Getting out in the crisp air is a family favorite and spending time enjoying animals is a great cost effective past time. If you are looking to feed some animals, we have the list for you! Some places are more traditional than others and some have different Covid-19 modifications than others. Regardless, there are several options around Rochester!
5905 Ontario Center Rd, Ontario, NY 14519
If you like a good pun, run to the Lamora Farms Chicken Coop! Once there you can happily drop some chicken feed onto the chicknic table for "Amelia Egghart" and "Princess Lay-ya." Along with the coop to feed the chickens and the oversized checkers and tic tac toe board, they now have a new wooden play structure and a great backdrop for fall photos. There is also u-pick apples & pumpkins along with a huge selection of produce, baked goods, apples and pumpkins at the roadside gazebos.
Cost: Free to see the animals and play! Bring quarters for chicken feed.
7277 Maple Ave Exd, Sodus, NY 14551
Burnap's Farm Market & Garden Cafe in Sodus has so much to offer this fall season - Feeding the goats is just one of the many attractions. Currently, Burnap's is open Friday-Sunday and goat food is available in the market. However, you can pack some food and come any day of the week to visit the goats; They love company and sunflower seeds! Aside from the goats, Burnap's has a variety of fun play structures and a free corn maze for kids! Head inside the market for fresh baked goods, produce and much more
Cost: Free to see the animals and play (Goat food can be purchased in the market or bring your own!)
Cracker Box Palace
6450 Shaker Rd, Alton, NY 14413
While in Sodus, consider checking our Cracker Box Palace. This is a non-profit, no kill farm haven in Alton, NY. You will likely find a wide variety of animals here who have come to recover from illness, neglect or abuse. It is free to enter the farm to feed the animals (donations encouraged) and is open year round! It is a very laid back and authentic farm without the frills. Consider a hike on the property and pack some veggies to feed to the animals. Crackerbox is 10 minutes from Burnap's Farm Market so make the day of it!
Cost: Free to enter! Donations Encouraged
Pick N Patch
2205 NY-5, Stanley, NY 14561
This fantastic gem of a farm is a bit of a drive but so worth it! Feeding the animals is a little different this year due to COVID. There is no contact with the animals. You can purchase food at the dispensers (.25 for a little handful) and then you put it down the tubes. They have a few goats, sheep, chickens and a calf. Bring your quarters the goats will be happy to see you!
COST: Free to see the animals! Fun Seeker Band - $12 Adventure Band- $10. Corn Maze Entry ONLY - $7. 12 Apple Blaster Shots - $5 (check website for details)
Powers Farm Market
161 Marsh Rd, Pittsford, NY 14534
Powers is a well loved Farm Market with sheep, goats, deer, ponies, alpacas, and chickens. They offer food dispensers throughout if you would like to feed the animals. While there be sure to check out the famous Powers teepees! These are free to enter and such a fun spooktacular place to explore!
Cost: Free to see the animals! Be sure to bring quarters for the food!
Powder Mills Fish Hatchery
115 Park Rd, Pittsford, NY 14534
Powder Mills Fish Hatchery is fun for everyone. You are able to view a variety of fish and different stages of life. Bring along a cup and some quarters because these fish are hungry! Be careful not to throw in too much of the feed or you will be splashed (okay, that’s the best part!). The park offers a few different coin operated feed machines right near the holding areas.
Cost: Free to enter! Bring Quarters!
Schoen Pl, Pittsford, NY 14534
We love going to Schoen Place in Pittsford to feed the ducks. This is one of the best spots to go as the ducks seem to always be there and it is allowed (many places do not permit the feeding of wild ducks so be mindful wherever you go). Please refrain from bringing bread for the ducks. Bread products are in fact not good for waterfowl or even the waterways! You can purchase cracked corn at the canal for $1 or pack frozen peas or corn kernels. We park by the Coal Tower Restaurant and head directly across the street towards the canal. That's where the ducks are! Duck Food can be purchased inside Artisan Gelato.
Cost: Free to park and stroll the canal! Duck food can be purchased for $1 during Artisan Gelato business hours
1315 Sweets Corners Rd, Penfield, NY
You've probably seen pictures of the beloved Wickham Farms going around but did you know by paying the barnyard admission OR to go Apple picking you have access to feed the animals?! Goat food can be purchased in the barn. If you plan to go to the barnyard attractions buy your tickets online to ensure you can get it!
