Fun Activities for Kids in Ithaca

At Home

Letting them tell you all about themselves. If you are a good listener this could consume a lot of time and be what they love & remember most!
wrestling and hanging with their cool uncle, grandpa, etc.
Have some arts and crafts materials around the house
Board games


Skating at Cass or the Rink
Cayuga Nature Center … they have an animal room and the animal feeding is often open to the public. There is also an amazing three story tree house to climb and play in.
Farmers Market … The rutabaga curl on a December Sunday at the Farmers Market is loads of fun (just dress warm or visit Gimme for hot chocolate!), and for the grownups I think they are doing caroling there – Bob Dylan style,
sledding in the plantations or at Rice Hill
Cornell’s Polo barns to pet horses,
If Only Farms or Patchwork, to ride horses
Playgrounds – collect ’em all: Fall Creek Elementary, Henry St. John, Triangle Park (small – but close), Cass Park, Taughannock Park
Walk along the water at Stewart Park and feed ducks
Cascadilla Gorge trail if it’s open
Walk up to Collegetown, get Bubble Tea, or lunch at Collegetown Bagels … Come down through Cornell and then to Ithaca Falls
Visit Ithaca Falls
Check out the two Gnome Trees–Original at 308 E. Marshall (bring a treasure, take a treasure) and Castle at 202 Utica (browse the lost mittens).


A movie
Sodas at Palmer pharmacy soda fountain
Make christmas cookies together
Cats Pajamas
the gallery tour downtown.
Museum of the Earth (PRI) … good exhibits including reconstruction of mastodon skeleton recovered from Hyde Park, NY, and Barbara Page’s grand running mural panels illuminating the paleontological time line (reproduced in a book, too, but the paintings, which are mounted along the ramps between floors, are worth seeing in their architectural setting). … From Sunday, December 26, through Thursday, December 30, the Museum will host “Discover the Past,” a series of fun activities that will take you from the Devonian age to modern day. Each day at 11AM, educators will discuss the day’s topic and make a related craft. … kid activties at Museum of the Earth after Christmas.
Johnson Art Museum – Family days are offered some Sundays… The top floor of the Johnson Museum of Art, then free play on the hill or the quad
Purity is always a treat if it is open,
Explore areas in Ithaca with Google Maps
go to a bookstore and wander and look at books; … if at one of the big box ones) listen to music together.
Tompkins County Public Library. (check for special events for kids)
storytelling events, puppet shows, and such.
SPCA to pet small animals and kittens.
Sciencenter … Playground can even be a separate trip from Sciencenter inside
Events listings in the Ithaca Journal (especially the Ticket section on Thursdays)
Events listings in the Ithaca Times TimesTable are good.
concerts, plays, or sporting.
Ithaca Child has a large events section that’s online.
There’s a Gingerbread House contest going on downtown, entries viewable in various downtown locations, but it runs through Dec 25 only. See

Events Calendars and Other Resources

Cornell’s Human Resources does maintain a very comprehensive list of children’s activities. There is a pdf that is published every week, which can be accessed at
Caregivers can also join the parents-l email list which also provides a link to children’s events and resources:
More generally both Ithaca College (at the following URL: and
Cornell (at the following URL: have pretty comprehensive sites summarizing activities.
The Cornell events calendar might sometimes list child-appropriate events.
The Discovery Trail has its own events calendar online: