BROOME COUNTY IS FILLED WITH ALL SORTs OF CULTURAL EVENTS, BANDS, SHOWS, KIDS ACTIVITIES, AND MORE. I’ve HEARD IT SAID, “THERE’S NOTHING TO DO IN THIS AREA”. MAYBE WE’VE ALL BEEN GUILTY OF SAYING THIS, BUT IT’S JUST PLAIN WRONG.
Here is a list of 5 great things you or your family can partake in this quite incredibly artsy and family-themed area. The only thing missing is an amusement park. But, if you want to find a park, we have plenty to have a blast at.
1. PICK A PARK!
Broome County is filled with parks. There is Otsiningo Park along the Chenango River, which offers a baseball field, two soccer fields, a huge playground for the kiddies, bathrooms, water fountains, a beautiful walkway surrounding and meandering through the park, around a pond, and among the geese. Look out for dogs walking, bikes, and skaters, but they aren’t hard to avoid, as they hardly ever out-number the walkers.
There are Greenwood and Nathaniel Cole Parks. Both offer lakes with swimming fronts and sandy beaches. Both offer boating and fishing. Want to catch some rays and socialize with new friends, old friends, neighbors or associates? These two parks have all the sun-bathing room you need, plenty of picnic tables, large group outdoor venues, grills, softball fields, and playgrounds.
Don’t stop just at those parks though, or you’ll be missing out. There’s still Dorchester Park in Whitney Point. They have a huge, long lake, with a boat launch, and sail boat, kayak, and paddleboard rentals available. Plenty of beachfront sand and swimming. A playground, and some grilling and picnic areas. It can make for a beautiful day if the weather is just right.
Our last, but not least, favorite place to go is Highland Park in Endwell. This park has it all. A carousel, playground, swimming pool, grills, picnic tables and is the center of many functions, including the famous July 4th celebration every summer with the most incredible fireworks display in the area. Of course, there are other parks, but these are our favorites here at WBDY-LP 99.5 FM Binghamton’s Community Radio and offer the most for you or your family’s visit.
2. LIONS, TIGERS, AND BEARS...OH MY!
Let’s not forget the world-famous April and her giraffe family. Yes, Adventure Park in Harpursville, NY has everything you and the kids will love: many animals to pet and feed, exotic pets, and of course the only giraffes in the surrounding area, or even upstate NY, we believe. April became famous in 2017, when even in Germany, the news was getting around that she was having her first baby, and there was a contest to name it.
The Ross Park Zoo is hilly, but it is a beautiful walk through the woods as you happen upon some of your favorite animals, including the popular penguins, who are a fan favorite. The zoo has a few picnic areas, and a carousel, as well.
We’d be remiss not to mention an out of county zoo, but only about an hour outside of Binghamton in Syracuse, Onondaga County. That is the world-knowned Rosamond Gifford Zoo. Wow, this place has 700 different animals, they purport on Google Search. From snakes to spiders, monkeys to tigers, Amur leopards and yes, even bears. A new large penguin display, American bison, elephants with a new bundle of joy in an Asian elephant making its public debut around Memorial Day, and so many more exotic creatures such as the red panda cubs, snow leopard cubs, and lemurs. Even check out a cute bird sanctuary inside. This zoo has tables inside and out to eat at, petting barns, all surrounding you after you grab a bite to eat at their restaurant.
3. TAKE IN A SHOW!
Now, this is one entertainment area that Binghamton and the surrounding communities are never, ever shy of. Whether it’s Broadway Tours at the Forum Theater, The Tri-Cities Opera, Summer Savoyards, the Fab Arts Company, SRO Productions, EPAC, or any of the other small community theater groups, combined with Broadway caliber high school performances, you can find a show on almost any given weekend to take in.
The area’s talent, combined with SUNY-Broome’s music program, Binghamton University’s music and theater programs, as well as hundreds of professional and amateur performers, this county is busting out at the seams with talent.
The Floyd L. Maines Arena, once known for decades as the War Veterans Memorial Arena, outside of which you will find a nice memorial to lost area soldiers, puts on concerts often, many different community programs for kids, the Shriner’s circus, and of course our very own hockey team, the Binghamton Devils (for more about sports, keep reading).
That’s just a limited look at what comes through the arena on any given day, night or weekend. Don’t forget all those kids shows that pull through, and some area graduations.
There is a whole heck of a lot of live entertainment. From bands such as O.C.D., The KiiL, Milkweed, The Gents, Wreckless Marci and many, many more amazingly talented groups to magician acts, singing competitions, amazing karaoke at places like the Lost Dog or Nips Park Avenue Saloon Thursday nights, or try Birtchy's Joint on Saturday nights with Amy Howe, a powerful singer in her own right. You’ll hear some great singing coming from mouths you’d never guess could produce the quality they do.
The Lost Dog has a singing competition coming up beginning the 18th that will blow your socks off for sure. The talent that Powerhouse Entertainment and Frankie Cepero pulls in on a Thursday night is out of this world, and you might feel guilty you haven’t forked over a concert fee for what you find yourself a part of after 3 hours of wall-to-wall top voices the area has to offer.
4. SPORTS ANYONE?
I think most of us are aware that our area thrives on sports. There is the NY Mets Double-A team at NYSEG Stadium, the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. We have a UHL Hockey team in the Binghamton Devils, formerly the Senators, formerly the Rangers, formerly the Whalers, formerly the Dusters. If we’ve left a team name out, we apologize, but we think we fit them all in here.
There are lots of High School sporting events and currently and in the past, we have had County, State, and World Champs come out of Broome County. It was just in 2017, that Maine-Endwell Little League won the Little League World Series in Pennsylvania, just a few hours away. We’ve had High School teams rank 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in National High School rankings, and an uncountable number of State Champs in just about every sport.
At one point, Vestal Soccer and Binghamton Basketball and Football were all ranked in the top 3 in the nation in their respective sports at the same time, but we are going back just a few decades for that mention.
5. KIDS AND FAMILY FUN!
Here we’d simply like to list some places you can take yourself, your kids, or the whole family to have hours of fun and enjoyment.
Tully’s - Sure, it’s a restaurant, but with dozens of televisions sets playing all different types of sports, and a game room, combined with large plates of delicious, lip-smacking, finger-licking, kick-butt food, kids love this place.
Bowling Alleys - Midway Lanes, Sunset Lanes, and Laurel Bowl seem to be the most popular hangouts for the bowling crowd, although there are others in the area. Families will flock to these establishments when there are no leagues happening, and they offer midnight bowling, kids bumper bowling, video games, food, and fun.
There are numerous swimming pools, a few right by some of the area’s famous carousels. Just check out those parks I mentioned above, and in your neighborhoods, as many have their own pools.
Robot City Games is a throwback to the past for some of us older folk who grew up with the first arcades ever. Here you’ll find a large back room filled with lines and lines of old standing video games and in the country's largest video game arcade is a long row of pinball machines for all you wizards out there. The store also offers lots of used games, and gaming systems, and more.
There are activities all around this area, especially when winter ends, and the warm months charge through the area. You’d be remiss to not find anything to do. We hope you find this article educational, and handy the next time you or the kids say, “There’s nothing to do!”
*All Venues have links.
Photo is courtesy of Patti Schwartz and http://www.pattilovesbing.com/
Written by Colin Wood