Barnyard Admission: $15 (Friday - Sunday) $10 (Monday - Thursday)
Apple Picking Only: $10
Bridsong Fairy Trail
27 Pond Rd, Honeoye Falls, NY 14472
Get away from the crowds and feed the birds at the Birdsong Fairy Trail at Mendon Ponds Park. The birds tend to be most active just beyond the last fairy house on the trail (near the owl shed of the loop back to the parking lot). Getting a bird to eat from your hand is more likely in the winter months and with children that can stay still for a couple of minutes! Good luck!
COST: Free! Sunflower seeds to feed the chickadees can be purchased within Wild Wings during business hours.
Rochester is a wonderful place for the waterfall enthusiast. Many can be seen from the roadside while others require a hike. These waterfall trails have all been tested with kids in tow! (That is not to say there aren't safety precautions to take.) Be sure to check news reports before heading out to ensure the park is open and to learn of any possible hazards. Falling rock can be a concern at some of these locations are well as steep cliffs and of course moving water. Some of these parks are right within city limits while others are an hour drive, and these aren't even all of them! Share with us your favorites to have them featured in part II!
Zoo Falls and Cascade at Seneca Park
This is a great walk for a toddler! There was no “carry me” on this hike. There are cool bridges, waterfalls, streams, and the Genesee River. We parked at Wegmans Lodge at Seneca Park and followed the Red Trail. You take the stairs down to the base of the falls and the river. There is a littler dock too. You can climb a bit in the falls for a bit of a stream walk or you can play in the stream above. Caution! There was some iron rebar sticking up around the stairs and some steel sign posts sticking up. Just be aware of your footing. Some parts are a little more challenging but our almost 3 year old completed all of the hike.
Letchworth State Park
There is so much to see and do at Letchworth State Park. If coming from Rochester, you can choose to enter at the Mount Morris entrance and drive the length of Letchworth as it is one long strip. However, we decided to cut to the chase and drive to the Castile Entrance to visit the playgrounds and hike the lower falls area (which is a little over an hour from Rochester). After entering, turn right and drive until you see a sign for Lower Falls Rd. Take this down the hill and you will see the new playground behind the rec center! This playground is unique but my kids had more interest in the traditional playgrounds, one of which is right nearby! After playing on both playgrounds we hiked the beautiful path to the lower falls. If you head toward the river and the bathroom shelter at the corner of the parking lot, you will find the trail that takes you to the scenic views. There are lots of stairs but overall it's a quick and simple hike. Along the way you will find the octagon playground which is shaded and great for climbers! Continue on the hike and eventually you will get to a set of descending stairs and soon a sharp left turn. Take that for the wide open views, bridges and lower falls view. You can continue on from there but we choose to turn around to make this a quick 1 mile hike.
Holley Falls Canal Park
Just outside of Brockport is the quaint town of Holley and within this town is the beautiful Holley Canal Falls. We had a lovely time exploring the park. The wide gravel trail is wheel friendly and does a one mile loop to the top of the falls, follows along the canal and passes by a playground. There are shortcuts throughout that are not wheel friendly but get you closer to the falls and a more direct route back. You can stand at the top of the falls without a barricade between so tread cautiously. The gravel path starts near the pavilion and goes up a fairly steep hill at the start. The falls however can be seen from the parking lot so a hike isn't necessary if you rather stay put to enjoy the view. It is free to enter Holley Falls Park but there is a sign stating they are closed for the season and to enter at your own risk. There is poison ivy in the woods so stay on the trails!
Wolcott Falls Park
Known for its easily accessible 50ft waterfall, this park is a little gem located in the heart of Wolcott. The trail is roughly 0.1 mile long and has low traffic. Along with a short trail, there is also playground equipment (some in need of repair). Located back in the eastern corner of the park, you will find an older metal and wooden slide and hanging bars. There is also a large Little Tykes playground and sandbox/water table in this section. The Little Tykes playground is best suited for kids under 5. The park also offers a pavilion with multiple picnic tables. This park is completely shaded and tucked away from the road. Dogs are allowed, but must be leashed.
Hiking from old Penfield road you follow the trail it’s about 3/4 of a mile, some hills but a good kid hike! You will end at the falls and the bridge tunnel. You can also park off of 441 and that is less of a hike to the falls. Also you can walk past the falls along the trail to extend your hike but entering the water at any point is not permitted.
This hidden waterfall is not far from the road in Geneseo. Though the hike is short it is fairly tedious and requires the use of a rope to scale down to the falls. Being the hidden gem that it is, there is very little roadside parking along route 63. Entering "Fall Brook Falls, Geneseo, NY 14510" into your GPS should take you to where you need to go. Just a couple steps into the woods you will find the rope to descend down to the bottom of the falls. Proper footwear is a must! Explore at your own risk!
