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A Birthday, An Exhibit, and a Trip through New York’s State Parks

This year marks the 100th birthday of the National Park Service on August 25, 2016, celebrating a century of recreation, conservation, and historic preservation programs.

As you can imagine, this is an exciting time to visit some of New York’s State Parks. Not just to celebrate the National Parks Service in its centennial year – but also to check out some of the amazing sights and exciting new developments happening in our area.

Letchworth State Park – located about 40 minutes south of Rochester, NY - just opened its new $6.75 million, four-season Humphrey Nature Center on June 20, 2016. It’s an educational facility where you can learn about the park, gorge, Genesee River and local wildlife. Touch a replica of the gorge wall and follow the Genesee River - it’s painted on the floor! With a butterfly garden out front and knowledgeable staff, it is a great place to stop before you head out to explore the park.

To the east of Rochester is another gem of New York State – Chimney Bluffs State Park. Located at the base of Lake Ontario, you can walk the trails above the bluffs and watch the lake below or walk along the lakeshore or nature trails to experience the massive rocky spires towering above you. It truly is an amazing sight to see.

And I haven’t personally made it there yet – but I hear Taughannock Falls in Ithaca, NY is a can’t-miss stop you should make while visiting the southern part of the Finger Lakes Region. Taughannock Falls plunges 215 feet down (that’s almost 50 feet taller than Niagara Falls), tumbling past rocky cliffs through a beautiful gorge. There are trails that run through the State Park and an overlook that you can drive to, if you choose to skip the hiking and go straight for the view.

In addition to visiting the parks – I recommend that anyone visiting Rochester stop in to the George Eastman Museum. On a normal day, the museum tells a fascinating story of George Eastman – the man who founded Kodak and pioneered popular photography – as well as housing one of the largest film archives in the United States. But this summer through October 2, the museum is recognizing the centennial of the National Parks Service with Photography and America’s National Parks, an exhibit exploring the role of photography in the development of the parks and how we perceive these natural landscapes. An outdoor adventure followed by this educational exhibit is the perfect way to spend a day or a weekend in Upstate New York.