My great joy as a mother is expanding my kids’ worlds through experiences. Of course getting my son, a video game enthusiast, out of the house (or even out of his room) can be a challenge. So I created two itineraries — inspired by his interests — one for NYC and one for Westchester. They are listed in order to maximize time.
AWAY GAME (NYC)
What: A pinball arcade and museum.
Where: 362 3rd Avenue (Take the 4, 5, 6 train from Grand Central to 28th Street).
Helpful Info: Entry wristband with no time limit and free same day re-entry.
Parental POV: You’ll spend about an hour here and it’s great for all ages.
What: An interactive museum with math as a fascinating backdrop.
Where: 11 East 26th Street (walk from Pinball Museum and across from Shake Shack).
Helpful Info: Open daily but closes early the first Wednesday each month.
Parental POV: I have a fear of math but loved this place as much as my kids, especially the Coaster Rollers where you “roll over unusual shapes but have a smooth ride due to their constant diameter.” The staff’s enthusiasm is contagious. Fine for any age but I think best for older kids.
What: Families play billiards, ping pong, and darts while enjoying drinks, tater tots, pizza bagels and other snacks.
Where: 10 East 21st Street
Helpful Info: You pay per player and per hour. 11 a.m. – 5 p.m it’s about $9.50 per person, per hour (check in case your visit falls into their holiday hours which is a little more). We’ve always just walked in and never had a wait, maybe because we visit earlier in the day.
Parental POV: As long as your kid can see over the top of the table, they’ll have a great time.
Check out the “PaleyGX: Your Ultimate Gaming Xperience.” This is walking distance to Grand Central and a nice final spot to hit if you still have energy.
HOME GAME (Peekskill)
What: Comic book, card, and collectible store but they also host game nights like Dungeons & Dragons, Smash Bros Ultimate, and a BYO board game where anyone can play.
Where: 913 South Street (a few blocks from public parking lot)
Helpful Info: They post their events and game schedules online and via Instagram. Good for elementary school age kids – adults (they mostly get a teen and young adult crowd). Next door is Gleason’s (flatbread pizza). Kids also like Peekskill Coffeehouse (waffles, crepes, and paninis) and RameNesque (ramen dumplings and more).
Parental POV: The Rift staff are so kind and happily offer to teach kids how to play any game in their stores.
What: Arcade, laser tag, ropes course, bocci, and other games are under the same roof as an open space bar for the ultimate entertainment complex.
Where: 5 John Walsh Blvd
Helpful Info: They take credit cards but a few times their machines were down and we needed to use cash which I rarely carry.
Parental POV: It’s very lively and energetic so if you have a child (or self) who gets overstimulated in crowds and loud music, you might want to go when it’s warmer out and they open the garage door which makes it more tolerable. The younger kids seem to like this place a lot.
We also love 2nd Nature Skatepark
This indoor skate park is amazing. Skaters of all levels go and are so giving with their time to help a newer skater learn the ropes. They have lessons, schools-out camps, and nighttime parties.
What places does your gamer love?
Born and raised in Westchester, Gennifer Birnbach has spent over 25 years as a writer and marketing communications executive for brands including Nickelodeon and Bravo. Every career aptitude test she has taken since high school, however, suggests she should be a camp director. Makes sense since Gennifer’s favorite thing is bringing people together for unique and fun adventures. Gennifer resides in Yorktown Heights with her husband and two teens and stands by calling sandwiches “wedges” (not “hoagies” or “subs”). For more information visit www.genniferwithag.com and follow her on IG @genniferwithag