Thank you to Visit Ithaca for providing museum tickets. We paid for our hotel and all of our meals and other attractions.
This summer, we took a trip to Ithaca, New York for a multi-generational vacation with my youngest child, my husband and my in-laws. Ithaca is a really fun destination for kids and we were so impressed with all the fun stuff to do with them. On the menu – two science museums, a children’s garden, and a waterfall or two. We were going to keep it loose and flexible because well, it was a kid-friendly vacation! You’ll have so much fun visiting Ithaca with kids!
Museums for Kids
There are two science museums in Ithaca and we planned our trip around them. One of the Museum of the Earth and the other was Sciencenter. Both were very different, but we really enjoyed them for different reasons.
The Museum of the Earth
If you have a child very into science, The Museum of the Earth is THE place to visit. Their website is fantastic and there are so many exhibits with hands-on aspects and videos.
We loved the two gigantic fish tanks.
They have an area where you can watch a real Palentologist clean up fossils. The staff was knowledgable and pleasant. Plus they clearly like children and can answer every question your budding scientist may have. In fact, they relish it.
On the day we were there, there was a cool activity where kids can touch fossils and draw what they see.
There’s even a fenced off area outside that you can see wildlife in (we saw 2 frogs and it made my kid’s day). Leave around 1.5 to 2 hours to see it completely. Adults will be mesmerized also.
There are short movies and things kids can touch – always important. If your kid is seriously into science, this is definitely worth a visit.
The Museum of the Earth
1259 Trumansburg Road
Check for hours and masks were required. Make sure you know any Covid-19 restrictions before you go.
Sciencenter is located off one of the main areas in Ithaca and perfect for little and bigger kids. It’s big and offers so many hands-on activities for kids.
From babies to middle schoolers, Sciencenter will keep kids engaged.
There’s a large touch tank with hermit crabs, a sea slug, and a horse shoe crab. My almost 11 year old spent the majority of his time there. There’s also a pop up reptile room and a another animal room with local Brook Trout, sea life, amphibians and reptiles from all around the world (safely in tanks).
This is a place to definitely make a day of — there’s miniature golf outside (that is extra $), but looked like it was a lot of fun.
The HUGE outdoor playground is definitely a draw. Let your kids get some of their energy out in a safe space. If you are somewhat local, a membership here would definitely be used.
Sciencenter is very centrally located and if you don’t have the whole day, you can spend 1/2 the day and still get the full experience.
601 First Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Other Great Activities:
Ithaca Children’s Garden
The Ithaca Children’s Garden is free and lovely space for children of all ages to enjoy. Plus it has a playground right next to it! Lots of room for kids to run around and communicate with nature.
Kids will love climbing all over Gaia, the large turtle structure.
There is a playground inside with old tires and junk that kids will love to play in.
Right next to the Ithaca Children’s Garden is Cass Park and this lovely playground. There are picnic tables and a large shaded area that you can eat in.
Ithaca Children’s Garden in Cass Park
121 Turtle Lane
Ithaca, NY 14850
And don’t forget about the Falls! We chose to visit Buttermilk Falls, which had a easy-ish steps up and a playground right near it.
At Buttermilk Falls, you can chose either the Rim Trail or the Gorge Trail. We chose the Gorge Trail.
We think Ithaca is a fantastic family travel option.
We stayed at Country Inn & Suites by Radisson
1100 Danby Rd #96b, Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: (607) 256-1100
Let me know if you have any questions! We really enjoyed visiting Ithaca with kids!