Albany new York a Fun Place to Visit while Learning and Exploring

With the way the economy has been, many family vacations have been drastically cut because of expenses.  But, it does not have to be completely done this way if you can find local attractions that are free.  One such place is in Albany, NY.  It’s a place that many people like to visit, and there are wonderful opportunities to see great places for free!

If you are trying to give your children a fun time, yet learn too, why not visit  the New York State Capitol Building which gives guided tours every day of the week.  It took 32 years for this Capitol building to be completed (1867-1899) and the by hand masonry work is a highlight to see the details of this work. At the time of this writing, walk-in tours of the Capitol for the general public are offered Monday through Friday at 10:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m. and last about 45 minutes to one hour.  For more information, please call the Plaza Visitor Center at 518-474-2418.

Another great place for the family to learn and have fun is the New York State Museum, including the Carousel ride.  You can easily visit this several times a year, as it has approximately 12 new exhibitions each year on a wide range of subjects.  It is open Monday – Saturday, 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM  for free, including free programs on Saturdays for the entire family. For more information visit

If you and your family is not afraid of heights, take them for a view on the 42nd floor of the Corning Tower (also known as The Erastus Corning Tower or the Mayor Erastus Corning 2nd Tower) and is a part of the Empire State Plaza.  It is the tallest skyscraper in New York.  A non-stop elevator can take you non-stop to the 42nd floor at a speed of 16 MPH to the Observation Deck which is open every day from 10 am to 4 pm.  Here  you can get spectacular views of the Hudson River Valley, the Adirondacks, the Catskills, the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, and even the Governor’s Mansion. A photo I.D. is required to enter and those under 16 must be with a parent or guardian.  For more information, contact the Plaza Information Office at (518) 474-2418.

On the first Friday of each month, numerous art galleries in downtown Albany have specials along with local shops, restaurants and live entertainment, including one-night shows.  It has grown to about 20-30 venues each month.  You can even tour the different venues via a trolley which stops at each of the participating venues, leaving from the Upstate Artists Guild at 5 pm and duration of the round trip is approximately 30 minutes. For additional information , call (518) 434-3861.

Are you looking for something to do outdoors?  Then the Albany Pine Bush Preserve might be the place to visit.  The Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center is a great resource and central location in the Preserve to learn about the natural and cultural history of the Albany Pine Bush/  There are many activities available to participate in such as touching a snake skin, making a sand dune, and learning how to help the environment.  There is also nearly 18 miles of marked trails and are considered easy to moderate to hike and vary from wide open sandy trails to narrow, grassy woodland ones.  For more information, including trail maps to download, visit

With these various places to visit, you could easily spend a week in Albany, New York spending little money on the actual attractions, and save it for nice meals and pleasant hotel or bed and breakfast.   Children and adults alike can learn while having fun!