19 Free Things To Do Indoors in Westchester and the Hudson Valley: Indoor Places to Play on Cold and Rainy Days

Kids can peek into the marine life in the aquariums at the Marine Education Center in Mamaroneck. Photo by Susan Miele
Kids can peek into the marine life in the aquariums at the Marine Education Center in Mamaroneck. Photo by Susan Miele
1/12/24 - By Tom Stefanchik

These free indoor places to play are a salve for those bad weather days when you don't want to be stuck inside with the kids waiting to hear the dreaded (and inevitable), “I’m bored.” Westchester and the Hudson Valley offer a wide variety of fun, free things to do at local museums, malls, marine sanctuaries, and more to keep kids and parents entertained and engaged.

With that in mind, here are the best free indoor places to play in Westchester and the Hudson Valley. Find more free fun in our Guide to Free, Fun Things To Do with Westchester and Hudson Valley Kids.


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Best Free Indoor Places to Play in Westchester and the Hudson Valley

1. Marine Education Center – Mamaroneck

Located in Harbor Island Park, the Marine Education Center is a must-do for children who love fish and other marine life. Here they can see—and, in some cases, handle—sea creatures housed in multiple aquariums. Visitors might spot sea stars, toadfish, spider crabs, eels, moon snails, and much more. The Marine Education Center is open seasonally from April-November.

2. Trailside Nature Museum – Cross River

Situated on the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, the Trailside Nature Museum is home to a collection of mounted animals, Native American artifacts, and kid-friendly displays that tell the history of the region. Special programming is often available. Find more local nature centers worth visiting with kids; many are free.

3. Greenburgh Public Library – Elmsford

The offerings at the Greenburgh Public Library are as unique as the building’s design. Kid-friendly activities include storytimes for multiple age groups, music classes, baby sign language classes, homework help, STEM activities, and more.

4. Blue Door Art Center – Yonkers

This local nonprofit is dedicated to bringing the arts to local residents through its galleries and workshops—many of which are free, though donations are always welcome. Find upcoming programs on its calendar.

5. Scarsdale Train Station – Scarsdale

If your kids are anything like mine, they just love trains. So take them train spotting on the upper level of the beautiful Scarsdale Train Station. The Tudor Revival-style building was built in 1904 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

6. Stew Leonard’s – Yonkers

This gourmet food superstore is the Walt Disney World of supermarkets. Kids enjoy singing and dancing bananas, cows, and chickens, while you enjoy a great selection of your favorite foods and plenty of free samples. Be on the lookout for random appearances by Stew’s cast of characters (Wow the Cow, Stewie the Duck, and more).

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Free Things To Do Indoors in Westchester and the Hudson Valley: Rye Arts Center
Peruse the free galleries at the Rye Arts Center. Photo courtesy of the center

7. Rye Arts Center – Rye

Budding artists love viewing the ever-changing exhibits in the galleries of the Rye Arts Center. The center’s mission is to inspire life-long enthusiasm and participation in the arts.

8. Yonkers Public Library – Yonkers

There is so much more than books at the three branches of the Yonkers Public Library. Kids can enjoy storytime, musical programs, teen fitness classes, scavenger hunts, and more. Oh, and lots and lots of books.

9. Neuberger Museum of Art – Purchase

Experience exhibitions of modern, contemporary, and African art at Neuberger. The museum’s permanent collection features works by such world-renowned artists as Willem de Kooning, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Jackson Pollock.

10. Scarsdale Public Library – Scarsdale

In addition to browsing books, kids can participate in take-and-make crafts, drop-in Lego play, chess club, concerts for kids, and a teen room where kids can study, play games, or just hang out. When they work up an appetite, enjoy a snack at the on-site Apiary Cafe.

11. Palisades Center – West Nyack

Enjoy a full day of window shopping throughout this four-story enclosed mall, filled with stores for every age and interest plus restaurants, and various family-friendly activities. Bookmark its website for special free activities, like free ice skating lessons during January's National Skate Month.

12. Rockland County Libraries – Multiple Locations

The Library Association of Rockland County supports 17 branches spread throughout the county. This means there’s something for everyone in your family, including Mother Goose Time, paint parties for teens, Lego clubs, and a library card design contest for all ages.

RELATEDFree Museums and Museum Days in Westchester and the Hudson Valley

 Free Things To Do Indoors in Westchester and the Hudson Valley: Indoor Places to Play on Cold and Rainy Days: West Point Museum
Visit the West Point Museum to see the largest collection of military artifacts in the United States. Photo courtesy of the museum

13. West Point Museum – West Point

Visit the country’s oldest federal museum, whose origins date back to the American Revolution. Here you can explore a wide range of fascinating exhibits relating to the United States Military Academy, the United States Army, and weaponry, dating back to ancient times. The nearby visitors center has a lovely free gallery to visit, too, plus you can stock up on West Point gear in the fan store!

14. Mid-Hudson Discovery Museum – Poughkeepsie

The museum, which offers a wide range of interactive exhibits, is open late with FREE admission on the third Sunday of every month. This event is intended for families with children up to age 12. Find more free times to visit local museums in our roundup of free museums and free admission days.

15. Bronx River Books – Scarsdale

This mom-and-pop shop opened up in Scarsdale in 2018 and is still a community mainstay. With 17,000 books catering to a wide variety of interests, it's easy to see why. Stop by to browse its children's section or attend an author reading.

16. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor – New Windsor

Among the many items on display at this fascinating museum are an original UH-1H model helicopter from the 1960s, used for medical evacuations, historical military photographs, medical and surgical equipment, and more. Visit the gift shop to find a distinct selection of toys, puzzles, books, postcards, magnets, and more.

17. Replace the Parks – Kingston

An inventive program from the city of Kingston, this indoor play space, located in the Andy Murphy Neighborhood Center, offers seasonal fun for preschoolers when it's too cold to hit a traditional playground. The indoor play space is open Tuesdays and Fridays through the end of March. Take note: On days when Kingston Schools are operating on a 2-hour delay or closed, the playground will be closed, too.

18. Pet Smart – Multiple Locations

When the kids want to go to the zoo but the weather is not cooperating, bring them to this pet superstore instead. Here they can see fish, birds, reptiles, dogs, cats, and more, all for free!

19. Bookmark Our Family Activity Calendar – Multiple Locations

Last but by no means least, check the Mommy Poppins Family Activity Calendar regularly. It lists wonderful, family-friendly activities for every day of the year, indoor places to play, and more free things to do, and it is continually updated.

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