Greene County Mixes Old-Fashion Family Fun with Action-Packed Adventure
Nestled between the Northern Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River about two-hour drive north of New York City, Greene County offers families an easy escape from day-to-day pressures and fun for everyone from toddlers to teens.The area is known for balancing good old-fashion family fun with action-packed adventure.
Families can get up close and personal with the exotic and farm animals at Bailiwick Ranch & Discovery Zoo in Catskill or call ahead to Armstrong's Elk Farm in Cornwallville for a rare look at Rocky Mountain elk.Horseback riding along scenic mountain trails or gentle pony rides are available at five different ranches and equestrian centers.
When it's time to cool down, families head to Zoom Flume Waterpark in East Durham, where there are body slide rides, wild and lazy rivers and water attractions ranging from "The Black Vortex" to "Water Wars."Two other great spots for swimming are Dolan's Lake and North and South Lakes, which also offer fishing and rowboat rentals.
Active families will love hiking in Greene County and discovering hidden gems like Pratt Rocks (dubbed the Mount Rushmore of the East by some), Diamond Notch Falls or Kaaterskill Falls, the highest cascading waterfall in New York State.For 360-degree views of the high peaks of the Catskill Mountains, visitors can ride the Hunter Mountain Skyride and hike two miles up to the fire tower at the summit.Numerous nature preserves also offer trails and self-guided tours.
To step back in time, load the kids in the car for a night at one of Greene County's two drive-in movie theaters.Families will get a kick out of going to Purling Roller Rink, a traditional 1950s era roller rink, or knocking down the nine pins at Hoe Bowl Lanes.
Families with hard-to-please teenagers should make a beeline to one of several paintball parks to see why the game is one of America's fastest growing sports.Windham Mountain Adventure Park rounds out the action with a skateboard park, rock climbing wall and bungee trampoline, while Bear Creek offers great mini golf and a driving range for duffers of all ages.Those with a need for speed can head straight to Supersonic Speedway to get their hearts pumping behind the wheel of a go-kart.
Summer also brings plenty of family-friendly fairs and festivals to Greene County. Don't miss the 2009 "Cat 'n Around Catskill" celebration, when more than 60 fabulous feline fiberglass statues hand-decorated by local artisans will line a mile-long stretch of Main Street in Catskill all summer long to help celebrate the state's 400th Anniversary of Henry Hudson exploring the river that now bears his name. In nearby Cairo, the "Bears & Butterflies" public art exhibition combines statues of bears, each individually painted by local artists with scenes relevant to Henry Hudson's life and legacy, with a fun "Explore with Henry Hudson" treasure map.
The Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival on July 16-19, a Civil War Music Heritage Gathering and Encampment in Windham on July 31 through August 2 and Rip Van Winkle's Wacky Raft Race on the Hudson River on August 16, are among other special events to put on the calendar.
In terms of lodging, Greene County offers a wide range of options, including full-service hotels, motels, condos, cabins, campgrounds and nearly a dozen family-oriented resorts with atmospheres and amenities that bespeak an era nearly gone by. Most of the family resorts are all-inclusive, offering three hearty meals a day, with children's counselors and social directors to keep the kids busy with swimming, boating, bocci, shuffleboard and other fun and games, while parents relax by the pool, play a round of golf or enjoy evening cocktail parties, dancing and other entertainment.Picture Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in the classic movie "Dirty Dancing."
For more information on visiting Greene County, including lodging and dining options and a complete calendar of events, visit www.greenetourism.com or call (800) 355-2287.