Now that tax season has mercifully come to an end, you may be thinking of taking that hearty tax return, packing the kids into the minivan and heading south for a visit to Disney World.
Or, more likely, you may be thinking of taking what's left after you've paid your taxes and heading to one of the smaller amusement parks in the areas just outside of the Capital District.
In any case, you're looking at the hassle and hurry of a long trip with high gas, food and admission prices waiting for you at the end.
You needn't bother with any of that. Your neighborhood, and the ones surrounding it, are full of historic, educational and, most importantly, fun attractions and activities for you and your family to enjoy.
In our centerpiece story this week, you'll find things to do in Albany, Schenectady and Saratoga counties. Many are low-cost; all are less expensive than a trip to Disney World.
In Albany County, families can enjoy the Henry Hudson Planetarium, take a tour of historic Albany with the Aqua Ducks, and visit any of the myriad museums in the county.
In Schenectady, families can make their own bugs and volcanoes at Proctors, take a guided tour through the historical Stockade neighborhood, or learn about the history of aviation.
While you're in Saratoga County pining for the ponies to make their August appearance, feed your hunger for horse racing with a trip to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. When you're through there, walk along (and off) Broadway for near-limitless food and shopping options. Cap the night at one of the many nightclubs that heat up during the spring and summer months, or do some stargazing with the kids.
There is family fun to be had in our own back yards. If you've done many of the things near your own, move on to someone else's, or go for the gusto with a tri-county tour of the many attractions to be found within the Capital District.
We've tried to compile many local attractions and activities within this week's paper, but if there is a favorite local destination you have that isn't mentioned in our story, please paste it in the comment section below.