Pal Mac Aqueduct Park
The Pal-Mac Park is a lovely place to take a stroll. The area is approximately three acres to explore with kids and family. There are paths to follow around the aqueduct itself as well as down the sides of the canal. If you are taking the trail down the canal it's stroller friendly and flat to enjoy the water. There is also fitness equipment along your walk as you enjoy the scenery. If you are an avid fisherman or looking to try your hand at it, there is plenty of shaded area along the water to relax and catch some fish.
Channing Philbrick Park
This park features an open air pavilion, grills, seasonal public restrooms, green space, handicapped fishing access, a map kiosk and hiking trails along Irondequoit Creek. Picnic tables overlook the creek where kids can play (This is the Red Fishing Trail). The first trail on the left as you pull into the parking lot is stroller friendly; Others within the park are not. The best place to check out for creek exploration is off to the right behind the pavilion. To find the hidden gem of the waterfall follow the Philbrick Park Trail (white) and it will be set back on the trail on the left side. If you hit the wooden bridge you have gone too far!
Ontario Pathways is a 23 mile long trail for walking, hiking, and biking with so much to explore. These pictures below are of the access point in Phelps, NY (1990 NY-96). Make sure to bring bug spray! While the trails are well maintained if you travel off the main trail it becomes buggy quickly. The best way to find the waterfalls is walk into the trail and continue for about 10 minutes. You will see some large boulders on the right side of the trail and a worn path- it will lead you right to them!
Ganondagan State Historic Site
This is a great trail tucked away from the main road. We parked in the Cultural Center Parking lot and followed the blue trail (The Earth is our Mother Trail) which brought us to a fantastic little set of waterfalls with creek access. There are also benches along the trails to admire foliage and animals. I was pleasantly surprised how they have really added lots of information to read on the trail! The trail takes about 40 minutes to get to the area and the terrain may be a bit challenging for younger children. While you are there you can also check out the Seneca Arts and Cultural Center. Their website has some good information to see the map for hiking options and visit the center while you are there.
Historic High Falls Walk
Everyone knows of the iconic High Falls! We like to park at the WXXI parking garage when we go, it’s usually free on weekends and we drive all the way to the top for the view! You can see the falls closer if you walk towards the right first, you will see the stairs and ramp to see the falls and usually there is a rainbow. After that we walk over to the bridge to cross towards the Genesee Brewery. When waking over there is a canal stream by La Luna and the Center at High Falls. The High Falls Visitor Center is open M-F 9-5, admission is $2 for adult and $1 per child. It's definitely worth a visit as there are some fun interactive exhibits! The Historical Tour of the falls can be found HERE. This would be a great field trip for all ages!
Covid-19 has proved challenging for all - especially small business owners. Many have made major adjustments and found creative ways to grow their business. Others, however, took this approach from the very beginning when they decided to open their doors despite the pandemic. Here are some of those businesses that opened their doors while we were hiding behind ours.
At The Cannery, 25 Parce Ave Suite 175, Fairport, NY 14450
Challenge Athletics opened in early August. They offer dance, tumbling and martial arts classes as well as private lessons, camps and birthday parties. We tried out a tumbling class with my 1.5 and 4 year old. The class was very much like a "sampler" involving the kids in martial arts and dance activities but with a primary focus on the basic tumbling skills. The kids had so much fun and the staff is so kind and patient. It was a great opportunity to see my kids' abilities and interests in a more formal setting.
733 Park Ave, Rochester, NY 14607
Pittsford Dairy has opened a second location and amidst a pandemic nonetheless! This location is much smaller than their Pittsford location but they still have plenty of delicious handmade ice cream and other locally made products to go around! During our visit in August there was not indoor seating or tables but this makes for a great place to stop and grab a treat while strolling Park Avenue.
729 Park Ave, Rochester, NY 14607
Conveniently located right next door to Pittsford Dairy, Chai Guy serves a variety of specialty drinks along with Amazing Grain Breads and Kiss Me Cookies. There is indoor seating but we had a great time grabbing some chai tea, then heading over to Pittsford Dairy for some ice cream with the kids.
3349 Monroe Ave, Rochester, NY 14618
We had an amazing experience partnering with Goldfish Swim to check out their new facility in Pittsford. When we started lessons, my 1.5 year old hated bath time and my 4 year old was very sensitive and skittish when it came to any water above the knees. I am happy to now be able to say my daughter squeals with joy when she sees her bathing suit or hears its bath time. She absolutely loves the water thanks to this swim school! Aside from the joy and confidence Goldfish gave my kids when it comes to lessons, they have learned the essential safety skills and even glimpses of independent swim skills in just 3 short months. The facility has been very good with sanitizing and making sure the environment is safe for the members.
