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wooden playground
Accessible Playground in Stewart Park
 family kayaking and golf cart in background
Family Fun for Everyone
Kayak together or enjoy one of our public golf courses.

10 Things to Do with Kids in Ithaca

Here are 10 Ideas for Things to Do with Kids in Ithaca that are Now Open

Ithaca area attractions, lodging, and restaurants have responded to COVID-19 with the utmost professionalism. Here’s a list of recommended activities to do with kids, often free or budget-friendly for families, that will provide a fun experience for exploring and learning through summer and fall. Planning a staycation or overnight getaway? Depending on who’s in your pandemic pod, you’ll find something for family members of all ages and all abilities to enjoy. Many of these actives will require a reservation. Please plan ahead. For anyone planning a visit, please consider that many of our independently-owned businesses and small non-profit organization are continuing to  adjust offerings and protocol on a weekly basis.

 

1. The Sciencenter

This interactive children’s science museum has reopened with modifications to their offerings, inclusion and safety remain core values. Reserve your time in advance. The outdoor mini golf is included free with all admission, and fun for the whole family. This museum is a member of the Discovery Trail. See their website for additional learning resources.

 

2. Museum of the Earth

The Museum will be open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10 am–5 pm, with advanced ticket reservations required. Fossils, bees, geology – this museum's exhibits are geared toward older children and adults. See their website for additional learning resources. This museum is a member of the Discovery Trail.

museum of the earth bee exhibit

3. Discover Cayuga Lake and School’s Out Charters

Discover Cayuga Lake offers educational and fun boat cruises with a variety of themes aboard the MV Teal. School's Out Charters provides private boat charters for family pods of up to 6 people on a 29’ luxury vessel to enjoy a sunset cruise on Cayuga Lake. Bring your own food and drink, and your family will love the photo opportunities! Reservations required for both boat experiences. Inquire about additional chartered boat cruise options.

 

4. Paddle on Cayuga Lake

Kayak, stand up paddleboard, or canoe! Outfitters have rentals available from Taughannock Blvd, Taughannock Falls Park, and Myers Park in Lansing. Teens over 15 years old can go out on their own as long as a parent or guardian is present at the time of rental, policies are subject to change. Advance reservations are required.

 

5. The History Center

By reservation only, for group up to 15 people. You will have the exhibit space all to yourself. In 2019, The History Center moved to the Tompkins Center for History & Culture on the Downtown Commons. You will find numerous interesting stories about how Ithaca and Tompkins County have had a role in shaping history. See their website for additional learning resources. This museum is a member of the Discovery Trail.

 

6. Ithaca Children’s Garden

Free, and open to everyone. With many of the features designed for the discovery and play of young children, the whole family will be inspired at this 3-acre naturescape. It is located near the Cayuga Waterfront Trail, for additional walking and biking opportunities. See their website for additional learning resources and scheduled programs.

Gaia at Ithaca Childrens Garden

7. Stewart Park at the head of Cayuga Lake


Stewart Park and the Cayuga Waterfront Trail were never actually closed, it’s worth noting however that this gem of a public park at the head of Cayuga has additional outdoor family fun. An all-accessible playground, fishing spots, picnic table, and wide paved paths for walking/biking/running.
TIP: Bike Rentals is located in Stewart Park at the Ithaca Youth Bureau. Make a reservation in advance, a variety of bike styles are available along with helmets and safety gear: www.ithacabikerental.com/rental-information.html

Although hours of operation and visitor policies may have changed in response to COVID-19, see our list of Accessible Family Fun ideas to inspire your future visits.

 

8. Explore Downtown Ithaca

Stroll downtown Ithaca and enjoy the public art and eclectic shops on The Commons. Check out IthacaMurals.com to learn more about the artists and themes that may catch your kid’s eye. Teens enjoy the freedom to explore the Commons on their own, there are plenty of casual eateries with everything from giant sandwiches to custom waffles and healthy plant-based snacks. Independently owned shops include The Brain Shoppe with puzzles of all shapes and challenge levels, Comics for Collectors at a new location on West State St, and Angry Mom Records. For families wanting to stay in the heart of downtown, the Hilton Garden Inn has been recently remodeled and offers a pool (please note due to COVID-19 safety protocols there is a limit to how many people can be in the pool area at one time).

teenagers at downtown commons crosswalk


Families with pre-teens and teenagers will also find much to explore outside of Ithaca. 
 

9. Ringwood Raceway

Located half-way between Ithaca and Cortland 1/6 mile kart track is seriously fun and open until 8pm on most nights. Double-seat karts are also available for any passengers that may require special assistance to participate. View their website for more information. 

 

10. Greek Peak Mountain Resort

Just 30 minutes from Ithaca. Although many attractions and amenities have remained closed due to COVID-19 precautions, there is still outdoor fun to be had. Take it easy on a sky tour chair lift ride, our book time on the zip line tour an ropes course. Mountain Bike trails are also open. View their website for more information.

 

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Ithaca/Tompkins County Convention & Visitors Bureau
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