The Palisades Center Mall in Rockland County offers enough kid-friendly activities to spend an entire day there: a Ferris wheel, carousel, ropes course, ice-skating rink, indoor play space, and much more.
Spending the day in the mall has come a long way over the years. What used to be a place mostly for shopping, eating and people watching has evolved, in many cases, to a full blown family-fun destination. The Palisades Center Mall in West Nyack, NY—just over the Tappan Zee Bridge for anyone coming from Westchester or NYC--has a huge range of fun offerings for all ages. You can spend an entire day at Palisades Mall with your family without stepping foot into a retail store if you don’t want to, and your kids will be delighted with the activities they can choose from. After all, it’s one of the largest malls in the U.S. and even has its own indoor Ferris wheel!
RELATED: Find out about the best family activities happening near you!
Billy Beez at the Palisades Center Mall
The sheer size of this indoor play space, along with its range of physical activities and intricate colorful obstacles easily exceed kid’s expectations. The security and cleanliness at Billy Beez more than satisfy parents’ requirements.
When you pay admission each guardian and child receives a wristband with a barcode printed with an ID number. Once all IDs are verified, you're allowed access beyond the gated entry and into an expansive 26,000-square-foot play arena. No one is allowed to leave the facility without having their wristbands checked and matched to their guardians’.
Just inside the entrance is an area of storage cubes to stash your belongings and shoes. This area tends to get very busy, so to avoid the congestion we skipped the cubbies. Instead we piled our winter coats and shoes in our stroller then parked it in the very back of the facility. This was also our designated meeting place if anyone got separated.
Many parts of the facility feel like a hamster’s maze of tunnels , which isn’t always a parent’s idea of a good time. However seeing the twinkle in my daughter’s eyes when experiencing this sensory wonderland made the adventure worth it.
Older kids can easily play together without a guardian tagging along. And with free WIFI, many parents sat at the back tables with their laptops and seemed to tune out the frenzy of squeals around them.
Tips for Visiting Billy Beez
- Bring socks.
- Dress in pants, jeans or leggings for more comfortable crawling through tubes and less sticking on the slides.
- Pick a meeting spot at which to gather if you get separated.
- No outside food our drinks allowed. They have a cafe with reasonable prices. I brought in our own water, which was not an issue.
- Monday to Friday are their quieter days.
- Free Wifi is available.
- Billy Beez offers babysitting in two-hour segments, but this has to be arranged 24 hours in advance. Great idea for a date night at the movie theater or bowling alley within the mall.
RELATED: Find indoor play spaces in your community.
Food Court, Ferris Wheel & Carousel at the Palisades Center Mall
The main food court at the Palisades Center has typical restaurant options but the mall also has a welcome range of higher-end restaurants. After working up an appetite we opted to eat in the food court and picked up food from three different restaurants.
There is a large Ferris wheel at one end of the food court and a charming double-decker carousel at the other end. It felt more like we were at an amusement park than a mall.
Rides on the Ferris wheel are $2.50/person and on the carousel are $2.50/person. Discounts are available for five people or more.
Palisades Center Ice Rink
After our meal we walked up to the fourth floor to the Palisades Center Ice Rink. This facility is huge and open to the public, so you can walk right into the skating arena and even watch for a while from the bleachers. Palisades Ice offers many public skate hours, along with private lessons and private events. Their rates are very reasonable and their ice quality was impressive. It has recently been renovated and it feels very new.
RELATED: Find more ice-skating rinks in Rockland, Westchester, Fairfield, and NYC.
Palisades Climb Adventure
The Palisades Climb Adventure the world’s tallest indoor ropes course. What that means is that kids and adults can navigate a network of obstacles within five levels of rope configurations, right in the middle of the mall. While climbing you're surrounded by people walking around shopping and gawking at teetering participants on tight ropes and planks. Its a very surreal experience, but was so much fun for us.
My anxiety peaked while we were harnessed, waiting our turn to leave the comfort of the mall floor and step into the climbing structure. Once we entered the course I was relieved, as it felt very safe and solid. We were securely strapped into a seat and chest harness, which connected to a guidable cable. You actually steer this cable along a track as you navigate through the course. The harness is extremely secure and you can't get the device out of the track, so there is really no risk of you falling. In addition, the metal platforms and stairs connecting all five levels provide many opportunities to take a deep breath as you strategize your next obstacle.
The course has varying obstacles and difficulty levels. You choose your own experience as you pick which turns you want to take all along the way. You can do all of the challenges or just portions. In total there are 75 different challenges, including a tremor bridge, tension traverse, a cargo net, two line rope bridge, a vertical rope ladder, an alternating spaghetti hand line and a three line lumber rope bridge.
My 4-year-old daughter surprised me with her level of confidence. She quickly picked up on how to steer the harness contraption, and showed only a little hesitation on her first tightrope walk. After the tightrope she eagerly embraced all of the challenges ahead. The staff commented that younger kids are often braver. In our case this was true, I was definitely more hesitant than she was.
Friendly staff were stationed throughout the course. They were willing to jump in with encouragement and even held some frightened participants hands and harnesses across some obstacles when needed. There was a large age and size range of people on the course.
Tips for Visiting Palisades Climb Adventure
- You have to be 42 inches tall to participate in the main climbing course. However, there is a smaller course option for kids less than 48 inches. Guardians have to accompany all minors and anyone under 48 inches.
- No one over 80 inches tall (6’8”) is allowed on the course, and the maximum weight limit is 300 pounds.
- Wear closed shoes. My daughter and I wore regular winter boots and they were fine.
- Wear pants or jeans, no skirts or dresses are allowed.
- All pockets have to be empty and no phones are allowed out on the course.
- They have free small lockers.
- There is no place for stroller parking unless someone in your party stays with it.
- It takes about 45 to 60 minutes to complete the course.
RELATED: Find sports programs to keep your child active and entertained after school.
More Family Actitivities at the Palisades Center Mall
By the time the ropes adventure was wrapped up it was getting dark and we were ready to call it a day to head home. But not before taking note of all the kid-focused things to do that we still wanted to come back and try at the Palisades Center:
- A rock-climbing wall and laser tag at New York Sports Club
- Dave & Busters
- Lucky Strike Lanes bowling alley
- AMC Theatres
- Imax Theater
- Levity Live Comedy Club
- Build A Bear Workshop
- Next up for the mall: The world's largest indoor go-karting facility is set to open there soon.
Palisades Mall is a surprisingly fun family destination. We can’t wait to return for more adventures…and I have to admit, I can’t wait to go back to actually shop.
Never hear 'I'm bored' again with our weekly family-activities newsletter!