Children's Museum of Oswego Fire Safety
Upstate New York

Top 3 Family-Friendly Things to Do in Oswego

One of the things I love most about my life is being an aunt to so many wonderful nieces and nephews. Both those who are blood relatives and those who are the children of my closest friends. I want to share my love of travel with them all. So, I recently planned a weekend trip to Oswego with some friends and their kids. We had a great day exploring the city and now I’m ready to share some family-friendly things to do in Oswego with you.

Children’s Museum Of Oswego

For months I had been hearing great things about the Children’s Museum Of Oswego (CMOO for short). But not having kids of my own, I had to wait until I had some to visit with me. So I got a few friends and their kids to join me on a Saturday and drove up to Oswego. The museum was our first stop of the day, and it was a hit! My “nieces and nephews“ ranged from 3 to 6 years old, and they unanimously agreed that it is now one of their favorite places to visit. And at just $8 per person for admission, it’s definitely a budget friendly place.

Interactive & Educational Exhibits

The museum starts out with the most epic water table I have ever seen. Its design simulates the Oswego Harbor and even has a small lighthouse in the middle. The table could easily have a dozen or more kids playing at it at the same time. And one of my favorite parts? There was a big (two-story tall) cloud over one corner of the table. When you go upstairs, the kids can climb through the cloud and simulate wind tunnels. Since Oswego is so affected by the weather, it’s a great learning opportunity for the kids.

Upstairs, the museum has a couple dozen exhibits, several of which are sponsored by local businesses in Oswego. There is a section where they can pretend to be firefighters, down to the smallest details. I loved watching the kids put on their uniforms, grab the fire hose, and put out a pretend fire. Other exhibits included a kitchen and accompanying market where kids can choose foods to purchase and then bring into the kitchen to cook meals. When I was standing near the kitchen, a little girl that I didn’t know brought me a pizza that she had made and said it was just for me. That truly simulated the type of friendly and open environment that the museum has.

There is a treehouse for the slightly older kids, and a play area meant for toddlers only. Each exhibit is both interactive and educational. So not only did the kids have a lot of fun, they also learned quite a bit too. Overall, our opinion was at the museum is best for younger kids. I think anyone over the age of eight or so might not enjoy it as much as they would enjoy other kids museums in central New York. But for the little ones? It’s definitely a hit!

Special Events

One of the things that impressed me the most about CMOO is that they offer monthly sensory-friendly hours. During that time, children who benefit from accommodations can enjoy the museum without the stress and anxiety they might typically experience. The number of visitors is limited, sounds are turned down, and flashing lights are turned off. Sound-canceling headphones are available to use (and are also available during regular hours). Each child can bring one guardian with them at no cost. Pre-registration for sensory-friendly hours is required.

Be sure to check CMOO’s website for other upcoming events as there is always something happening!

The River’s End Bookstore

Across the street from the museum is the local bookstore, The River’s End. Now I’ve been to a lot of bookstores around the world, so I wasn’t sure what type of bookstore to expect. Turns out, that it is a great bookstore for both kids and adults! While small, the selection is fantastic, featuring best sellers and local authors alike. And for the kids? There is a broad selection of children’s books. But the best part is the nook that they have in the center of the bookstore. Kids can crawl inside and have their own special little spot to check out a book. It’s even painted to look like a clubhouse.

The owners, Mindy and Bill, are also active in the community – they even have a newsletter that they put out. The family-owned bookshop also hosts the Rosamond Gifford Author Series monthly among other events. And if you don’t see a book you want in stock? Let them know and they will order it for you. Keep supporting local.

Man in the Moon Candies

Another very family friendly place in Oswego is Man in the Moon Candies. The history of the candy shop goes all the way back to 1935, when the owner’s grandparents started the company. Ray and Gladys began by selling hard suckers. The shape of the lollipops? A grinning man in the moon, of course!

Amy Stone-Lear now continues her grandparents’ legacy of providing quality candies to the local community. The chocolate store is kitty corner to the children’s museum. As soon as you step inside the shop, the smell of chocolate welcomes you with open arms. The historic local candy shop makes some delicious chocolates and fudge varieties, and in the summer they have ice cream too. It’s a great spot to treat the kids to something special at the end of the day.

Man in the Moon Candies

More Things to Do in Oswego

If you’re planning on taking the family up to Oswego for the day, these are just a few options. For more family friendly things to do in Oswego, I also highly recommend a lighthouse tour. During the summer months, a ferry will take you out to the lighthouse where you can tour the building top to bottom. Then, once you’re done checking out the historic lighthouse, you can make your way over to the H. Lee White Maritime Museum. There you can learn all about the history of Lake Ontario and Oswego‘s harbor.

Tell me your thoughts!