Kids’ Almanac (Aug. 4-11)

The Iroquois Indian Museum is located in Howes Cave.

The Iroquois Indian Museum is located in Howes Cave.

“August is like the Sunday of summer.”


Super day trip: Iroquois Indian Museum/Secret Caverns

Here’s a day trip I enjoyed so much with my kids that I had to share it with you: the Iroquois Indian Museum and Secret Caverns, just a couple of minutes from each other and just one hour and 40 minutes from New Paltz.

I have driven by the longhouse-style Iroquois Indian Museum on my way to Howe Caverns for years, meaning to get in there, and I finally made it happen. What makes it different from other exhibits about Native Americans? Here, they tell their own story. And now I challenge every museum that has exhibits about any groups of people: Show me where they tell their own story here.

Do you know how much history I learned, and unlearned, about the Iroquois during our time at this museum? How translation issues informed an aggressive colonist response to people whose intentions were quite peaceful; how the women are the permission-granting body before a tribe can battle; how lessons are passed down through a song, a dance and a story; how French influences in Canada in the north and English influences in New York in the south affected differently the same Native American tribe spanning both of those areas; that Native American culture is very much alive, honoring traditions in present-day 2016.

We beaded bracelets, we walked nature trails, we hung out with turtles in the awesome and interactive children’s area downstairs and we’ve marked our calendars for some of the upcoming events there, such as this weekend’s “A Legacy of Excellence: The Living Traditions of Iroquois Basketry, Beadwork and Antler-Carving”; next weekend’s Iroquois Social Dancers; and the highly-anticipated big one, the 35th annual Iroquois Indian Festival on September 3 and 4. As New Yorkers, and as citizens of the US, Iroquois Indian history is our history. Come on out and tell me what you learned!

The Museum is open from April through November. Admission costs $8 for adults, $6.50 for seniors and students aged 12 to 17 years, $5 for children aged 5 to 12 and is free for children under 5; or organize a group and save. The Iroquois Indian Museum is located at 324 Caverns Road in Howes Cave. For more information, call (518) 296-8949 or visit or

Is the clandestine part of Secret Caverns about what’s underground, or could there be more to it? Like that the gift shop seems to have forgotten what year it is, so a fist-sized colorful gemstone or a can of Coca-Cola only costs $1? Or that you can actually park close to the door? Or that it probably hasn’t changed much since it opened to the public decades ago?

Underground caves are awesome in every sense of the word, so I hope you get to any that you can. To me, Secret Caverns feels like I’m exploring someone’s backyard treasure. Howe Caverns feels like I’m visiting a grand exhibit. Both have a place in my heart. Secret Caverns has quirky, colorful signs, and you go because you want to check out a natural, wild, underground cave. That’s what they do, that’s what they have and that’s what you get, without distracting and costly extras, and it’s fabulous.

You do work for it, since some sections are narrow, and you have to navigate the 103 concrete steps all on your own; no elevator here. But tours start basically whenever throughout the day, as soon they have a group of people gathered. And get this: You can touch the walls at Secret Caverns! And the 100-foot waterfall at the end of the tour? A thunderous, misty thrill. Bring your sweater for this 55-degree limestone wander, and your patience if it’s hard to hear the tour guide over the family’s conversation behind you, because you’ll probably be the next one oohing and ahhing over the sights along the way.

Admission costs $18 for adults, $8 for children aged 6 to 12 years and is free for children under 6. And remember to print the coupon for $2 off adult admission from the website. Secret Caverns is located at 671 Caverns Road in Howes Cave. For more information, call (518) 296-8558 or visit

On our way back home, we stopped at Amy’s Place Ice Cream for a treat, where we discovered that a “small” serving of Perry’s Ice Cream at Amy’s is like an extra-large anywhere else, and they had my favorite flavor: dark chocolate streaked with white mint, White Lightning! Amy’s is located at 2720 Route 145 in Middleburgh/Schoharie, right along our route back home. Enjoy!



