New York State Museum and Empire Plaza in Albany

We visited our capital, Albany, a few summers ago. We visited the U.S.S. Slater anchored in the Hudson River, visited the famous First Church in Albany on Pearl Street, and drove around the city streets to enjoy the sights. Here’s a photo of our capitol building. Isn’t it beautiful? It’s designed after the Dutch architecture (the Dutch settled New York until the British took it in 1644).

05 Capitol Bldg

Also during our stay, we spent a whole day at the New York State Museum. And a whole day wasn’t long enough to fully delve into everything!

05 The NYS Museum

The first thing we saw was their pride and joy– the New York mastodont. No, no, not the state tax code, the ancient animal.

05 Mastodont Bones

The Museum was a little dark for photos (this was before I got my higher-tech digital camera). I tried snapping a few photos, anyway.

05 In New Yawk

If you go to the Museum’s website and click on “ongoing exhibitions,” you’ll get a better idea of all they have there.

At the time of our visit, the Museum was hosting an enormous memorial exhibition of the September 11 attack. It was a very impressive and somber exhibition, with burnt fire trucks and badges, portions of the planes that crashed into the buildings, taped recordings of 911 calls, and a two-hour long theatre presentation of footage from the Naudet brothers.

The museum is so large it is almost overwhelming. I don’t think I can begin to describe it. It was great. It has a heavy emphasis on natural science– animals, fossils, gems, geology, anthropology, etc. My husband absolutely loved the gemology section. I think half of our photos are from the gem department. They were fantastic.

05 Ken's Amazing Gems

05 Big Fool's Gold or Fool's Big Gold

05 How The Indians Prevented Cavities

Besides the mineral section, the museum features a Native American display with life-size Iroquois longhouse and moving figures that “speak” recorded messages (they tried to give it that “you were there” feel). There are also displays of an automobile-through-the-ages, a huge, huge section on the different regions of New York State (the largest exhibition is about New York City, of course; although our favorite was the exhibition on the Adirondack Wilderness displays, complete with moose and waterfall), a tremendous exhibition on New York fossils, Black Harlem, beautiful birds and bugs of New York, and just too much more to write. We didn’t expect we’d spend the entire day there, but we did.

05 Top Floor NYS Museum

After emerging from the Museum seven hours later, we lollied about the Empire Plaza. The place was eerily devoid of people. Unfortunately, we’d forgotten it was Labor Day Monday, and the NYS Library was closed. My bookworm daughter was devastated; she’d really wanted to go. All we could do was promise to return someday.

We wanted to enter Corning Tower to see the skyline from the top, but this too was closed. Nuts! The two cool pools at the “Egg” were a pacifier.

05 I Like the Water

05 Albany Midgets

For the rest of our visit, we merely strolled the area around the Capitol building and took cute snapshots.

05 Kids on Pedestals

Here’s a photo of the statue of General Philip Schuyler and one of his fans.

05 Gen Schuyler

Philip Schuyler was an important statesman in New York before the French and Indian War and during the American Revolution. He was the father-in-law of Alexander Hamilton, too. We had visited his historic home, the Schuyler Mansion, (down the street from here) a few years ago, before I had a camera. It is such a wonderful place that, if we had had enough time, we would have revisited the estate in a heartbeat. I highly recommend seeing the Mansion if you are in Albany.

Here’s the beautiful columns of the NYS Education building. Kids, THIS is the building where they scheme to create all those horrid tests!

05 NYS Education Bldg

Here’s a shot of the Empire Plaza as dusk is falling.

05 At The Plaza

Evening was coming soon, and our trip was over. It was a very pleasant trip, albeit much too short for the many things to see and do in Albany. Until next time!

About the Author

I've been traveling throughout New York State since I got the travel bug after touring the Herkimer Home on a school field trip as a youngster. We've been blogging about our travels since 2006 and have visited over half of New York's 62 counties so far.

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