the spring and summer.
It's heartwarming to see people from all walks of life coming together to celebrate art and creativity.
Spot Local Wildlife at Tenafly Nature Center
Ever since I first set foot on the lush, green trails of Tenafly Nature Center, I've been completely smitten by its sheer natural beauty.
Think 400 acres of pristine forest land, alive with the sweet sound of birds and the soft rustling of leaves in the breeze.
It’s been a sanctuary for me, especially during these stressful times.
One of my favorite parts about this place is their guided hikes.
Guided by experienced hikers, these trips offer a fascinating look into the heart of nature.
The chirping of birds provides a magical background score and trust me, it feels like nature is speaking to you.
Sometimes, if you are lucky, you might even spot a deer or two grazing peacefully.
Another gem is the fairy trail, a magical path that weaves its way around the nature center.
There's something about this trail that transforms adults back into children, and kids?
Well, let's just say their eyes light up like sparklers on Independence Day.
The trails at Tenafly Nature Center are easy and accessible, making them perfect for a leisurely stroll with kids or even a bit of solo venturing.
Even though the place is located close to residential areas, it's usually quiet and peaceful.
Though occasionally, you might hear a lawn mower or some other equipment from the nearby homes.
One thing you need to be mindful of though - the mosquitoes.
They can be particularly bad in mid-July.
So, if you're planning a visit around that time, be sure to pack your bug repellant.
I must give a shout out to the dedicated staff at the nature center.
They've done an impressive job of adapting to the pandemic, taking measures to make the place safe without compromising on the experience.
See History Come to Life at Kearney House
Every time I visit the Kearney House, I'm transported back in time.
The last standing structure from the bustling waterfront era, it's more than just a house.
It's a living testament to the rich history of our area, harking back to the time of quarries, taverns, and flourishing businesses.
This stunningly preserved structure is perched on the cliffs, overseeing the sprawling landscape.
Its roots run deep into the era of the revolutionary war, encapsulating centuries of stories within its walls.
Over the years, it has served multiple purposes, each adding a new layer to its history.
Nowadays, the Kearney House serves as a stage for reenactments, bringing the past to life right before our eyes.
It's a sight to behold, watching the scenes from yesteryears unfold against the backdrop of this historic structure.
But it's not always a predictable spectacle.
The schedule for these reenactments isn't published, and you never really know when the next one will be.
Despite the unpredictability, each visit to the Kearney House is an experience in itself.
However, I do wish there was a small museum on the premises.
Displaying artifacts used in the house during its heyday would add another layer to its rich tapestry of history.
But even without this, the Kearney House remains a true gem, a treasure chest of stories waiting to be discovered.
There's a wealth of treasures waiting to be discovered, especially for families looking for ways to spend quality time together.
Whether you're a lover of history, nature, or just want some fun, Yonkers has got you covered.
Our city is more than just a place to live; it's an ever-evolving adventure waiting to be explored, a canvas full of colorful experiences that continues to add beautiful memories to our family's album.