Still looking for an idea to keep the kids happy during February break? Here are a couple of Presidents’ Week camp ideas in Westchester and one in nearby Norwalk that you might not have heard about. Many of the programs offer daily options so don’t forget to ask if a whole week of camp is not what you’re after.
Also, if you don’t have plans to go to Vermont or Aspen to ski, and want to go locally, here are a few mountains that will keep the majority of kids (and parents) happy. Make sure you call or check websites before you go to get up-to-the-minute snow conditions.
Beczak Environmental Education Center is holding a winter recess camp “Chillin’Out With Nature” centering on nature and environmental issues from 10:00 am-2:00 pm February 21-24 for ages 8-11. $200 for four-day program/$60 per day. 35 Alexander Street Yonkers, NY (914) 377-1900 www.beczak.org .
Stone Barn Center for Food and Agriculture offers a four-day farm experience including caring for plants and animals, egg collecting, harvesting in the greenhouse and tapping maple trees (think maple syrup!). Campers also explore Rockefeller State Park, make seasonal crafts and create farm-fresh snacks. 9 am-3 pm February 21-24. For children in grades 1-5. $288 members, $320 non-members. Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture 630 Bedford Rd., Pocantico Hills (914) 366-6200 www.stonebarnscenter.org .
Pottery on Hudson is running a winter break camp February 21-24. Each day the instructor will teach hand building and wheel throwing techniques. Both functional and sculptural techniques will be taught. Mornings (9 am-12 pm) are set aside for ages 6-9 with ages 10+ attending 1 pm-4 pm. $225 Pottery on Hudson 145 Palisade Street Dobbs Ferry (914) 478-2762 www.potteryonhudson.com .
Katonah Art Center runs a President’s Week camp February 21-25 with morning sessions (9:30 am-12:30 pm), afternoon sessions (12:45 pm-3:45 pm) and full day. There is also an extended day option (8:30 am-9:30 am). Half days ($335), full days ($560). Students will work with a variety of materials including clay, painting, drawing, computers, and arts and crafts. Katonah Art Center 131 Bedford Road Katonah, NY (914) 343-4843 www.katonahartcenter.com .
Pelham Art Center organizes an Art Makers Workshop February 20-24 for ages 4-10 from 9:30 am to 2 pm. Students will explore 3 different art activities with professional artists each day. Painting, drawing, mask making, tie dye, felting, collage, paper mache, clay, puppets and bookmaking are some of the activities. $338 for non-members/$304 for members. Also available on a per-day basis $77/$69. 155 Fifth Avenue Pelham, NY (914) 738-2525 www.pelhamartcenter.org .
In nearby Norwalk, The Maritime Aquarium hosts a Winter Vacation Adventures camp February 20-24 for ages 6-9 and a Jr. Marine Biologist camp for ages 9-12. The program is filled with age-appropriate crafts, experiments and animal encounters related to a different daily topic. Programs meet from 9:30 am-4:30 pm each day. In the Junior Marine Biologist program, students set up, stock, feed and maintain a group aquarium display of Long Island Sound marine life in a healthy, sustainable habitat. They use water chemistry meters to monitor water quality and grow brine shrimp to feed to the aquarium animals, and participate in squid and fish dissections. 10 North Water Street Norwalk, CT (203) 852-0700x2206 www.maritimeaquarium.org.
Local Ski Mountains
Mt. Peter, in nearby Warwick, New York, is offering free beginner lessons during Presidents’ Week. According to the website, they have tons of snow and make snow each night. The mountain is compact and it is easy to walk from the parking lot to the ski slopes. There is a glass walled building right next to the ski runs where non-skiers can relax and parents can watch their kids go up and down the mountain with tons of seating and picnic tables. 40 Ski Lane Warwick, NY (845) 986-4940 www.mtpeter.com .
Catamont, which straddles the Massachusetts/New York border, has 31 trails open and 4 lifts running (subject to change) and blows snow every night. Catamont offers a variety of programs to get kids out skiing including the 4th and 5th Graders Club, which was designed to encourage elementary school kids to put down the video controllers and get active. To cut down on costs, complete their online rental form and bring it to the ticket window to save $5 off equipment rental or package. State Route 23 East Hillsdale NY (518) 325-3200 www.catamontski .
Jiminy Peak is an easy drive for great local skiing. In addition to skiing and riding, Jiminy’s Mountain Coaster is one of only a handful in the entire nation and is the only one in the North East. Popular in Europe, the Coaster is 3,600 feet of twisting, turning fun through the woods with speeds up to 25 mph. They have been blowing snow every night, so conditions should be good. Like them on Facebook for ecoupons and special promotions. To make the whole ski trip experience easier, during holidays and weekends, Jiminy offers valet parking for stress-free drop off and parking. Also worth a visit for their great breakfasts and sugar house (very interesting) is Ioka Valley Farm www.iokavalleyfarm.com right down the road (413) 738-5915. Jiminy Peak l37 Corey Road Hancock, MA (413) 738-5500 www.JiminyPeak.com .
Butternut in Great Barrington offers something for everyone. In addition to skiing (22 trails open and 2 terrain parks) and riding, there is family-friendly tubing (2 hours for $18). After skiing go into Great Barring for some great pizza at Baba Louie’s (www.babalouiessourdoughpizzacompany.com) and ice cream at SoCoCreamery (www.sococreamery.com). Ski Butternut 380 State Road, Route 23 Great Barrington, MA (413) 528.2000 www.skibutternut.com.