Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

February 16, 2018

Parks Press Office
Randy Simons | Dan Keefe
(518) 486-1868 |

DEC Press Office
518-402-8000 |

State Parks, DEC Encourage Families to Enjoy Presidents Day Winter Break in New York’s Open Spaces

Events Statewide to Enjoy at State Parks, Historic Sites, Public Lands and Education Centers

Celebrate Presidents Day Weekend and Winter Break at a New York State Park, Historic Site, or Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) lands and education centers. Events across the state range from cannon firings in salute to President George Washington, to guided snowshoe treks, to ever-popular seal walks along the Long Island coastline.

"There's no reason to stay inside for the Winter Break," said State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey. "State parks and historic sites offer family-friendly activities year-round, and you might be surprised at the unique ways to enjoy the great outdoors in the winter months."

"Our public lands and education centers have everything you need to get your family and children outside to connect with the environment and learn valuable life lessons," DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "Winter Break is a chance to do so much more than stay inside. Get out in the elements and rediscover New York's diverse landscapes."

A selection of family-friendly events are listed below. Outdoor events may be dependent on weather. Some events require pre-registration and/or an admission fee. For more information, as well as a full schedule of State Park events, please check

Western New York

Allegany State Park hosts a series of family-friendly "3rd Saturday Treks" on the 3rd Saturday of each month all year long. The February trek will take place on the Red Jacket Trail Feb. 17. Hikers will meet in the Administration Building Lobby at 1 p.m. (716) 354-9101 ext 236. Evangola State Park will host a Winter Wonderland Ski Tour at 10 a.m. Feb. 17. Buffalo Nordic Ski Club experts will show participants how to cross-country ski or improve their technique. (716) 549-1050.

DEC is hosting a series of fun and educational events at Reinstein Woods Environmental Education Center all week long. Visit call (716) 683-5959 or email for more information.

Finger Lakes

The Humphrey Nature Center at Letchworth State Park hosts programs all season long. Every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the popular "Project Feederwatch" program helps both experienced bird watchers and beginners alike learn about common feeder birds and find out how to become a citizen scientist at home. (585) 493-3680

DEC is hosting a series of fun and educational events at Rogers Environmental Education Center. Visit call (607) 674-4733 or email for more information.

Mohawk Valley

Glimmerglass State Park offers snow tubing every weekend in February from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for $5 per person. The park offers a concession stand, warming area and outdoor fireplace. On Feb, 21 from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Glimmerglass and the state Department of Environmental Conservation will host a Free Fishing Clinic Day. State Parks and DEC "I FISH NY" program staff will offer instruction and ice fishing gear and bait will be provided. Please call (607) 547-8662 to learn more.


The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is hosting an open house at Camp Santanoni February 17-19 in the town of Newcomb in Essex County. Attendees can ski or snowshoe the 9.8-mile round trip from Camp Santanoni's Gate Lodge Complex and pass the Farm Complex to the remote lakeside Main Lodge Complex. The trip provides a moderate physical activity and a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.

The Adirondack Interpretive Center will provide free snowshoes at the Gate Lodge for any visitors needing them. Considered one of the most sophisticated and distinguished of all of the surviving great camps in the Adirondacks, Santanoni is a National Historic Landmark built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Robert C. and Anna Pruyn, serving as a place to entertain guests and find refuge from city life.

More information about Camp Santanoni is available at DEC's Camp Santanoni Historic Area web page or the Adirondack Architectural Heritage (link leaves DEC's website).

North Country

Robert Moses State Park will host day camps Feb. 19, 20 and 21 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Nicandri Nature Center, featuring programs for children 5-12 on turtles, knot-tying and hibernating animals. (315) 705-502. John Brown Farm State Historic Site offers horse-drawn sleigh rides every Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m. (518) 565-6051.

Capital Region

Saratoga Spa State Park offers a variety of guided snowshoe hikes and tours of its famed mineral springs throughout the winter break. (518) 584-2535. Thacher State Park will host a Snow Day Feb. 22 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., with activities for school-aged children including a snowshoe walk, relay races and outdoor scavenger hunt. 518-872-0800.

DEC is hosting a series of fun and educational events at Five Rivers Environmental Education Center during the winter break. Visit call (518) 475-0291 or email for more information.


The Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center (CIC) in Mount Tremper hosts programs all winter. Go on an Owl Prowl on Friday, February 23rd, 6-6:30pm (and repeating on Friday March 2, 6-6:30pm) in search of nocturnal neighbors. Participants will wander from forest to field on the nature trails at the CIC and try to call in a variety of owl species. Dress for the weather as groups may be standing quietly in one place for a prolonged period. Call 845-688-3369 to register. This event is weather dependent. Pre-registered guests will be contacted in case of cancellation.

On Saturday, February 24th from 1-3pm, in honor of National Invasive Species Awareness week, the Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP) will present on the basics on invasive plants and animals, how they impact our local environment, and what you can do to help in your own backyard and around your community. Enjoy a short presentation inside - and the chance to see real invasive pest specimens up close! - and then venture out on the nature trails to spot the invasives currently making themselves at home right at the CIC. All ages. Free.


State Historic Sites in the Hudson Valley will host several events to celebrate George Washington's Birthday. Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site will feature music, military demonstrations, historical presentations, and a take-home craft Feb. 17, 18 & 19 from 12 - 4 p.m. each day. (845) 562-1195 New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site will have musket and cannon firings on Feb. 17 and 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (845) 561-1765. Knox's Headquarters State Historic Site will have tours on the hour on Feb. 19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (845) 561-5498

DEC is hosting a series of fun and educational events at Stony Kill Farm Environmental Education Center all week long. Visit call (845) 831-3800 or email for more information.

New York City

Clay Pit Ponds State Park Nature Center hosts Maple Syruping Saturdays at 1 p.m. every Saturday through March 10. Learn about the process of making maple syrup from tap to table. Help identify which trees to tap, drill holes, hammer in spouts, and collect sap to cook up at the Nature Center. Tastes provided. 718-605-3970 x201.

Long Island

Jones Beach State Park offers guided seal walks throughout the winter, including Feb. 18 at 1:30 p.m. and Feb. 24 at 10 a.m. Join park staff for a short talk about seals and then bundle for a walk along the shoreline to see these amazing mammals. (516) 780-3295. Connetquot River State Park Preserve will host a winter break Winter Celebration Feb. 17 from 10 - 11:30 a.m., featuring walk through stations with hands-on winter-themed activities and science experiments. (631) 581-1005.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which are visited by 69 million people annually. A recent university study found that spending by State Parks and its visitors support $5 billion in output and sales, 54,000 private-sector jobs and more than $2.8 billion in additional state GDP. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit, connect with us on Facebook, or follow on Instagram and Twitter.