Binghamton, New York has a ton of great, inexpensive fun activities for families to delve into. There are a number of fabulous parks, museums, and hiking/biking trails. They even have a zoo!
Binghamton, New York is home to a number of really great places to play. As a large family who does a significant amount of traveling, a playground has been known to save the day when the kids need to let off some steam. We’ve seen plenty of towns with one really nice park, maybe two but Binghamton has SIX!
What makes Binghamton’s playgrounds so great? Those six, great play spaces are each equipped with some impressive play areas, a ridiculously inexpensive community pool or splash pad (just 25-50 CENTS to get in for the day…I actually thought the sign was a spoof when I first saw it), hiking trails, sports courts, and tranquil ponds. All but one each house one of the six, antique carousels that you’re able to ride until your tushy hurts for FREE. (The sixth carousel is located at Ross Park directly across from the zoo entrance. Ross Park is just ok. It’s not as done up as the other parks are but it’s definitely worth a visit to ride the carousel and pay a visit to the zoo or the Discovery Center.)
In no particular order they are:
West End Park – West End Park is home to one of the six, antique carousels in the Binghamton area. It also has a nice sized park to play in, a giant sand pit for the littles, and a 3-feet deep kiddy pool to frolic around in.
George W. Johnson Park – George W. Johnson Park is in Little Italy in Endicott. It’s home to one of the antique carousels in the area and has two nice playgrounds to choose from. There’s a beautiful ball field and also a nice-sized swimming pool to splash around in.
C. Fred Johnson Park – C. Fred Johnson Park has a fun, triple-decker jungle gym-style playground and a smaller playset nearby for the younger kids. It has a really great little splash pad and also is home to one of the six, antique carousels in the area.
Recreation Park – Recreation Park has a really amazing, handicapped accessible place to play. Recreation Park is one of the very nicest play places we’ve encountered. The park is wheelchair friendly and even has a marry-g0-round that you can roll into and lock a wheelchair in to spin your little one into a dizzy delight. We’ve been to tons of great parks all over the US and this is the first time we’ve seen something like that. SO cool! This park has a large swimming pool, a nice ball field, and has one of the antique carousels on the grounds as well.
Highland Park – Highland Park has 2 different play areas. There’s a playset for everyone on top of the hill and one for the smaller kids at the bottom of the hill (follow the road beyond the first parking lot to find the second one). Back behind the second playground is a nice 9/11 Memorial area that’s worth taking the time to wander back to if you’ve never seen it before. Highland park has a large swimming pool with a diving board and is also home to one of the six, antique carousels in the area.
Ostiningo Park – This park doesn’t have one of the antique carousels (the last one can be found adjacent to the Binghamton Zoo entrance). It also doesn’t have a pool. It’s still worth recognition because the playground is so sweet! Ostiningo Park has an impressive playground structure, walking trails with exercise equipment en route, volleyball courts, and a couple of ball fields with lots of open area to let the littles rip.
There are a number of great museums in the Binghamton area as well.
The Discovery Center of the Southern Tier is one of our very favorite children’s museums. They have so much goodness packed both inside the building and outside in their storybook garden. During the winter, we are there at least once a week and have no trouble spending a solid two hours there each time. Unfortunately, they aren’t affiliated with any of the amazing museum memberships (which I talk more about here. ) but it’s just $75 for our giant family to enjoy the place for a full year and it comes with some great, local perks, like $3 admission to the Ross Park Zoo that’s right next door. This is one of the very few memberships we carry outside of those mentioned in the link above. The place is THAT great!
Kopernik Observatory is a fine spot to visit on Friday and Saturday nights (and select other dates depending on what’s going on in the sky) to catch some great lectures on space and to spend time oogling the galaxy. They are very kid friendly and are the most economical place to pick up an ASTC membership.
The Roberson Museum and Mansion is an art museum and an old mansion you can wander through complete with a fully functional, antique elevator. They have a handful of nice, permanent exhibits and also and few rotating exhibits, so there’s always something to entice you to come back. The Roberson Museum also has the only planetarium in the area. The museum (but not the planetarium) is included as a free reciprocal museum with a membership to Kopernik.
IMB museum at Techworks is an up and coming museum showcasing tons of fascinating, long-obsolete IMB computers and lots of other great innovations that have been developed in the Binghamton area. In addition to IBM computers, there is old telegraph equipment, simulators that have been used to train our pilots and astronauts, and a player piano and nickelodeon set up for you to see just what makes them function. This museum is only available as a guided tour but that’s the best part! The guides are fun and engaging and allow an up close and personal look at the way those old machines worked.
Vestal Rail Trail is located just outside of Binghamton and is an awesome, seven-mile-long paved trail fit for hiking or biking with a nice mix of hills and flats. If you’re going for a hike or a ride after 4:00 pm in the evening or on weekends, there’s an old coal house turned cute little café about 2 miles into the trail where you can grab a bite to eat, a beverage, or some ice cream.
Those are just some of the amazing things that make Binghamton, New York a great place to get out and explore with your family. What is your favorite thing to do in the Binghamton area?
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