When my children were younger I was on many “lists” to receive emails about local happenings, which were quite helpful in finding activities to keep our family busy. As my kids have reached the tween and teen ages, it has become a little more challenging to find “Things To Do.” They are too old for most events listed on those email distributions, but yet, too young to hop in the driver’s seat and head to places solo.
Our neighbors in Rockland County have some pretty nice solutions at The Palisades Center Mall. The Palisades Mall is located in West Nyack at 1000 Palisades Center Drive, just a few miles heading north from the Tappan Zee Bridge (aka Mario Cuomo Bridge) at Exit 12 (off of 287 West). The Palisades certainly has an abundance of shopping and places to eat, but another aspect that stands out are their offers for family entertainment.
5 Wits, which is on the 4th floor of the mall, is live-action entertainment that involves you in hands-on adventures. This location offers you three different adventures: Deep Space, Tomb and Drago’s Castle. The cost is $29.99 per person (compared with $22.99 for one adventure and $26.99 for two adventures). Sounds a little pricey at first, but if you break it down, the cost is about $10 per person per adventure. Even if you purchase the three adventures, you don’t have to do them all in the same day. That said, my 13 year old son had been asking to go here for a long time. He was so thrilled to be there that our family of 4 decided to do all three of the adventures in one day.
The 5 Wits experiences are similar to escape rooms. You need to work as a team to solve the challenges. And let me just say, for better or worse, you do learn a lot about your family members in the process! The interactive nature makes you feel that you are part of the story and that the characters are truly speaking to you. It’s almost as if you are part of a movie or video game. While I’m sure it can be done, it seems tough to have a successful challenge with less than 4 people. Each adventure lasts around 30 to 45 minutes and each of us came out of it having our own favorites. I liked Drago’s Castle the best, my son liked Deep Space and my husband and daughter favored Tomb.
Speaking of escape rooms, on the 3rd floor of the mall is Escape the Mystery Room, which will most likely be our next venture! My son went with camp a few summer back and repeatedly taunts that he will not tell us anything about anything (hence the “mystery”) until we go ourselves. The themes sound fun too: Escape from Alcatraz, Zombie Apocalypse, Hollywood Premiere, Superhero’s Adventure, Treasure Island and Houdini’s Magic Cell. The idea is to work as a team and locate clues, solve puzzles and figure out hidden codes in order to “Escape The Mystery Room.” The experiences last for about 50 minutes and cost $20 per person, per adventure.
At 85 feet tall, this is said to be the world’s tallest indoor ropes course! The course can be viewed on every floor throughout your stroll in the mall, but the entrance is on the 4th floor. There are 5 levels of ropes and 75 different adventures you can tackle. These include balance beams, tight ropes, loops, bridges, ladders and handlines. The course has a varying design and difficulty – you can take it “easy” or attempt more challenging elements. Due to the different elements, the climb never has to be the same. You can shake it up each time you go for a different adventure.
It’s a pretty exciting physical activity to with your family. Of course, in our case, we started off together – but yours truly was the last one to finish! Guests are hooked in with a seat and chest harness that is connected to a cable for further security. Instructors are there to lead, accompany and supervise guests on the course, so you never have to feel like you’re going at it alone. The cost is listed as $19.99 per person and there is an option to purchase a 6 month unlimited pass for $64.99 a person. And because it is indoors, you never need to worry about the weather like you would with an outdoor ropes courses.
They also have a Sky Tykes Adventure nearby for younger children (48 inches and under) to do a ropes course too. Similarly, there are different elements to explore, but layout allows for parents to walk along with their child during the course. The kids are harnessed in and can attempt the course on their own too. Sky Tykes is currently listed as $8.99 per child.
Lucky Strike, also located on the 4th floor, is another fun way to spend the day with your family. Sure they have 12 bowling lanes, but they also have billiard tables, ping-pong, air hockey and arcade games (my daughter’s favorite!). There are huge hi-def TVs around the place that show all sorts of sporting events. Going to Lucky Strikes has easily kept us busy and involved for a number of hours! It’s also a perfect place to meet up with friends. Although it’s been a while since my family has had the opportunity to eat there, the menu lists a few eats that are on my list for the next time we go – Kalua Pork Nachos and Smoked Shrimp Cups. And the drink menu doesn’t look too shabby, if you’re into that sort of thing! Prices are dependent on the day of the week and what types of activities you choose to participate.
“Let’s Go to the Mall” isn’t the expected response when someone says “Let’s Go Ice Skating!” – but the Palisades Mall has a full-on ice skating rink on the 4th floor. If you didn’t know it was there, you may miss it! It’s on the far end from where most of the action is. The rink features public skating sessions, skating lessons, ice hockey and figure skating lessons (a monthly schedule is listed on the website). The cost listed for ice skating is $11 for adults and $9 for children, plus $4 for skate rental, if needed. Other activities, such as hockey and skating lessons, have different prices.
Sounds like enough activity to keep the big kids entertained for a while! And believe it or not – there’s more! Take a look here to see what else there is to do: Palisades Center Entertainment.
But don’t forget! Westchester County Shopping Malls are just as fun! It’s always nice to visit and support our neighboring county, but I definitely have to give a shout out to our great malls in Westchester County!
- The Westchester 125 Westchester Avenue, White Plains
- Cross County Shopping Center 8000 Mall Walk, Yonkers
- Ridge Hill One Ridge Hill Boulevard, Yonkers
- The Galleria at White Plains 100 Main Street, White Plains
- The Jefferson Valley Mall 650 Lee Boulevard, Yorktown Heights
- City Center 19 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains
- Rivertowns Square Hamilton Street, Dobbs Ferry
Each feature a balance of shopping, restaurants and activities.