Ithaca is a small city that rests at the southern tip of Cayuga Lake. There are many cultural amenities due to its proximity to Cornell University. It also served as an excellent gateway to the larger Finger Lakes region of central New York. We visited the renowned Ithaca Farmer's Market and spent a pleasant morning strolling among the stands, purchasing locally-produced cheese, tomatoes, and honey. Street musicians added to the ambiance. Afterwards we enjoyed a picnic lunch at one of the many tables set around the market to further enjoy the festivities.
Ithaca is home to the Museum of the Earth and the associated Paleontological Research Institution. The museum contains one of the largest collections of fossils in the country. Our older boy loves dinosaurs so this was a natural choice. A large Right Whale skeleton dominated the front lobby. A mastodon filled another room. Numerous fossils from the many periods of life on earth could be found attractively displayed throughout the building. Our little guy also enjoyed the dinosaur dig sandbox and statues displayed outside of the museum.
Stewart Park was a great place for kids, and one of the many wonderful open spaces found in Ithaca. This large expanse of fields and sweeping views sits at the very southern tip of Cayuga Lake. One large section features a playground with equipment for children of many different ages. Even our younger guy got in on the action.
Another obvious place for kids is the Ithaca Children's garden found along Route 89 at the southern end of Cass Park. Sunflowers bloomed and pumpkins ripened on a late summer day. Our older guy had fun climbing on the back of Gaia the Turtle, a sculpture that also functioned as a planter.
If that's not enough to keep the kids entertained, then there is the Cayuga Nature Center located a few miles up Route 89 north of Ithaca. There are several exhibits inside of the center, but the real gems are found outside: a multistory tree-house that brings visitors to the highest points of the tree canopy; an enclosed butterfly house; several animal exhibits; and a wide choice of gentle walking paths.
= Cayuga Lake, New York
= Waterfalls, Finger Lakes, New York
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