620 Titus Ave, Rochester, NY 14617
I stopped by Juniper Gift Shop before heading over to my cousin's bridal shower. This is an adorable local shop with several locally made items available to purchase. The outside is deceiving as there is much more inside than meets the eye. There is a room full of children's products and others with kitchen goods, gifts and home decor. Give yourself plenty of time to browse, you are sure to find something great!
650 Whitney Rd, Fairport, NY 14450
Nestled perfectly between Pizza Chef and Ladybugs Play in Fairport, you will find Unleashed Nutrition. This tea & protein shake bar opened late August and is the perfect stop to refuel while on the go. The staff was so great with kids and will customize any drink to make it fun and exciting for them - they can even have the colors of their tea match their favorite superhero. Even the protein shakes can be made kid friendly! All the options are so customizable and the staff are there to help you find what you are looking for. Gluten-free, caffeinated, or covered in sprinkles - they have something for everyone. Be sure to share your beverage on social media to receive $1.00 off!
Around Rochester there are so many enjoyable trails. Here are our top 10 Easy Hikes around Rochester! Each of these trails are stroller/wheelchair accessible and are easy to maneuver.
Birdsong Fairy Trail
27 Pond Rd, Honeoye Falls, NY 14472
This is a favorite with children and adults. Explore nature, visit the fairy houses, and play on a natural play area near the parking lot and halfway through the loop trail. Have more time? Visit Wild Wings Inc. just a short walk away. If you want to keep the trail short and simple, either turn left once the fairy houses end to loop back to the parking lot or turn around and enjoy the houses one more time!
Butterfly Nature Trail
Canal Park, Macedon, NY 14502
The Butterfly Nature Trail is a community project started in 2012. The upkeep of this trail is maintained by a local group of devoted citizens. This is an adorable trail to bring children to explore and check in on the fairies! This is a 1/4 mile linear trail designed for all abilities in mind - wheelchair and stroller friendly!
Turning Point Park
260 Boxart St, Rochester, NY 14612
Turning Point Park has a well loved stroller friendly trail - however, if starting out on Boxart Street, there is a steep hill to manage before getting down to the boardwalk. This also means a steep climb back to the car! The boardwalk trail from there is fairly level and very beautiful. It is a linear path however so you can make the walk as long as you would like. It is a 2.8 mile walk to the Ontario Beach Park from Boxart Street (one-way).
Channing Philbrick Park (Linear Park)
1 Linear Park Dr, Penfield, NY 14526
This park features a pavilion, grills, seasonal public restrooms, green areas, handicapped fishing access, kiosk and hiking trail along Irondequoit Creek. Picnic tables overlook the creek where kids can play. Can you find the waterfall? It's hidden in plain view! Keep your eyes peeled!
9190 Catchpole Rd, North Rose, NY 14516
Here’s a fun place to go and it’s off the beaten path. This hidden gem is located in North Rose and you can easily pass by it if you aren’t on the lookout. The path itself is an elevated bridge so it is easy to navigate with a stroller. Bring your camera there’s a lot of wildlife for you to observe. There are also fairies that live in these woods as well!
99 Victor Rd, Fairport, NY 14450
This path makes for a lovely stroll through Lollypop Farm that the whole family will enjoy. The paths are wide and flat and there are several farm animals to be viewed along the walk. You can also go inside Lollipop Farm to see more animals and read educational resources.
Ontario Pathways, Phelps NY
1990 NY-96, Phelps, NY 14532
Ontario Pathways is a 23 mile long trail for walking, hiking, and biking with so much to explore. Please check out the official website map for different entry points to different trails. The entry way in Phelps has fantastic kid friendly waterfalls and creek access to explore for tadpoles and fish.
Pal-Mac Aqueduct County Park
555 W Main St, Palmyra, NY 14522
The Pal-Mac Park is a lovely place to take a stroll. The area is approximately three acres to explore with kids and family. There are paths to follow around the aqueduct itself as well as down the sides of the canal.
Thomas Creek Wetland Walk
43 Liftbridge Ln E, Fairport, NY 14450
The Wetland Walk is a short loop along a boardwalk, parallel to the canal path and right within the village of Fairport! The path is beautiful, easy and stroller friendly. If you finish the short wetland walk, you can follow the canal trail into the village and beyond.