Hardc0re middle-schooler’s EP release party at CCE in Kingston

“I’m a little Alma, not a little Mozart,” protests British musical prodigy Alma Deutscher, age 11. She has a point: This level of aptitude in youth isn’t limited to the history books, right? Kids are creating all the time, and today’s technology makes it possible for the rest of us to hear it!

Take, for example, Drew Soshensky, a student at J. Watson Bailey Middle School in Kingston. Inspired by the work of deejay and producer Skrillex, Drew, a/k/a Hardc0re, began experimenting with music-making on GarageBand, and he has just released a six-song EP, I Am Hardc0re. Hardc0re’s music contains original melodies woven with unique textures and sounds that he describes as “hard, danceable, melodic grooves.”

Come on out and celebrate Hardc0re’s album-release party this Friday, August 5 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Center for Creative Education. This dance party is open to all ages and has a pay-what-you-wish donation at the door. The Center for Creative Education is located at 15 Railroad Avenue in Kingston. For more information, call (845) 338-0410 or e-mail [email protected]. To buy or sample the I Am Hardc0re album tracks, visit


New Genesis Productions Youth Theatre performs Muse of Fire at STS Playhouse in Phoenicia

You have watched area teen thespians Jack Warren, Katia Michalopoulos, Lachlan Brooks, Brandon Sawhill Aja and Lucia Legnini develop their craft over the years, so don’t miss their performance this summer! Check out the New Genesis Productions Youth Theatre at the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice in its presentation of Muse of Fire, taking place at the STS Playhouse this Friday, August 5 at 5 p.m., Saturday, August 6 at 2 p.m. and Sunday, August 7 at 1 p.m.

Conceived and directed by Brandon Cobalt, this original 90-minute production remixes words and themes of Shakespeare into a new show for a new generation, and is performed by five experienced young actors from ages 18 to 20. Tickets cost $5 for students and youth, $25 general admission. STS Playhouse is located at 10 Church Street in Phoenicia. For tickets or more information, call (845) 688-3291 or visit To learn more about the acting company, visit


Pippin opens three-weekend run at Woodstock Playhouse

However you “adult” as a loving caregiver, like a grandparent, parent or other doting relative or friend, you know that you have magic to do for those kids – such as bringing them to see Pippin! Pippin and its signature song, “Magic to Do,” opens at the Woodstock Playhouse this Friday, August 5 and runs through Sunday, August 21, with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are for reserved seating: $32, $36 and $40. The Woodstock Playhouse is located at 103 Mill Hill Road in Woodstock. For tickets or more information, call (845) 679-6900 or visit


Kalmar Nyckel docks in Newburgh

Every year, arrrrrrrrrrrrr you mad that you missed another historic ship visit along the Newburgh waterfront? Start channeling your inner pirate, because the Kalmar Nyckel is in town! This reproduction celebrates some of the earliest explorations of pioneer America, such as the development of what is now Wilmington, Delaware. You can make a reservation for a two-hour Daysail, a Pirate Sail or a Guided Deck Tour while she’s in town, from Friday to Sunday, August 5 to 7, with prices from $6 to $50.

The Kalmar Nyckel is docked at 46 Front Street in Newburgh. For reservations or more information, call (302) 429-7447 or visit


Community Celebration at Upper Landing Park in Poughkeepsie

You know that a party is going to be fun when the entertainment lineup pops right off the page! Look what’s happening at the Bardavon’s Upper Landing Park Community Celebration this Saturday, August 6 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.: the Soñando salsa band, Arm-of-the-Sea Theater, POOK (the Percussion Orchestra of Kingston), the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, Kim & Reggie Harris, the Two by Two Petting Zoo, Jarana Beat (Mexican music and dance), performance artists and more! And admission is free! So what are you still reading me for? Get your crew over there!

Upper Landing Park is located at 83 North Water Street in Poughkeepsie. For more information, call (845) 473-5288 or visit or


Young People’s Concert with Imani Winds at the Maverick in Woodstock

When was the last time you heard a wind quintet? How about one whose name means “faith” in Swahili? I’m talking about Imani Winds, who perform this Saturday, August 6 from 11 a.m. to 12 noon at the Maverick’s Young People’s Concerts series. Young People’s Concerts are fresh, interactive and frankly divine: exceptional music in a historic, rustic concert hall, geared toward children. Kids even get to sit up close, on the cushions along the front of the stage. And while there is plenty more of the regular Maverick season ahead, this is the last Young People’s Concert for 2016!

