If you are visiting the Hudson Valley with a child who has autism or sensory issues, there are many places for family fun for the entire family. Dealing with behavior challenges like bolting, meltdowns, fear of crowds and loud noises, an autism family can find out quickly that a perfect spot for a neurotypical sibling, may not be the right choice for their brother or sister with autism or sensory issues. The following places are parent tested and worthy of exploration:
1. Kelder’s Farm in Accord. The first time I set eyes on the jumping pillow I thought I was having a sleep-deprived hallucination. What a genius idea to have this on a farm. It only costs $5 to bounce. You can also go on a hayride, feed a few of the animals, and milk a cow.
2. Woodstock Farm Sanctuary in High Falls is a very quiet, mellow place to visit with rescued animals in their home enviornments. The WFAS is only open to visitors on the weekends from 11- 4 from April-November. A family membership is a bargain if you plan to visit a few times during the season. They have tours of the farm, but kids can also hang out and sip organic juice boxes with the turkeys and the goats. I love the peace and friendliness of the staff here.
3. Fun-E Farm at the Hudson Valley Mall in Kingston: If your kids love to bounce and slide, they should check out Fun-E Farm at the Kingston Mall. (They recently opened a section just for the under 5 set, but the slides and bouncy houses in the main section are the main attraction.) Make sure your kid is wearing socks or you will have to buy a pair at the desk. It’s only $9 per person and that is for the day. (Chips and juice can be purchased at the desk too). If you want to avoid crowds and birthday parties, visit Fun-E Farm on weekday instead of a weekend.
4. Trevor Zoo. I only went here once, but we had a really nice time. It’s a low-key zoo that is tucked away in Millbrook, and is by donation. The cute town of Millbrook also has a great playground.
5. Poets Walk in Red Hook. If your family likes to take long quiet walks, Poet Walk is right up your alley with miles of trails, and beautiful wooden benchs to relax on. Make sure you bring your own snacks.
6. The Pool at Bard. For $20 you get a family pass for the day, and the weekend hours change, but it is usually 1:30-8:00 pm. Call before you go to make sure! There is a lifeguard on duty. Flippers, noodles, kickboards, and other floating things can be borrowed. The deep end is 13 feet deep and the shallow section is about 4-5 feet deep. There is a good vibe here, and I’ve never seen it super crowded.
7. Wee-Zee World of Yes I Can! in Chappaqua–I haven’t been to this place yet, and I haven’t spoken to any parents who have, but it looks like sensory paradise!