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Within reach They're visiting - and they're bringing their KIDS!!!

Welcome to summer in Central New York.

Families converge, friends long lost finally find you, and you open your mouth and say, "You don't need a hotel, you can stay here!".

Immediately panic sets in. "Oh GOD, what did I do? Please help me!" is a valid prayer. Though I don't consider myself a deity, I might be able to help.

Swimming is always a fun thing to do, Taughannock, Myers and Cayuga Lake State Park all have good swimming areas, as do Treman and Buttermilk. All except Cayuga Lake State Park will feature water at a 'refreshing' temperature. Cayuga Lake State Park is at the shallow North end of the lake (which warms up more quickly) and sports Cayuga Lake's only sand beach.

If you want something a bit warmer and clearer, the Olympic pool at Watkins Glen State Park is the ticket. For a modest parking fee, the pool is available at no additional charge. It is kept clean and safe. At Watkins Glen, there are a myriad of trails that are sure to burn off some of that excess energy kids seem to be overflowing with.

monroe PRI SignMuseum of the Earth

Don't want to swim? Try the Paleontological Research Institute's Museum of the Earth on Rt 96, just south of Cayuga Medical Center. Dinosaurs, fish, creatures of all sizes and a whale skeleton are a few of PRI's epic sized exhibits.

The Sciencenter downtown is always popular and ever changing. I like to go every year just to see what's new. The little balls running through the motorized maze is mesmerizing…

A choice for nature minded youngsters is Lime Hollow Nature Center between McLean and Cortland on Rt 366. Trails through their 430 acres of beauty are open to the public at no charge, and special programs may have a small charge. Adults just might enjoy it too. But don't tell the kids. It would ruin the whole scene…

monroe Childrens GardenIthaca Children's Garden

For the bitsies (tiny ones), the Ithaca Children's Garden is an absolute delight with miniature sized houses for miniature sized people. The huge concrete turtle is the coolest play structure…. And this is only one end of the park. The imaginative playground will keep the beastie's occupied while the adults get to catch up on their conversations.

Other fun and interesting choices are the Lab of Ornithology on Sapsucker Woods Rd – with lots of indoor stuff to do if it's raining and miles of trails if it's not. Cayuga Nature Center on Rt 89 has exhibits including a peacock and a fox, and one of the largest treehouses I've ever seen. If you visit either place, bring bug spray. Trust me.

monroe Myers Park 4677Myers Park in Lansing

I made helpful discovery I'd like to share with you: It takes a bit of figuring to navigate, but it seems to have every event, attraction, pastime and distraction either you or your guest children could ever want. Go and explore.

It's all within reach. Next week, we travel to Sterling NY for the Renaissance Faire. Talk to you then!

'Within Reach' highlights the food, wine and fun of places 'within Reach' of Lansing NY.  Of course, your reach extends exactly as far as you want it to. I am Monroe Payne, Uncle Monte to some. Come with me as I visit, taste and play in our own back yard, the beautiful Finger Lakes of Central New York.

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