Admission is free for kids under age 16 and $5 for adults. Maverick Concerts are located at 120 Maverick Road in Woodstock. For more information, call (845) 679-8217 or visit To learn more about the musicians, visit


Esopus Meadows hosts “Making Art in the Park”

Need something to engage your kids while giving coffee some time to engage your brain? Make your way over to “Making Art in the Park” this Saturday, August 6 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at the Esopus Meadows Preserve. This free activity is a chance for kids from kindergarten to eighth grade to make art projects based on nature. No need to reserve; just come on by and enjoy a morning along the Hudson River.

The Esopus Meadows Preserve is located at 269 River Road in Ulster Park. For more information, call (845) 473-4440, extension 238, or visit


Butterfly Festival at Stony Kill Farm in Wappingers Falls

Our family just hatched four out of five caterpillars in our charge, so we’re in full-on flutterby mode, which is the perfect warmup for the Butterfly Festival at Stony Kill Farm this weekend! On Saturday, August 6 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Butterfly Festival includes a monarch butterfly expert and education table, a butterfly tent, plant sale, crafts, storytellers, children’s hula-hooping and more. Admission and parking are free.

The Stony Kill Farm Environmental Education Center is located at 79 Farmstead Lane in Wappingers Falls. For more information, call (845) 831-3800 or visit


Bear Mountain hosts Bird Festival

I love learning interesting tidbits about birds, because I don’t have to do anything special to encounter some of them: Our feathered friends are everywhere. Ready to learn more yourself? Don’t be a birdbrain; head over to the Bird Festival at the Trailside Museums & Zoo at Bear Mountain. Celebrate the birds of New York State with exhibits of a bald eagle, owls, hawks, vultures and Ben Franklin’s favorite avian, turkeys, along with family-friendly activities like the Bird Olympics and the Great Migration Challenge.

The Bird Festival takes place this Saturday, August 6 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with a bird show at 1:30 p.m. by Annie Mardiney of Wild Mountain Birds. The Festival is free, admission to the Zoo is a $1 suggested donation per person, and parking at Bear Mountain State Park costs $10 per car, or use your Empire Passport.

Bear Mountain State Park is accessible via the Palisades Parkway or Route 9W North, or plug in the address for the Bear Mountain Inn and Overlook Lodge, located next to the parking lot at 3020 Seven Lakes Drive in Bear Mountain. For more information, call (845) 786-2701 or visit or


Dino Camp-In at Schenectady’s MiSci Museum of Innovation and Science

If you haven’t checked out the MiSci Museum of Innovation and Science, I highly recommend it, and not just because it’s in my hometown. And when you go, be sure to stop downtown on Jay Street at the Open Door Bookstore to get hold of your next read, and Perreca’s for some of that amazing Italian bread.

But I digress. MiSci has hands-on exhibits that change periodically, so every visit can be different, engaging even the most reticent budding scientist or museumgoer, along with special events and a planetarium. But if you want to start big, jump in with an overnight! Think: Night at the Museum but manageable, easy to get to and all on one floor. My family did an overnight at the Maritime Museum at Norwalk, and now my kids consider it “their” aquarium. Your crew will feel the same way about miSci.

Dino Camp-In takes place this Saturday, August 6 at 5 p.m. through Sunday, August 7 at 9 a.m. Highlights include making Dino masks, dancing Dino-style, watching a Dino star show and doing hands-on Dino activities. The cost is $30 for children, $15 for adults; dinner and breakfast are included, and space is limited.

MiSci is located at 15 Nott Terrace Heights in Schenectady. For reservations or more information, call (518) 382-7890 or visit And for more on Open Door and Perreca’s, here: and


Kids’ concert with Quintette 7 at West Point

Have you ever heard the West Point Band perform and thought, “Yeah, they’re great, but what would it be like to hear something more intimate and interactive? Like with only seven musicians?” Readers, I introduce to you Quintette 7!

