family-friendly, outdoors-oriented, low or no cost things to do in and around Putnam County

Taconic Outdoor Education Center

Philipstown, NY

The Taconic Outdoor Education Center (TOEC) is like a park within a park.  Nestled within the boundaries of Clarence Fahnestock State Park, the TOEC provides activities, challenges and camping for groups.  Facilities include nature exhibits, a lodge with food service and a cozy stone fireplace, rental cabins, a private lake, lots of trails, and adventure programming like their “high ropes” course.   The often cater to youth groups and scouting organizations.

It isn’t typically open to the general public.  You need to go with a group that has prearranged a visit, or go to TOEC during one of their public events – and they offer some awesome seasonal events that you can go to.  In March there is Maple Sugaring.  In May they have an Outdoor Recreation day with kayaking, orienteering and high-ropes courses.  In the snowy season, their Winterfest is definitely worth a visit – snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snow-tubing and hikes are highlights of this event.

For more info call 845/265-3773 or email paul.kuznia@oprhp.state.ny.us, or visit http://nysparks.com/environment/nature-centers/3/details.aspx

To get there take Route 301 into the heart of Fahnetock Park.  Turn onto Dennytown Road, heading south for .5 miles.  Make the first right onto Indian Brook Road.  Go .4 miles and turn left on Mountain Laurel Lane.  Go another .4 miles and turn right to stay on Mountain Laurel Lane.  Just around the bend you will see the TOEC lodge.   The address is 75 Mountain Laurel Lane, Cold Spring, NY 10516.