Everything You Need to Know Before Taking Kids to Storm King
Bringing the family to Storm King? It’s the perfect way to spend a day, but—like every other travel destination—it’s trickier with kids. We’ve got you covered with do’s and don’ts and even a handy packing list.
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: Just 60 miles north of NYC, Storm King Art Center is a 500-acre outdoor art museum, where the awe-inspiring large-scale sculptures are set among rolling hills under the open sky. (So, it’s perfect for kids who are too rowdy and energetic for the typical indoor art museums.) For the most part, you can’t climb on the art, but the sign beside Isamu Noguchi’s Momo Taro, pictured below, welcome visitors to sit (and sing!) inside.
WHEN TO GO: Get there early (they open at 10am Wednesday to Sunday, May through November). If you’re looking for an organized activity, there are Storm King family programs every Sunday at 1pm. The park is closed to the public in December through April, though it occasionally opens to members for Winter Walks. (More details on family membership below!)
HOW LONG CAN WE SPEND AT STORM KING? A couple of able-bodied adults could breeze through the whole park in 2 to 4 hours. But even with the use of the trams that transport visitors from the parking lots to various point around the park, short-legged kiddos are going to cover far less ground. (Note: On a sunny 82-degree day, my 4-year-old and 8-year-old started complaining about the heat within an hour or so.)
WHERE TO PARK: Shoot for the East Parking Lot near Museum Hill—this will fill up, so try to visit on a weekday (Storm King is open Wednesday/Thursday/Friday) or get there early on a weekend. This is the most centrally located lot, and it’s surrounded by art. You can see a lot before your kids get burnt out.
CAN YOU GET TO STORM KING WITHOUT A CAR? Yes, if you plan in advance, you can prepurchase a shuttle ticket from the Beacon Metro-North Station to Storm King. The shuttle is good for kids who are able to sit unaided in an adult seat—they cannot sit your laps. You can also take a cab from NJ Transit or a bus from Port Authority. To get all the details, hit the VISIT tab on the Storm King website, and click on GETTING HERE. That said, if you’re traveling with kids, the easiest mode of transportation is a car that has the appropriate car seats installed.
MAYBE SKIP THE STROLLER: Strollers are allowed at Storm King but our flimsy umbrella stroller was not meant to chase children off gravel paths and into the grass. If you’ve got an all-terrain stroller, you might have a better time. If your kid is small enough to fit in a wearable baby carrier, we’d recommend bringing that instead. Bigger kids can jump in one of the trams with various stops around the park if you need a lift.
WHAT TO WEAR: Comfortable shoes, sunglasses, a backpack filled with your stuff, and a wide-brimmed hat. There are shady spots to rest and picnic, but Storm King has plenty of super sunny fields that you’ll be passing through.
WHAT TO PACK
A picnic blanket
Lunch and kid-friendly snacks (or just enjoy the Outdoor Cafe menu)
Adult drinks: Storm King does not have an alcohol policy posted on its website, and many reviews mention that it’s even better with a bottle of wine!
A drawing pad and sketching supplies for artistic kids
BUT WHAT IF YOU HATE PACKING? Water, sunscreen, and insect repellent are available in the Museum Store at the Visitor Center. And if you don’t have a blanket or a packed lunch, there are picnic tables near the 2 on-site cafes and food truck.
THE DON’TS: You can find detailed explanations on the Storm King website if you click on VISIT and then POLICIES, but here’s a quick rundown:
No personal bikes/scooters/skateboards! (Adult-sized rental bikes are available, but at present, child seats and children’s bikes are not.)
No balls, kites, Frisbees, jogging, nor sports of any kind! (But check the CALENDAR if you’re interested in their bring-your-own-mat Saturday morning yoga classes.)
No lawn chairs!
No boom boxes!
IS IT WORTH GETTING A MEMBERSHIP? If you have 2 kids over 4 and plan on visiting more than once per year, then yes! We won a Storm King membership at an auction at our kids’ school, but a family membership costs $125 ($90 tax-deductible). Since 2 adults and 2 kids cost $52 for one visit, this pays for itself when you visit a couple of times. Our kids are too big to carry and too little and lazy to walk thought the entire sculpture park in one go, so it makes more sense to visit several times (as a rest stop on our way to our Greene County doublewide) and see a section of the park each time.
>>> Need more kid-friendly activities in the Catskills and Hudson Valley? Check our our coverage of Catskills hikes with kids, more upstate museums for the whole family, and our favorite kid-friendly restaurants and breweries.