Things to do in Ithaca


Ithaca is wonderful place to visit for families!  Here are just a few of our favorite things to do with our children:

Sciencenter: The Sciencenter has an enclosed area specifically for babies and toddlers (ages 0 - 4) that includes a water table, air station, light table, and an outdoor seasonal Curiosity Playground specifically for small children to explore.  Besides all the 2 floors of hands-on science exhibits, children can touch sea stars, urchins, and more at the Tidepool Touch Tank (at specific times, not every day), see snakes, fish, and lizards, and play outside on two seasonal playground or mini-golf course.  Allow 2 hours.

Ithaca Children's Garden at Cass Park: You can't miss Gaia, the gigantic sculpted turtle right along route 89. The Children's Garden is free and open to the public, featuring the Hands-On Anarchy Zone, Bulb Labyrinth Garden, kitchen garden, recycled green house, troll house, butterfly and bird habitats, sand play area, and more! Various camps and day programs run here throughout the year. Allow 1-2 hours.

Ithaca Farmers Market: Ithaca's vibrant farmers market consists of 150 vendors that live within 30 miles of Ithaca.  Saturdays can be very busy.  Sundays are still lively, but may give you more room to walk around.  Enjoy some fantastic food, great music, fun atmosphere, and many high quality, locally made items and delicious food.  Kids love to play near the water, feed the ducks, watch crew boats at practice, and dance to the live music! Allow 2-3 hours.

Taughannock Falls: This state park has camping, a marina, beautiful falls, a beach, and is about 15 minutes from downtown Ithaca!  The childrens playground is wonderful, with a unique design.  The best part is the location!  Your children can run around on the playground while you find a shady part under a tree for a picnic next to Cayuga Lake.  Starting in the summer, enjoy the park on Saturday night with live concerts, dancing, and local wine vendors.  Allow 1-4 hours.

Friends of the Tompkins County Public Library Book Sale: Peruse over 250,000 used books at great prices!  Usually occurs over three weekends, twice per year.  On the final day, all books are $0.10 each!  Allow 1 hour.

Museum of the Earth: Have a child that loves dinosaurs?  Museum of the Earth is part of the Paleontological Research Institute.  This museum may lack large, robotic dinosaurs and lots of hands on activities for toddlers, but this is where to go to get in depth questions answered by true experts.  High quality and in depth exhibits with plenty of real fossils.  Ask about saturday fossil collecting field trips.  Allow 1-2 hours.

Moosewood Restaurant:  World famous vegetarian restaurant.  Just remember they are closed for full meals from 3:00 - 5:30 (you can still get drinks and desserts!), and on busier weekends, you'll want to be there right at 5:30 because tables tend to fill up fast.  If you miss the first "round", tables will open up again around 6:30.