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New Attractions and Unique Experiences Opening Across New York State

March 31, 2018 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

New attractions and experiences are opening across New York State this summer. Visitors can experience free glassblowing demonstrations, while new curated bike tours along the Erie Canal make it easy and fun to be active. There are new engaging and interactive museums that bring to life everything from the Underground Railroad and Irish heritage, anchored by the highly anticipated opening of the National Comedy Center, a first-of-its-kind museum bringing the history and art of comedy to life.

New York State Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said, “New York State is experiencing a tourism renaissance. Wherever you go, you’ll find new attractions led by people living out their dreams by sharing their passions with others, from glassblowers showing off their craft, to comedians finding a place to call home in Jamestown. There’s no better way to indulge your passion, or discover a new one, than a New York State vacation this summer, and no better time to start your planning than now.”

Check out the Empire State’s calendar full of free outdoor events, wide array of warm-weather activities and this region-by-region sampling of new and exciting attractions across the state:

Hudson River / Erie Canal

· Corning Museum of Glass’ GlassBarge will set sail May 17 from Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York City on a four-month tour along the Hudson River and Erie Canal. This voyage will commemorate the 150th anniversary of glassmaking in Corning and shine a spotlight on New York State’s historic waterways. The GlassBarge will offer free public glassmaking demonstrations at each scheduled stop on a route from Brooklyn to Albany, then west to Buffalo and south to Watkins Glen. A ceremonial last leg of the trip will take place by land, concluding with a community-wide celebration in Corning in September.

While there: Visit the towns and cities along the GlassBarge’s waterfront ports of call. In Poughkeepsie, check out the grand view from the Walkway Over the Hudson, then explore some of the area trails and parks. In Seneca Falls, visit the Women’s Rights National Historical Park where the first women’s rights convention was held, then head down the block to the Women’s Rights Hall of Fame. Out west, visit the Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park, then enjoy the city skyline and a picturesque sunset aboard a Buffalo Harbor boat cruise.

The Adirondacks

· Pandemonium at Six Flags Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom (Lake George), a new family thrill ride, quickly accelerates to spin its 24 riders as they lift, whirl and tilt at breathtaking speeds. High-powered colored lights add to the excitement, playing on the twisting, twirling motions of the ride. Riders must be at least 48 inches tall. The new attraction will be located alongside a park favorite, Screaming Eagles, in the historic Alpine Fest area. The park also offers tamer rides for families and younger children, including slides, a wave pool and other cool activities at Splashwater Kingdom.

While there: Visitors can enjoy boating, waterskiing, fishing and beachside fun around Lake George or participate in a historical reenactment at nearby Fort William Henry Museum.


· The Historic Downtown Albany Food Tour is now being offered by Taste of Troy Food Tours. This walking tour takes participants to historic sites in Albany, from its Dutch beginnings to the present, with stops for samplings at five local restaurants. The tour is offered on Fridays from May through October.

While there: Tour the USS Slater, a World War II destroyer escort, and check out the art, history and science exhibits at the New York State Museum, the oldest and largest state museum in the country.

The Catskills

· Rail Explorers (Phoenicia) will be offering pedal-powered “rail bike” excursions along Esopus Creek starting this summer. The vehicles, which come as tandems and quads, offer an electronic boost option so people of varied fitness levels can travel together. The 4.5-mile ride takes about two hours roundtrip, including a short picnic break in a meadow. Pets and children are welcome and team-building outings can be arranged.

While there: Continue your outdoor adventures in Phoenicia, which has everything from fly-fishing to river tubing to hiking.

· Catskill Thunder (Highmount), Belleayre Mountain’s newly-installed gondola will enable lift-serviced mountain biking as well as year-round scenic rides to the mountaintop for incredible panoramic views. The first and only gondola in the Catskills, it transports passengers at speeds up to 1,000 feet per minute. Each of its 60 cabins can carry eight adults. The summit can also be rented for weddings and other events.

While there: Visitors can check out the concerts and other events happening on the mountain and, weather permitting, enjoy the water and beach sports at Belleayre Beach.

Chautauqua Allegany

· The National Comedy Center (Jamestown), a $50 million world-class museum, will be the first national-scale visitor experience dedicated to the art of comedy. Scheduled to open this summer during the annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, the museum will feature holograms of famous comedians, living and past, performing their best-known sketches as part of more than 50 high-tech immersive exhibits. The Center will also offer a year-round calendar of live performances as well as classes for aspiring artists. Home to the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum and birthplace of Lucille Ball, the town already draws A-list comedians to its annual comedy festival every summer.

While there: Visitors can catch a concert at the Chautauqua Institution or the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts, bask on the shores of Chautauqua Lake and hike or bike through Allegany State Park.

Central New York

· Irish Cultural Center of the Mohawk Valley (Utica), slated to open in July, will showcase Irish culture and history through exhibits and classes in dance, poetry, music, theater and language. The Center features a traditional 18th Century Irish pub, transported from Ireland, and event space for up to 275 people.

While there: Follow the New York Craft Beverage Trail to explore local breweries, wineries and distilleries and admire 300 years of American art at the Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute.

· Point Place Casino (Bridgeport) offers 65,000 square feet of gaming with 500 slot machines and 20 table games. Located on Route 31, the new smoke-free facility will include two restaurants, Wicked Good Pizza and Burgers of Madison County; Opals Confectionary, a chocolatier; a Turning Stone bakery; and two bars.

While there: Visitors can go kayaking on Oneida Lake, hike, hunt or fish in the Cicero Swamp Wildlife Management Area, or explore the urban delights of Syracuse, about 16 miles away.

Finger Lakes

· Erie Canal Bike Tours (Syracuse) has expanded its fully-supported, multi-day bike tour lineup and added “on your own” independent bike itineraries of the Erie Canal. The Erie Canal bike routes are easy, flat and scenic, and pass through quaint historic towns. Group tours include all the logistics—from hotels, breakfasts and lunches to special activities such as an evening Erie Canal cruise. Both independent and group tours provide backup support in case of bike or other problems. The company also offers free cyclist shuttle services at fixed times and places from Friday to Monday.

While there: Cyclists can learn more about canal history at the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse and the Erie Canal Heritage Park in Port Byron.

· FLX Live (Geneva) serves up great live music along with its craft beers, cocktails and local wines. The venue showcases well-known regional musicians, DJs and up-and-coming talent. Set in the renovated Headless Sullivan Theater, FLX Live offers comfortable l…

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