10 Fun Things to do with kids in New Hartford, NY!

10 Fun Things To Do with Kids in (and around) New Hartford, NY

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I personally believe that the Utica, NY area is a perfect place to raise a family.  Our community is large enough, and the city of Utica is large enough, to support a variety of entertainment, retail, and restaurants.  Just recently in the paper (note that we’re just big enough for a decently sized, daily, small-city paper), the cover story was about how our community has a lot of heart and motivation for growth.  So, there’s two things I love about where I live:  1- our community is small enough to feel “small town,” but big enough to support lots of stuff to do; 2- we are conveniently located near lots of great places to visit- namely 4 hours from either NYC or Boston.  The biggest city in the world is 4 hours away!

Back to our area being great to raise a family- there’s lots of great indoor and outdoor places to enjoy in all 4 seasons, and we don’t deal with the traffic or crowds that large urban area residents have to.  I have compiled a list of what I consider to be the top 10 things to do with kids in the New Hartford, NY area.  I’m talking little kids, 0-10.  I haven’t gotten to the teenage stage, and as I understand it, there’s nothing you can do with them to please them.  I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.  But, with 0-10 aged kids, here’s TheShortestTallman’s top 10 list, in no particular order:

1.  Visit a Farm.

Just outside of Utica city limits, there are farms all over the place!  Many of us around here know a farmer personally.  Now, as a rather indoorsy person, I like to visit well-manicured U-Pick farms and orchards.  Long hair, don’t care.  Although I haven’t been to Candella’s in Marcy (yet), I know they do strawberry picking in June that is very popular.  My favorites?  Northstar Orchards in Westmoreland for blueberry picking in the summer and apple picking in the fall, as well as shopping in their recently renovated and enlarged farm store during spring, summer, and fall months.  In the past, we’ve gotten our pumpkins there, although there’re tons of great places to get pumpkins.  My other favorite is Savicki’s Farm Market on Route 12.  It’s just on the outskirts of New Hartford, and they’ve got a great little shop that includes home-grown items, and they also offer some U-pick.  In the fall, they offer hayrides to their cornfields and pumpkin patch; we had a great time last year!  Part of what’s so great about these two places is they are so close by.


2.  Visit a Farmer’s Market.

Am I cheating by calling this a separate category?  Not hardly, as our local farmer’s markets are a fun outing on their own.  There’re quite a few around here- Whitesboro, and I think Rome has one, but I have to say Utica’s and Clinton’s are absolutely lovely.  The Utica Farmer’s Market is at the train station, which is just kind of a fun place to walk around.  The Clinton Farmer’s Market is totally gorg, right on the village green, and of course, the village of Clinton borders New Hartford and is just a stone’s throw down 12B.  Clinton has lots of crafters and artists, as well as fresh produce and lunch items.  Utica has Utica Coffee Roasters; Clinton has the crepe stand.  They both have Gypsy Girl wood fire pizza.  Can’t go wrong with either!


3.  The Utica Zoo.

Our little zoo is not what I would consider to be a destination or a reason to visit Utica from any distance.  With that being said, I am extremely thankful that we’ve been able to support having our own little zoo.  It’s super close by and is a manageable size to do in an afternoon (we have a membership and renew it every year).   My two favorite parts are the playground and the northern trail.  Actually, it might not be called the northern trail… the trail that starts behind the lion exhibit, whatever it’s called!  I’ll be honest, it’s open year round- but we’ve only gone when it’s warm out.  We, or I, rather, am not really winter outdoorsy person.


4.  Play in the water.

In the warm months, there’s a variety of community pools nearby, as well as pool associations/country clubs.  I just wanted to mention the Chadwicks Town of New Hartford Park that has a fun little splashpad.  Minimal admission cost for a fun way to cool off that is nice for little kids that maybe don’t love the pool yet. 10 Fun Things to do with kids in New Hartford, NY!

The super magical front door of The Village Toy Shop in the New Hartford Shopping Center.

5.  Visit a fun store.

I just felt like I had to mention a couple of place that we go for some indoor fun- our Barnes & Noble (which is the only place to get Starbucks in town) and a locally-owned toy shop, The Village Toy Shop.

Inside The Village Toy Shop, there is a giant train that serves as display shelves and play space for kids!

Inside The Village Toy Shop, there is a giant train that serves as display shelves and play space for kids!

Both stores really want kids to spend time and play.  The Village Toy Shop, of course, is nice to visit and support as it’s a small, local business, but they also have very imaginative items in stock that you can’t find anywhere else.  It is a much more pleasant shopping experience, IMO, than Toys R Us.


