Kids’ Almanac (12/28 –1/4)

Children’s New Year’s Eve celebrations

“When I grow up, I’m going to be a grownup.”
– overheard in New Paltz

Well, kids, here’s to another year closer to growing up! Bring in the New Year in style – and in daylight! Here are some local New Year celebrations geared for all ages, and they all take place on Sunday, December 31. They’re listed in order of start times.

New Year’s at Noon is hosted by the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. We’re talking dancing, crafts, hands-on activities, storytelling and a gourmet hot chocolate bar. New Year’s at Noon costs $14 for general admission, $10 for members. This event sells out every year, so call ahead and reserve your spots! The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum is located at 75 North Water Street in Poughkeepsie. For tickets or more information, call (845) 471-0589 or visit


A Children’s New Year’s Eve Party takes place from 12 noon to 3 p.m. at Hyde Park Roller Magic and includes roller skating, games, noisemakers, prizes, a photo booth and a countdown to the balloon-drop finale! Admission for non-skating adults is free; non-skating kids pay $7; skating costs $7; skate rentals are available for $2 for quads and $4 for blades. Hyde Park Roller Magic is located at 4178 Albany Post Road in Hyde Park. For more information, call (845) 229-6666 or visit

A Family New Year’s Eve Party happens at Wood’n Wheel from 12 noon to 3:30 p.m., with skating, hats, horns and a big-finish balloon-drop! Admission costs $11 per person, and skate rentals cost $3.50. Wood’n Wheel is located at 365 Broadway (Route 9W) in Ulster Park. For more information, call (845) 331-9680 or visit or

New Paltz Eve is packed with fun, is alcohol/drug-free and open to all ages! Beginning at 1 p.m., activities include a scavenger hunt, storytelling, singalong, crafts, live entertainment, a community dinner, an early-evening movie at the New Paltz Cinemas and more! All activities are free of charge. For more information, visit or

First Day hikes

Looking for a fresh start in the New Year? How about a family hike? Here are some ideas to get you started on Day One, in order of start times. All hikes take place on Monday, January 1.

The First Day Hike at Sam’s Point offers treks from 9:30 a.m. to 12 noon, and again from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Depending on snow levels, this three-mile hike can be done on foot, or snowshoes can be rented for $5. Preregistration is required. The Minnewaska State Park Preserve at Sam’s Point is located at 400 Sam’s Point Road in Cragsmoor. For more information or to register, call (845) 647-7989 or visit

The Moderate Hike at Mills Norrie State Park is a four-mile trail walk, complete with Hudson River views. This hike takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and snowshoes or spikes may be necessary, depending on conditions. Mills Norrie State Park is located at 9 Old Post Road in Staatsburgh. For more information, call (845) 471-9892 or visit (Please tell Georgette I say Hello!)

The First Day Hike at Olana begins at 11 a.m., with check-in at 10:30 a.m. This 1.5-mile walk is an easy, relatively flat hike along the carriage roads and open to all ages. Leashed pets are welcome. Admission is free. The Olana State Historic Site is located at 5720 Route 9G in Hudson. For more information or to register, call (518) 828-1872 or visit

The First Day Hike at Minnewaska State Park Preserve, a/k/a the Mossy Glen Snowshoe Hike, is a 3.5-mile snowshoe outing taking place from 1 to 4:30 p.m., or a regular hike if snow levels are low. A limited number of snowshoes are available to borrow from the park’s Education Department at the Peter’s Kill area, down the road from Minnewaska. Meet up for the excursion at the Awosting Parking Area, located at 5281 Route 44/55 in Kerhonkson. Preregistration is required. For more information or to register, call (845) 255-0752 or visit

The First Day Hike at Bash Bish Falls begins at 1 p.m. and ends with hot cocoa and a fire. This three-mile hike is free and open the public, and leashed pets are welcome. Snowshoes or Yak Tracks will be available in the event of snow or ice. Meet up at the Taconic State Park’s Copake Falls Area park office, located at 253 Route 344 in Copake Falls. For more information or to register, call (518) 329-3993 or visit

