Staycation Ideas and Quick Getaways


A family at a museum.This year, once the chaos of the holidays settles and the excitement of the new year starts to wane, I find myself with no vacation plans anytime soon. I want to plan some weekend day trips with my family to get out of the house and away from the TV during the winter months.

Our family likes to have some structure, even during a break from the usual routine, so we are putting together ideas for day trips in the area. One challenge is finding activities that the whole family will enjoy since there is a seven-year age gap between my oldest and youngest child (my kids are 11, 9, and 4).

I find this is a great opportunity to catch up on some much-needed family time and a respite from those hectic weekday schedules. Here are some of our ideas for day trips and things to do.

1. New York Botanical Garden: Holiday Train Show and NYBG Glow: The Holiday Train Show is on display until January 23, 2022. We have not attended this event but have it on our list this season. The show has a display of over 175 famous New York City landmarks. My four-year-old son is especially excited about this event. Also at the NYBG is the NYBG Glow, which has tickets running through January 22, 2022, with lights illuminated outdoors.

2. Mystic, Connecticut: Alice in the Village and Mystic Aquarium are two spots we can’t wait to visit. My daughters and I made this trip several years ago, and while the drive is a bit far (approximately 2 hours from Greenwich), it is well worth the trip. The Mystic Aquarium has animal encounter programs, sea lions, beluga whales, and penguins, to name a few. There is also a Jurrasic Giants exhibit which includes animatronic dinosaurs, two 4D theaters, frogs, and other reptiles. Alice in the Village is an Alice in Wonderland-themed tea room and gift shop with great décor. A stop at Mystic Pizza is a great place to have lunch.

3. It Adventure Ropes Course: Located in New Haven, there are four levels of their Adventure Ropes Course. There is also a separate course for small children. You can book tickets in advance online.

4. Stamford Museum and Nature Center: A great idea to get outdoors, see some animals, and go to a great playground on a warmer winter day.

Here are our possible day trip ideas to New York City.

1. MoMA: Check out the “tips for family visits” and Heyman Family Programs. Kids under age 16 are free, and access to audio for families, activity guides, and kids labels.

2. Color Factory: After seeing pictures of family friends visiting, it is on our list of places we all want to visit next time in the city. The immersive art and bright colors bring happiness when it is much needed.

3. Sloomoo: This is a museum centered around slime—all of my kids are huge fans. If I can take them somewhere to play with slime outside of our house, that is a win for me.

4. Museum of Natural History: This is my son’s favorite since he is obsessed with dinosaurs, but I find that everyone in our family enjoys a visit to this museum. Currently, there is a shark exhibit running until August 2022.

5. Central Park ice skating at Wollman Rink: This is on our to-do list and something we have yet to experience. Timed tickets are purchased online, and the public skating hours are posted. There is also a café to visit with “grab and go” and full menu options.

What are your winter plans with your family this season?


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