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What Happens When A Small-Town Family Visits The "World's Largest"... Whatever!

World’s Largest Kaleidoscope, Mt. Tremper, NY

Why I love living in New York’s Hudson Valley: there is some funky big stuff to see, like a 13-foot garden gnome, a 37-foot Buddha, a 31-foot fork in the road, and a tall Paul Bunyan statue complete with chest hair. Settle down, we’ll eventually get to posts about all of these!

Here’s a little something to tide you over:

Where we went, and who was coerced into going:

Worlds Largest Kaleidoscope

The kaleidoscope is inside this 56-foot tall silo

Curiosity and proximity have lured us to the World’s Largest Kaleidoscope in Mt. Tremper on two occasions.

WHY did you go there, exactly?

The four of us frequently head out in the family roadster to see the local sights. Mainly because if we stay home, I’m forced to listen to the background music of the Mario Galaxy game which The Boy plays on the Wii, and it makes me cranky.

The first time we went, we were on a weekend trip with friends. Our families meshed perfectly; the moms were friends, the dads were poker buddies, my son and their daughters were about the same ages. These were the tranquil days before The Girl arrived to rock our world. It was one of those sweet “family dating” relationships where everyone gets along in shared interests. Sigh.

The second time, The Girl was on the scene.

Okay, what was so cool about it?

The kaleidoscope is inside a tall black silo located within the Emerson Country Store. The store itself is a minefield of breakable but beautiful kaleidoscopes available for sale. As soon as they spotted us toting a toddler, the staff sensed destruction and quickly escorted us to the interior of the silo. We had the choice of lying on the floor to watch the show overhead, or leaning on tilted back boards.

Worlds Largest Kaleidoscope

It's not easy getting good photos of the show itself. The images move fast! Imagine this one, then thousands of multi-color mutations, all set to a psychedelic soundtrack!

The ten-minute show – colorfully prismatic, musically fast-paced, and somewhat psychedelic – is reflected off three 37-foot tall mirrors. If your supply of hallucinogens is running low, come here instead for a similar effect.

The soundtrack is a mix of folk, jazz, big band, psychedelic rock and patriotic music. The high-quality sound system was too much for The Girl, who was just 22-months old at the time. She made it through half before demanding an escape.

Also, the kaleidoscope is only about 15 minutes away from Chomsky, the aforementioned 13-foot garden gnome, and 30 minutes from the world’s longest elevated pedestrian bridge, which connects Highland to Poughkeepsie. So if you’re looking for a “Go BIG” trifecta, this is an easy day to check a few off the list! It’s also less than 45 minutes from Kaaterskill Falls, the tallest waterfall in New York State.

A little background info about the place:

The kaleidoscope opened in 1996. The silo, part of a restored 19th century dairy barn, is over 56 feet tall. The kaleidoscope itself was designed by award winning kaleidoscope artist Charles Karadimos. Not surprisingly, the video imagery was designed by Isaac Abrams, a pioneer in the psychedelic art movement of the 60’s, and his son Raphael, a computer artist. Accompanying the visuals is a musical score by Gary Burke, a local composer and drummer who has worked with Frances Ford Coppola and Bob Dylan.

Three seasonal shows rotate. They include: America, The House We Live In; Metamorphosis; and Hexagram Holiday.

How it rated on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = snoozefest, 10 = add to your bucket list):

5.  Entertaining, but pretty short. And, ironically, comparable to the Mario Galaxy music in terms of sending me into Cranky Land.

World’s Largest KaleidoscopeHey you! Go BIG!:

The World’s Largest Kaleidoscope. 5340 Route 28, Mt. Tremper, NY. 845-688-5800

Go BIG BONUS!!!

You’ve just wasted several minutes reading this post. Extend your unproductive screen time on this fun site where you can design your own virtual kaleidoscope! It has my parental seal of approval; The Boy LOVES this!

I found this on VeryShortList, a cool site which sends me a short daily e-mail describing intriguing picks for all types of entertainment-websites, movies, books, etc.

Woodstock Things To Do on raveable

11 comments

  1. Vanessa said,
    September 17, 2010 @ 11:57 am

    Great post! Yes, I love the kaleidoscope too. It’s a great place to take the kids to on a rainy day. It is funny though how people there tend to tense up as soon as you enter with a young child. Kids love it though. Might be scary for a baby though.

    • Margot said,
      September 17, 2010 @ 1:37 pm

      Vanessa, totally agree with you! they are a little tense with kids in the gift shop. But what a perfect way to entertain them!

  2. Mike said,
    September 17, 2010 @ 12:43 pm

    I know that you said it was “pretty short”, but 10 minutes of lying on my back while the kids are otherwise entertained sounds wonderful. Silo, or otherwise, I am in favor of any attraction that can produce a few of those glorious moments where nothing is required or expected of me …… and I have only recently begun the years of family travel 🙂

  3. Julie said,
    September 17, 2010 @ 3:51 pm

    Heck! I’d come just for the gnome! Great post (and also that stupid Mario music makes me the “world’s crabbiest mom”).

  4. Dominique said,
    September 18, 2010 @ 8:37 am

    I love kaleidoscopes 🙂
    Thanks for the link to build my own…that should hold me until I can check this out!

  5. Christina said,
    September 18, 2010 @ 9:19 pm

    Want to head back there after seeing this.

  6. Mary R said,
    September 20, 2010 @ 2:53 am

    This is a fantastic blog! I’m starting a family soon (hopefully) and I’m always looking for inspiring families who aren’t afraid to take on the world with their kids!

    Looking forward to reading more and good luck in the twitter contest!

    • Traci Suppa said,
      September 20, 2010 @ 8:47 am

      Thanks, Mary! Really appreciate the feedback. Love your site too, especially the post on the “Temple of the 10,000 Bug Bites!” We have a post here about the seeing the largest Buddha in the western hemisphere, but it doesn’t compare to some of the sites you’ve seen!

  7. Terry said,
    September 21, 2010 @ 4:44 pm

    What an interesting find. Beautiful and educational. Thank you for taking the time to help us travelers who do not like doing “the research”.

  8. E. Fantone said,
    July 8, 2012 @ 11:08 am

    One error: Kaaterskill Falls is not the tallest falls in NY State. Taughannock Falls is the tallest.

  9. Daryl said,
    July 18, 2012 @ 5:14 pm

    Sounds like a neat spot to visit I know it has to cost something ? Does anyone remeber how much it was Thanks

3 Trackbacks \ Pings

  1. September 19, 2010 @ 12:20 am

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Dominique King, Traci L. Suppa, Go BIG or Go Home, wyatt s eddy, Go BIG or Go Home and others. Go BIG or Go Home said: How 'bout an RT for the birthday girl? @GoBIG_GoHome visits the world's largest kaleidoscope in NY http://gobigorgohomeblog.com/580 […]

  2. April 21, 2011 @ 4:55 pm

    […] local Hudson Valley Travelling Family Friends at Go Big or Go Home gave the World’s Largest Kaleidoscope 5 […]

  3. May 13, 2011 @ 1:46 am

    […] you can say you saw the world’s largest…whatever. So we also headed to Mt. Tremper, home of the World’s Largest Kaleidoscope. We watched the ten-minute show in the interior of a silo, lying on the floor. Colorful, musical, […]