When corporate lawyer Marissa Millman first got engaged and made the move from the city to Westchester, she quickly fell in love with what we all adore about the ‘burbs—having the best of both worlds. “We’re so close to NYC but we have backyards and nature, too. It’s the best place to live I think!” After renting in White Plains, she and her now family of three (she has daughters ages 7 and 4) settled in Greenwich just over the NY border. She’s still working in the city three days a week, and in her free time she enjoys finding new things to do and places to eat in the area, with and without her kids. And, of course, sharing them with friends and readers of her new blog, Donuts at the Disco. “Without a doubt our favorite spot in Scarsdale is Candlelight Inn. Those wings are to die for! We also love Cooked and Co. and Lulu Cake Boutique,” says Marissa. Recently, she took her girls to Westchester’s Winter Wonderland. Here’s what she shared with her readers and was kind enough to let Scarsdale Moms share with you!
There’s A Lot Going On
Westchester’s Winter Wonderland, located at the Kensico Dam in Valhalla, NY is essentially a winter carnival. It has carnival games. It has funnel cakes and cotton candy. And it has a bunch of adorable rides. My older one LOVED the spinning Himalaya ride that appeared to be borrowed from Rye Playland. My younger one couldn’t get enough of the mini fire-truck ride that goes around and around. There is also Spinning Dragons, Flying Dragons, a mini-Ferris Wheel, a Mega Slide, a Carousel and a Jolly Caterpillar. And while that’s enough to satisfy most kids, there’s plenty more.
The centerpiece of Winter Wonderland is probably its circus. Several times a night, a group of performers put on a show inside a large, heated circus tent that includes clowns and humor and daring feats using things like crossbows, tight ropes and chairs piled on top of one another. It’s a sweet little show for kids and their parents. The other big attraction, appealing to all ages, is the large outdoor skating rink. And your admission INCLUDES free skate rental. We could not get our older one off the ice.
There’s also a Winter Hayride, food trucks (all food is available for separate purchase using cash or card) and a heated indoor tent with plenty of seating to eat your food truck purchases or generally escape the cold – and, at least while we were in there, an Elf was doing a comedy routine for the kids in attendance. Last but not least, Santa himself is ready and willing to meet your kids in yet another heated tent appropriately named, “Santa’s Workshop.”
Even if you aren’t looking to get active on ice or on rides, it’s just an adorable experience to walk around. There’s a huge Christmas tree, a choreographed light show and just general merriment abounds.
It’s Such a Good Deal
What makes the Wonderland so WONDERful is that it’s a GREAT bang for your buck. In a world where everything is overpriced, this event shines for its value. For just $20 per person (age 3 and under free), ALL activities that make up the Wonderland are included. This means your child can go on his favorite ride twenty times in one night if he wants to and you won’t spend an extra dime. After years spent racing through a summer carnival ticket book in minutes, this was a welcome relief. Skating (with rentals) and the winter hayride are also included. Parking is free, too.
I also love that you can buy advance tickets for the Winter Wonderland but tickets are not date specific – tickets can be used any night that the Wonderland is open. We got our tickets during an early bird promo and opted to use them on a warm, Sunday night before the temps drop and the crowds increase. Tickets are also available on site, but note we did skip a pretty decent sized line by already having our tickets in hand.
This Will Be Part of Our Family’s Future Holiday Rotation
Our girls had so much fun at the Wonderland that I know we’ll be back next year. Westchester’s Winter Wonderland is open Thursday through Sunday through the month of December. It opens each night at 5pm and it stays open until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays and until 9pm on Thursdays and Sundays. It will also be open New Year’s Eve from 5pm to 9pm.
Check the Event Calendar for extras happening certain nights, including character visits and charity donation nights. The Wonderland is conveniently located in Central Westchester at the Kensico Dam right off the Bronx River Parkway.