Visting Art Omi with kids makes a perfect day-trip destination for families with children of all ages. Here, more than 60 large-scale works of art are presented in open fields or tucked between the trees along twisting nature trails. Art Omi, is a 120-acre sculpture park. Which makes it an ideal spot for any child who needs more room to run than an art museum allows. It also promises more visual delights than a traditional nature hike.
Located 20 minutes outside of Hudson, Art Omi is a must-visit for fans of Storm King, a 500-acre outdoor museum in the lower Hudson Valley. Art Omi’s smaller size makes it more manageable if you’re visiting with kids, and unlike Storm King, it’s free to the public.
Must-See Spots to Explore
An adult could cover the entire Art Omi loop in an hour or so. But little kids can make it impossible to cover a lot of ground in a short period of time. Art Omi’s Explore Map will lead you directly to all the interactive exhibits on the grounds. Kids love to weave through Will Ryman’s Pac-Lab, a technicolored Pac Man-inspired maze. Peek inside Beverly Pepper’s Paraclete, a steel pyramid structure. And overlook the wetland pond from the swing inside Matthew Gellar’s Babble, Pummel, and Pride II. From there, it’s worth looping around the pond to seek out a few sculptures along the woodland trails. Make sure to strike a pose beside Biana Beck’s untitled sculpture, which captures the essence of a sassy young child.
Outdoor Workshops for Kids
For creative kids with a deeper curiosity in the sculptures they see, Art Omi offers several hands-on learning programs to encourage children to study and create their own art. To keep kids busy during winter break (February 15-19, 2020), Art Omi offers 2-hour morning sessions from 10am to 12pm for a cost of $25 per day. This mini Winter Art Camp welcomes children ages 5 to 11, They’ll enjoy a daily outdoor activity (possibly sledding!) followed by an art project held in their large gallery space. Teaching artists will lead a maximum of 12 students per day.
For older children, aged 11 to 14, Art Omi hosts a bookbinding course in their Benenson Center called Pagemakers by Grace Lang. The class, limited to 8 participants, will meets every Tuesday from January 19 through March 9, from 3:30 to 5:30pm. The students will create their own books, and the cost of $390 will cover all the necessary materials.
All participants for both the Art Camp and the Pagemakers program will be required to wear masks, sanitize hands, and keep a safe social distance. Snacks and materials will not be shared among classmates.
What to Know Before Your Go
The grounds of Art Omi open at 9am daily. On a sunny Saturday or Sunday, it can fill up fast. Keep in mind that once the parking lot is full, the park is at capacity. Any additional visitors will need to return after the lot empties out a bit. Parking on the road is prohibited and violators may be ticketed or have their cars towed.
Prepare for unpaved trails:
Although we saw a few all-terrain strollers in the park, it seemed like it would be easier to get around with a wearable baby carrier. And although bicycles are permitted in the park, it looked like rough terrain for novice cyclists. For ease, we’d advise families to wear weather-appropriate footwear and explore Art Omi by foot.
Food is allowed:
The best thing about an outdoor art museum is that your kids can snack to their hearts’ content. While the café is closed until further notice, picnic blankets and lunches are welcome here.
Bring a four-legged friend:
Dogs are welcome in the park from 9am to 4pm, as long as they are kept on leash at all times.
Masks are required in the parking lot, in all indoor facilities, and whenever you pass other visitors on the trails. Visitors are also asked to maintain a 6-foot distance from anyone who is not a member of their household.
Where to Eat Nearby
Though restaurant regulations are always in flux these days and virus surges can cause temporary closures, Love Apple Farm is a safe bet for convenient, kid-friendly eats. Located within a 5-minute drive from Art Omi, the market’s café may be closed for the winter, but they have grab-and-go sandwiches (like turkey and gouda croissants) and take-out baked goods (cookies, apple cider donuts, and more), plus an ample parking lot so you can chow down in your car.
If you need to grab some groceries while you’re there, they have a wide selection of locally farmed produce, dairy, and meat, plus plenty of delicious prepared foods, like their beloved Apple Cheddar Chicken Chili. For kids, the main draw of Love Apple Farm is their on-site animal pen. The petting zoo is not open to the public at the moment. But kids can visit their friendly goats, llama, donkey, and cream-colored miniature pony through the fence. Love Apple Farm closes daily at 6pm. If you’re traveling on the later side and looking for a heartier dinner, Baba Louie’s in Hudson offers online ordering and curbside pick-up of their pizzas, salads, and pastas – including a kid-sized buttered pasta plate.
Written by: Kara Zuaro, Brooklyn Doublewide, Exploring the less traveled (and less expensive!) Catskills, in and around Greene County. Farms, drive-in movies, kids, food, beer, shopping, home design, and real estate.