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4 Things to Do for The Holidays That Are Uniquely Central New York

Central New York is a winter wonderland during the holiday season, and there’s plenty of festive fun to be had across the region for you and your family. If you’re visiting the area this December, embrace the opportunity to enjoy these must-do Central New York holiday experiences.

Snowshoe at the Utica Zoo

Snowshoe at the Zoo! Bring your own, or rent a pair of theirs. With wooded trails and amazing scenery, come see the zoo in a whole new way. Last snowshoe rental occurs at 3:00pm. Snowshoes and poles must be returned to the Gift Shop before 4:00 p.m. Photo ID required for rentals. Snowshoeing available at the discretion of the staff and dependent on the condition of the trail. To minimize the damage to the equipment, at least six inches of snow must be on the ground to rent to snowshoes and renters must use designated trail only. Quantities are limited and rented on a first come, first serve basis.

Rental Fee: All sizes are $3.00/hour (minimum 1 hour, charged in hour increments after that. Payment due upon return of snowshoes) On grounds only. Rental charge does not include admission to the Utica Zoo.

The Utica Zoo is open 363 days a year from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Adult Admission is $4.50. Seniors (62+), Military, College $3.50. Children (3-12) $3.00.

Take the Polar Express™ Train Ride with the Adirondack Scenic Railroad

Live the magic of the classic Polar Express™ Train Ride story with the Adirondack Scenic Railroad. Depart from Utica’s Union Station and travel north while being served hot chocolate and cookies.

When you arrive at the North Pole, Santa will board the train visiting with each family, and giving each child their first gift of Christmas in the form of a Silver Bell, just like in the book or movie!

Bring your Pajamas! Children (and parents) are encouraged to come in pajamas. Don’t forget your camera- you’ll want to capture the memories of your time with Santa! Join the many families who come back to see us every year!

Start Time: 4 p.m., 6:30 p.m. *Wed. also 4:30 p.m.
Duration: 2 hours
Tickets start at $46

Utica’s Union Station is located at 321 Main Street, Utica, NY 13501

See Turning Stone Resort Casino’s Gingerbread Village

The 2019 Gingerbread Village will be on display in the resort’s Exit 33 Atrium (near the Tin Rooster). This holiday favorite measures more than 70 feet in length and includes nine towering buildings, including a bakery, hotel, Tudor-style home, a church, a barn, train station and more. All edible, the village consists of more than 700 pounds of gingerbread dough, 2,045 pounds of icing and more than 750 pounds of candy. The exhibit is free to visit.

Turning Stone Resort Casino is located at 5218 Patrick Road, Verona, NY 13478

Visit The Farmers’ Museum Candlelight Evening, on Saturday, December 14, from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m.

The landscape of the museum is adorned with greenery and aglow with hundreds of candle luminaries. Real jingle bells add to the magic of the evening as horses dressed in harness bells pull wagons carrying visitors through the museum’s snowy grounds. Gather around a bonfire on the tavern green and partake of complimentary wassail made with local cider–warming in kettles over open fires and served throughout the event. Delicious food and hot drinks are also available.

Candlelight Evening is unforgettable for children. Visit with St. Nicholas as he strolls around the historic village and all visitors enjoy free rides on the Empire State Carousel throughout the event, courtesy of Matthew Sohns and family.

Music and live performances bring Candlelight Evening to life. Hear the sounds of the holidays throughout the museum’s grounds. Performers fill the historic Cornwallville Church with music of the season, groups such as Ah-Coopella, Women of the Chamber Singers, and Eight is Enuf. Local high school bands and the Hartwick Brass play holiday favorites at Bump Tavern. Mingle with characters from the museum’s upcoming production of A Christmas Carol. Best of all, visitors can join in the singing with over 150 carolers in the midst of candle-lit historic buildings.

Tickets: Purchase your tickets online or at the door. Adults (13-64): $12.00, Seniors (65+): $10.50, Juniors (7-12): $6.00.  Children (6 and younger) and museum members are free.

The Farmers’ Museum is located at 5575 State Highway 80 (Lake Road), Cooperstown, NY 13326