Since most children in the Capital Region are on winter break this year from December 21 – January 1, many parents may find themselves scrambling for last-minute things to do to keep the kids entertained. Not surprisingly, there are quite a few kid-friendly winter activities that are good for children of varying ages, low cost, educational and also fun!
Visit/Pictures with Santa – Colonie Center Shopping Mall
Santa Visits/Pictures | Saturday, December 21 & Monday, December 23, 2019 | 11 am – 9 pm
Sunday, December 22, 2019 | 11 am – 6 pm
Tuesday, December 24, 2019 | 9 am – 5 pm
Wolf Road & Central Avenue Northway Exit 2E.
Albany, NY, 12205
Don’t forget to plan a visit with Santa this holiday season at the Colonie Center shopping mall. Santa will be at the mall for pictures during the holiday break. A visit with Santa is FREE and photos are an additional cost. Here is more information.
Children’s Museum of Science and Technology (CMOST), 250 Jordan Road, Troy, NY 12180
CMOST is closed from December 24 – 26, 2019 in observance of the holiday. However, children under 12 receive free admission every Saturday at CMOST as part of GE Kids in Free Days. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 am – 4 pm during the school year. Regular admission is $8 per person for children ages 2 and older. On Thursdays, children ages 2-6 can improve motor skills with hands-on sensory science activities. On Fridays, children of all ages can participate in creative art activities. Here is more information.
Come explore exhibits like construction junction, tinker space, move it/shake it, nature place, nano exploration and more with your children during the holiday break this year.
Daily admission is free for members, $8 for children (3-12), $12 for adults (13+) and $10 for seniors (65+). The museum is closed on December 24, 25 & 26. Here is more information.
Holiday Vacation Week at the New York State Museum
December 23, 26, 27, 28 & 29, 2019 | 11 am – 4 pm
New York State Museum, 222 Madison Avenue Albany, NY 12230
The New York State Museum is free to attend and they have a few special exhibits to check out for some educational family fun. Programs highlight the Erie Canal, WW I and women’s suffrage. Here is a full schedule and more information.
Kids Day Off Bowling Specials
December 23, 26, 27, 30, 2019| 9 am
Saratoga Strike Zone, 522 Ballston Avenue, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Did you know that Saratoga Strike Zone has ‘Kid’s Day Off’ specials? They have dates posted through April 2020, including four days during this upcoming winter break. For $14 per person, you get two hours of bowling, shoe rental, two slices of pizza, soda, bumper card rides and ballocity usage. Here is more information.
Palace Theater Movie Series: Moana Family Fun Day
Thursday, December 26, 2019 | 12 pm
19 Clinton Ave, Albany, NY 12207
It’s Family Fun Day at the Palace Theater; only $5 per person and children under the age of 12 can get FREE popcorn. There are pre-film games and activities followed by a showing of Moana. Here is more information.
Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center & Thacher State Park
Holiday Family Fun at Thacher Nature Center | Thursday, December 26, 2019 | 9 am – 5 pm
Cardinals in Snow Art Workshop at Thacher Nature Center | Friday, December 27, 2019 | 2 – 4 pm
87 Nature Center Way Voorheesville, NY 12186
If the weather is not too cold this winter break, then try some nature activities. The Cardinals in Snow Art Workshop is a guided painting class, recommended for children ages 8 and older with a fee of $10 for materials.
The Holiday Family Fun Day is for children of all ages. Activities include indoor games, challenges, puzzles, puppets, outdoor hiking and snowshoeing. Some events require registration. Here is more information.
Art for All
Family Crest Printmaking | Saturday, December 28, 2019 | 10 am – 4:30 pm
Bring your family to the museum and spend the day being creative! Adults and children of all ages are welcome to join us in the Albany Institute art studio on Saturdays for drop-in art-making. Activities are based on our current exhibitions and include techniques involving painting, drawing, multimedia work, collage and more! Free with museum admission & always free for museum members. Here is some more information.
Empire “Skate Plaza – Part of Winter at the Plaza
Ice Skating at the Empire State Plaza | Monday, December 30, 2019 – Sunday, January 5, 2020 | 12 pm – 8 pm daily
Now in its 9th year, the tremendously popular Empire State Plaza Ice Rink is open daily from Noon – 8:00 pm and skating is FREE. The rink closes for maintenance at certain times depending on the day. Located in the shadow of Albany’s majestic State Capitol, amenities include lockers, skate rentals, and refreshments. Here is more information on daily hours, skate rentals and instructional clinics!
Now in its 23rd year, First Night Saratoga, is a Saratoga Springs tradition. Every year, Saratoga Arts team up with 30 partner venues, over 40 sponsors, 300+ artists, and 150 volunteers to present the largest New Year’s Eve celebration between New York City and Montreal. First Night Saratoga has something for everybody – music in all genres, magic, mind arts, and more! A button (ticket) costs $20 for adults and children over 12 years old ($15 if purchased online or at Saratoga Arts between November 5 – December 25). Children who are under 12 years old are FREE with the purchase of one adult button (one child per adult). Fireworks display at midnight! Here is more information.
Don’t forget to check out your local library during the holiday break as there are sometimes some free activities and programs for young children offered!