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Winter getaways within reach

Break the season’s monotony without breaking the bank with these weekend escapes

All of Cooperstown gets into the act for the annual Winter Carnival, held this year Feb. 10-12.

All of Cooperstown gets into the act for the annual Winter Carnival, held this year Feb. 10-12. Cooperstown Winter Carnival

It’s easy to plod through these cold, late-winter days with your eyes on one goal: spring. If that’s the case, though, maybe it’s time for a weekend family getaway, and there is no time like the middle of winter to score great deals on hotels and attractions.  It also just so happens that there are numerous family resorts within a two-hour drive of Albany that offer more activities than one could actually do in a weekend – without ever stepping outside.  And there are also plenty of fun getaways for those who do love the winter weather.

Stay warm (and maybe a little wet!)

The Rocking Horse Ranch, in Highland, doesn’t slow down when the warm weather ends. This all-inclusive family resort, about an hour south of Albany, has a full array of indoor activities. Not only does the per person rate include all meals, but also access to the Wild Buckaroo Daycamp program, the Red Rider BB Gun shooting gallery, archery range, ping pong, Wii stations, Foam Factory, rock wall, bounce structures and an enormous indoor water park facility.

For mom and dad, there is also a full-service fitness center, as well as saunas and a day spa.  (Spa and massage services are available at an additional charge.)

Big Splash, the resort’s indoor water park boasts a 250-foot flume tube, interactive fountains, dumping buckets and geysers, with the water temperature kept at a balmy 85 degrees.

The ranch also features horse trail rides all winter and an outdoor park for tubing, skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and horse-drawn sleigh rides. For sample menus, rates, floor plans and specials, look them up at www.rockinghorseranch.com.

An hour north of Albany, in Lake George, is another indoor water park, the Great Escape Lodge, part of the Six Flags Amusement Parks system.

 Hotel accommodations include admission for the whole family to White Water Bay, a 38,000-square foot indoor water park with something for all members of the family. There’s a toddler pool with shallow slides and swings, a lazy river, a simulated surfing attraction, a treetop waterworks attraction with jets, dumping buckets, sprinklers and water slides, and several adult-sized flumes that actually wind outside the building and back in.   Other on-site amenities include bedtime stories with Warner Brothers characters like Scooby Doo, and Sylvester, arts and crafts by the fire, and scavenger hunts, all run by Lodge’s Kids’ Klub.

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