6.  Shh!  Our libraries are great!

The Town of New Hartford Library has a decent children’s section, that now has a iPad kiosk for additional ways to have fun.  We go quite a bit.  The Clinton library is nice, too- in the summer, you could pair it with a visit to the Farmer’s Market on Thursdays!  We haven’t gone to the Utica library, so I can’t speak on that.  My kids recently went to the Waterville library with their aunt, and I heard it was awesome, so we’ll take a little drive down to the route 12 to check it out one of these days.


7.  Outdoor Playgrounds.

This is probably our favorite thing to do.  There’s so many, and they’re all a little different.  Our usual is the Sherill Brook Park in New Hartford, located on route 12. 10 Fun Things to do with kids in New Hartford, NY!

Haha I have no idea which playground this is!

It’s expansive, lots of walking trails, and the playground itself is quite large.

The Chadwicks playground (Donovan park), which I mentioned above, has a really nice playground as well.  There’s a few in New York Mills that are nice, a large one on Campbell Ave, one on New Hartford street that has a covered eating area and a lookout to the creek behind it, and the one on Main St. that has a few different components and also has a covered eating area.  Obviously, you’ve got all the schools and their playgrounds, too.  In the warm months, we’re going to a playground several times a week.  We will often meet Daddy in the summer at a playground for a picnic lunch.


8.  Indoor playgrounds.

Obviously, our winters are long and our springs are messy!  There are a couple of decent indoor playground choices that we go to, and more beyond this list that we haven’t done. 10 Fun Things to do with kids in New Hartford, NY!

The Family Fun Factory in Washington Mills

The Family Fun Factory in Washington Mills is a local business that we go to a lot, has games and has a large play space with a wide variety of options for kids to have fun (WAY better than Chuck E. Cheese!).  I wrote about Rockin’ Jump in an early post- great fun here, too.  It’s more expensive by quite a bit though, so for my aged kids, we frequent Family Fun Factory way more often than I would Rockin’ Jump.


9.  Take a walk.

One of our favorite family activities to do is to take a walk; with young kids, you take a lot of walks.  We’ve always lived in very walkable neighborhoods, thankfully (it was one of the top considerations when we looked for our current home), and we’ve also taken advantage of local areas that are great for walks!  Three specific walks come to mind:  The Rayhill Memorial walk along 840, which was built about 10 years ago when route 840 was put in.  Right there in New York Mills/New Hartford/Whitesboro where 840 runs, it’s convenient, well-maintained, and beautiful. 10 Fun Things to Do with Kids in New Hartford, NY!

Root Glen, Hamilton College, Clinton, NY

Root Glen, which I’ve blogged about previously, is drop dead gorgeous.  It’s a favorite among locals and photographers, it’s located within Hamilton College campus and is absolutely like another world.

We feel like Tinkerbell and her fairy friends in Root Glen!  The last one doesn’t really count as an officlal “walk,” but we have always loved just walking around the village of New Hartford.  Although Clinton’s village might be more picturesque, there’s lots right in the village of New Hartford, from restaurants, coffee shops, Bradley’s school playground and athletic fields, and of course Nicky Doodles and other shops in the village of New Hartford.

(Bee tee dubs, the north Utica Nicky Doodles is opening March 12.  Yeehaw!)


10.  Winter sports. 10 Fun Things to do with kids in New Hartford, NY!

One of the rare times we actual play outside in the winter 😎

We haven’t done a ton of stuff outdoorsy in the winter, I’ll be honest.  I’m no good for that, I’m more of a warm weather girl; plus, my excuse has always been that we’ve had a 0-3 year old in our house since I became a mom, so I figure that stuff will come when they get a little older and hardier.  About the only thing we’ve done is ice skating at the New Hartford Rec center, which only my oldest enjoyed.  I know I’m totally in the minority here, and there’s tons of snowshoeing, skiing, and sledding opportunities in my backyard, I just haven’t taken advantage!  Perhaps, you could leave a comment with a suggestion???


Many local people might notice I did not mention the Children’s Museum in Utica.  I haven’t been since I’ve had kids, I have heard that it has fallen into a decent amount of disrepair, have limited hours, and they’ve had a lot of drama that I’ve heard about on the news, so for me to drag my kids to the other side of Utica for something that may or may not be worth my time or money… I’ve just chosen other places to go.  Maybe I’ll give it a shot sometime soon.  Maybe not.  haha

Welp, those are’s go-to, kid-friendly places in and around New Hartford, NY.  Leave a comment with anything I missed!