The New Year’s Day Hike at Vassar College utilizes paved paths to explore the campus. If it’s warm enough, the hike may shift to Vassar Farms. This easy walk is free and open to the public. Meet up at 1 p.m. at the Collegeview Parking Lot via the Vassar North Gate, and finish at the leader’s house for soup and sides. Vassar College is located at 124 Raymond Avenue in Poughkeepsie. For more information, call (845) 471-9892 or visit

The First Day Hike at Walkway over the Hudson features donkeys from Little Brays of Sunshine. If you prefer heights to woods, and you want to choose your means of hiking (walking, cycling, running or skating), this is the event for you! Starting at 2 p.m., this hike is free and open to the public at both Walkway entrances, and you can even try your luck in the raffle. Leashed pets are welcome. Walkway over the Hudson entrances are located at 87 Haviland Road in Highland and at 61 Parker Avenue in Poughkeepsie. For more information or to register, call (845) 454-9649 or visit

In Search of Saw-Whets is a hike for quiet birders who are curious to discover some of these adorable owls’ winter hideouts. It’s free and open to the public, but registration is required for this hike, which takes place from 5 to 8 p.m. For more information or to register (including learning the meet-up spot), contact guide Peter Schoenberger at (914) 466-2707 or at, or visit

The New Year’s Full Moon Hike at Tymor Forest is a 1.5-mile hike taking place from 7 to 8:30 p.m., followed by hot cocoa and coffee. Bring your desire to stargaze, but leave the pets at home for this one. Tymor Forest is located at 8 Tymore Park Road in Lagrangeville. For more information, call (845) 724-5691 or visit

Find opportunities to volunteer via UlsterCorps

Aside from, “Have you heard the latest news about Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson?”, the question you ask me most is, “Where can my kids and I volunteer?” Here you go, one of my favorite organizations: Ulster Corps. Whether you and/or your family are looking for a chance to serve in your community, or you are looking for volunteers to help out with an event that you’re organizing, UlsterCorps is a fantastic index of opportunities with a variety of dates, times and responsibilities. Start your New Year with a commitment to helping others with a simple click, and get inspired to get involved. See for yourself at

Holiday vacation week at New York State Museum

Are you looking for fun and educational activities for your crew? The New York State Museum is ready for us! Every day through December 31, kids can enjoy activities, from a cool 3-D paper-star craft workshop to a sock-knitting gathering to a Votes for Women story hour and more! This week’s programs are free and open to the public of all ages.

The New York State Museum is located at 222 Madison Avenue in Albany. For more information and a complete schedule, call (518) 474-5877 or visit


Mariapolis Luminosa: final weekend coming up

Have you ever seen more than 200 nativity scenes in one spot? Well, hustle over to Mariapolis Luminosa for a jaw-dropping display of mangers from around the world, constructed from every material you can think of, from shells to stones to wood to porcelain and much more. Over 50 countries are represented in this tremendous collection that is sure to appeal to all ages. Admission is by a suggested donation of $5 per person.

The nativity display is open daily from 1 to 5 p.m. through December 31, and its final weekend is January 5, 6 and 7. For more information, call (845) 229-2030, extension 127, e-mail or visit

Register for Bengali classes in Hudson

Want to learn about the game rumal chor (hanky thief) or practice handy conversational expressions (handy for the holidays!) like “Five fingers of a hand are never similar” (translation: “You can never expect all members of a group to think alike”)? Then Bengali Bandhan is for you! Register now for this class, which takes place weekly at the Hudson Area Library on Fridays, from January 5 through April, from 4 to 5 p.m. It’s free and open to the public of school-aged children on up. Participants will learn how to read, write and speak in Bengali, including using stories, poems, songs, dance and arts and crafts.

The Hudson Area Library is located at 51 North Fifth Street in Hudson. For more information or to register, call (518) 828-1792, extension 101, or visit

Basketball for special needs

Is your child a basketball aficionado? Does he or she have special needs? Are they dreaming of being the next Tamika Catchings or Michael Jordan? Keep an eye out for the Eagles Special Olympics basketball program in January. Sessions are open to kids ages 8 and up, are focused on skills and drills, take place at Marist College in Poughkeepsie and are free! No experience is required. For more information, visit Hudson Valley Resources for Kids with Special Needs on Facebook:

Erica Chase-Salerno has Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Benjamin Franklin’s Song” on repeat. She can be reached at