Now, what I’m about to explain sounds a bit like the Abbott and Costello skit Who’s on First? but stay with me: Quintette 7 has seven members; a quintet is a five-person group; 1930’s American musician and composer Raymond Scott had a six-person sextet, but thought the term suggestive, “getting your mind off the music,” so he changed the spelling and called it a Quintette; Scott also had a group, the Secret 7; so this chamber ensemble of the West Point Band whimsically combined the names to create Quintette 7, confirming that yes, the US Army does have a sense of humor!

You and your kids can see these musicians in action at “Kids’ Night: Story Time with Quintette 7” this Saturday, August 6 at 6:30 p.m. at the Trophy Point Amphitheater at West Point. But come really early so that you can sail through the security check and make it in time for the 6 p.m. instrument petting zoo, where kids can see the different instruments up close, and maybe even try some of them. For directions to West Point, visit For more information, call (845) 938-2617 or visit


Family fun day at Ooms Conservation Area in Chatham

Events like the Columbia Land Conservancy’s Public Conservation Area Day are exactly what we’re dreaming of during the seasons of slush and sleet. So what are you waiting for? It’s their last one of the year! This Saturday, August 6 from 5 to 7 p.m., pack a picnic and head over to the Ooms Conservation Area to learn about snapping turtles, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, disc golf, hiking and yes, free Stewart’s ice cream! An evening of summer fun for a suggested donation of $20 per family.

The Ooms Conservation Area is located on Rock City Road in Chatham. For more information or to register, call (518) 392-5252 or visit


Bon-Odori Dance Festival for Peace in New Paltz

A Japanese Buddhist summer festival where dance meets peace? Hai, kudasai! Yes, please! Join the Bon-Odori Dance Festival for Peace: Step toward a Nuclear-Free Future to reconnect with ancestors, dance, drumming, martial arts, children’s activities and great food, all in the name of renewable energy and green products. The Festival takes place this Sunday, August 7 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Hasbrouck Park in New Paltz, rain or shine. Admission is free.

Hasbrouck Park is located along Mohonk Avenue, has a playground and is near a couple of Pokéstops. For more information or to inquire about volunteering, call (845) 255-8811 or visit


Emotional Intelligence for teens in Woodstock

Does your teen get stressed out, just like the hit song by 21 Pilots? How about during the school year? And do you feel like you somehow compound that stress just by trying to offer strategies to deal with it? Here’s an idea that might help: “Emotional Intelligence: A Program for Teens,” offered by the Woodstock Library. This weekly program began in July and runs every Tuesday from 4 to 5 p.m. through August, but there is plenty of room and your teen can jump in any time, starting this Tuesday, August 9.

Geared for students going into tenth or 11th grade, or college preparation, the program invites teens to practice tools to manage stress, anxiety and pressure, such as special breathing, meditation and yoga, while building relationships with other program participants and beyond, using emotional intelligence (basically things that you’d like your teen to know if they weren’t ignoring you right now). To participate, contact Lesley Sawhill at the Woodstock Public Library District at 5 Library Lane or (845) 679-2213. The program takes place at Mountain View Studio in Woodstock.



Legend of the Giant Caterpillar performance in Hudson

Looking for some diversity in your outdoor theater experiences this summer? Then you’ll love the Hudson Theater Project’s original adaptation of The Legend of the Giant Caterpillar. You’ve got three opportunities to catch this free show, which is part of the Black Arts & Cultural Festival: Thursday, August 11 at 8 p.m. at the Hudson Area Library, 51 North Fifth, and Friday, August 12 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, August 14 at 3 p.m. at the Henry Hudson Riverfront Park Gazebo on Front Street in Hudson. Get to know this creation myth from Cote D’Ivoire and enjoy a family outing together. For more information, call (518) 822-1438 or visit


Happy Birthday to my sweet, fierce, hilarious firstborn this week! I love you! Erica Chase-Salerno can be reached at [email protected]


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