Kids’ Almanac (August 7-14)

(Zoom Flume)

(Zoom Flume)

“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air’s salubrity.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson


Watery wonderlands: Zoom Flume & SplashDown Beach

We’re lucky to have two dedicated water parks in our area, Zoom Flume and SplashDown Beach, and our family enjoys both of them. Both parks hold appeal for all ages with their variety of slides, wave pools and eateries. Zoom Flume also has some wonderful established foliage, so you can relax in naturally shady spots when you want a break from the sun. And did you know that outside food is allowed at Zoom Flume?

SplashDown Beach is accessible and easy to get to, since it’s right off Route 9 and close to all of the main roads. And if you’re wishing that you could feel the sand between your toes without driving another hour, you’re in luck: Splashdown has two lounge chair areas, complete with sand.


I was pleasantly surprised by some of the park updates this year. If you’ve been curious to try ziplining before committing to an afternoon or a day of it, Zoom Flume now offers the Gravity Gorge zipline for ages 7 and up. One ride costs $8, or you can take two rides for $12.

I noticed Splashdown’s new Safari Outpost attraction while in line for the Cowabunga slides. I looked around and thought to myself, “Ha, that’s funny – that looks like a tiger resting in a pen down there. Wait, what? That’s a tiger down there!” Safari Outpost does daily animal shows except on Mondays, included with park admission.

Day rates at Zoom Flume are $27.99 per person, $20.99 for children age 7 and under. Children ages 2 and under get in free. Zoom Flume also offers a spectator pass for $20.99 for anyone interested in just sunning and picnicking. SplashDown’s rates are $28, and they offer military discounts and half-day pricing as well as cabana rentals. Both parks offer online ticketing, group rates and locker rentals. Get there soon: Both parks’ last day of the season is Monday, September 1.

Zoom Flume Water Park is located at 20 Shady Glen Road in East Durham. For more information, call (800) 888-3586 or visit Splashdown Beach is located at 16 Old Route 9 in West Fishkill. For more information, call (845) 897-9600 or visit


Hudson Valley first aid products

’Tis the season for all things outdoors, which means that you may need to upgrade your first-aid arsenal. Here are three local products to help you and your family heal all kinds of hurts this summer and all year ’round. Or give them as gifts and impress anyone in the world with your savvy locally sourced selections.

Topricin: I am so fascinated by this product and its origins that I’m going to tell you more about it in a future Kids’ Almanac column. My friends swear by this homeopathic pain relief cream for muscle soreness. You want this in your medicine cabinet at home, as well as in your car for muscle support after laps at the Ulster County Pool or hiking Bonticou Crag in New Paltz. The company is based in Rhinebeck. (800) 959-1007,

Holistic First Aid Kits: You’d prefer natural alternatives for treating the mishaps that come up during s’mores-making over a campfire, or scrapes and bruises from flashlight-tag-turned-wrestling with the cousins, but you don’t have the time or energy to set something up. That’s where Dragonfly Holistic First Aid Kits and Travel Holistic First Aid Kits come in, including homeopathic remedies and locally made Three Sisters Herbals products. Dragonfly Holistic is based in Poughkeepsie and Rhinebeck.,

Insect Sting Ointment: Regular readers already know how I feel about Wright Naturals Bug Stuff Herbal Insect Repellent, which works on me like an off-switch for mosquitos. But how about an off-switch for pain or itching for the bugs that do get you? Or poison ivy? Or splinters? Just keep a jar of Insect Sting Ointment in your backpack, and you’ll always be prepared, especially if your crew refuses to wear shoes all summer. Wright Naturals is located in Tillson.


Summer reading for NYC expats

Here’s a great summer read for you: Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York, edited by Kingston’s Sari Botton. It’s a terrific book for any time of year, but I think that its 28-essay format, rather than one continuous story, each inspired by Joan Didion’s famous essay of the same title, especially lends itself to summertime, where you might find yourself interrupted at unpredictable intervals between sandcastle-building and ice cream-licking and mini-golfing.

If you are a New Yorker who moved upstate to the Hudson Valley, you’re in good company: There are a lot of you here, especially after having kids, and this book will connect with some of that experience. But what about the rest of us – those of us who never lived in New York City, who don’t have any particular allegiance to a specific café or even a neighborhood? I am telling you, this is an anthology for all of us.

I loved it because while the themes are centered around New York, it’s more than that: It’s about that time in our lives when we were establishing who we were, when anything felt possible and a significant amount of discomfort could be tolerated to achieve that vision. And we live that way for a while. And then what? “It all changes – even institutions, even concrete towers, even, or perhaps most of all, our very selves,” notes Dani Shapiro in her raw piece about betrayal of her younger self, “My City.” Sure, the references in Goodbye are all about Gotham, but Meghan Daum’s contribution, “My Misspent Youth,” also feels like financial therapy (is that a thing?). Kids’ Almanac readers will connect with plenty of Botton’s Goodbye: as grownups making different choices from their youth, valuing new priorities; as parents with kids of their own; and as individuals whose lives headed in a different direction from what was planned, or sometimes even desired.

I left Goodbye to All That wanting a sequel, and good news! Botton’s next book, Never Can Say Goodbye: Writers on Their Unshakable Love for New York, comes out in October. I recommend Goodbye to All That for anyone living anywhere, but it feels extra-special to read it when you live right here. For more information, visit To learn more about the editor, who runs the Anvil Gallery in Uptown Kingston with her husband Brian Macaluso, visit